Our Son – Birru Maran

Reach out and touch another human being with your heart and soul….how hard could it be?

Earl and I have sponsored a Compassion International child named Birru Maran from India for the past 6 years, he is 9 years old now and his birthday is July 4th, 2002.  I carry a picture of Birru in my Bible as a bookmark and pray for this dear, sweet boy.

Each year we exchange with him several letters and birthday and Christmas cards.  We send him pictures of us and little stickers that kids like and anything else we can find that lay flat in an envelope.

Recently we received the following letter, and I want to share it the way he expressed himself.

“Dear loving Parents,  Yours son Birru Maran is writing with thanks.  I am safe here, and I hope that you are also safe there.  I received letter from you.  I read the letter and felt so happy.  Sometimes I look into sky and says Hello.  We also celebrate Thanks giving festival here every year.  I am learning verses daily in the Project, and growing in the way of God.  Now we are in March month.  It is summer season.  Now I am preparing for my annual examinations.  I praying daily for you.  Yours loving son,  Birru Maran”

This young boy brought me to tears.  One small act of compassion has brought new life in Christ to this young one in India.  We have brought him love, and he in return, gives us his love. 

I have seen pictures of our son Birru when he was but a skinny malnourished child to now a child with a young boy face and a healthy and vaccinated body – from a son who drew pictures of his favorite animals to a young lad who writes that he loves us and is growing in the way of God.

Jesus Christ is the very picture of compassion.  He always reacted to the children with compassion and love.  And He defended them strongly by warning, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”  Matthew 18:6

All the little children of the world are God’s children, and each child should be loved and held and taught about Jesus.  We are but their caretakers while here on earth and that responsibility that God has given us is to be taken with all seriousness.  The gift of children is a gift to treasure. 

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” Psalm 127:3

Our children are all grown up, happy and healthy, and they all believe in Jesus Christ.  We have grandchildren that we pray will someday know our Savior too.  But being able to do so now, we touch another child with our hearts in a depressed area of India with his parents and siblings who also are hearing the Word through our son, Birru.

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Message of the Beatitudes – Four – Hunger and Thirst

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”  Matthew 5:6

We are told that we are what we eat.  What we take into our bodies and digest, becomes part of us.  What we consume could be healthy or unhealthy.  If I took an inventory of my daily intake of food, most nutritionists would chide me because I consume large quantities of pasta, bowls of candy, container after container of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream (seriously addicted to Edy’s)  and pots of coffee.  I KNOW the effects of this type of diet.  Sometimes I forget that food from the refrigerator and soda from a can are not the only ways to satisfy my hunger and quench my thirst. 

But Jesus asks us to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  That means that God will fill our desires for righteousness.   But we may not see that we are starving and suffering from thirst spiritually.  And if we become those things that we take in, then what happens when we eat the junk food of violence, erotica, materialism, greed, and drunkenness?  As you think, so you are.  The things we think, we seem to become. Our spirit is looking for sustenance from God’s righteousness, but we tend to force our spirits to go on a crash diet while we fulfill the other needs our physical body demands.

In Jesus’ Beatitudes, we go from poor in spirit to those that mourn to those that are meek.  I see a pattern in the Beatitudes and a deliberate sequence.   We must first empty ourselves of self and acknowledge our need for God.  We must mourn our sinfulness and the sinfulness and tragedies of our world.  We must submit ourselves and humble ourselves to God and to others in order to even begin to have the hunger pains for God’s righteousness.  Perhaps only after experiencing the first three beatitudes do we start to hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness. 

The body and the soul have natural appetites.  The soul depends on its nourishment, health and strength from God alone.  When we empty ourselves to God and mourn our sinful state and we submit our egos and pride to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, our natural tendency is then to seek God’s righteousness.  Our soul is awakened, it begins to hunger and thirst for holiness, knowing it must be purified by the Holy Spirit.  But when our spirit is awakened, and we feel the tendency to know more about our Lord, how do we respond?

David sought God, Psalm 63:1 “O God, thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; my soul thirsts for thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, in a dry and weary land where there is no water”.

