Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be filled.
Have you ever had one of those conversations with your spouse or kids?
“I’m hungry . . .”
“Okay, let’s see . . . What are you hungry for?”
“I don’t know really . . . I’m just hungry. . .”
“How about Mexican?”
“No, anything but Mexican. . .”
“What about trying the new Italian place?”
“No, that doesn’t really sound good to me . . .”
“So, you choose . . . What about just ordering pizza?”
“No . . .let me think about it . . .” and they wander off into another room.
Meanwhile, by now you’re hungry, too, and they can’t make up their mind so you’re at their mercy. Continue reading “Blessed Are The Hungry & Thirsty”
Man’s mind is a significant skirmish field for the emotions. The constant tug-o-war between what we ought to do and what we do, how we ought to feel and how we feel interjects confusion compounded with guilt into the maze of life. Those who are trained in the science of the mind and emotions tell us that the Christmas holiday season is one of the peak times for upset emotions. Many reasons make up the basis for this. The contrast of memories of carefree childhood holidays versus the pressure of the adult world of holidays can cause confusion by the paradox of how we would like to feel and how we feel. Peaceful and happy holiday scenes and melodious strains of “sleep in heavenly peace” contrast drastically with the hectic holiday pace, late hours, pressure and frayed nerves. However, a real look at the first Christmas reveals a great similarity between their day and ours. Continue reading “The Confusion Of Christmas”
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Meek. It’s not a word we hear very often anymore. And, when we do, it’s usually not considered a compliment. Biblically, the word means “humble.” Another word, not necessarily considered a positive attribute in our “dog-eat-dog” world where aggressiveness and brashness are rewarded.
Yet, meekness was a characteristic Jesus used to describe Himself. Matthew records this: “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29). In II Corinthians 10:1 Paul referred to “the meekness and gentleness of Christ.” It is in I Peter 3:4, we read that the true adorning is said to be that of “a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” Continue reading “Blessed Are The Meek”
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” -Mat 5:4
Loss is a fact of life. It seems to be a part of us from the earliest of our human experience.
There is a seemingly constant cycle of physical losses. A newborn baby – though welcomed into a whole new world of existence – loses the quiet comfort of its mother’s womb. The toddler loses his or her “baby fat.” Baby teeth are replaced by permanent teeth. And so it goes . . . until we find ourselves as our human lives are winding down and we lose things like our hair and our hearing, our memory and our mobility. We learn to try not to focus on what we’ve lost, but to celebrate what is left. Continue reading “Blessed Are They That Mourn”
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Let’s be honest. No one aspires to be poor. No one relishes being poor. No one does a happy dance when they are out of money and go to the mailbox to find one more bill to pay. No one is happy when there are children without enough food to eat. Elders without enough money to cover the cost of their medication or their simple living expenses are not happy elders. Obligations to meet or miss can be overwhelming. However, that’s not the kind of poor Jesus was referring to in this passage. He didn’t say the blessed are the financially challenged, nor did He mean that. Being poor in spirit is a different kind of poor-ness – that isn’t about poverty. Continue reading “Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit”
There is something about the ending of one year and the beginning of a new one that causes a pause in life’s machinery for most of us. It provides us with just enough time for a little introspection. This affects us in various ways – from a sigh of relief that the old year is passed, hope at the promise of a new year, a creeping dread that this year may not be much different than last, or it may be a time of anticipation and hope as exciting plans are made for the future. Some of us may end up with just a good case of the “I’m so tired” blahs as we slide from one year to the next.
However, through the years, I have become increasingly aware of the fact that if I will approach this final holiday of the holiday season with faith and hope, it can truly make all the difference in the world. If my evaluation of the previous year – and my anticipation for the coming year – are both filled with thanksgiving I become more and more aware of the gifts God has given me. Continue reading “A New Year”
Probably the most popular Biblical passage containing the words, “Blessed are . . .” is what we have called The Beatitudes of Jesus. However, before those nine “blessed ares” there are seven Old Testament verses that bear reference and study.
The rule of first occurrence comes to play when we look at the closing sentence of the second Psalm. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.” The literal meaning of the Hebrew word esher translated blessed in this first verse of reference is “how happy!” It is derived from the originating word, ashar, which is “to be straight (used in the widest sense, especially to be level, right, happy); figuratively, to go forward, be honest, proper.” So we can surmise that this term “blessed” is a continual state of mind and heart – a levelness of commitment, a levelness of honesty, a levelness of pressing forward. Continue reading “Blessed Are…”
Christmas reminds us we serve a God who keeps His promises. What He says He will do; it will be accomplished in His time and His way. If He says it, you and I can build our faith on the fact He is a never-failing God.
We see in the Christmas story more than enough “proof” of the fact that He is a Promise Keeper. The prophecies of old were one-by-one fulfilled as the virgin brought forth a son. A child born of the tribe of Judah, a descendant of David, born in the city of David. Isaiah said his name would be “God with us” centuries before the angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and was instructed to call His name Jesus. Continue reading “The Promise Keeper”
“…and as they entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, “Jesus, sir, have mercy on us!” He looked at them and said, “Go to the Jewish priest and show him that you are healed!” And as they were going, their leprosy disappeared. One of them came back to Jesus, shouting, “Glory to God, I’m healed!” He fell flat on the ground in front of Jesus, face downward in the dust, thanking him for what he had done…” (Luke 17:11-16, NCV).
Then there is the rest of the story.
Ten were healed. One returned to say, “Thank you.” Nine did not. The one received something the nine did not.
Perhaps the nine were too focused on being free to remember who had given them their freedom. Maybe they were prideful and thought they deserved what they had been given. It could have been they were simply anxious to return to the lives they once had. Whatever the reason, they failed to express their thanks to the One who had healed them. And, ultimately, while we may not know the fine point details, we do know the absence of thankfulness made a difference.
The tenth leper was first blessed physically, then blessed spiritually for his thankfulness. While the others were cleansed of their leprosy, it seems this thankful one received something more when Jesus said, “…thy faith hath made thee whole.” The others received healing; this one received wholeness. Continue reading “Lessons From Lepers”
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, KJV).
In the verses following the familiar blesseds of the Beatitudes, Jesus instructs us that we are to be both salt and light in a world that needs to be seasoned with His presence and power, in darkness that must be dispelled by His light in us.
He has empowered us to exert influence in our world. The question is – will we? We are often very clear on the call to be separate from the world, to be distinctly different from the world not just outwardly but inwardly. Sometimes I fear, though, that we have adopted a survival mentality rather than realizing that He has called us to change our world! Continue reading “SALT AND LIGHT”