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The Beatitude (You Are Blessed, vs. 9)

March 24, 2012 1 comment
Blessed Are The Peace Maker (Beatitudes #7)

Blessed Are The Peace Maker (Beatitudes #7) (Photo credit: loswl)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5: 9).

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family (The Message).

It is not important to be the first person at the food table. There’s plenty for everyone. Nor, is it important to “always be right.” It’s good to hear ideas from others. Another person may have a better idea, a more efficient and effective idea to increase life’s bounty and to improve life’s comfort.

Cooperation will ensure that all benefit, not just a few. Cooperation assures that we all benefit from God’s earthly blessings.

Are you a peacemaker, if so, lead the way? We are counting on you.

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The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs. 8)

February 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God (Matthew 5:8 NIV).

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world” (Matthew 5:8, The Message).

Do you feel blessed?  It is difficult, at times, to say that we are blessed when life circumstances keep us down and when another prayer, the one we prayed 364 days prior, seemed to go unanswered.

Guess what, despite the circumstances of life, despite those who try to control us and to dictate how we should think, feel, live and respond to our world, and despite those days when our “faith is dry and prayer seems useless”* we are blessed.

How is that you say? We are blessed because our Savior Jesus, who understands the unpredictability of this world (see Mark 14:32-41), advocates for us daily. In this season of Lent, we are reminded of Jesus’ sacrifice.  We are reminded that even when our minds and emotions are fragile, frayed  or frustrated; when our faith is weak, when it is hard to believe in a God, much less see God;  the Spirit prays for us (Roman 8:26-27).

It is all right to feel that your mind and emotions are fragile. It is all right not to feel that you have a “pure heart” because Jesus paid the price to help our doubts. I was reminded about the man who said to Jesus, “I do believe help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24)!

Jesus knows what it is like to be human; therefore, His grace fills the gaps in our faith. It overrides our shortcomings. God’s grace can’t be undone by an emotional outburst or doubt. So rejoice that God loves us enough to have given us the grace of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: God, we thank you for loving us in our anger, in our doubts and providing us an avenue, through the Holy Spirit, to speak our needs to you when we cannot. Thanks for reminding us that we are in your care and yes, we will see you.  Amen.

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*Sacred Space, The Prayer Book 2012, p.91)

The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs 7)

December 30, 2011 1 comment
The Sermon of the Beatitudes (1886-96) by Jame...

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Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7, NIV).

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for (Matthew 5:7, The Message)

The message is so simple that it can be easily overlooked. Special blessings always come when we care for others. If we help others we may get a respite from our own struggles. In fact, we often find out how blessed we are.

There’s something intrinsic about caring for others and giving back. It often comes with special warmth in our heart and soul. When we care for others, we are cared for; respite for now, but possible greater rewards await. The idea of paying it forward comes to mind.

Jesus denied self to save humankind. Let us deny a little of our pain, joylessness and busyness to relieve the pains of others. When we do so we go a long way in bringing peace to someone in this world and isn’t this what it is all about—being there for others.

The value of sharing oneself is the ultimate modeling of Christian living. Let us pledge to do more of this in 2012.

The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs 6)

December 8, 2011 4 comments

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6, NIV).

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat (Matthew 5:6, The Message).

As a child, I was coaxed to eat my spinach and other green vegetables to grow and be strong like Popeye the Sailor Man. As an adult, I know it is critical to eat my green vegetables to be strong and to stay healthy. In fact, today I have an appetite for green vegetables and it’s the same appetite that I now have for God. We need to eat our vegetables and God is like that vegetable. He is our nourishment; nourishing our soul, our spirit, in such a way, that we hunger for more.

I think we hunger more for God when things don’t go as planned. We hunger for God, when one day of missed blessings, turns into weeks and then to months. I hunger for His love, His comfort, for His wisdom and just to know who this God is. I am so hungry for God that I am salivating.