Only Christ can fill the ache in our souls. Sometimes God allows a crisis to awaken in us a deeper need for His presence and His active work in our lives.  When a crisis takes place for a believer, our souls may yearn even more to be with Him and for His righteousness.  But we always need Jesus.  A passion for His presence becomes part of our transformation into His righteousness.  Being righteous in Christ is having the righteousness of God within us, and being filled by Him.  It isn’t about physical gratification and prideful self-fulfillment, it’s about emptying ourselves of our self-righteousness.

Is the presence of God and the pursuit of His will in our lives the most extreme of all our desires?  Does it matter more to us than the food and drink of the physical body?  Christ’s righteousness is so good that the more of Him we taste, the more of Him we will want.  Taste and see that the Lord is good!  Can we become addicted to Christ more than to diet soda?  Yes!

How’s your spiritual appetite?  Are you seeking the same things the world seeks to satisfy your soul or are you seeking the Living Water and the Bread of Life?

John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”

Message of the Beatitudes – Three – Meek

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”

  I am not meek, but I am working towards it. 

Most people would not admit to working on becoming a meek person.  We are usually offended when referred to as having too meek a personality or character.  Why?  From all that our culture values, to be meek is to be mild-mannered, spineless, weak, submissive, subservient, passive and even in-effective.  Meek people get trampled. 

Maybe we do not understand what being meek is really all about from Jesus’ perspective. 

Being meek is the middle ground between excessive anger and being completely dispassionate and passive.  Anger is not a sin, nor is it necessarily bad.  The bible says that we are to be angry, but sin not.  Anger can be a great motivator.  It can help us to get charged about God’s righteousness and justice.

Everyone gets angry. But anger is often a selfish response to the world and other people.  If we were left up to our own devices and decisions, everything would be going our way.  So what is it that make us angry?  We may feel anger when we lose control – when things don’t go as we planned and we begin to feel powerless to change them.  We can feel anger when other people’s decision’s adversely affect our lives without our consent.

Jesus was meek.  But Jesus also became angry.  But his anger was a righteous anger for the down-trodden and the oppressed.  His heart burned when people called by His name ignored “the least of these, my brethren.”  He promises judgment for those who truly hurt children and cause them to stumble.  His soul reacted when He saw his Father’s temple being used for profit instead of the worship of God.  James 1:19-20 “This you know, my beloved brethren.  But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.” Note that when Jesus became angry, His anger was focused on those that caused suffering to others and on the disrespect shown towards God and His worship.  Jesus’ anger was never about Himself.

The meek are not easily provoked to anger; they patiently bear and put up with injuries and affronts;  they carry themselves courteously and affably to all; they have the best thoughts towards others; they do not envy the gifts and graces of other people, and they are willing to be instructed and admonished.  Meekness is patience during the midst of injuries.  Meekness produces peace.  It is proof of true greatness of soul.  It comes from a heart too great to be mowed down by insults.  It even prays for those who tear down.  He that is constantly ruffled, and raises a storm of passion when wronged, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him.

The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls.  To be meek is one who controls his strength and uses it appropriately.

You cannot achieve meekness without first achieving humbleness.  We submit ourselves to God and know that we can do all things through Him.  We humble ourselves into servant-hood…to love, to have compassion, to serve those around us, even those who are against us.  To be meek is to be wise….

So, what keeps us from being meek?  Ego.  

Besides the meek inheriting the earth, the bible refers to other blessings for those who are meek.  “The meek shall be satisfied.” “The meek He will guide and teach.” “The meek will become wise.” “The meek will be filled with fresh joy.”

So, what’s not to like about being meek?

Message of the Beatitudes – Two – Mourn

Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted

     What comes to your mind when you think of mourning?  To mourn or lament is to express passionate grief from the soul.  How many of us have ever grieved so hard that we couldn’t speak, we couldn’t function, we couldn’t think straight?  Our tears were like rivers overflowing, and we were inconsolable.  Think of this as your soul mourning.  But is there anything that we should mourn? 

