Christian, Live Like This! — Blessed Are the Broken

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

To understand the “poor in spirit” you only need to understand the Hebrew word anawim. The best way to understand this word is to remember what happened to the inhabitants of Israel when they were hauled into captivity to Babylon. If you were smart, talented, healthy, and useful, you were taken captive to be used in a productive way by the Babylonians. If you were totally useless, you were simply left behind. Talk about an insult, to be told by your enemy that “Everyone useful will be taken, but we do not need you.” The word for these people was the anawim. They were the nobodies: the poor, pitiful, pathetic, worthless, useless nobodies.

The fact is we are all going to have some of those nobody moments in our lives. There will be those times we feel worthless and useless and are unable to control or change the situation. As a freshman in high school, it was being the last one chosen for the pick-up football game during P.E. As a senior, it was being told by your dream date that you are the last person on earth she would go out with and then finding out the whole school knows of the rejection. As a high school graduate, it is being rejected by your top ten college choices for “academic reasons.” Those moments only get more serious as life continues. It is your child facing a life-threatening illness, a family member with multiple sclerosis, a business going under despite everything you do, a mate who leaves you for someone else, a depression that destroys who you are. The list goes on, but the fact is, sooner or later, we all face a brokenness in our lives that far exceeds the resources we have in and of ourselves to address and repair it, and few things are more discouraging than the realization that we do not have what it takes to make ourselves or those we love whole.

Jesus’ words in this sermon [Matthew 5-7] are not about our physical condition but rather our spiritual. Truthfully, when it comes to our spiritual condition, none of us have what it takes to make ourselves whole, and the sooner we realize it, the better off we will be. Jesus’ foundational declaration in this sermon is that the blessings of God are only available to those who recognize their brokenness. While the broken have always attempted to run from God (beginning with Adam and Eve), the blessings of God are only available to those who recognize their brokenness and turn to Him. Therein lays the problem that most of the world faces: the inability or unwillingness to see the brokenness of our human condition and the realization that only God is the answer.

To be poor in spirit is the acknowledgement of that spiritual bankruptcy. It is the confession of one’s own unworthiness before God and one’s utter dependence on God. For those who understand this and are discouraged, disheartened, and despondent by this sense of their own bankruptcy, Jesus’ promise is “God helps those who cannot help themselves.” What an awesome promise: grace, power, transformation, and blessings are readily available to those who acknowledge their brokenness. We come emptying ourselves in order that we might be filled with God. In the words of Solomon, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Proverbs 34:18). God really does help those who cannot help themselves.

A vivid contrast demonstrating poverty of spirit is presented in Luke 18 where Jesus shares a story about a Pharisee and a publican. One could see no spiritual need while the other sees nothing but need. One is proud and boastful, the other penitent and broken. One stood condemned, the other stood justified. One God frowned on, the other walked away forgiven.

The poor in spirit are those who feel a deep sense of spiritual destitution and understand their nothingness before God. They understand that “none are righteous” (Romans 3:10) and that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Such a spirit was demonstrated by Paul upon declaring “I am the chief of sinners,” by Jeremiah in stating “A man’s life is not his own, it is not in man to direct his own steps,” and by David who wrote, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the start which you have set in place, who is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”

A failure to acknowledge our spiritual poverty/our need for God only serves to alienate us from the very power and grace that can transform our lives. To acknowledge such places us in a position both to have our own spiritual cups filled and to be a blessing to others. While some form of the word makarios (blessed) is found around fifty times in the New Testament and is most often used in reference to the joy experienced when one is delivered by God, there is another way this word is used. We are told, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). In being blessed we take on God’s nature, which in turn means we become conduits delivering that same blessing to others. in fact, it is in following God that we find our true selves–that for which we were created–and in doing so we experience the blessings that are available to us. It is only in our brokenness that we understand who we are, humbly serve, and become a blessing in the lives of other broken people.

Blessed are the broken: those who understand their condition without God and what they can be with God; those who will empty themselves in order that they might be filled with God; those who accept their position as a nobody in order that God might make them a somebody; those who realize their condemnation and graciously accept God’s justification.

Blessed are the poor in spirit.

This article was written by David Swanger, who currently serves as the Outreach and Involvement Minister at the Hendersonville church of Christ in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Have you ever asked the question, “how can I get saved?” If you would like to learn more information about the Bible or Biblical topics, please be sure to check out www.alivewithchrist.com.

 

Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?

Exactly How Was Jesus Divine?

Lots of individuals are accepting that Jesus was God’s son but less clear on his divinity. Actually, the two phrases do not teach different things. Even while Jesus is called the “son of God” it does not mean He is not divine. So, how was Jesus divine? Let’s look at two solutions to what some think is a big problem.

