I'm shMy father and I believe that the Beatitudes,
these eight wonderful statements of Jesus Christ, which we call, "The Be Happy Attitudes" will impact you as you as
they do for us. When you internalize them, you will experience a new dimension
of the goodness of God's love in everyday living. And this morning I have the
privilege of sharing with you thoughts on Beatitude #6 of Jesus Christ:
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will
see God. (Matthew 5:8)
Last night I wrote a paraphrase for these words.
It's really a wonderful experience to take a Bible verse and rewrite it in my
own words because it forces me to really understand what Jesus Christ is trying
to say. And so here is what I wrote:
"You will find positive emotions and other
benefits when you see the miraculous power of God transform your life into the
positive, loving person God created you to be."
That's a WOW! "Blessed
are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
What can we do to open our eyes to see the power of
God? Rev. Dr. Brent McCumons from the First United Methodist Church in Midland,
Michigan, tells a story of Rose Crawford from Ontario, Canada. Rose Crawford
at the age of 50, after being blind for 30 years, had surgery and when the
doctors removed the bandages from her eyes, the light shown in and she could
see the colors and silhouettes of the doctors, the room and her family ... she
could see again after 30 years! The sad part about this story was that this
surgery was available 20 years ago ... but she waited to receive this sight
giving surgery for 20 years.
Today I believe there are people who haven't heard
the positive message of God and are living in darkness and have not seen the
glory and the power of God. My message to you this morning is ... open your eyes that you might see God.
Do You Fear God?
The whole thought of meeting God can be very
terrifying, you know. In Exodus 20 we read how the people of Israel were
literally afraid of God. Read how God gave to them the Ten Commandments, the
moral rule to live by. Those words were actually spoken by God. Two thousand
years later Jews, Muslims and Christians still live by them and our country is
founded on these Ten Commandments.
But then we read these words describing the fear of the Israelites for
"Now all the people
witnessed the thunder, the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and
saw the mountain smoking. And when the people saw it they trembled and stood
afar off. And then they said to Moses, 'Moses, you speak to us and we will
hear. But let not God speak to us lest we die.'" (Exodus 20:18)
When the people heard the actual literal voice of
God it was so terrifying and they didn't want to hear from Him directly. And
from that moment on, God did not speak directly again to the Israelites. God's
presence is overwhelming and we run away in fear. But that is the last thing
God wants for us. He wants to connect with us to communicate His love. But to
do that, we need to enter into a spiritual dimension through prayer and
meditation we can connect and communicate with God.
Today God wants to make Himself real to you and me.
How do we see what God is really like? Begin to feel the reality of God, like
the wind. Can you see the wind? But if you hold a feather, you could see the
movement behind the wind. You can see the wind blowing the leaves. We feel the
wind ... we see the effects of the power of the wind ... just as we see the
power of electrical energy. We can't actually see the electricity and the wind.
God is the same. We can feel the power of God.
We can feel His reality. We can experience His love.
(1) God is Real!
God has been there before the creation of the
earth. God has always been and always will be. God wanted a family; therefore,
He created Adam and Eve. He walked with Adam ... and he walked with Eve. Today,
God still wants a family so He has created you and me, His children. God wants
an experience with us. He wants for you to realize that He is real. But there
are many people today who still do not understand that God is real. They do not
believe that there is a God, but atheism is an abnormality in the human spirit.
You know that God created animals with a special
instinct. This past week was Swallows' Day in San Juan Capistrano. Why do they
call it Swallows' Day? In March of each year, the swallows return from South America
flying thousands of miles by the time they arrive in San Juan Capistrano. It is
an incredible experience to witness the migration of these birds over thousands
of miles. So each spring, without fail, they show up and then every fall they
The same instinct is true with the salmon. The
salmon knows when it is time to spawn and they go upstream. You can see this
instinct throughout the animal kingdom.
God has planted within you, as a human being,
the instinct to believe that there is a God.
In 1972, I was a student on a cruise through the South Pacific on Campus Afloat
with Chapman College. I took a course of cultural anthropology which we studied
while we were at sea each week between ports. Then we would come to a
particular island in the South Pacific where we would witness the actual
culture that we were studying. I'll never forget going to New Guinea. We
arrived in the very primitive country (this was 31 years ago) of New Guinea and
then hopped on a DC-3 plane and flew to the highlands. They had just cleared a
dirt runway and there we were met by a guide in a jeep and we drove out into
the bush. There we met many people, young, old, and mothers holding small
infants. They suddenly showed up out of the bush. They had never seen a white
face before. This is as primitive as you could possibly get. The people were
wearing their native clothes, or I should say they were not wearing native
clothes. We went into their homes ... their huts ... and we saw how they lived
and how they cooked their food.
And in our studies of cultural anthropology, I was
told what to look for as far as their ideology was concerned. Sure enough, here
in their homes and the entrances to their huts and their communities you would
see their idols that they had set up. The tribes we visited were animists,
meaning that they believed that there were spirits and gods of all forms all
around them and they had to appease these gods. Now these people had never seen
or experienced western culture in any way, shape or form. Where did the idea of
a God come from? You can go to the most primitive culture ever and you will
find this same instinct and a belief in some form of a deity. It is the normal character of the human being to believe in God.
I repeat: It is abnormal for the human being not to believe in God. God is
Why is that people don't believe? They don't
believe because they cannot physically see Him ... cannot physically hear Him
... cannot physically experience Him with their human senses. God has to be experienced on a spiritual level, in a
(2) Experience God's
God wants to give us the incredible realization of
being one with him. His love for us is so incredible that it is like a parent
who loves their child.
