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Showing posts from July, 2013

Blessed: Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness - Matthew 5:1-2, 6

“Blessed.”  What does it mean to be “Blessed”?  We’ve discovered in our series that being “Blessed” is not about being “Happy.”  Being “Blessed” is to find oneself in a fortunate, well-off, or privileged situation.  Who are the “Blessed”?  We have listened as we have journeyed through the Beatitudes to Jesus taking the world and turning it upside down in defining who is “Blessed.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit…for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Jesus said those who realize that they are not self-made and are not self-reliant are blessed.  Those who are blessed are those who realize that they are wholly and completely dependent upon God and find their identity not in what they have and what they do that are blessed.  Why?  Because they are already part of God’s Kingdom. “Blessed are those who mourn…for they shall be comforted.”  Jesus says that it is those who look into the world and find great sorrow at all the pain, suffering, and injustice that is out there that are blessed.  W…

Blessed: The Meek - Matthew 5:1-2, 5

We are in the midst of hearing how Jesus takes the world and, if we truly heed His Words, have our world turned upside down, just as those who first heard His words. We heard him say, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.  Blessed are those who realize they are not self-sufficient.  Blessed are those who realize that they are dependent not on themselves, but on God.  Blessed are those who have let go trying to control their own lives and given complete control over to God.  Blessed are those who realize just how impoverished they are without God’s grace in their lives.  For those who are poor in spirit are already experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven…they are already in the midst of eternal life with God.” We heard Jesus say, “Blessed are those who mourn.  Blessed are those who look at the pain and suffering in the world and weep for they will be comforted because God is going to come in and make everything right.” How many are familiar with the saying “might makes right”?  Does anyone know the…

Blessed: Those That Mourn - Matthew 5:1-2, 4

Have you ever looked out into the world and just wanted to cry?  I’m not talking about being unhappy with the politics of the time, because if you’re a Democrat, chances are you’re unhappy with the way things are going in North Carolina, if you’re a Republican, chances are you’re unhappy with the way things are going nationally.  What I am talking about is looking out at those who are truly hurting in the world—the hungry, the homeless, the sick, the abused, the addicted, the enslaved, the forgotten—and really just had your heart break for them? That's what this week's beatitude addresses. We started this series last week. We considered that while as a kid we might have liked having our world turn upside down, with the exception of pineapple upside down cake, as adults we usually don't like it when things are flipped upside down. Yet Jesus is always about turning the world upside down.  We discussed that Jesus comes in and calls those blessed that we and the world would not …

Blessed: The Poor in Spirit - Matthew 5:1-3

I remember as a kid loving to lay in a chair or a couch, with my legs in the chair and back bent backwards hanging off the side of the seat and look around the room…or do the same thing hanging from the swing set or laying in a lawn chair outside—nowadays, you can do it from a bar hanging in a doorway.  I just thought it was real cool to see everything turned upside down.  That is, I enjoyed it until I heard the familiar words, “you need to stop that before all the blood rushes to your head.”  I don’t enjoy it so much anymore…back bends don’t come as easily as they used to and low blood-pressure kind of takes the fun out of getting back upright as well. Actually, as we grow up, we tend to not like to have our world turned upside down.  For many of us, the only good thing “upside-down” is an “Upside-down Pineapple Cake.”  We tend to like the status-quo.  We don’t like having surprises come into our lives that turns what we thought would be an easy time, into a challenging time.  You kno…