The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs 7)

The Sermon of the Beatitudes (1886-96) by Jame...
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Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy (Matthew 5:7, NIV).

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for (Matthew 5:7, The Message)

The message is so simple that it can be easily overlooked. Special blessings always come when we care for others. If we help others we may get a respite from our own struggles. In fact, we often find out how blessed we are.

There’s something intrinsic about caring for others and giving back. It often comes with special warmth in our heart and soul. When we care for others, we are cared for; respite for now, but possible greater rewards await. The idea of paying it forward comes to mind.

Jesus denied self to save humankind. Let us deny a little of our pain, joylessness and busyness to relieve the pains of others. When we do so we go a long way in bringing peace to someone in this world and isn’t this what it is all about—being there for others.

The value of sharing oneself is the ultimate modeling of Christian living. Let us pledge to do more of this in 2012.

The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed, vs 4)

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew, 5:4 NIV)

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you” (The Message).

What a paradoxical statement!  How can that be? Let’s think this through? What’s dear to us can vary over time and/or we can have many things that are dear to us:

            A pet

            Our jobs (careers)


            Our spouse

            Our church

            Our brothers, our sisters, our homes, you name it.

For me it was the loss of a job and to certain extent a career that I spent 30 years building.

But you know I am surviving. I am embracing the process and learning to live by faith one day at a time.

I trust God to take care of me; yes, for the essentials (shelter, food, clothing, etc) and for the existential (the meaning of life, why me God, etc).

Yes it is scary, but I embrace this uncertainty, this mystery because the Lord has taught me that He is my shepherd and I shall not want (Psalm 23:1) and that He will carry my burdens daily (Psalm 68:19). 

So in this time of loss, uncertainty and yes, questioning, my faith in my God is unwavering.

I know that God hears my sighs, sees my tears and even when I cannot pray intercedes for me with groans that words cannot express (Roman 8:26); and because of this, I know without doubt that I am in God’s care and in His will. Amen.




The Beatitudes (You Are Blessed)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NIV).

“You are blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule” (The Message, Matthew 5:3).

God, I am at the end of my rope right now. In fact, I am losing my grip. I wouldn’t want to wish this _____________ (you name it) on anyone. But you said that I am blessed.

How can that be? Explain that to me? It is like I am in an endless pit. Teach me the secret of more of you. I want that reality for my life.

But then it hits me. If I put my focus on you instead of my problems I will feel blessed; blessed in such a way that I want to help others. One writer said that when we allow God to translate our problems into a ministry that our pain becomes someone else’s gain.*

We learned that when we are poor in spirit, we have more of God; and, isn’t that what we pray for anyway.

 So as I pray daily, I remain hopeful, even as the grip gets tighter, in the words found in Ecclesiastes 7:8:

The end of a matter is better than its beginning,

 and patience is better than pride.


*Batterson, M. (2006). In a pit with a lion on a snowy day.Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books




Our Paradox, Not God’s

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy” My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God” (NIV).

As we, the faithful contemplate your silence; we can come dangerously close to questioning your existence. Where are the angels, do we really have a Heavenly Parent? Who is this Jesus, “the supposed Son” and oh yes, our comforter, the Holy Spirit? It is easier, but not comforting, to believe the “foolish ones;” who say when we die we simply cease to exist or disappear into a great, dark abyss.

How else can we explain the killings and assaults on human lives? How else can we explain the hatred, the injustice and discrimination of the vulnerable or those who are different?

How else can we explain the loss of lives and properties by tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and other storms that this evil world creates; how else can we explain 9/11 and the purposeful goal of one group to annihilate another. Our history, the world’s history bears this out.

What loving God would allow such destruction, such evil?

O, but then, a gentle spirit reminds us of the great mystery; the mystery of the Cross and the desires of our hearts to fight for justice, to right the wrongs and to help the helpless and the loss.

What causes us to praise YOU in the midst of these injustices; even when they are at our front doors? O God, we are “as the deer that desire cold fresh water, our soul pants for you O God. Our soul thirsts for YOU, the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2).

Some say that you thirst too; you thirst to have a relationship with us. Some believe that you too cry along with us as evil tramples upon us. So, why the silence; aren’t you the omnipotent one? So what’s the answer Lord? Is life meant to be a struggle always?

So as I anxiously waited and prayed, with multitude of doubts, God gave me a glimpse of heaven; yes, I had a peek. I had a peek of heaven, not visually, but within my soul. O what an adventure. It is hard to put into words, but my soul was fueled with joy and thanksgiving. It was a wonderful gift; a miniscule sample of things to come.

So in this silence God strengthened my faith and I realized that things happen in this world that is unexplainable. So will my lot in life improve because of this, not really? I am no different from anyone else who has suffered and will suffer. My job is, to partner with God, to the best my understanding and abilities, to make heaven on earth for others.

As I Speak

God, as I speak with people, let me not talk about my pain, sorrows or injustice. God let me speak of your love, your comfort, and your protection.

God, as I speak let me talk about your willingness to “go ahead” and pave the way for me; so my pain, sorrows, and injustice that I suffer are bearable.

For you oh Lord, have already taken the major brunt for me; your spirit prays for me when I know not what to pray—“making prayer out of my worthless sighs, my aching groans” (Roman, 8:26, The Message).

God as I speak…let me be genuine in my praise for you. Amen

A Bluebird

I saw a bluebird- powerful, majestic and beautiful. My spirit shouted with ecstasy and praise as my God allowed me to view such majestic beauty.

I saw a bluebird-far away on a treetop; but oh, close enough by binoculars to move again my spirit to rejoice.

I saw a bluebird many years ago, an image of perfection and wonder, an image that has not died; nor will die, because God’s spirit that lives in that bluebird also lives within me.

Did I tell you that I saw a bluebird; I mean God?

What Does God Want With Me?

“Only when we are willing to change and invite God to do his good pleasure in us, will the perplexity of our minds and the ache in our hearts abate” (Richard H. Schmidt, Praises, Prayers & Curses, p.35).

I wish I could agree with Mr. Schmidt. It sounds very logical. It’s an easy out to all the perplexing questions about life and all that our eyes see about life. But, then Psalm 13:2 rang strongly in my ears:

 “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?”

It may be a lifetime for me—because I am so stubborn. I want my cake now. What does God want with me (I have been studying Job)? I am a decent human being. I am no different from anyone else.

If God wants something from me—WHY DOESN’T GOD SPEAK CLEARLY? Why must I try to figure out this puzzle? Why must I play this game? I meditate daily; I am obedient to the commandments, yet, this loving God and the life that I live seem not to be in sync.

What do you have me to do Lord? What would you have me to do? Remove my fears; dampen my will; so I can be obedient to what you want me to do. And then God speaks:

You must remain flexible, teachable. I am the potter and you are the clay (Jeremiah 18:1-6).