It’s Wednesday morning and for the first time in over a year, I entered my office here at the church and it was CLEAN! It felt SO good to finally have the energy and the time to organize files, books, cards…and say “out with the old and in with the new.” Most of you have already done that last week, but I didn’t get that opportunity. Isn’t it encouraging to look through old documents, past pictures, children’s artwork and notes that you wrote over the last year? It was for me…I added several items to my “Encouragement” folder that I have here in my office. I go to it often…2011 was the hardest year in my life, yet filled with the richest blessings. Ever been there?
Today during my devotion time, I was in Matthew chapter 5. I use the Youversion app and I just completed the 100 Essentials Reading Plan. I just started a daily reading plan that walks me through the Gospels. Some days – like today – I get stuck and can’t get my mind past what I’m reading and I fall behind. I can’t tell you how much this devotion time means to me. If I miss it, my entire day suffers. Even if I get through my devotion time and think, “Okay…that was nice but I didn’t exactly have an a-ha moment” – it still carries me through my day.
Today was the Beatitudes, just a portion of the Sermon on the Mount.
3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,<sup class="footnote" value="[a]”>[a]
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (I have felt my need for Him a lot lately…this just struck me in the face…even if my the earth we are classified as being rich, we are nothing without Him).
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted. (God gives us permission to show emotion here…why do we hide it so much?).
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.(This one I really like…the humble get what the proud strive for…and most of the time the humble don’t want what is given to them! Humbleness is not easily learned, rather it comes through life experience. When one learns that God is everything, our ownership of anything becomes almost pointless. Humility is realizing that God is in control and that you truly will bring absolutely nothing out of this world).
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,<sup class="footnote" value="[b]”>[b]
for they will be satisfied.(I wonder if the satisfaction is in the ending that one day God will bring true justice…I’m sure not satisfied sometimes! Maybe this is one I need to work on).
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy. (I think mercy can only be understood by those who have experienced it and know how to show it to others…you have to be able to recognize a good thing in order to receive it in your life).
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God. (Some of my most amazing “God Things” occurred when I at least FELT like this…but its a daily – sometimes hourly re cleansing. Good thing God sees us better than we see ourselves sometimes).
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God. (I think this one pretty much sums it up itself…children of God bring peace).
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.(Ever been here…I have.).
AND HERE’S WHERE THE LANGUAGE CHANGES….
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you<sup class="footnote" value="[c]”>[c] and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
Before we got here the language was “God blesses THOSE” and suddenly, it was changed to “God blesses YOU.” God knew His followers would endure trials and would be under special attack from Satan due to our love for Christ. Jesus changed the language here because He was talking to His followers…the crowd! Until this point the crowd is going, “I want to be poor. I want to be humble. I want to hunger and thirst for justice. I want to be merciful. I want a pure heart. I want to work for peace.” And then, WHAM…Jesus starts talking directly to THEM…YOU and then all of these bad things like persecution, lies and verbal abuse. I wonder if anyone was thinking, “Ugh Jesus…can we go back to the merciful stuff now?”
Reality is, life is hard. Life with Jesus is hard. Yet, life knowing Him and the reality that He will never leave your side is more than just enough, its a Truth that is worth living for. That is what sets true Christ followers apart from the crowd. Everyone suffers, but those who have endured trials and can stay focused on Him…they see that reward and a relationship that truly is out of this world.
I think that’s what is getting me through these crazy days. I know God is still here. I feel Him. I see Him. He’s right here dancing in the rain with me…and that is something worth living for. (But remember, blessed are those who MOURN – they will be comforted…thus, God doesn’t expect happiness all the time because then, how could we be comforted?).
Deep thoughts and a lot of them. I thought it was worth sharing.
I’m feeling SO good today (I even ate cereal WITH the kids this morning!). Finally keeping real food down! This might be my last post for this week, being I leave this afternoon for the Children’s Pastors Conference in Orlando. But I’m taking my cell phone (which is usually how I post anyway)…maybe there will be a few pictures worth sharing!
Have a great day…and remember YOU ARE BLESSED!