Blessed. 1 syllable or 2?

Recently, our pastor has been preaching a series entitled, “Upside Down Kingdom”.

He is drawing from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5-7. The first 12 verses of Ch. 5 are called the Beatitudes. You can listen to the first sermon here.

central church logo

This morning, I woke up with a moment of clarity.

Being blessed is not about accolades or accumulations but about my attitude.

How easy is it to think that if I have stuff (money, home, car, kids, wife, dog, talent, good looks, job, etc) then I am blessed. The result of God’s blessing is reduced to things. This type of thinking is how the world thinks.

Well friends, that kind of thinking is wrong. We live in an upside down kingdom. Jesus clearly mentioned what it means to be blessed. Here are his words from Matthew,

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (underline mine)

This is not the time and place for a full explanation of these verses. But there are two things that I will highlight:

***The word blessed means happy, fortunate, having received God’s favor.

So yes, one can argue that being blessed means you have stuff.  After all, God is giving you His favor. He likes you. He can give you things. But I don’t think that is the primary evidence of a blessed life. That brings me to the second point.

***All of the things in these verses are internal properties, not external possessions.

Do you see the contrast?

My first blog of 2018 said that I was going to try to answer the question, “Who Am I?” Click here to read it.

And to answer that question today, I would say that I am blessed!

blessed 2

Not because of what I have but because of Christ’s work in me. His Spirit has enabled me to be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty, merciful, pure in heart, peaceful, and persecuted.

His work on the cross is what makes this type of living even possible. It would be absolutely crazy and foolish to think that I could be blessed (according to Matthew 5) due to anything that I could do.

Jesus did it all. I did nothing.

As I get ready to sign off, remember this:

Being blessed is not about accolades or accumulations but about my attitude.

Go out into your world and have the right attitude.

God will help you.

Then He will bless you.

And that is a good thing.

 

Advertisements

All it took was a cross.

Who Am I? That question will likely be repeated many times this year. I will try to answer that question with my posting. This blog, in essence, is my journal.

journal

As I discover my identity in Christ, I will write in my journal (this blog).

You, as the reader, will hopefully be challenged, enlightened, or whatever God gives you, when you read each post. I also want to encourage you to comment. There might be something you write about that another reader might be thinking.

Above all, it is my hope and prayer that this post will bring glory to God. Sure, I like when people “like”, comment, or even follow me but all of that is icing on the cake.

God gets all the praise and honor. After all, He did say that if “I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me,” John 12:32


Remember 2017? My posts all had the same format.

The Word. The Worth. The Work.

This structure helped me to explain my thoughts and hopefully, communicate them clearly. I will use the same organization for the Who Am I? posts.


The Word – Colossians 2:13-15

hammer and nails

The Worth – I am alive because of Christ and all it took was the cross.

I was dead in sins. There was no life because of my sinful nature.

But God made me alive! He forgave my sins! Even more, he took the power away from my enemy and nailed it to that cross!!! It is finished!!!

The Work – Who Am I? I am alive! I know that based on what I read in Colossians.

So now, because I am alive, I can start living. No more dead man walking stuff.

I guess this means Jesus nailed it!

 

Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58

I was a little frustrated with the letter T. At first, I thought that there would be many eligible words that begin with this letter. I mean, in Wheel of Fortune, it is one of the pre-selected bonus letters!

letters on wheel of fortune

However, I wrestled with which word to choose. No worries though. I feel as if God showed me this one personally.

The Word – timeless

The Worth – As I have stated before, I work as a waiter at the Olive Garden. Although it is a good job, it puts me smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone. And that is a problem. I wrote about this a while back…Bad Words #1.

I kept using the excuse that I cannot see how this future is going to work out. There is a calling on my life. This I know to be a fact. Undeniable and completely real. Here is another post with more on my calling. My Haiti Experience, Called!

Isn’t that how many of us feel about our future? We don’t see how it works out.

The big picture? Yeah, right!

Does the canvas tell the artist how or what to paint? Not!

Does the 2×4 tell a carpenter how to build a house? Whatever!

I want to know the future. It would be great if we could see what is coming ahead.

But we can’t see the future. But God can.

And you know why God can see the future?

Simply because He is already there.

