Food and water are essential to life. We are driven to satisfy the body’s demands of hunger and thirst. We know what it feels like to be hungry and thirsty and the cravings for food and water such hunger generates. In the fourth beatitude Jesus used this most basic human need to teach His hearers their souls needed nourishment as well.
Just as the body craves and demands food and drink, so the soul hungers and thirsts. But there is a difference – our bodies let us know when we’re hungry and thirsty. We experience physical discomfort and anxiety – not so the soul. We can’t feel its lack of nourishment, so we must be all the more cautious and alert to its needs. Continue reading “Happy Are Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness…”
You’re kidding, right? Happy are the meek?! What world are you living in? Meekness, “do unto others,” “turn the other cheek”: All those sweet sounding platitudes may be good for church and for teaching kids in Sunday school, but as a realistic lifestyle, it doesn’t work like that. Life’s too mean, too intense, it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and meekness just doesn’t cut it.
That’s the general sort of reaction you get when you start talking about meekness. Maybe because it rhymes with weakness it is thought to characterize the weak, timid, and frightened. You know – “meek as a mouse.” Continue reading “Happy Are the Meek…”
It has been observed that the Christian faith is characterized by paradoxes. For example, the cross was an ignominious instrument of tortuous death, yet it became God’s glorious instrument of salvation. The second Beatitude is no less a paradox. It calls for God’s covenant people to be happy for the occasion to mourn.
That sounds a lot like something I don’t want to do! Mourning is usually the result of misfortune, calamity, or tragedy. How is it possible for such to produce the opposite – happiness? Continue reading “Happy Are They That Mourn…”
Search! That’s what life is – a great search. We search for all sorts of things – fame, fortune, good health, knowledge, a wife or husband, just to name a few. Always high on the list of “searched for” items is happiness. The sad part is that too many attempt to find happiness in the wrong places.
An interesting section of Scripture in Matthew’s gospel (5.3-11), just nine verses in all, is devoted exclusively to the subject of happiness. You’ll recognize the familiar name given to those verses – “The Beatitudes.” They are so named because each verse begins with the word “blessed” – a word derived from an old English term meaning “happy.”
Continue reading Bulletin Articles 01/11/09
I love the psychological boost I get from the act of changing the calendar – of writing 9 instead of 8 at the end of 200_. And it’s purely psychological – all in the head! Last Thursday wasn’t a lot different than the Thursday before nor has this week differed radically from the previous 52 – but it is different. It’s the first week of the New Year.
It’s “Starting Over” time… “New Beginnings” time… “Fresh Start” time… “Clean Slate” time. It’s a time for evaluation, contemplation, and expectation – a time for reviewing our work and activities of the past twelve months and a time for planning and preparing for the coming twelve month period. For me, that’s always exciting! Continue reading Bulletin Articles 01/04/09
Mom and Dad:
The Memory Makers
Memories – What a treasured gift, provided they are good and happy memories; what a sad and sorry lot they are if they are not.
Memories are a part of our heritage. They help define who we are – both the good ones and the bad. We pass the memories of our heritage down to our children while at the same time adding new ones of our own to be included in the chronicles of their lives. Continue reading Bulletin Articles 12/14/08
By the grace of God and through our obedience to the good news of salvation in Jesus’ name, we have been born anew into the family of God. He has adopted us to be His people and sent His Holy Spirit to live within us, bearing witness with our spirits that we are His children whereby we cry Abba Father! (Romans 8.15-16).
In Jewish households, servants were not allowed to use the word Abba to address the head of the family. That term was reserved exclusively for the children. In Romans 8, Paul’s use of the term is intended to convey to us just how deeply the Spirit assures us that we are indeed children of the Most High God – our Heavenly Father. Continue reading Bulletin Articles 12/07/08
The Diakonos Principle
Servanthood in the New Testament
The church Jesus envisioned, both in time and eternity, is a servant church. Speaking with reference to time, He told His disciples “the greatest among you shall be your servant” (Matthew 23.11), and of eternity, He revealed the saved would be welcomed home with these words: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25.21). He who “came not to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10.45) provides the pattern and sets the example for all would seek to be a part of both His earthly and eternal kingdom – the church. Continue reading Bulletin Articles 11/30/08