Yesterday, I listened to the mother of one of our
Marines who was killed in battle. You could feel the incredible remorse that
she felt as she described her son's last words. His parting comments to his
mother were: "Mom, if I don't come home, know that I died doing what I was
called to do. That I died serving my nation, and I died doing something of
value and worth." You could feel the anguish of his mother's love for her
child. God feels the same love for you and that is why He risks the 99 sheep to
go out and find the one lost sheep and puts him on His shoulders and brings
home home. That is why God wants to meet you.
Here we are looking for God and all the time, God is
looking for you too.
Over New Year's I went to a friend's home with my
family and we were spending some time together. My friend asked me a question I
don't think I've ever been asked before. He said, "If you could meet
anybody you've never met before, who would it be?" And I was kind of taken
back ... I was stunned by the question. I had to stop and think for a while and
after about 60 seconds I said, "Mohammad Ali. I just have incredible
respect for that man because of the comebacks he has had. First of all, to be
the heavyweight champion of the world, then heavyweight champion a second time
... and again for a third time. A Gold Medal Olympian. Then to face the fight
that he is battling today with Parkinson's disease. He is fighting the most
incredible flight he ever fought and he is fighting it valiantly with his head
high. So I said to my friend, "I want to meet Mohammad Ali."
Six weeks later I got a call from my friend,
saying, "Hey, Robert ... there is an event here in Phoenix called Fight
I said, "Yes."
My friend replied, "Fight Night is hosted by
Mohammad Ali to raise money for Parkinson's disease. How would you like to do
the opening sentence and prayer, the Invocation?"
I said, "Do you mean I might get to meet Mohammad Ali?"
He said, "I think we can work something out."
So last Saturday I was "hanging out" with
my friend Mohammad Ali. There was a private reception before the actual event
began. And I saw Mohammad Ali enter the room, so I tried to make my way over to
meet him. Finally I got an opportunity to reach out and shake his hand. There
wasn't anyone there to introduce me, so I just was bold enough to walk forward
and reach out my hand, and I said, "Mr. Ali ..." or I think I said,
"Champ" ... I don't know what I said, I was too nervous to remember.
I said, "Hi, I'm Robert Schuller." And with that he grabbed my arm
and pulled me up to him and put his cheek against mine and he whispered in my
ear, "You can preach." I didn't know what he was going to say, and I
was so shocked to hear him say, "You can preach." Then when I gave
the invocation I shared with everyone the fact that regardless of what we call
God, if we call him, "Allah" ... if we call him "Yahweh,"
if we call Him,"Jesus Christ" ... "God
is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow." (Hebrews 13:8)
Our names for God doesn't change God one bit. Our
names for God aren't a reflection of God. Our names for God are a reflection of
us. They reflect who we are, how we perceive Him. And when I said that,
Mohammad Ali stood up and he said, "Preach it!"
Today there are people who are looking for God and
who want to see God, and the fact is that God is looking for you! And when you
meet God ... because if you are looking for Him you
will find Him ... God will whisper something beautiful in your ear. It
is hard for us to imagine because we are never good enough. I repeat, we are
never good enough.
When I hold up a piece of white paper with a black
dot in the middle many people only see the black dot. But I am also holding up
a piece of white paper. Even when I say that I'm holding up a piece of white
paper most of you still see a black dot. The dot only consumes one percent of
the paper. There is one little black dot and we immediately focus on the
negative and we see the black ... and black never looks blacker than on a white
background. That is what happens to us. We have a black dot in our own life and
all we can see when we look in the mirror is that little black dot. And we say,
"Ah, I don't know what is going to happen when I meet Jesus. I don't know
what is going to happen when I meet God. I don't know what is going to happen
because you know I've got that black dot. But the Bible text, the words of
Jesus Christ, are: Blessed are the pure in heart, for
they will see God. (Matthew 5:8) And the beautiful truth is that the
Holy Spirit of God is here to cleanse us and when you meet God, you will
witness His incredible cleansing power.
(3) Know the Cleansing Power of Jesus Christ
When I was young, I spent many summers on my
uncle's farm, my father's brother. It was the same farm that my father helped
to rebuild after the tornado, the same farm that my father was raised on. My
uncle had a gully that ran through one of his fields from a river that had
changed course and so it created an island, which he couldn't farm. So the idea
was to fill this gully with enough throwaway junk where eventually he would
gain the land and be able to farm the island. People would come out to the farm
and they would dump their castoffs and Uncle Henry would charge people a couple
of dollars to dump their things in the gully. It was a lot of fun to go to the
"dump" and we would pull out certain things people had thrown away.
It was amazing. Every once in a while we would find something of interest and
my uncle would take it and throw it on the tractor and we would take it back to
his machine shop. And he would say, "You know, Robert, I have found out
that more times than not if I just take it apart, clean it and put it back
together, it will work." And he did that with clocks, motors, and toasters
... you name it! We had all this old stuff that he had taken out of the dump,
taken it apart, cleaned it, put it back together and sure enough ... it worked.
When you meet Jesus, when you meet God, do you know
what He does? He takes you and gets you all nice and clean, and then He puts
you back together ... spiritually, emotionally, physically. Suddenly you find
the incredible cleaning power of the Holy Spirit of God,
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will
Positive emotions and many other benefits come when
you see the miraculous power of God. It will transform you into the positive, loving
person God created you to be ...
1) Feel the reality of God, God is real
2) Experience the love of God
3) Know the cleansing power of Jesus Christ!
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you that today I have
the opportunity to meet You. And so as I come into Your presence, I hear Your
positive wonderful words of welcome and of love. Cleanse me, Lord. Give me Your
white robe of righteousness. May I feel the power to know that I have been
forgiven ... and I can forgive myself! It's all possible and I believe today.