Today’s Bible Journaling is dealing with the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:1-11, “One day as He saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went upon the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around Him and He began to teach them. ‘God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the Children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of things against you because you are My followers.’” (NLT)
In this month of Thanksgiving, we are grateful for God’s blessings, and for the most part I think we consider mostly the physical things but tend to see the Spiritual blessings as maybe not as important, or maybe taking a close second. My devotion asked the question, “Which beatitude speaks to you the most?” I really struggled with that. Because like most people, I considered the physical things immediately as important…food, housing, financial freedom, good health, but the Spiritual things didn’t come immediately to mind.
When I look at the Beatitudes, the blessings are things that touch the Spirit of our being. The more I looked at them, the more I began to realize something. The very first Beatitude seemed to be the basis of blessing for the rest. Blessed are we who realize that we NEED Jesus, for the Kingdom of Heaven is ours. Without Jesus, everything else just can not be possible. When we mourn, the Bible says Believers don’t mourn as others, because we have the hope of seeing our loved one again if they have accepted Jesus as their Savior, and we find comfort in that. Unbelievers don’t have that hope or that comfort. Those who are humble will inherit the earth. Humility comes from God. As Christians, we have inherited His attribute of humility. The world says, “Look at me!” and they disregard those who are meek or humble as being wimps, someone to ridicule and demean.
God blesses the pure in heart for they will see God. This, to me, speaks of our salvation and the relationship we have with Him. As Christians, our desire should be to have a continuous, close relationship with Jesus, for the Bible says He is the best friend we could ever have. (Proverbs 18:24) God blesses peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God. True peace comes only through a relationship with God and His son, Jesus, and listening to His Holy Spirit guide us. When we have His peace, we have the means to show peace and diffuse situations where there is no peace, because His peace is within us.
God blesses those who are persecuted for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. For those of us who live in countries like the United States, we don’t see too much in the way of persecution. But in other countries where being a Christian is a crime, persecution is a way of life. Some are persecuted to the point of death. Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that reaches out to those who are persecuted. The stories are heartbreaking, but I have heard stories where, because God has blessed them with a determination to keep following Him no matter what, and in the very end of their lives, they boldly proclaim Jesus as Lord, God gives them grace to face those horrific trials.
The last Beatitude I tend to put together with the persecuted. Because it talks about how God blesses us when people mock us, lie about us, and do evil against us because of our stand for Christ. In the U.S., that’s more the kind of persecution we face. We are truly blessed to live in a country where we can freely worship God without fear of the military breaking down our church doors and arresting every Believer. We have no idea what those in other countries face. I truly believe that, as Christians in the United States and other countries like ours, we need to ask God for forgiveness for being so self-righteous, smug even, in thinking that we deserve to live here and not face assault from the enemy of our souls. We should be thankful beyond measure that God has placed us in this land of freedom, and then pray for those who suffer needlessly for their faith.
Today, take stock of the Spiritual blessings God has granted. Our salvation is so precious because it was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. The least we can do is live a life of gratitude for everything we receive. Our salvation is the greatest blessing that God could ever bestow upon us!