Antioch Devotionals- July 27-31

MONDAY, JULY 27TH Matthew 5:6
By Shawn Hammontree
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”- Matthew 5:6
“SNICKERS really satisfies.”  This is a slogan that came out forty years ago, (Yes, it has been that long!), for the popular peanut filled candy bar.  And you know what?  They are right.  Whenever I am hungry and it is going to be a while until my next meal, I reach for one of these nuggets of pure delight and I am satisfied…at least until my stomach gets empty and I’m craving another meal of some sort.  My physical hunger is always just temporarily filled.  I will hunger again for nourishment sooner or later.
Did you know that this is how spiritual hunger works as well?  If you have surrendered your life to Christ, then you have received a right standing before God that only comes through him and his righteousness.  Our only hope for true righteousness is Jesus’ shed blood on the cross on our behalf.   There is no righteousness apart from this. However, once we have come to know Christ and received his righteousness, we soon realize that our conversion experience isn’t enough to keep us filled between now and heaven.  We need spiritual nourishment!  And just like we might reach for that candy bar between meals, we need to reach for God’s promises to fill our spiritual longing.  That is why every Christian must come to the place where they begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness.  And as we begin to hunger and thirst for this, we can find second-by-second fulfillment through the Holy Spirit.
Approximately thirty years ago, the group 4HIM came out with a song called “Living Water, Bread of Life”.  I often go back and listen to this song because it is so rich concerning my original salvation experience, as well as my daily need for Jesus.  Let these lyrics speak to you today, and realize only Jesus REALLY SATISFIES.  
“For so long I have been empty
Nothing else will satisfy
You alone are what I need, Lord
Living Water, Bread of Life.”
TUESDAY, JULY 28TH Psalm 139:4 (AMP)
By  Kerry Stitch
“Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.”- Psalm 139:4
Masks; they have become the fashion accessory of 2020!  They are marketed in every color, style, material, and design imaginable.  They are literally everywhere these days, “Thank you ‘Rona!”  The debate may be new as to their effectiveness in battling an historic pandemic, but their origin may have started as early as THE garden.  If we are honest, (I know that’s a stretch these days.) we have been choosing to wear them when we want to “cover” our spiritual deficiencies and not expose our sinful areas of lacking, (our unrighteousness).
Isn’t it just like us to think we can hide only what God can redeem in the light?  We struggle, don’t we?  Self-righteousness refuses to be covered with a mask…it glaringly shows.  The holy righteousness of Christ is the eternal covering we should be reaching for these days.  Unmasking through confession, changed actions, and abiding close to our Father are evidences of walking with Him.
Check your wardrobe these days.  While sweat pants, t-shirts, and fuzzy slippers may be your attire for Zoom meetings; will you mask up physically or spiritually when you venture out?  Transparency is a gift we often don’t share with others.  It’s a gamble sharing our less than stellar past, present struggles, and future dreams.  Appearances loom huge these days and “spinning” a narrative seems almost commonplace.  Jesus teaches that to experience the freedom that he offers, we must do more than “appear” to be in His family.  Conforming to His best demands a hunger and longing for His love relationship to be our ultimate desire.
As you choose your wardrobe in the coming days, it’s imperative that you understand that being “clothed” in His love through discipleship never goes out of style.  Masks certainly are a part of today’s attire.  Just be reminded of His once and for all covering (not one of your own making) that eternally protects, provides, and perfects.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29TH Matthew 5:6
By Terri Scharn
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”- Matthew 5:6

What did you have for your last meal...and...were you satisfied?  I can't always say that I am, maybe because it's not really what I wanted or, just didn't satisfy me, which....makes me want more.
This week Bro. Jason spoke about this scripture in Matthew. Because we are human and our bodies need food and water, this seems to take over our thinking completely.  We really fuss if we have to wait for our meal. AND what if you took off to work, etc. got there and realized you forgot your lunch...wait and see if you don't become "starving", even if you've recently eaten. There is just something about not having food at our disposal.
But, what about our spiritual hunger...I dare say, if I didn't have devotional time or study time, it would  not affect me the way it would have had I 'forgot my lunch".  I am so ashamed to admit this but, being honest is one step to repentance.
May we all take time this week to stop for a time and think and pray about our relationship with food, and anything we spend more time on than we do worshiping and leaning close to Our Father.
Let's pray for God to give us that same hunger to know Him more.
THURSDAY, JULY 30TH Psalm 139:23-24
By Toya Aultman
"Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine
and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—then guide me on the road to eternal life.”- Psalm 139:23-24 (MSG)

We all know that person who "appears" to be sweet and kind in front of the people who matter to them, but let those folks turn their heads and wham! The real them comes out. I suppose having a teenage girl helps me to see that more clearly, but truly there are folks like that in all ages of life, not just the "mean girls" stage. Perhaps we have even been that person a time or two ourselves.

Sometimes we don't want others to see the real us because of fear of them discovering something they don't like. May we trust God to search our hearts, make us clean. He knows everything we have ever done, doing, or will do and STILL loves us! He knows us and loves us completely and desires His best for us. Who better to search our every anxious thought and make us clean?

Father God, Your loves continues to blow my mind! I sit here in awe of Your love. You know every single detail of my entire life, from conception to eternity, and yet You love me. "Thank You" seems so inadequate, but THANK YOU, Father! Amen.
FRIDAY, JULY 31ST Matthew 5:6
By Nita Kay Freeman
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”- Matthew 5:6

There have been so many times I have cried out “Lord, I want to hunger for you! I want to desire to be like you! I want to NEED you! Full transparency here, I feel so much closer to God when I NEED something! That is sad, yet true. I yearn to be satisfied by my Father, even when things are going great. Lately, while being quarantined and not being allowed gathering in larger groups, I have found more time being spent in the Word.
While thinking about Sunday’s message and the Beatitude found in the above scripture, I find this a message full of HOPE and one that should give us, as believers, a great sense of JOY! While we search the WORLD over for satisfaction, may we all find that there is TRUE satisfaction, but ONLY through our Savior!
In Ecclesiastes 3:11, we are told “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end!” We should have a hunger and thirst for this eternity in our hearts. Are we spending our money on things that do not satisfy us? Are we drinking from water fountains that hold no water instead of drinking from the streams of living water? What are you trying to satisfy yourself with? Only our Heavenly Father can truly satisfy us! I’ll end with a quote from C.S. Lewis, “we are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea, we are far too easily pleased.”