I was a guest speaker in a church and was asked to speak about “The Lord’s Prayer.” In an effort to show how shocking Jesus’s opening remarks were I said, “He started His prayer by saying “Daddy” I lost the audience and never got them back. The next day the pastor was bombarded with calls telling him to never let me speak there again because I had blasphemed the name of God by calling Him daddy.

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A Three Letter Word that Could Change the World

Something over fifteen years ago I started going through The Lord’s Prayer word for word in my mind during the few moments before I get out of bed. I am not organized enough to claim that it became a habit because I don’t always remember but I have continued the effort all these years and still find new meanings and appreciation for the words. I really want to share what these words mean to me.

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Several years ago, two books about different sea birds appeared with vastly different levels of acceptance. One was Jonathan Livingston Seagull which became a best seller and a movie. The other was Celebrate the Sun which was about Harry a pelican. Jonathan was a hit because he exemplified the American work ethic of striving to be greater than any seagull had ever been. He was the epitome of all of the habits of highly successful people we have idolized.

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The fastest growing segment of the U. S. population are people who do not affiliate or attend church. They are called the “Nones”. The number has grown from 14 million in 1990 to almost one fourth of the U.S. population in 2014. If they were a denomination they would be second largest behind the Evangelicals which are made up of several groups. Catholics would be third and Baptist fourth.

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Beatitudes: Blessed are the Persecuted

I am having a hard time finding some way to get persecuted at least the kind talked about in this beatitude. It says “Blessed are the persecuted for righteousness sake” which means being like Jesus and I am a long way from that. But, It seems to me that right now most of the persecution, criticism, rejection, and name calling aimed at Christians comes from other Christians. Liberal Christians think conservative Christians have sold their souls for political power, while conservative Christians think the liberals are being used by some enemy to destroy America. That is not persecution, that is just blind stupidity.

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Beatitudes: Blessed are the Peacemakers

Dear Father, Dear Son, and Dear Holy Spirit. This need is so vital and the task so great we will need all three. We must have the wisdom of the Father, the love of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit on this one. We are pleading for some peacemakers. Our divisions are tearing us apart and frankly I have wracked my brain for weeks trying to find some peacemakers who are trying to help us heal and I can’t find any.

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Beatitudes: Blessed are the Pure in Heart

This might have been a very nice way of saying, “Keep it simple stupid.” How could anyone get that out of “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God?” Believe me I did not intend to come up with that concept. I was primed and ready to talk about pure intentions, no ulterior motives and utilize my rarely used devotional side. The old preacher that still lurks inside of me in spite of major efforts to kill him off wanted to talk about hard hearts, selfish hearts, and black hearts full of sin, but I got the old concordance down. The huge blue one…

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Beatitudes: Blessed Are the Merciful

Grace is loving someone when there is no reason to do so.
Mercy is loving someone when there are reasons not to do so.
I am thankful for the grace God has shown toward me.
I am even more grateful for the mercy I have received.

Jesus was a person of both grace and mercy and paid a price for both. One of the major sources for the criticism he faced and the hatred that ultimately led to His death was the people He loved and befriended. The late John Claypool, one of the most brilliant ministers I have known…

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Beatitudes: Blessed are Those that Hunger and Thirst

Years ago I stayed awake driving at night by listening to a preacher who was on a nationwide radio broadcast almost every night. He would come on singing a song about there being only one way to God and then say, “If you ain’t got it like I got it, you ain’t got it.” I would laugh, never stopping to think that I could sing the same song and say the same statement, because that is how I saw salvation at that time. I was raised with a set plan of salvation that included well-defined steps one must take to establish a relationship with God.

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Beatitudes: Blessed Are the Meek

Someone wrote “if the meek are going to inherit the earth they must get much more aggressive. Usually, when we are studying this beatitude, we spend most of our time trying to define what Jesus meant by the word meek. Most of our definitions try to figure out how to be meek without being meek. The Greek word means humble but even that does not clear up the whole issue because the meaning of words changes over time. When Sir Christopher Wren dedicated a Cathedral many years ago he was told his work was Awful and Artificial and he took that as a complement.

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