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Rivers of Tears And Those Who Mourn

woman cryingTears and I go together—we always have. Growing up, I cried when I was happy, cried when I was sad, and cried when I didn’t even know why I was crying. In third grade I wept through the movies Bambi, Fievel Goes West, and Old Yeller. In high school algebra I fought back tears when faced with mind-numbing quadratic equations.

After reading Jesus’ second beatitude, you might think I’d be especially blessed because of all my tears, but that just wouldn’t be true:

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt. 5:4).

I told you what I cried over, but did you notice what I didn’t cry over? I didn’t cry over my sin. And I certainly didn’t cry over the Church’s or the world’s sin. I just couldn’t relate to Psalm 119:136:

My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.

How do I know this is what Jesus means when He says, "Blessed are those who mourn?" Well, His beatitudes aren’t random and chaotic—they’re all built on the one before. This second beatitude flows out of the first beatitude: being poor in spirit. When you and I realize that we have nothing good to offer God, when we realize how desperately we need a Savior, that will lead us to mourn over our sin. And not only our sin, but others’ sin as well.

Have you ever cried over sin? Not because you were dealing with its painful consequences, but because it hurts the heart of God? Because it sent God’s innocent, perfect Son to the cross?

Or are your eyes dry and your heart hard and unmoved? Worse yet, do you laugh over sin? "How can we laugh over sin," Kay Arthur asks, "when sin nailed Jesus to the cross?"

When is the last time you cried? More importantly, what made you cry?

Will you begin to pray along with me, "God, break my heart for what breaks Yours"?

When you do, God promises that He will comfort you. In Kay Arthur’s words, "The blessedness does not come in the mourning; it comes in the results of mourning—knowing the comfort of [God’s] intimacy, the surety of His arms about you, hearing the beat of His heart as He draws you close to His all-sufficient breast." 

(Read about the next beatitude here.)  

Rivers of Tears And Those Who Mourn” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.

Poor In Spirit And The St. Paddy’s Day Parade

helpI visited Chicago this past weekend, not realizing it was the same day as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The river had been dyed green, the whole city appeared to be drunk by noon, and cops swarmed the streets. Then there were the homeless, tucked into doorways trying to shield themselves from the bitter cold.

The Poor in Chicago
Except for Aveda. She stood right next to the door of Garrett’s Popcorn, wrapped in a scarf and winter coat, holding a "Please Help" sign in one hand and a plastic cup in the other. She cried out to each person who entered the store, asking for money to purchase a hotel room.

After dropping a dollar bill in her cup and telling her about the Pacific Garden Mission, I told her that Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor . . . in spirit," and that I wanted to be poor in this way too.

Aveda didn’t get it. When I told her about Jesus’ statement, she started telling me about how often she prays. She may be poor, but she’s not yet poor in spirit.

The Poor In Spirit
"Blessed [happy] are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" is the first "beatitude" that Jesus shares in His Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes are not statements that Jesus expects the world to live up to. The Beatitudes describe the essence of a true Christian. And boy, a Christian couldn’t possibly be more different than the world!

Because we’re all born thinking we’re something. Thinking God would really benefit from having smart, sweet girls like ourselves on His team! But while we’re busy admiring ourselves, He’s stooping down looking into doorways for someone—anyone—who is destitute of spirit. Someone holding a "Please Help" sign.

Are You Poor?
While Aveda didn’t get it, I pray that you do. Jesus doesn’t approve of you because of your prayers, your Bible reading, your church attendance, or your purity. He, the Savior of the world, is looking for those who realize they desperately need saving.

I have to ask: Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve been wrecked over your sin? Who are you more like in the following story—the Pharisee or the tax collector?

He [Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:9–14).

(Read about the next beatitude here.)   

Poor In Spirit And The St. Paddy’s Day Parade” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.