Part I Our Play Book for Life

Matthew 5 NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount: [An introduction of how to live a life of Love.]

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes:  

WHO ARE WE IN CHRIST?  How do we know if we are living stones in him? When was the last time that we checked our spiritual blood pressure to ensure that we are truly taking care of our spiritual internal organs?  I woke up at my usual time this morning, and did the usual thing which is to listen intently to the word of God.  I got to this section of Matthew and fire alarms started to go off in my head. I started to do a spiritual heart check up.  The last 4 years of my life started to flash before me, and then the last few months and my actions started to line up against each verse in this chapter.  Have I not read this before? Yes, many times every year, but today I read it through the lens of what is happening all around me.  I read it through the lens of how the body of Christ is rapidly changing and becoming conformed to the way the world operates, and I said to myself, “Self is your heart right with God?”  Let’s just look at a few of these verses shall we.  We will continue next time with the rest of them.  This is our play chapter for life.  It examines if we are operating in the “Law of Love” or as the world turns.

He said:

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

[ Spiritual humility is not a human trait.]

  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

[Not just for our friends but for all of mankind.  When was the last time that we mourned for the injustices that we see every day in our nation?  Does our spirit yearn for peace for all mankind?]

  • Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

[This is not talking about being downtrodden and having a woe is me attitude.  How do we respond when we have been wrong? Do we want revenge or do we allow our God to handle it?]

  • Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

[If the food of God’s word something that we yearn for more than we yearn for our breakfast, lunch, or dinner each day?]

  • Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

[When something happens that is horrific what is our first reaction to the event?  Do we want to make sure that the person gets what’s coming to them?  Do we play God and determine that they have already been found wanting and must be punished?   Better yet do we make sure that they are suffering in the same manner that we are suffering?  Do we desire for them to experience the same type of mercy that we want God to give us when we behave inappropriately or do we want a pound of their flesh? Do we accept the wrong that was done against us and continue to DEMONSTRATE love towards that person or do we wipe their memories from our lives, our phones, our Instagrams, twitter, Facebook etc.,]

  • Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

[This is the one hallmark statement of the beatitudes that separates the mature Christian from the Pre-K Christian.  When our hearts are pure we are merciful, we do hunger and thirst after righteousness, we are meek, we do mourn for those who need comfort, we are humble and contrite.  We act in a way that creates a peaceful environment in which every person in our concentric circles can live peaceably this includes our enemies].

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

[This is where we fail so many times.  When was the last time that we were aware of an altercation that was handled peacefully.   In fact so peacefully that no one knew there was an altercation.  Not even our close friends.  Not even the people in our inner circle, not even our mates.  How many times have we been involved in a situation or have counseled a person about a situation – then did the unacceptable we took that confidential conversation and took it to the other person involved in the situation. In this scenario, we did not become a conduit of peace.  We became a part of the war machine.  Peacemakers do not play the twitter – let’s tell it all. “The public has a right to know!” is not the act of a peacemaker.  We have seen the WWJD memes all over social media.  I know that my initial response to being attacked is, “I want it to stop and I want it to stop now!”  The reality is that we are going to be attacked every day.  As the time draws nearer to the return of Christ we will be attacked more frequently.  We will be targeted!  Have you ever been targeted because someone played the “Let me just tell you what so and so did.  I am only telling you this so we can pray for them” game.  The problem with that is that Person A went to Person B and relayed a situation with their perspective of it.  We did not tell person “B” that they needed to follow the process that the Lord has given us in the beatitudes and Matthew 18.  We decided that we were going to mediate from the human standpoint and what happened emotionally?  We threw a grenade into the situation and tear gas.  The peace that once existed between two people has now become a war.  Sometimes the war extends all the way out to the edge of both Person A and Person B’s concentric circle.

