We are reminded every so often of just how blessed we really are. No matter what is going on out in the world, be it pandemic or politics, both my least favorite subjects, our lives are blessed in so many ways!
Two of our beloved church family members have lost their husbands this week. It is a loss of their companion and loved one and we will mourn, along with them. BUT, for those who passed from this earthly world, it was GRADUATION DAY!! A day when all of their sickness, pain and tears ended. A day when they graduated from a fallen earth to standing in the presence of Jesus! I call that a blessing! I pray for comfort for those families but rejoice for the graduates. Does that make sense? I will never forget my mother telling us that after my dad went home, she missed him so much, but she would never call him back to the pain and suffering he was in before.
This virus has taken the lives of so many but at the same time, so many have survived. We are blessed. Many have lost jobs and recovery won’t be immediate but many have found family once again and some may have even taken the opportunity to pursue a dream that had been put on a back burner! They are blessed. I understand it isn’t easy. Sometimes, pride has to be set aside to see the blessing. I pray we never fail to see ours.
Charles Swindoll tells us that “life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.” I find this to be truer than ever in this time we are living in.
Jesus has this to say in Matthew 5:
“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.”
Gospel of St. Matthew 5:3-10
by Ruth Smith (Alliance Women)
While reading through the book of Matthew, the Holy Spirit has graciously led me to glimpse the heart of Jesus, especially through the Beatitudes in Matthew 5.
In the first few verses, we see Jesus’ comforting words of blessing concerning the poor in spirit, the meek, and those who mourn. For the poor in spirit—those lacking in courage or vigor—He says the Kingdom of Heaven will be theirs. The meek—those who are gentle and humble—will inherit the earth. And those who mourn will be comforted.
Christ’s message to them is a message of hope. Each of them will receive the longing of their hearts. This seems almost contradictory. We usually think that only those who are outwardly courageous and fight will receive the reward. But Jesus sees the hearts of the poor, meek, and mournful. He knows the strength it takes them to keep their eyes on Him, and He desires to give them their reward.
Next, we see Jesus’ words of encouragement to those who are deeply desiring to follow hard after God. They have the strong desire to pursue the Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled life. For those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled! Satisfied! Those who are merciful—who show compassion towards an offender or enemy—will likewise receive mercy and compassion when they offend.
Our first thought when offended might be to seek revenge, to hurt the person as they have hurt us. But Jesus’ words encourage us to show mercy, which often times requires a change of heart. We aren’t to worry that someone might take advantage of us. Jesus says if we show mercy, we will be shown mercy when we need it.
Those who are pure in heart—innocent, untainted by evil, who see the best in others—will see God! And the peacemakers—those who bring harmony—will be called the sons of God. Jesus calls all of them blessed and all will receive their reward from God!
When we dwell in Christ, we don’t fight with the weapons of the world. We listen to the voice of God; we allow Him to transform our hearts to be like His. Even if all seems wrong on the outside, on the inside we can live in the peace of God that surpasses all our understanding. Isn’t that the very definition of blessed?