Tag Archives: jesus

Beatitudes: Mourning

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

We always assume that when someone is in mourning it’s because they’ve lost a loved one. Or maybe they’ve suffered a heartbreak. We never think of mourning as being genuinely sorry for something that we’ve done wrong. Most of the time, we aren’t sorry. For the most part, people don’t care about others’ feelings. We hide behind “Good intentions” or my personal favorite, “No one’s perfect.” Sometimes we go as far as to say, “God will fix this for me.”

“I cheated on you.”
“I lied to you.”
“He took the money from your purse.”

It’s easy to confess our sins with statements made with no emotional connection behind them. However, it’s not easy to feel bad about doing it. Guilt is one of the worst feelings in this world. In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus isn’t talking about those who suffer a broken heart at the loss of a loved one, but those who suffer from guilt.

He says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This says a lot about Jesus and His heart. Sin is terrible and leads us down a dark road. However, when we feel remorse for what we’ve done, Jesus considers us to be “Blessed.” In the last Beatitude, I talked about the word, Blessed, and how it’s used in a different way than what we’re used to.

To recap, we use that word to refer to something good, usually materialistic things. We’re “Blessed” with a new car or “Blessed” with money. I’m “Blessed” because I got a new job that’ll pay all of my bills. We’re also “Blessed” with children. These are just examples. However, God doesn’t just bless us with abundance, He blesses us with the trials in our lives. He finds us to be blessed when we humble ourselves before Him.

In this circumstance, He finds us our guilt as a blessing because it’s the first step to use becoming a better person. If we feel bad for the things we are doing, we won’t want to do them anymore. This means that we’ll be less likely to do them in the future and sin won’t control our lives anymore. God wants what’s best for us and that is a life without sin. Making the decision not to sin anymore starts us on our road to becoming a better person.

And He is there to comfort us. God wants us to heal from the bad things we’ve done. When we ask for forgiveness we’re wiped clean and what’s happened is in the past. It’s a comforting thought to know that God will always be there to catch us when we fall.

“(21) So I myself find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. (22) For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; (23) but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (25) Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature[a] a slave to the law of sin.” – Romans 7:21-25

People need to go from “It’s too hard” to “It’s hard, but I can’t do this anymore.” Paul makes a great statement about the spiritual war that goes on in a Christian’s mind when it comes to sin. We live in the world, but we aren’t supposed to be of it. The world is a bad place full of sin and deception. In the world, everything is permissible. Sex before marriage, lies, cheating, jealousy, gluttony, and pride. It’s all about “Me.” In Jesus’ parable, Lamp on a Stand, He describes a Christian as the light of the world. The world is full of darkness and Christians are to be the light that shines through the darkness.

However, it’s hard to be a Christian. Sure it’s easy to believe in God, go to church, sing the songs, and read your bible. But actually fully relying on Him for everything you need and putting your life in His hands isn’t easy. We’re such prideful creatures, often not wanting to admit that we need help. Not wanting to follow His commandments because it’s more fun to sin than not to. From this, we think of ourselves as a slave of God. We begin to think of Him as a dictator and not a father. This way of thinking leaves us not wanting to follow the commandments which make us start to sin. Over and over we fall back into the same loop of Temptation, sin, guilt, and repentance.

Throughout this study, I realized how much I related to this Beatitude at this point in my life. When I was saved I’d feel remorse for everything I’d done, and over the course of time, I’d feel bad immediately after I’d done them. However, there came a point when I would feel bad and not do anything about it. I wouldn’t ask for forgiveness or try to do better. Then I stopped feeling bad completely.

When I finally decided to come back to God (Yes, it is a choice), I didn’t feel bad for my sins. I didn’t feel bad for not listening to Him or even denying He was there. I didn’t feel bad for praying for the wrong things and insulting His intelligence. It scared me to death! I wondered how I let my heart harden so much that I couldn’t feel remorse and be forgiven.

I don’t know how many other Christians have felt this way. In fact, I thought there was something wrong with me prior to this study. If you are going through something like this as well, or maybe you’re not, this is my piece of advice that God has shown me. Pray about it. Ask God to help you come back to His arms. He’ll open your heart to feel the remorse you need to feel to fully repent of your sins.

Our God is good and sometimes He asks us to do things that don’t match what society expects us to do. That’s the Beatitudes in a nutshell. The eight characteristics of a Christian are the opposite of how the world expects you to be. In the world, if you feel sorry for something bad you’ve done, that’s not right. It isn’t normal and you’re strange. But feeling sorry for something you’ve done makes you blessed in the eyes of God.

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Wise and Foolish Builders

(24) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. (25) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. (26) But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (27) The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” – Matthew 7:24-27

The lives Jesus is describing in this parable sound a lot like people in today’s world. On one side, you have the Christian that hears the teachings of Jesus and applies them to his/her life. On the other side, you have a Christian that hears Jesus’s teachings and doesn’t apply them to his/her life. These two people can look the same. They’ll have a job, families, and even go to the same church.

The Storm

The real differences will come to light when life happens. For example, we know that life isn’t easy and doesn’t always go very good for us. The storm that Jesus is referring to isn’t necessarily weather. He is talking about the storm of life which we refer to as “The hard times.” Your house gets tested when a storm comes through your town. Does it stay standing or is it blown away? How badly does it flood? What is the damage caused by the storm?