  • We should mourn our sins because they have hurt others and grieved God
  • We should mourn those who are out of relationship with God
  • We should mourn the unrepentant
  • We should mourn our poor spiritual condition

After our first beatitude “Blessed are the poor in spirit” where we admitted our need for God and denied self, we must now ask God to cleanse our souls of all unrighteousness.   In Romans 8:26-27 “And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning’s to deep for words; and He who searches the heart knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

In mourning, we allow the Holy Spirit to cleanse us.  It is in this grief process, that we allow God to take the hurt, sin and renew our poor spiritual condition, forgive us, and allow us to forgive others and at the same time, to restore our souls to what God intended us to be. 

As we age, we naturally tend to become more jaded, hard-hearted, and less compassionate.  We tend to have a “what-ever” attitude.  It takes a lot for us to grieve others’ misfortunes.  We tend to think; if only they made better choices, pulled up their bootstraps, worked a little harder…etc.  We lose sight of the most telling attributes of Christ: His love and His compassion. 

So this means mourning all those who may not be in the right spirit with God.  So as not to sound judgmental, let me tell you about my grandfather.  Many years ago, in my Baptist life, I must have brought the subject of Jesus up with my grandfather one too many times.  Finally, he had had enough of the debates, and he informed me that he was an atheist and if he came from dust, then to the dust he’d go back.  He had no desire to determine if there was a God or even if there was an afterlife.  And then he told me that if I brought the subject up again, he would have nothing more to do with me.  I was stunned.  I was hurt.  I was so very sad.  My soul grieved for my grandfather’s soul, and I prayed for years that he would have a change of heart. 

When we don’t truly grieve our poor souls and the poor souls of others, we are not emulating Christ.  Jesus gave voice to the anguish in His soul.  He grieved over Jerusalem, He grieved somewhat His imminent death, He grieved abandonment, and He grieved those who persecuted Him.  He was in prayer with the Father always for Himself and for others.  Receive the blessing of being comforted by having God who cleanses our souls of all unrighteousness and who grieves the souls of others.

One of the most comforting verses I know comes from Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken”.

God Breathed….LIFE

Recently I was studying a Sunday school lesson, and I was in the book of Luke Chapter 24. At the same time I was working on another study for my women’s circle that concerned the soul.  I was researching the 7th Beatitude “Blessed are the peacemakers…”  As I was surfing the internet, I came upon a site that suggested that the body was the soul of human beings.  This was the first time I had ever heard of such an idea, and it apparently is something many people are considering.

Each morning I listen to the music on my alarm clock and the station programmed is that of the local Christian radio station.  A song was playing, and God spoke to me when the lyrics said “God Breathed”.  Between the research and the song, I wanted to enjoy a moment reflecting on the essence of life and share it with you.

Genesis 2:7 “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

It seems to me that our bodies were created separately from our souls. It wasn’t until God breathed into man’s flesh that we became a living being.  Our bodies couldn’t function without God’s breath.  Our souls are the very living breath of God.

Then I looked at Psalm 39:11 “….Surely every man is a mere breath.”  Man is nothing without the breath of God.  How awesome is that, that our souls came alive by the mere breath of God.

Look at Ezekiel 37:9, “thus says the Lord GOD, “come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.” Ezekiel 37:10 “…and the breath came into them, and they came to life.”  Ezekiel 37:14 “And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life…declares the Lord.”  Our souls are a reflection of God’s eternal existence.

Without the breath of God, we cannot exist.  But God did not breathe life into us for the purpose of giving ourselves pleasure.  He breathed us into life to give Him pleasure and to serve Him.  For He commanded man to fill the earth, and to rule over all the living things on the earth. It is only our selfish attitudes that keep us from aspiring to the good that God has seen in us from the beginning.  It is only our selfish attitudes that keep us from serving God with the gifts that He has given us to use for His Kingdom’s sake, and we selfishly serve ourselves instead.

So what are we doing that brings God joy and pleasure?  What service are we performing for His glory?  As a Christian leader, it should be our pleasure to be in His service and to help bring our Christian brothers and sisters into service as well.  For what did Jesus speak to the disciples upon His resurrection when He showed Himself to them in the locked upper room?  John 20:21 “Jesus therefore said to them again, ‘Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.’  And when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”  Our spirits are made in the image of the Spirit of God.  For He said, “Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” Genesis 1:26 

 Jesus came to breathe the Holy Spirit into His disciples so that they could go out – be sent – in service to Him.  And by believing in Him you may have true LIFE in His name everlasting.

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