It is ironic but, for me, this Beatitude verse closely aligns with Psalm 111:10a, which reads “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (NIV). The Message Bible says that the “the good life begins in the fear of God”.  Fear in this case, means our reverence to our God. It means that we accept His awesomeness. When I think of God’s awesomeness, I think of an all powerful being that cannot be manipulated or controlled; a being that I desire to know in a more intimate way.

To get there I must have wisdom and that wisdom attainment begins when I seek, when I hunger for that relationship with God. A relationship that may require us to “wrestle with God, play with God, weep with God, argue with God, laugh with God, love God—and (yes) fear God…(Richard Schmidt, 2005, p. 273)*.

When we get to a place and realize that God is greater than our image of Him. That heaven is more than that pie in the sky; we then hunger to know more of God; sometime weeping, sometime in anger, but always in reverence and awe and always with an appetite for more.

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*Schmidt, Richard H. (2005). Praises, Prayers, & Curses: Conversations with the Psalms. Cincinnati,Ohio: Forward Movement.

The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs 5)

November 13, 2011 6 comments

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5, NIV).

 You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought (Matthew 5:5, The Message).

“Why can’t I look like that, talk like that, sing like that, be smart like that”?

We always discount who we are.  If we are not content with our own gifts—the ones that God has anointed us with–we cannot and will not be used by God to impact our world.

What are you good at? What are your strengths? What do you hear others say about you? What do you like to do; love to do? What doesn’t seem like a chore for you? Think for a moment; no, really reflect? What are you good at?

Those are your talents; the gifts God anointed you with. Cultivate them; try to find ways you can use them and yes, maybe make a little money as well.

We need not covet another person’s gifts, talents or looks; we just need to cultivate and appreciate the ones that God has given us. Don’t doubt yourself, you are unique; your talents are your gifts to the world.

So don’t forget, God has blessed you and God wants you to use your unique talents to bless the world. In other words, like Oscar Wilde said, ‘be yourself, everyone else is already taken”.

 

 

The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs 4)

October 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew, 5:4 NIV)

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you” (The Message).

What a paradoxical statement!  How can that be? Let’s think this through? What’s dear to us can vary over time and/or we can have many things that are dear to us:

            A pet

            Our jobs (careers)

            Parents

            Our spouse

            Our church

            Our brothers, our sisters, our homes, you name it.

For me it was the loss of a job and to certain extent a career that I spent 30 years building.

But you know I am surviving. I am embracing the process and learning to live by faith one day at a time.

I trust God to take care of me; yes, for the essentials (shelter, food, clothing, etc) and for the existential (the meaning of life, why me God, etc).

Yes it is scary, but I embrace this uncertainty, this mystery because the Lord has taught me that He is my shepherd and I shall not want (Psalm 23:1) and that He will carry my burdens daily (Psalm 68:19). 

So in this time of loss, uncertainty and yes, questioning, my faith in my God is unwavering.

I know that God hears my sighs, sees my tears and even when I cannot pray intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express (Roman 8:26); and because of this, I know without doubt that I am in God’s care and in His will. Amen.

 

 

 

The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)

October 13, 2011 3 comments

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV).

“You are blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (The Message, Matthew 5:3).

God, I am at the end of my rope right now. In fact, I am losing my grip. I wouldn’t want to wish this _____________ (you name it) on anyone. But you said that I am blessed.

How can that be? Explain that to me? It is like I am in an endless pit. Teach me the secret of more of you. I want that reality for my life.

But then it hits me. If I put my focus on you instead of my problems I will feel blessed; blessed in such a way that I want to help others. One writer said that when we allow God to translate our problems into a ministry that our pain becomes someone else’s gain.*

We learned that when we are poor in spirit, we have more of God; and, isn’t that what we pray for anyway.

 So as I pray daily, I remain hopeful, even as the grip gets tighter, in the words found in Ecclesiastes 7:8:

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,

 and patience is better than pride.

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*Batterson, M. (2006). In a pit with a lion on a snowy day.Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books

 

 

 

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