God said in Exodus 3:14, “I am that I am.”

That was all Moses needed to hear.

Jesus said in John 8:58, “Before Abraham was, I am.”

You can hear the proverbial pin drop. Jesus just said that he was alive before Abraham. A rough estimate puts Abraham being born around 2000 BC. Jesus would have been really old. I guess one does not age that much when you are eternal, or for this post, timeless.

i-am

The Work – Jesus is timeless. He has been around forever.

So the next time you get frustrated with a problem or you find you are stuck in your comfort zone, remember that God is already in your future. He sees where you are headed. This should give you amazing assurance.

Move forward in confidence fellow soldier. God is out in front paving the way!

 

Surprise!!!

You know that moment…the lights are off, people huddled in every corner of the room. The unsuspecting victim walks through the door and with the turning on of the lights, everyone yells Surprise!!!

I was that ‘victim’ on my 40th birthday. Without all of the details (which would take way more time than two minutes), my wife threw the biggest surprise of my life.

I walked into the large room at our church and there were over 100 of my friends and family waiting for me. SURPRISE!!! Totally and completely surprised. I had no idea.

surprise

The Word – surprise

The Worth – Why is it that we are surprised when God does something great?

Sure, it is understandable when the Red Sea parts. Exodus 14

Or when the walls of Jericho fall down. Joshua 7

Or when the bush is on fire but not burning up. Exodus 3

Or when Jesus turns water into wine. John 2

Or when Paul prays and the boy returns from the dead. Acts 20 

In 1 Thessalonians 5, there is a single verse that has had my attention for many years. I would say it is in the top three of my favorites.

vs. 24 “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Or, in my translation, “If God said it, it will happen.”

It may not happen when or how we would like to see it but God is sovereign. It will happen as He said it would. So I ask again, why are we surprised when God moves?

The Work – Can I challenge you? This is a challenge for all who follow Jesus.

Live in such a way that you are not surprised when God does something awesome.

God gives us so many promises in His word. We can count on every one of them. So when you pray, let your faith expand. Know that God will accomplish what He said.

And don’t need to be surprised when it happens. =-)

Because of P, we get Q.

Before I get into this post, please read my previous post. It is the foundation for today’s message. Here is the link, Two people, a bus, and a gift.

foundations

A through P. That marks my progress so far this year. Today is about the letter Q. This one was more difficult than most of the others. But as I typed the last post, a seed of an idea started to grow. Again, Two people, a bus, and a gift was the beginning and now it will continue.


My best friend is computer/IT guy.

I have a friend who is a medical doctor.

I have another friend who is a financial planner.

My wife is a graphic designer.

My pastor is also my mentor.

What do these people have in common? They are all qualified.

The Word – qualified

The Worth – In any type of setting where a person is receiving something, it is important that the giver is qualified.

In no way would I go to the doctor for a surgery unless I knew that he/she was trained and educated to do the procedure!

It would not make sense to take advice from someone unless they have experience and knowledge in the specific area in which I need advice.

You know what? God is qualified. 

That begs the question, “What is God qualified to do?”

The short answer is that He can do anything because He is God.

But the specific answer is that God is qualified to forgive me and you.

Hebrews 9 talks about the superior quality of Christ’s blood over the blood of goats, calves, etc. that were used in sacrificing. Reading the whole chapter would be better because of the context but I will put verse 12 here for now.

Hebrews 9:12 “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.”

The blood of animals was temporary. It did not last. In essence, the animal blood was not qualified to take away sin. But Jesus, who was perfect, eternal, and human, was uniquely qualified for the task of removing sin.

I like that phrase, uniquely qualified. It would be good to remember it.

The Work – Because God is passionate about loving us and Jesus is qualified to remove our sins, we don’t need to try to save ourselves! We can’t do it anyway! Our good works and the like are not qualified to save us.

What we can do is accept this truth by faith. We can rest in the knowledge that God has taken care of everything. His life can flow through us everyday!

Make and spend time with Him today. Thank Him that He is qualified!

And you know what that means? We are now qualified!

When, by faith, we accept His sacrifice, we are now seen as righteous!

We become His tool on earth for His work and His kingdom!

So go out and live purposely because you are qualified to do so!

Qualified With Green Tickmark