Thursday, February 26, 2015

DAY 9 - New Lifestyle: "Being" , Not "Doing" (Please click here for English podcast)


1.   Put on your “brakes” and stop for a moment of silence
2.   Wait for God. Breathe deep for God's peace. Exhale your worries.

Praise and Thanksgiving

1.   Think through your day, all the times that made you smile
2.   Thank God for all those moments, and for all those people
3.   Open your heart to praise the Lord

             I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.     Psalm 13:6                                                  

Confession and repentance

1.  Pray for the Holy Spirit to work in you:

     “Dear Holy Spirit, shine your light into the places of darkness in my life. Show me my sins, everything that blocks me from encountering God. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”

2.  Through the Holy Spirit, examine yourself for a short silence and then pray:

     "Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross for our sins and being victorious over death and sin. I confess my sin to you(pause, to tell Jesus what the Holy Spirit has shown you). Forgive my sins by your blood and help me follow you. Holy Spirit, fill me that I may be able to receive your gift to love God and His people. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen."

The Word

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
                                                                      Matthew 5:1-12

Let's have a time to be still and give the Holy Spirit space to speak through the passage of scripture we have just read. Offer this time up to Jesus as you listen to him, while listening to "Gabriel's Oboe"

My Listening
      With a new job, people usually have a new lifestyle. I still remember in the early 80's when I got a new job in the Hong Kong Government. I had moved on from working as a high school teacher, and I had a new lifestyle. Almost everyday I was in suit and tie with a fashionable briefcase. Going to expensive restaurants was a given. At that time, I thought that should be the new lifestyle I was going to enjoy. Later I found out that I was wrong. That is not the lifestyle Jesus wanted me to live.    

     Here in today's passage, we come to the famous 'Sermon on the Mount', which runs through chapters five to seven.  Jesus describes to His disciples a different lifestyle: a counter-cultural lifestyle. It is important for us to realize that this new lifestyle is not about us trying harder. You can't do it because you can never have the willpower or strength to live like that.     

      It is not the "doing" but the "being". When we repent and return to God's Kingdom we can be with Jesus, and enjoy being with Jesus daily more and more. It is this "being" with Jesus that leads us to have a change of lifestyle according to what Jesus says in the Beatitudes and later expounds in the whole Sermon on the Mount. It's not about trying to do every single thing that Jesus describes in the Beatitudes. Instead, it is through "being" with him that causes our hearts to align with his, which develops our character and actions.      

      There are so many Christians, including Christian leaders, who do things for Jesus but do not spend enough time being with Jesus.  A life of simply doing things for Jesus leads to burn-out and eventually quitting. A life of being with Jesus results in working with Jesus for his kingdom. I was one of those burnt-out leaders but it was only by God's grace that I got through that darkness.     This passage and the coming chapters are all about a lifestyle of Christlikeness. It is all about how you can be with Jesus and your willingness to follow Him as your Lord and King. With that daily intimate personal relationship with Jesus, you and other people will soon find out that the Beatitude is talking about you. You become more like Jesus and people can see more of Jesus in you. 

Dear Lord Jesus,
Help us to understand that the Beatitudes is all about the fruit of being with you and not a result of doing things for you. Lead us to be with you more that we can live out this lifestyle naturally to be more like you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Reflect on these questions:
1. Read Matthew 5: 1-12 again now. What are those 'blessings' that you think you are having them now? What are those 'blessings' that you are trying very hard but still can't have those right now? What are those 'blessings' that you think you can never have? Why?

2. What do you think is the secret for you to have them all? 

3. How can your being with Jesus each day help you to live those 'blessings' out? Have you experienced that kind of changing of lifestyle because of your new relationship with Jesus and your willingness to be with Jesus everyday? 

4. Do you have any new plan today to be with Jesus so that the Beatitudes is a way to describe your new lifestyle?  

Family Corner:
1. In your family, do you spend more time doing things for your family? Or, do you spend more time doing things with your family? How has that affected your relationships?

2. When does your family spend time being with Jesus together? How could you begin practices of being with Jesus together?

Praise and Thanksgiving
Let's give thanks for God with us. 
Let us praise Him: 10,000 Reasons  

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