Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh. What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
“What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now. What sorrow waits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you. What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow. What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets. (Luke 6:20-26)
I really want to dig into this deeper and try to pull some of it apart but in the meantime here is Matt Chandler’s “Readers Digest” version of these verses…
“Blessed, deep, full of life are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are those who mourn, for one day they’ll laugh, being set free from what haunts them. Blessed are those who know Jesus in such a way that it’s changed them, so that they’re excluded and reviled and at times hated, not because of their arrogance, but simply because of Jesus. But woe to you who are self-sufficient. Woe to you who are proud of your religious lineage. Woe to you who have figured it all out. Woe to you who have got it all right, for you’ve got the fullness of what you’ll have. And woe to you who are full, full and yet starving. What an empty place to be. And woe to you who laugh while your soul decays. And woe to you who are loved by all, because you haven’t been transformed much. The good news in all of this is Christ and the grace of Christ covers where we failed here. Because if we’re honest, some of us would have to say, ‘Hey listen, I’m not hungry, but I want to be.’ Okay then, that’s where we begin.”
So thankful to be given the opportunity to share part of my journey at The Chapel South Campus today as part of #LifeHope. I love what Pastor Bill Schroeder said in his message. “God promises deliverance not insulation. He will get us through the fire but we may still feel the heat.”
We’ve all been dealt cards that we wish we could exchange. There have been times we have been ready to lay our hand down and just fold and walk away, but during the month of May I want to challenge you to see those cards for the blessings that may spring forth from them through this series that I have dubbed, “Into Every Life.” I want to challenge your definition of a “good” life and look at what a blessing may sometimes truly look like. My prayer is that as we do this we will begin to see our hand through the Dealer’s eyes.
“Into each life rain must fall,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous words……but what if, as Laura Story in her song Blessings asks,
What if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
What if…will you join me this month as we look at this what if? If you know someone else who needs some encouragement, someone whose umbrella is tattered and torn from the downpour they have been weathering, would you please share this with them? Invite them to take this journey with us for a very real look at pain and blessings.
Over and over during the last 20 days I have thought of this video. It says it all. It tells the whole story. Being broken hurts. All I can do is repeat the prayer and hope that God is gentle. I want to finish this journey changed…
“Dear Heavenly Father, do whatever it takes to get things out of my life that don’t need to be there. Mold me into the image of Your Son so I can be your masterpiece. In Your heavenly name, amen.”
This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. (1 John 4:10 NLT)
This was a message that brought a smile. Not only because of the way that Mike Donehey tells it (yes, I am very familiar with the Sunday school felt board,) but also because of the message that it holds. No matter what we have discovered within ourselves since we began this journey, Jesus loves us. That doesn’t mean that we should just brush whatever we have found back under the rug of ignorance. While we work on it, instead of beating ourselves up for failing, know that we are loved! We are defined not by our failures or successes but instead and only, by God’s love.
Whatever you are facing, whatever you are carrying today you don’t have to do it alone. Matt Chandler challenges us to get real, with ourselves, with others, with God. You don’t have to do this on your own. It’s a message that bears repeating because when the chips are down it’s one I tend to forget. It hits on all of the posts that I have begun in the last week and remain unfinished on paper and in my mind. Grace. Mercy. Pride. And Healing…
The Innkeeper often gets vilified during the Christmas season as we challenge each other not to be like the innkeeper. I myself have done it many times over. This riveting story is a paradigm shift that caused my heart to ache. A picture of the cost of housing the Savior; it made me stop and remember again that we never know the struggles and baggage that someone else carries with them. A beautiful, heart-wrenching take on what might have been and a reminder that this season is about so much more than red and green packages placed under a tree. This season is prophecy fulfilled, for our sake He became poor, and because of that the road to Calvary must begin with a “No Vacancy” sign in Bethlehem.
Cease Striving…Be still…Know God (Ps 46:10) Sounds peaceful, right? Peace-filled is more accurate. "Still" has little to do with activity and everything to do with state of mind. Welcome to my crazy life!