Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bible Study: The Beatitudes

Once a month my family does a Bible study, either at my house or my parent's house. I think I would like to blog about our topics.

This week we studied the Beatitudes. The beatitudes are blessings given by Jesus during his Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:3-10

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The verse given to me was verse 4 "Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted".

The obvious answer that came to the forefront of my mind was mourning loss of a person. My good friend had just that day laid to rest her 10 month old baby, and we were all in mourning with her. Of course we will all be comforted, we will be reunited! But as I looked into it more, I realized there is a lot more to it than just dealing with death and grief.

Look at our world today.  Morals are out the window. Cursing, crude humor, pornography, and all sorts of sexual immorality walk among us freely. Things that have always been considered wrong or immoral are now suddenly accepted. Even worse, read the comments on any given article. If you're a Christian, you are assaulted with "your imaginary/invisible god" or how terrible we are. And then there are Christians who claim to be a follower of Christ, yet stand with the world. We are to be set apart.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:

Christians today only want to preach LOVE and ACCEPTANCE, that our God loves everyone doing anything. This is FALSE doctrine!  The Bible is very clear about things that He considers an abomination, or abhorrent to him. 

This brings me to my point of "blessed are they that mourn".  Blessed are those that mourn the fallen state of our world. Blessed are those that see lost souls who are blinded to the truth. Blessed are those that stand in this world, witnessing the takeover of sin. Blessed are those trapped in the fallen world and just want to go home, because one day, Jesus will wipe the tears from our eyes, and the pain of this world will be over. 

Be blessed!!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Bag of Chips

“One day, you’re going to wake up and realize you’re not all that and a bag of chips”.
I was listening to David Jeremiah on the radio this morning. He was talking about Simon Peter and how he was so sure he would never fail Jesus, but that’s exactly what he did.  He denied Christ three times in one evening.

Was he reading my mail, or what? I was most definitely not feeling like I was all that, and a bag of chips was nowhere in sight. Just last night I sat in the rocking chair on the back porch reflecting on how I had acted that day. I had taken all my frustrations out on my family just an hour before. I didn't like the person I was at that moment. I realized I had perfectionistic tendencies and set my standards too high for them to ever reach. No matter what my little family did, I would find a weakness and focus on that. I cried a few embarrassing tears, then got up, apologized to everyone, made sure everyone was happy, and went straight to bed, humbled. 

But back to Peter.  

He denied Christ 3 times! Not one time, not "I slipped up" and did it again. No, THREE times. I can see how that happened to him. After all, he spent every day with Jesus. He was in his company, they had private conversations and he shared in the miracles Jesus performed. He loved Jesus. Jesus was his friend, his messiah, and his teacher. Life was good!  
Jesus chilling with his disciples.
Betrayed by one of his own, and arrested.
Then one evening Jesus was arrested and all the disciples fled. They were scared, confused, and feared for their lives.  Peter followed Jesus at a distance, watching to see what they were doing with Jesus. Why was his friend arrested? As he followed, people recognized Peter and pointed him out, “He’s one of the disciples!” and Peter said, “No, I don’t know him”. Twice. The third time a person questioned Peter, he opened his mouth “I don’t know what you’re talking-“ He was cut off, because while he was in the middle of speaking, he heard a rooster crow. Jesus turned and looked at Peter. It was then that Peter remembered what Jesus said to him.

Peter denies knowing Jesus

We all know the story, but look here: 
Luke 22:61
61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
Three times, Peter. See my fingers?
Peter wasn’t just upset to realize what he did; he wept bitterly. He was ashamed of himself, of his failure, of how weak he was. He was heartbroken. Peter, who told Jesus he would never turn against him and would die for him, had instead denied him three times. 
Peter realizes his weakness and fear.
We do things like that. We build ourselves up and are so certain of our imaginary super powers. We’re just so awesome, right?! But then the day comes when something happens between you one of your friends, a family member, maybe even a stranger, and you end up falling back on your rear-end, wondering what just happened.

I've been there a few times, I know. Not once, not twice..probably more than three times, actually. 
You’re left feeling rejected, isolated, friendless, worthless, a failure.  You’ll sit there by your little lonesome and look at yourself in the mirror. Not a cloudy, filtered mirror that only shows the surface beauty, oh no..  your actual TRUE self.  You might want to look away. You might not want to admit what you see: bitterness, anger, false pretenses, insecurity, jealousy… .  more failures.

But it’s ok. It is really and truly ok to see the ugliness. It’s a good thing to realize your humanity or even be knocked down a few pegs. It is a GOOD THING to recognize your own imperfections, to give them a good solid look.  Take it all in. Admit your weaknesses.

The scripture here says:

Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Therefore, be thankful you are able to recognize your own human nature and less desirable characteristics rather than become prideful. Be glad you have the opportunity to look in the mirror and see all the dirt and sin on your own face. If Peter physically walked in Jesus’ company and failed, how much more are we able to fail!

But don’t stay there: Get up. Keep moving. You might not want to smile for a little while, but it gets better.  Take that picture in your mind and make conscious choices to be better. Move forward, soldier, the battle isn’t over yet. We’re all going to get knocked down, hurt and pushed back in line, but it isn’t over!

One final thought: if you’re feeling vulnerable and friendless, this is also an opportunity to remember to lean on Jesus, not other people. Trust in Jesus for fulfillment, not people. Look to Him.

Illustration credits:
Sue Bentley/FreeBibleimages.org