Beatitudes and Happiness
Pastor Bill’s Sunday sermon was based on the Beatitudes.
Matthew 5:1-12 New International Version (NIV)
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Pastor Bill talked about the meaning of Beatitude. Beatitude means supreme blessedness, benediction, grace, bliss, ecstasy, exaltation, happiness. As a take away reminder, he handed a little slip of paper to everyone to take home with them.
Meekness, the opposite of Power
I doubt whether Peter and Andrew understood what they were getting into. Jesus’ words were so simple that they appeared insignificant, perhaps unimpressive. It was enough to go and find out more about this fascinating man who spoke so well and had turned a wasted night of fishing into a record breaker.
When we really listen to Jesus’ words, they whisper an implied small-print of details. The details apply to every one of us that has set out after Jesus:
Jesus calls us to Himself. If you merely signed onto a church membership list, joined a global movement, or subscribed to a religious philosophy, think again. Out in front of all those crowding extras is a man called Jesus. He led the way in living life to the full as it can only be lived in relationship with God, our heavenly Father. It is Jesus we follow. Unless we know His voice, we will quickly wander away.
Jesus promises to change you and I. No matter how well-formed or how damaged we are, Jesus makes us new. We are not required to change before we follow Him. Trying to change ourselves is never sufficient. Jesus takes every life and breathes in His supernatural life.
Jesus’ objective for us is the most fulfilling and wholesome life for everyone. In our unredeemed condition we think that fulfillment lies in getting our goals met. Whether they are goals of pleasure, profit, or power, they focus on ME. In reality, those objects never satisfy. Following Jesus leads to multiple blessings. When we serve His goals, we bless Him and other people, and we find satisfaction too. Jesus recruits us as fishers of men. Catching people into His kingdom brings glory to Him, it transforms their lives, and the results satisfy us.
Christian Love and Anger
Is there a relationship between love and anger? Does a Christian have the right or maybe even the responsibility to be angry at some of the wrongs of the world that we all inhabit? Did Jesus ever get angry?
We talked about the relationship between love and anger in one of our Thursday night Bible studies. Some Christians focus on Matthew 5:38-40 which has Jesus telling us: 38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a] 39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”
Other Christians focus more on the message in Matthew 23:33 forecasting eternal punishment for sinners. This verse reads: “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to Hell?”
Generations of Christ’s Church have climbed both sides of the fence in deciding which version of the emotional side of Christ to follow. Should it be anger? After all, Jesus did drive the money changers out of the Temple and he did warn the Pharisees about their hypocrisy. Or should the focus be on a sort of marshmallow love and compassion that overlooks the harsher realities of life and the condemnations of sin and hell?
Is it possible for Christ’s Church and his followers to balance love and compassion and eternal life with accountability and eternal punishment?
The Jesus of the four gospels pours out God’s love in his words and deeds, and the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God, who is loving and compassionate enough to die for the sins of all people. His resurrection is an act of love and hope and compassion for the entire human race. There is no greater act of love than the Crucifixion and Resurrection.
But Jesus did get angry, and he used his anger to reach people like priests who were supposed to show God’s love by helping people, and money changers who were blinded by the material things of the world. He used his anger to challenge the Pharisees who were so tightly bound by the law they couldn’t breathe God’s free air or share it with other people.
Love and anger are closely bound together in the human emotional makeup. Jesus felt human emotions. He understood them. And he used them to reveal his Father and to transform the law from stones into bread.
Blessings and Thankfulness
Thanking God for the life-changing events, the overwhelming blessings, the material bounty that He gives to us with no strings attached is the obvious way to worship Him. We do thank Him for those things, but what about the smaller, ordinary, take them for granted blessings that we often overlook in the business of our every day lives and the normalcy of our surroundings?
Here are ten often overlooked blessings. You certainly can add more of your own to the list.
- A home, be it every so humble.
- Work. It gives our lives meaning as well as a living.
- Reading. Not everyone has that skill and it shapes your life.
- People, especially family and friends. We don’t always get along, but we need each other.
- Food. Some people are hungry even as you read this.
- Music. Arthur Schopenhauer said music is the language of feeling and of passion. It is the language of the soul, as words are the language of reason.
- Pets. Pets, mothers, and Christ provide the unconditional love that we need for our lives.
- Forgiveness. We all need to be forgiven for something.
- The Outdoors. God truly did make a beautiful world for us,
- Christ, for saving us from ourselves, and giving us abundant and eternal life.
by Jill Maier
Upon mighty wings!
I entreat you
Witness fierce hope
Carry me above myself
Out of limited world
Open possibilities door!
Do you think flight simple?
You have wings of your own
Unfold, test, take off
Struggle, but become upward bound!
Musical Conversations with God. Some days are meant for just singing hymns or saying the words to yourself as you go about your day