Jesus teaches the beatitudes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2014

While writing the article about The Doxology, for some reason I thought about The Beatitudes. I don’t think I’ve written about these before.
Strangers often ask where my stories come from and I can truly say sometime (like this one) they do come from the Lord.
No, I didn’t hear “that still small voice” this time, but was led to go back to the Bible to read Matthew 5:1-12 which I had not read in a long time. This scripture is also referred to as The Sermon on the Mount.
Jesus had traveled and chosen his disciples. He had seen crowds following him so he sat down on the mountainside and began to teach the following:
Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I believe many people see the word poor as referring to finances. Personally I may, or may not, interpret this as others do, but I can only share my personal view. I see this as Jesus telling us that even if we are poor in spirit, when we invite Jesus into our hearts we will become “rich in spirit.” There is a wealth of knowledge in God’s Holy Word.
Matthew 5:4 – “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” I know this to be true because of my grief when my husband died at age 47.I was only 45 but many times, before and after, God has given me comfort on the mountains and in the valleys. He has carried me when I have been physically unable to walk. He led me back to reading his Holy Word. Then he guided me through scriptures that spoke to my heart and enabled me to comfort others who have reason to mourn.
Mathew 5:5 – “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth,”
Many people think meek refers to those of us who are physically weak, shy, or do not think too highly of ourselves. Joni Erickson, before she married Tada, wrote that weakness is “strength under control.”
Matthew 5:6 – “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.” Again, I can only explain how this happened when I followed God’s plan for me to read, study, and learn how his word applies in my every day life. I became “thirsty” to learn the real meaning of righteousness.
Matthew 5:7 – “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” I have a long way to go to show mercy to “everyone.” I know our Lord is a forgiving and loving God and that his word teaches us that we must forgive others but some of the mean things these days are often hard for me to forgive. The mass slayings, especially of innocent children, and then the shooter ending his own life makes me angry. Mothers and their boyfriends who perform lewd acts on children are more than I can even write my feelings about.
After the shootings of the children in the Amish school, I read about their beliefs in such things as this; and quote one parent as follows: “Going after the person who killed our child should be forgiven and forgotten. We will not forget our child but the sinner that took her. It was God’s will for us to give our child back to him.” The Lord knows I need to become more merciful as I have been fortunate to be shown mercy in many ways.
Matthew 5:8 – “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
This is what we all should strive to be. Pure is something that is “not mixed with any other element.” A given example is a nun who is moral and of upstanding character. Unfortunately, low morals are the standards of many in the world today. How many of us will be “pure in heart and able to see God?”
Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called sons of God.” To be a peacemaker one has to be willing to listen and consider both sides of the story. My favorite scripture here is
First Kings Chapter 3: Solomon, the new king (son of David) asked the Lord for wisdom. The Lord gave him wisdom and discernment to decide the rightful mother of the baby when the two prostitutes appeared before him claiming ownership of the one living child. I remember a time when two women argued about who should be my mother. I guess God intervened as the woman who gave birth to me raised me though she shared the responsibility with my aunt for the early years of my childhood.
Matthew 5:10 – “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” All over the world, Christians are being persecuted physically and verbally. The worst problems we face here are things like removing the Nativity settings from government grounds and “In God we Trust” from our money, prayers from our schools, and so on.
Matthew 5:11 – “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.” I have never experienced this. There was a time when I tried to avoid discussing my beliefs, but we do have freedom of speech. Since I started writing and speaking, I do not hesitate to share my belief in Jesus Christ and the teaching of God’s word. I am reluctant to discuss those topics that are argumentative as I do not feel led to create controversy. I had one story revoked by three papers because it could have caused hurt feelings.
Matthew 5:12 – “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” I learned a lesson about how they persecuted the prophets who were before me when I read a book about the martyrs in the days before my time.
I can only wish I could be that strong and loyal to our Lord. But I can only rejoice and be glad as I look forward to life in heaven!
I remember my Bible when I was a child was all in black and white and very tiny print. I still have it, but no longer can read it. I saw other kids had Bibles with red print quoting Jesus and I was so jealous! But I soon learned that was a violation of the Ten Commandments so now I just give thanks that my Bibles all have large print and the words of Jesus are in red print.
Throughout Chapter 7, all verses are in red as Jesus teaches about our being salt and light, the fulfillment of the law, murder, adultery, and so many other subjects on which as Christians we should ponder and practice.
In Chapter 8:1 we are told “when he came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.” This is referred to as the end of The Sermon on the Mount. At that point, Jesus began to perform his earthly miracles.
And it is time for me to stop writing about the “supreme blessedness and exhalted happiness” revealed in The Beatitudes. I have prayed that God will bless my personal reading and sharing of his word. “And let it be so…Amen and Amen!”
Linda Beck is a local writer who lives in Woodleaf.

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