Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Mt. 5:7).
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Chenal This Week
Posted 2 weeks 1 day ago
One of the most perplexing things about Jesus' call to discipleship is what he demanded his followers to do. In Luke 5, he calls a group of fishermen to leave everything they have and know and follow him. In Luke 9:23, he informs his disciples that if they want to follow him, they must, "Deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."
Posted 3 weeks 1 day ago
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. (Matt 5:6)
I decided to look up the word meek in the thesaurus to see what synonyms might show up. Humble and gentle are there, and while those aren't at the top of the list of traits Americans most pursue, those can be viewed favorably. But go a little further and some might say it goes down hill: Mild. Quiet. Timid. Compliant. Submissive. Docile. Lowly.
Posted 3 weeks 5 days ago
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matt 5:6)
Posted 1 month 5 days ago
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mourning is a part of life. That's what Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us. There is a time to laugh and a time to weep. There is a time to dance but also a time to mourn.
You don't have to choose mourning. It will often choose you. Life is full of gains and losses. To live is at some point to lose, and to lose is to mourn. Live long and we all deal with some kind of loss--loved ones, relationships, marriages, jobs, dreams, hope.
Posted 1 month 1 week ago
At the end of every year, the Internet and airways are flooded with "top" lists that revolve around money--top earning athletes, actresses, actors, musical acts, etc. My hunch is if you asked the average person on the street to complete this sentence, "Blessed are ______," the type of people mentioned most often would be those who showed up in those kinds of lists. Would anyone say, "Blessed are the 3 billion people living on $2.50 a day or less?" It's the people who make the list as a name and not just a faceless number in a sea of humanity that are celebrated.
Posted 1 month 2 weeks ago
Language can be tricky. Words can have multiple meanings depending on the context, depending on the speaker and listener. This is certainly true with the beatitudes. Every one of the beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-12 begins with the same Greek word, makarios. It's a word that is most often translated either "happy" or "blessed." While I prefer blessed, both are suitable. Still, both present problems, not so much from their translation, but their modern application.
Posted 1 month 3 weeks ago
When the disciples try to shoo away people bringing little children to be blessed by Jesus, they were likely doing what they thought Jesus would want. They were certainly doing what reflected a common mindset in the ancient world. So when Jesus welcomes the little children and relishes the chance to bless them, he does the unexpected (which we have grown to expect). Over and over we see Jesus lift up the put down, identify with the powerless, include the left out. If we want to be more like Jesus, that's what we must do.
Posted 2 months 4 days ago
In describing the Christian faith as a race, Paul says, "Straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal." The word for goal is a word used to describe the finish line. In other words, it's the destination, the direction, the aim of the race. Paul says something similar in 1 Cor. 9:26 when he again compares the Christian faith to a race. He says, "I don't run aimlessly" (Without a direction or purpose). He knows where he is trying to get, and he aims for that.
Posted 2 months 1 week ago
In meditative reading, we approach the Bible expectantly, ready to meet Jesus there. He is the Word that we read, and we read to have his mind (Phil 2:5). Quality, not quantity is the goal. We intentionally slow down, reading manageable sizes several days or even weeks in a row, allowing the nutrients to soak deep into our hearts like a slow, steady rain. When we truly study scripture, scripture studies us for scripture is a double-edged sword, affirming and interrogating, slicing to the very core of our being (Heb 4:12-13).