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For the Hungry | Happy”ness

For the Hungry | Happy”ness

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

There’s a kind of longing unique to the human heart and most pronounced in those who know God. It’s deeper than a physical need, more persistent than the yearning for love or companionship. It arises from the part of us that was designed to be like God. We know instinctively how this world should be and it’s not. Something is wrong and that knowledge creates a discord in our souls. Jesus was the first to put this hunger into words and His comfort was for those who live with the ache. The pagan masses, drunk on sin, were beyond caring. But to the hungering and thirsting souls He gave a promise—you will be filled. 

The hunger and thirst for righteousness is rooted in a hatred of sin. The closer we draw to God, the more repulsive sin becomes. It oozes like a festering wound, violates beauty like feces on a wedding gown, and reeks like a rotting corpse that we must drag everywhere we go. We don’t find it cute anymore and our own excuses disgust us. We long to be rid of it, but as long as we’re tethered to this material world, it intrudes on even the holiest moments. Such a yearning will only be satisfied when we step into Jesus’ physical presence. On that day, all will be made right. Sin will be gone, righteousness the law of the land. The Lamb of God is revealed as the Lion of Judah, the patient Savior as Judge of all the earth. He will destroy all that is evil and let us reign with Him on a reborn earth. And all those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness will be filled.

Final Thought: If you long for the right things, Jesus promises you will be satisfied.

Prayer: Jesus, I don’t hunger and thirst for righteousness as much as I need to. I get too comfortable in this world and ignore the holy ache you’ve placed in my heart. Stir my soul with what stirs yours. Only in your presence will I be satisfied. Amen.

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Tuesday O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Psalm 63:1

The canteen had emptied hours ago, but he kept going. One heavy foot followed the other over the sand dunes, past the wavering mirages. Heat radiated from the white sands as though he walked through an oven set on Broil. His tongue had swelled, his lips cracked, and his thoughts had been reduced to a single desire: WATER. A sack of gold would not interest him, beautiful women would be in his way. He’d give everything he owned for a single cup of cool water.  

That’s the picture the Psalmist paints about a genuine relationship with God. It’s a thirst that can only be satisfied with Him. But most professing Christians will lift a skeptical brow. “Really? Well, um, I’ve never felt that way about God. He’s great and all, but…I like other stuff too.” That casual attitude should terrify us because this Psalmist is not some radical Bible-writer who is a little too into it. This is normal Christianity. REAL Christianity. Unless our souls crave God like our throats crave water, we may be missing the boat. A genuine encounter with God changes us from the inside out. He creates new thirsts that weren’t there before. He gives us a taste of His presence that ruins our taste for everything else. The casual “I-love-Jesus-but” attitude we call Christianity is totally foreign to scripture. Our thirsts indicate the health of our bodies and of our souls.

Final Thought:  Knowing God creates a hunger and thirst for righteousness in our hearts. What are you thirsting for?

Prayer: Lord, I crave a lot of things, but you and righteousness are too low on the list. This is a thermometer that tells me what’s really going on in my soul. My priorities are messed up. Show me what’s worth thirsting for. In Jesus’ name, amen.  

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Wednesday Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

“I haven’t been to church lately,” Drew confessed. “I’ve just got so much going on!  Not enough time in the day.” Brek nodded. “Nor will there ever be,” he said. “As long as you try to fit God into your schedule, there will never be enough time. But if you start with Him, He makes everything else fit.” Drew’s eyes widened. “Seriously?” Brek tapped his Bible app. “Look. Jesus said it right there. If we put Him first in time, passion, resources…He promises to handle all the rest. It works. See ya Sunday!”