The Builders

In order to get through the storm of life, we need a good and solid foundation. In this parable, we are the builders. That makes us in charge of whether we have that solid foundation. A good builder isn’t going to build in an area that will flood out, nor will he build with materials that’ll be blown away. The builder builds with the plan to keep these situations from happening.

The Foundation

The best place to build our house is on a rock. Rocks have a good, solid foundation. House stay steady when built on cement. What would happen to your house if you built it on sand or dirt instead of laying out the cement first? Your house would flood at the slightest rain and little critters would find their way inside. No one wants that. Jesus is saying that He is the only firm foundation to get you through life. Jesus is your rock.

Many people don’t build their faith. They think that “Once saved always saved” is real or they just don’t think anything bad will happen to them. These people would rather go with the flow of their friends or rely more on their social status. Whatever the case, they’re the ones that’ll be shortsighted. They’re the ones that can’t make it through the hard times. The question that you’ll hear from them the most is, “Why is this happening to me?”

When everything is okay our foundations don’t matter. We don’t pray or rely on God for anything. Why should we when we are happy, fruitful, and living abundantly? We don’t “Need” Him for anything when we have what we want. However, we’re tested when a crisis happens in our lives. We should always make sure that our foundations are strong and able to withstand anything life throws our way. Your foundation is only as strong as your faith.

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Lamp on a Stand

(14)“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16

Small acts of kindness, big acts of kindness, smiles here, compliments there, etc. Everything we do throughout our lives represents who we are (whether we’re believers or not). We all want to come off as our image of a good person. However, most people are selfish, self-centered, hypocrites. They want other people to view them how they want to be viewed even if they’re terrible people on the inside.

“(21) He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? (22) For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open.” – Mark 4:21-22

In this parable, Jesus tells how people view those who act Christlike. When you are in Christ and do as He does, there’s a light that shines through you. Others will always wonder what it is about you that is different from them. What is your reason for why you are the way you are. When we live in Christ, we’re supposed to act like Him and tell others that He’s in us.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” – Luke 8:16

A lot of the time, we hide our light. We stay quiet when we should have spoken up, going along with the crowd, denying the idea that there is anything special about us, letting sin overwhelm our light, not telling others the reason we are who we are, and ignoring the needs of others. In my job, it’s hard not to let my light dim. I deal with the public very personally and it isn’t always easy to be patient and understanding.

I have to consistently remind myself to not let the situation get the best of me. I’d rather others view me as Christlike than the alternative (Even though I’m terrible at it sometimes). Look at it this way. If you’re on your first date with someone, do you hide all of your great qualities from them? No. You show off your humor by making them laugh, you show your intelligence, communication skills, smile, etc. The point is for them to get to know why they should continue to see you and potentially pick you as a partner.

The date may never go to a second one, but they’ll always remember the girl/guy that made them go, “Wow.” That’s how I view being Christlike. That person may never see you again, but they’ll remember the person that made their day better, stopped them from making a terrible decision, helped them in a time of need, or some other situation.

Jesus wanted us to know that when we choose God, we now represent Him as our Father just as we represent the overcome of what our parents made us when we go out into public. We’re the voice of Christ through our actions and what He’s done for us. We’re the light of the world.

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” – Luke 11:33

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New Cloth on an Old Coat/Wineskins

“(14) Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” (15) Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast. (16) “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. – Matthew 9:14-16

This parable of Jesus is also found in Mark 2:21 and Luke 5:36. In it He explains to His disciples why He has come to earth.

Before Jesus came to die on the cross, rules and legality regulated faith. It was all about traditions and “Who was more faithful by what they did to show their faith.” Hence, the Pharisees. In 9:14, The disciples ask Jesus why everyone else is fasting, yet His disciples aren’t. His answer references a wedding feast. While the friends of the bridegroom are with him, they aren’t sad. It’s a time of celebration and fun. No one mourns during a celebration. Jesus is telling His disciples that they’re in a time of a wedding celebration with Jesus as the bridegroom.

Then He goes on to help them understand why He is with them. He didn’t come to o away with the law or change it (Matthew 5:17). Jesus came to fulfill the law and add something new. That “New” thing is His teachings (Or the Gospels). Even though there are prophecies ating back to hundreds of years before Him, no one knew the real reason He’d come. They were all under the impression that He’d be a warrior that would lead them all into battle. They weren’t counting on Jesus being a spiritual warrior that is kind, considerate, gentle, and forgiving and telling them to love their enemy (Matthew 5:44).

Jesus goes on to give another example in the next verse. Also found in Mark 2:22 and Luke 5:37-38

“Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” – Matthew 9:17

In this next example, Jesus refers to His purpose on earth to the wineskins of their day. In His time, people stored wine in the skins of goats. People sewed these skins together and resembled what we would call waterskins or canteens. As new wine would age, the wineskin would expand. If someone put new wine into the wineskin, it’d bust. This is another great way of explaining why He came to us.

Jesus came to offer us forgiveness of sins and eternal life with Him. He came to teach us what living a Godly lifestyle is like and to give us hope. Before we have a life in His arms we are nothing more than an old coat or a wineskin with aging wine inside. But when we are born again into a new life, God doesn’t patch up our old coat with new habits or “Good stuff.” He doesn’t mix “Good intentions” and “Holy Will” with the sins of our past. He gives us a brand new coat and a brand new wineskin to pour all of His love into.

His message will always be new because of the acceptance that must take place in everyone that receives it. If you accept Him, there will always be something new to learn, a new way to live, and a new way to serve. Each and every day that you breathe.

Picture via deusloquitur.blogspot.com