 

This is how all wars start.  Whether in a neighborhood, community, tribe, or between nations.  “Feelings” become involves instead of exercising the art of listening through the ears of the Holy Spirit and operating in the law of love.  Visualize the last time something occurred in your concentric circle.  Consider this.  Did the way you handled it calm the storm or did it create a tornado that wiped out many people emotionally?  Sometimes I have to go back and apologize to someone because the words I used in a situation may have made them feel inadequate, or less spiritual than they are.  Sometimes though there is no going back to a person and apologizing because they want their pound of flesh and are doing everything in their power to get just that.  In that case, you become the peacemaker and remove yourself from the situation.   In other words don’t add fuel to the fire.  Don’t talk about it anymore unless it is to develop a resolution and prevent the raging inferno from damaging others.  It is never too late to do this.  And we do not perfect it in one shot.  In every situation in life, we have to ask ourselves are we being peacemakers.  I had to do that same thing last night.

  • 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Sometimes we are persecuted because we just cannot keep our mouths shut.  Or we just do not act like peacemakers. We run the gamut of our concentric circle and determine if we can develop a militia of friends who are going to help us with our verbal warfare.  Sometimes we just have to know that we are right and the other person is wrong and just leave it at that.  Know this. The other person will continue to share things about you to their concentric circle.  I thought about this a couple of days ago and determined that I needed to keep my circle clear and war zone free. I had to make one decision

  • 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

This is not talking about being persecuted because we did something we should not have done.  That is called sowing and reaping.  This is talking about being persecuted simply because you are living stones and are being salt and light to the world.  What does The Lord tell us to do when this happens to us? 

  • 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.
    • Are you kidding me, Jesus? Be happy when people are spreading gossip and lies about me all over the place? Be happy when they are making me look like I have done something wrong?  The bottom line is that in most scenarios we not entirely pure in out thoughts and or actions and we are making things worse for ourselves when bad things happen to us.  Why? Because of how we handle the situations.  Those missionaries in Turkey, who are being imprisoned simply because they are a Christian, is being persecuted for righteousness sake.  The pastor who was beaten to a pulp because he tried to open a Christian church in a Muslim society is being persecuted for righteousness sake.  When was the last time that we took a hit for the kingdom simply because we were sharing Jesus with a lost and dying world?

I was so convicted as I really took these verses apart this morning that I had to write this devotional.   Our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. How we want to resolve conflict is not the way that God wants us to resolve it.  We don’t resolve a conflict based on our feelings.  We resolve a conflict based on what the Holy Spirit says we should do.  It is so hard to back away from all of the violations of the above mentioned “Blesseds”.  Sometimes the loftiness of scripture evades us because we are not looking at “how does this scripture look in my life today!”

Father God, we have walked on the edge of being salt and light and have sometimes become aloe and pepper to others.  We have walked of out the clear purity of the clean crisp whiteness of Scripture and holiness and have stepped into the greyness of emotional turmoil and have planted our feet there stating we will not be moved until someone fixes the problem, or apologizes, or do whatever.  We stand on our own righteousness most of the time.  We are indignant that we have a right to hurt, to want justice, to want and do whatever.  We have no right we are slaves of Jesus Christ our Lord.  Father shows the way and give us the ability to trust you like the Hebrew boys did.  They were in the midst of a raging inferno that they chose to walk into and not deny you.  Why can’t we have absolute faith that you can and will work it out in your time?  Our impatience creates tidal waves, and out lack of patience demonstrates how much we need to grow in grace and mercy.  Forgive us Father, but more importantly pour that part of you that see the other person as an entity that deserves your love and admiration and not condemnation.  Give us the heart for others that you have for us.  I know that we sin against you every single day of our lives.  You still extend your hand of love, mercy, and compassion towards us.  Give us a heart to be like you when we have been hurt.  Give us the kind of pure heart that empowers us to be living examples of the blesseds.  This world is getting worse by the second.  We do not want to become wrapped up in the chaos that surrounds us.  We want to be the example that say, “Love lives here!”  forgive us of our sins Father and give us the ability to forgive those who have sinned against us in the same way that you have forgiven us.  When you forgive us you through our sins to the furthest section of the universe.  You don’t remind us of them anymore.   Give us that kind of heart Father.  Your people will be facing persecution like we have never experienced before simply because we call ourselves a Christian.  Will we be able to stand up and be counted? Help us Father – in Jesus Holy and Righteous name!

Our Witness!

Our Lord’s admonition to us–our relationship with him and how we should be with each other.

 

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You’re Not the Only One

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