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Archive for August 2013

Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness


Many think that if they had abundant wealth, absence of regret and suffering, excellent health, good employment, unending gratification of their desires, and kind treatment of everyone, that this would mean they are blessed. But in the Beatitudes (literally, the blessings), Jesus turns this kind of thinking upside down. In this passage (Matthew 5:3-12), Jesus sets forth characteristics of the ideal person of His kingdom: being poor, mourning, humility, hunger, thirst, rejection, and persecution; all qualities that were present in perfection in the life and character of the Man who spoke them. Through these experiences, Jesus says that the disciple would be blessed. Now, to be blessed is much more than just being happy. To be blessed means that we receive God’s favor. We receive his endorsement and approval.

For the purpose of this devotional, it is not possible to go through each beatitude in detail. But, I believe there is one that we as men can be challenged by and one that we should spend time thinking about. In verse 6, Jesus speaks these words, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Hunger and thirst represent the deepest desires we have. So, what is your deepest desire? What do you hunger and thirst for? Is it control? Maybe it’s comfort? Or perhaps, the thing you hunger and thirst for is significance? But here’s the thing, none of these things bring blessings to our lives. We are blessed when we hunger and thirst for righteousness. Righteousness is being a man of high integrity and strong character. It is living an upright lifestyle and having the right behavior before God.

R. T. Kendall writes that the righteousness Jesus had in mind is an unpretentious righteousness where there is an absence of smugness, arrogance and haughtiness. There is no effort to try to impress others. This kind of righteousness is an unappreciated righteousness and goes against our desires to seek approval from others and live for the approval of God. When our greatest desire is to live for the approval of God, living like this: hungry and thirsting for righteousness only, it is not likely to be appreciated by anybody but God. Jesus blesses those who are hungry for a righteousness that will be unappreciated in this life. So, don’t expect people to clap their hands for you. Because you see, the most righteous person who ever lived was hated. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first,” said Jesus (John 15:18).

This Week’s Challenge:
Complete the following statement: “My deepest desire; the thing that I hunger and thirst for is ____________________.” Does this make you feel blessed our stressed? What steps are you going to take this week to pursue God? Who do you have in your life to hold you accountable in your pursuit of God?

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God,” (Psalm 42:1-2a).

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

A Spiritual Checkup (Part 2)


A Spiritual Checkup – Part 2 (read part 1)
Psalm 139:23-24

Men, being spiritual healthy is vital to our lives. When we aren’t spiritually healthy, when we are suffering from a spiritual illness, it affects all aspects of our lives. Our jobs suffer, relationships suffer, our marriages suffer, our kids suffer, and as we learned from last week’s ManUp, our ability to fellowship with God suffers.

So what do you do? What do you do when you are feeling spiritually unhealthy? Do you ignore it? Perhaps you try to deal with it on your own. If this is your typical response to spiritual illness, how’s that working out for you? Are you getting better? Probably not! But, there is something you can do. There are steps you can take to start becoming spiritual healthy. You can ask for help, you can ask for a diagnosis. David wrote, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).

Just like a doctor points out signs of your health and sickness during a physical checkup, the Holy Spirit will show you the condition of your heart and provide you with a spiritual diagnosis. When this happens, you may receive some bad news. The good news is that God changes us; He changes the heart of men. All you have to do is invite God to search and know your heart. When this happens, our offensive ways will be exposed and He will lead us in the way everlasting, putting us on the path of good spiritual health.

This Week’s Challenge:
Read Psalm 139:23-24 daily and let this be your prayer each day this week. Be receptive to the spiritual diagnoses that is revealed to you. Finally, partner with God and other men to help you with staying spiritually healthy.

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)

A Spiritual Checkup


Psalm 15

A few weeks ago, my wife reminded me that it was time for my yearly physical. Apparently, I have reached the age where an annual checkup is recommended. So, this got me to thinking about physical checkups. I remember in high school I would get a physical every year. I go to the dentist twice a year to have my teeth and gums checked. My three year old son and two week old daughter are both on strict checkup schedules to monitor their physical health and development. In fact, we get a sheet at each visit that tells where they compare to their peers in the key areas of development, like weight and height. In addition to our scheduled checkups, we schedule doctor visits if we aren’t feeling well. You see, we do all these things, we take all of these steps to ensure we are physically healthy, but what about our spiritual health? How is that being monitored? Are you scheduling an annual spiritual checkup for yourself? When you are feeling spiritually unhealthy, when sin is dominating your life, are you scheduling an appointment with someone who can help? Are you spending time with the Lord? Are you spending time in His Word? Do you have other men in your life to lean on during the times of spiritual illness?

You see men, it is so important that we recognize and address the spiritual illness in our lives. Failing to do this will undoubtedly result in great struggles for us in our lives. Therefore, each of us needs to be intentionally scheduling a spiritual checkup in our life. Psalm 15 (see below) provides us with such a checkup. This short by powerful psalm stresses the importance of the character and heart of the person who worships God and desires to have an intimate relationship with Him. It begins with David asking the question, “Who can have fellowship with the Lord?” David answers this question by providing ten moral qualities (15:2 – 15:5a) of the spiritually healthy person. Together, these ten characteristics paint a picture of a person of integrity and a person who has the right heart to dwell with God. David ends this psalm with a great promise. The promise that a person who walks with such integrity and whose heart is in the right place will experience stability as well as enjoy intimate fellowship with the Lord.

As men of God, we need to ensure we are walking in the will of God consistently in order to enjoy fellowship with Him and stability in this life. A periodic read of Psalm 15 will provide us with the necessary spiritual checkup to ensure we are living our lives in the will of God.

Psalm 15
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

2 The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart;
3 whose tongue utters no slander,
who does no wrong to a neighbor,
and casts no slur on others;
4 who despises a vile person
but honors those who fear the LORD;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind;
5 who lends money to the poor without interest;
who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.

This Week’s Challenge:
Read Psalm 15 daily and ask yourself this question: If you had to apply to have fellowship with God, would your references say you had the required integrity? Words? Works? Dealings? Why or why not?

~ Tim Hall
https://twitter.com/1timothy12
(I encourage feedback, questions & comments – email me at 1timothy46@gmail.com)