Lessons Of A Lifetime

BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE
OR
MERCY FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION
SUNDAY MARCH 18, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.’”

“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.’” Luke 1.39-56

Something To Consider:
Blessed are those who believe! After Jesus’ death and resurrection, it is recorded in John’s gospel in chapter 20, that after Jesus had appeared to His disciples in an upper room, Thomas, who was not in the upper room when Jesus appeared, declared, “Unless I see in His [Jesus’] hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side [that was pierced on the cross], I will not believe.” After eight days Jesus re-appeared this time Thomas was in the room.

Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing [present tense].” Thomas responded by saying to Jesus, “My Lord and My God!” Jesus said to Thomas, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Therefore, is believing a past tense event or is it an ongoing and continuous present tense personal belief? Some have begun their journey of belief like those who received the seed of the Word of God by the wayside and believed, but then allowed the enemy to snatch that belief away.

Some, also according to Jesus, have believed the Word of God with joy and yet they bear no fruit like the seed sown on stony places. They endure only for a while and when tribulation or persecution comes because of the Word of God, they stumble and no longer believe. Others believe, again according to Jesus, like the seed sown among the thorns, and then they allow the cares of this life and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches to choke out any belief they may have possessed and they too become unfruitful and fall away.

But he or she who received the seed of the Word of God into the good and fertile soil of a believing heart bears much fruit and maintains a present tense belief in Jesus, even though we have not seen Him except in the pages of sacred Scripture. Blessed are those who believe no matter what life brings, no matter what circumstances and or situations we face that are beyond our control. Blessed are those who maintain a present tense belief in Jesus!

Something Else To Consider:
Mary believed, Zacharias would soon believe, and Joseph was in the process of believing the Word of the Lord spoken through the angel Gabriel. Blessed are all those who maintain a present tense belief in the Word of God. Therefore, can we confidently rejoice with Mary, Elizabeth, and millions of others who have also believed? May today be a day that we rejoice in our believing the Word of God while becoming one of the many called blessed. May we believe the need for us to maintain a present tense belief in the Word of God as well as believing in Jesus, the Word of God come in the flesh!

Mary announced, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” On the surface it would appear that these two responses to the great mercy of God from generation to generation would be inseparable. But how many of us are willing to admit, that there are times when we want to magnify the Lord, and yet our spirit seems broken or fractured from the brunt force trauma of everyday life.

Let us therefore rejoice simply because we believe in Him who is in control of our lives. Let us remember His mercy is new every morning, and from generation to generation to all those possessing a present tense faith.

Something More To Consider:
The apostle Paul reminds us in Philippians 4.4; “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice.” That is, magnify the Lord! Sing the song! Exalt His name forever! But above all, rejoice in the Lord always! Worship the Lord always! For He alone is worthy of our worship, for His great mercy extends from generation to generation, and our believing in God’s mercy brings to us, as His people, His abundant blessings which will continue throughout all eternity. Therefore, let us as true present tense believers believe and be blessed!

We are informed in our text that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In John’s gospel chapter 14, Jesus promises us as true believers another Helper, a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Jesus explained in verses 15-17, “If you love Me, keep My commandments [Word of God]. And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”

Just as Elizabeth was going to need a Helper, a Comforter, and the Spirit of truth, in giving birth to John the Baptist at her age and in raising Him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, we too need the Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives if we are to maintain a present tense belief in Jesus and be blessed.

Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments…” That is the condition! If we love Him, Jesus, we will keep His commandments, we will keep His Words, especially those concerning end times and our enduring to the end. For many realizing Jesus’ words contain conditions is as if a person was suddenly living a life according to works. And yet, according to Jesus, “If you love Me, keep My commandments…”

The bottom line is that this is a conditional command according to Jesus. The promise attached to the conditional command is, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you [keepers of His Word] another Helper, that He may abide with you forever…” How are we doing with Christ’s conditional command to keep His commandments?

A Few Final Words:
Before the end of John chapter 14, Jesus reiterates two more times His conditional command concerning keeping His commandments. In verse 21 Jesus admonishes us by stating, “He [or she] who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he [or she] who loves Me. And he [or she] who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him [or her] and manifest Myself to him [or her]. One of Jesus’ disciples after hearing these words asked, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?”

Jesus answered him by affirming, “If anyone loves Me, he [or she] will keep My Word; and My Father will love him [or her], and We will come to him [or her] and make Our home with them.” Oh, how blessed are those who believe with an up to date present tense belief! Loving Christ and keeping His Word are according to Jesus biblical prerequisites to our being filled with the Holy Spirit, who has come to manifest truth, to bring comfort, and to encourage and help us in our journey to and with Jesus.

Therefore, blessed are those who truly believe to the point of keeping the Word of God, thereby becoming blessed and comforted leaders and leaders in training. Our becoming blessed by our believing enables us to not be afraid to show others the same great mercy we ourselves have freely received from Christ and from our heavenly Father. And as a byproduct, we understand that we reap what we sow, therefore let us sow generously the seeds of mercy. “And His mercy is on those who fear [reverence] Him from generation to generation.”

Prayer:
Our Father in heaven, may Your Word wash away any waves of doubt and unbelief that crash down upon the shores of our hearts. In Him Always, Amen!

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