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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Don't Be Bummed Out When You Are Blessed!

I hope you are reading through Matthew Chapter 5.

Let's read it over and over the next few weeks.  -Try reading before you go to bed.

Ask God to bless your understanding and application.  Today, we are pulling out Matt 5:10-12 to explore more closely.

Have you ever felt discouraged?  Do you try to do the right thing only to get shot down?

I'm keenly aware of  rolled eyes and behind back whispers. Folks often decide to label Christians without even knowing them or listening to what they have to say...Let alone giving them the right to say it.

Tolerance seems to be a one-sided deal today.  Even friends and family may reject you or make fun of you if you stand firm upon God's provision.

Hang in there!  Jesus tells you -- you are BLESSED!  I have often found - the same people who laugh at me now run to me when chaos hits.  They ask me to pray when this world dishes out horrible circumstances to them....So hang in there!

Never forget the persecution Jesus and His followers endured.

There is nothing you are going through now which Jesus did not go through:
____Rejection-Check ___Ridicule-Check ___Abandonment-Check ____Persecution-Check ___Misunderstanding-Check ____Betrayal-Check ___Physical and Emotional Pain-Check ___Death-Check

The followers of Jesus were persecuted in extraordinary ways...even unto death, but, as Paul noted, even death can be a victory for a believer in Jesus.

SOOOOO -- TAKE HEART!  Remember Jesus' words in Matthew:  

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, 
persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 

Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. -- Matthew 5:10-12

Don't be bummed out when you are blessed!  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Matthew 5 - Advice for living

Who is blessed?

Welcome back, folks!  

I am so excited to announce we are going to explore Matthew Chapter 5 during the next few weeks!

Take a moment to read the first ten verses now.

I've been inspired to read Matthew 5 by my dear friends at the East St. Louis Christian Activity Center   (CAC).  This is a beautiful ministry in one of the poorest and oldest housing projects in East St. Louis, IL.  We are going to explore The Sermon on the Mount with some of the 600+ children who pour through our doors each day.

The Sermon will be the basis for our devotionals each evening after school at CAC. I think it's good for all of us to explore it thoroughly.

I wish I'd been sitting listening to Jesus speak these mind-boggling words! He climbed to the side of a mountain.  Curious onlookers followed.  His audience was full of the poor and downtrodden.  Mathew 4:23 speaks about the crowds who gathered around Jesus:

23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him. -- Matthew 4:23

First of all, we should understand the culture in which Jesus spoke.  The poor were given no consideration. Women had no identity.  Misery and hardship were lifestyles.  Many in Jesus audience were intimately aware of the agony of struggling through life.

Life was hard. People were trapped in their misery. But one day,  on the side of  a mountain, Jesus told them their lives and struggles had meaning and purpose.

This was a riveting moment in time.  Jesus begins with the Beatitudes, which means supreme blessedness. -- -Just imagine how these words impacted the people who listened!  No one had ever spoken these revolutionary concepts before:

The poor were blessed.  The mourners were blessed. The humble were blessed. 
The merciful were blessed. The persecuted were blessed! 

-WOW! Can you imagine how each ragged, downtrodden listener in the crowd felt?  Never before had their lowly state been heralded as "blessed."

Jesus' words empowered people who were powerless.  His words touched the hearts of the lowly.  His words gave hope to the hopeless.

-- Perhaps your heart sags with the weight of poverty, humility, loss or persecution...

Remember the Beatitudes!  

Jesus gives us meaning, power .... and LIFE!

Let's close the day by reading Jesus' words a few times...then we'll explore MORE on another day!

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

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

Blessed are the meek, 
for they shall inherit the earth. 

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied. 

Blessed are the merciful, 
for they shall obtain mercy. 

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

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

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Matthew 5:3-10

  1. supreme blessedness.
    blissecstasyexaltation, supreme happiness, divine joy, divine rapture; 
    saintliness, sainthood
    "the everlasting beatitude"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

So sorry for the delay! God is good!

My friends...I am so sorry for the pause in blogging!  Life has interrupted. My husbands surgeries and ER visits came and went in May, June, and July.  Today I am so happy to report God's gracious gift.  Today I also commit to explore God's Word with you.

I also invite you to check out my "Type A" blog for some back to school thoughts and other special messages about marriage and relationships for your family!  

God is  good.  We all move forward with His divine reassurance.

Thank you, God, for answering my prayers! We received a positive report for my hubby! Only three more treatments to go before we get three months without (hopefully) a hospital visit.

I am tired  - but at peace. Whatever the report, it is so good to know Jesus walks with us. He understands pain, struggling and disappointment. We are never alone in our walk.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” -- John 16:33