First, there are many passages that clearly state that Jesus was divine (i.e. God in the flesh). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Verse fourteen portrays who “the Word” was when it says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The Word was Jesus Christ and John 1:1-4 obviously shows that “the Word” was “God.”

Second, Paul in the Philippian letter reconfirmed this truth. He wrote, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7). Christ existed in the form of God before He decided to lay that off and come to earth. He did not take the mindset that being divine was something that He was to grasp and continue to hold onto.

Again, Paul stated very clearly that while Christ was on earth He was divine. “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). The Greek word for “Deity” means “the state of being God” (Bauer 452). It was not that He had some features or characteristics of God. No, He was the very essence of God. We can have characteristics, but we simply cannot have the essence of God.

The uncertainty comes when we think about the phrase “son of” in human terms. In human relationships “son of” means one who is younger than the one who is the father. But, the phrase “son of” carries with it one “who has the nature of.” To illustrate, Barnabas was called “Son of Encouragement.” This doesn’t mean that his father was “encouragement.” But rather, Barnabas had the nature of being an encourager. So it is with Jesus Christ. How was Jesus divine? When He is spoken of as the “son of God” it just conveys that He had the nature of God —the essence of God (Colossians 2:9).

(Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd Edition. Ed. Fredrick Danker, W. Arndt, and F. Gingrich. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000. Print.)

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This article was written by Wayne Burger. Wayne is a local preacher in Conifer, Colorado and an instructor at the Bear Valley Bible Institute with over 30 years of preaching experience. Wayne holds a B.A. in Bible from Abilene Christian University and a M.B.S. from the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. Wayne’s methods have published four books, and he is a regular writer for the Rocky Mountain Christian Newspaper. If you’d like to learn more about how to be saved and other similar Bible topics, please check out www.alivewithchrist.com.

Why Do You Think What You Think?

I saw this on Facebook through a friend of a friend.
“Great thought-provoking question…
I got a question for anyone who wants to post, that I ponder about quite frequently. WHY do you believe what you believe? To focus the question a bit better, everyone has political, religious, moral etc. beliefs that generally govern your day to day life. Everyone seems to have a passionate belief that they are convinced of that effects [sic] them greatly. At some point (or points) in your life, you

began to believe in whatever you believe in. What was the biggest factor that influenced that belief of beliefs? I DON’T WANT WHAT YOU BELIEVE, just WHY; in fact keep what it is out if possible. If you do come up with a “Why” ask yourself again why you believe in that. You may have to ask yourself why several times to get down to the true and honest “Why you believe what you believe” I’m interested to see what you come up with.”
The simple switch: Consider, perhaps for the first time, why we believe what we believe.

The Story of The Bridge

 

Please take the time to watch at least one of these videos. The first is a shorter version of the second.

The Simple Switch: Drop it!

 

Breaking Out of My Own House

I cannot remember for sure the discussion context from which this thought originated the other day, but I do know I was in our Marriage and Family class. All I remember are two points that formulated my thoughts:

  1. My teacher, for some reason, used a child playing with Legos as an analogy of some sort.
  2. My teacher, in class, was teaching us that children who are not shown love become very deprived as adults, even thinking very low of themselves and always wondering if they are good for anything. This is why they search for fulfillment in many places that ultimately don’t fulfill their needs.

These thoughts, for whatever reason, led me to think about an adult, sitting on the floor, building a wall with Legos. Then, I imagined them building another wall, branching off of this first wall. Then I pictured a third, and then a fourth. I even imagined these walls being built up past the adult’s head. Picturing the adult stand up, I imagined the walls being built higher and higher.

Here’s the mind-bender: As I considered the adult who was now completely walled in, my thoughts went to the roof of this structure. Do people complete the roof on the walls they construct to hide themselves? Then I wondered, “If they do, it may be possible to a certain point, but ultimately, someone else would have to place the last piece on top, from the outside.

Then I thought, “Why not save yourself the trouble, and immediately go to someone who could help you get out of your self-constructed emotional shelters? I can’t imagine a person who was more willing to place the last piece on your roof than they were willing to help you break out of your enclosure.”

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Consider this simple switch: Let Jesus help you break out of your enclosure. Be free.

Why Brett Warren Struggled with Alcohol

The original podcast of the track above can be found by clicking here. It is the last one on the page.

Brett Warren of The Warren Brothers talks about his past struggles with drugs and alcohol. Whether you are a parent or a teen, you should make the simple switch … from reading to clicking on the podcast above.