God’s priorities look a lot different from ours, so as long as we keep trying to make Him adapt to our schedules, we’re always playing tug-of-war with Him. Jesus said, “Look, all that stuff you’re worrying about? It’s important, it’s just not the main thing. It’s not a problem for me at all. So how about if you pursue MY priorities and let me handle all the rest of your stuff. Watch and see what I do with it.” When we stop trying to micromanage everyone and everything and turn our attention to pursuing God—His word, His goals, His priorities—we can forget about our “stuff.” When we’re busy pursuing kingdom goals, this world’s fascinations don’t interest us much. “Oh, yeah!” we cry. “I almost forgot about that, but wow! Look what God did with it!”

Final Thought:  Working side-by-side with God on His plan is much better than playing tug-of-war with Him over yours.

Prayer: Father, my priorities are out of order. Jesus promised that if I make your priorities mine, you will take care of the rest of it. So I turn my focus now to your kingdom and your righteousness. I trust you to take care of the rest. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Thursday So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace…from a pure heart.  2 Timothy 2:22

Youthful passions. Remember those? Issues that fired you up when the combined intelligence of you and your friends was about the size of a Tic-tac. With misplaced zeal, you were drunk on the idea that you were nearly an adult, while making stupid decisions you’re still embarrassed about. Anyone over the age of 20 has been there, but most of the world still lives there. You’ve seen them: fifty-year-old beer-bellies loudly ogling cheerleaders. Drunk cougars with lipstick smears humiliating themselves on the dance floor. Youthful passions don’t end with youth. They can follow us all the way to the nursing home.

God says, “Grow up. Stop letting Satan make a fool of you. I designed you for better than that.” The call to follow Jesus is a call away from idiocy and toward honor; away from foolishness and toward wisdom. We need to run from those stupid behaviors that defined us at fifteen and run toward the behaviors that defined Jesus. We’re to be in hot pursuit of integrity. Wisdom. Righteous living. Spirit-directed decisions. This is not optional. We don’t get to say, “No thanks, Lord. I’ll hang around here in kindergarten ‘til you call me to heaven.” If God doesn’t strike us dead the moment He saves us, then He intends for us to grow up, show the world how people were created to live. We’re to leave baby stuff and pursue advanced degrees in godly living.

Final Thought:  If all God’s instructions in the New Testament could be condensed into one phrase, it would be, “Grow up!”

Prayer: Father, how am I doing in pursuing the right things? What youthful passions am I still keeping around? I renounce them now. It’s time for me to grow up. I’ve wasted enough time. Help me grow up and make you proud. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Friday “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger and whoever believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:35

“We’re having a healing service at church tonight!” exclaimed Ruby. “Last week a guy did miracles, and before that, a team came and prophesied over everybody.” Jed frowned. “Sort of the sizzle of the week, isn’t it?” he said. “What happened to good ol’ fashioned Bible teaching? Prayer? Anybody come when that’s all you’re offering?” Ruby gasped. “Why…I don’t…Isn’t the miraculous what it’s all about?” Jed shook His head. “You know what’s miraculous? Me. An old sinner, selfish to the core. But Jesus saved me from myself. Helped me stop drinking, stop cussing, stay faithful to my wife, and promised me heaven when I die. Now if that ain’t miraculous, I don’t know what is. Sounds like your church don’t want plain Jesus. You’re craving sizzle.”

That describes much of what passes for Christianity today. We crave sizzle. The flashiest super-pastors, hottest worship bands, and promises of prosperity from slick billionaires. We devour any book that claims to be written by someone who went to heaven, to hell, or to any place in between while our Bibles collect dust on our shelves. Our hungers have been hijacked by our enemy and he’s happy to feed our lust and greed as long as we’ll keep snacking on it. But Jesus never offered to feed hunger with the sensational. Instead, He points to our empty souls and says, “I can fill that with lifegiving food.” But like kids sneaking candy before dinner, we’ve developed a craving for sizzle and find out too late that it matters what we fill up on.

Final Thought:  What are you filling up on?

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you are all I need to be satisfied. Your word is food for my soul. Your presence quenches my thirst. Help me stay satisfied in you and not be drawn away by flashy counterfeits. Sizzle can’t save me. Only you can. Amen.