Blessed Summer – Week 10

We have an important role to play. We were bought at a price and our lives are not our own to live. We have been crucified with Christ, rescued and redeemed and the life we now live, we live for Him.

After Jesus lays out the beatitudes for the disciples He tells them they are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. He tells them that they, and now we, have a role to play in this world. The truth is that living out these beatitudes plays a huge part in accomplishing that role. This is what He tells us. To bring glory to the Father by being Salt and Light. This week we will look at what that means, and how we are called to do it.

Blessed Summer – Week 9

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Of all the beatitudes, “blessed are those who are persecuted” may be the one that is most counterintuitive. How can we say we are Blessed when we are being persecuted? 

Remember Acts 5:41, when the disciples left the Sanhedrin “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the name of Jesus”. This is a whole new level of trust, surrender and faith. One that all to often we as Christians have little to no desire of reaching. This week we will look at what Jesus meant by blessed are those who are persecuted, and hopefully challenge ourselves to look beyond the surface of our faith, down to the core of what we believe, and how it changes everything.

Blessed Summer – Week 8

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.

Our world is desperate for peacemaking people. For  Jesus’ Jewish audience, the implications of His words are both national and personal. Their desire for a perfect kingdom would definitely be fulfilled. For years, Israel had failed to fulfill its mission to mediate peace between God and men. Israel’s Messiah will win the peace and call for His followers to reflect His heart of peace and once again gain the title “sons of God.”  Personally, the challenge is just as difficult. Brothers and sisters deal righteously with hurts and frustrations toward each other. “Enemies” even receive unexpected treatment. Jesus calls each of us to initiate the process of reconciliation. Initiating peace is Christ-like and not beyond us as His followers.

 

Blessed Summer – Week 7

Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

“Pure” is a word when immediately heard and spoken conjures up an image of cleanliness. Try it…what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word pure? Often we can look at the impurity in others while elevating ourselves to a notion or belief that we are truly pure, but how does one know? The ultimate standard of purity is none other than Jesus Christ. If one wants to know if they are pure it starts with an honest evaluation of where one is and this can only be done when measuring our lives against the truth of scripture. Most of our self reflection is done by measuring ourselves against others. The problem with this is I can always find someone better and I can always find someone worse. The challenge for each one of us is how to live a pure life in an impure world. Here’s a hint…you cannot do it on your own. The questions below are meant to be a self reflection exercise to be honest. I will caution you. You may not like what you discover.

Blessed Summer – Week 5

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Matt 5:6

How often do we hear the following statement?: “I am starving!” Kids, for instance, use the expression all the time. It is common, but misplaced.

So few of us really know the feeling of starvation. Nevertheless, Jesus’ words are simply relevant. Food and water are so basic to our daily survival. When viewed through that lens, an appetite for the righteousness of God is Jesus’ deeper point. The analogous promise is just as clear. Satisfaction! The purity of justice that will come at the Kingdom reign of Christ is pictured in this Beatitude. It requires eyes of faith to believe with confidence that it is coming and to not be too quickly satisfied with the lesser options.

Blessed Summer – Week 4

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matt 5:5

Surely we know this by now…meekness and weakness sound alike but are not interchangeable. Meekness speaks of control not strength. Or, to say it even more accurately, meekness describes a willingness to surrender control. Sometimes words become unreliable. They are treated carelessly and take on imprecise meaning in lazy usage. Do not be fooled with this one. Not only does meekness bring reward (Matt 5:5) and reflect the character of Jesus (Matt. 11:29), it shows God that we are happiest when we yield to Him completely. That, in turn, blesses Him.

Blessed Summer – Week 3

Blessed are they who mourn,for they shall be comforted.

Grief; sadness; lament; mourning…not a description of what we desire for ourselves, or prefer to experience in the company of others. In some places, these feeling are unavoidable, like at the death of a loved one, but even then, we run away from it as quickly as possible. But what would it look like to mourn for something worse…our sin?

Let’s definitely not go there!…right?

Blessed Summer – Week 2

Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Poverty is never a good thing…right? Typically it is viewed negatively.

Jesus regularly spoke to the needs of the poor, as well as the writers of the New Testament. The reminder was consistent—God’s expectation on the rest of us to have compassion on them. In Matthew 5.3, however, Jesus has a different message. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” In this case, the poverty is not in relation to earthly provisions. This spiritual bankruptcy brings ultimate happiness, prosperity and fortune. Jesus promises a reward for those who are spiritually humble. Why? What is this kind of poverty?