What Does Being Blessed Mean?

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 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.”

On Sunday my Pastor preached about the scripture above. During his sermon he told a story about a former neighbor of his who made a lot of money and did not mind telling people about it. It wasn’t that this man is a bad person or someone that people disliked, he is a very nice and sociable person in fact when my Pastor asked him how he was doing he said, “Man I am so blessed!” 

My Pastor said after getting in his car he thought is that really what Jesus meant when He said someone is blessed? 

Obviously when you read the Beatitudes you realize it’s the on going flipping of the worldly narrative. 

We see the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the ones who hunger for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted who are called blessed. 

Compare that to the world. The world’s version of being blessed is money, prosperity and happiness. Who Jesus called blessed would be considered cursed by the standards of the world. 

The world’s standards are so much different than God’s. 

I actually found a wonderful article that I think articulates the meaning of being “Blessed”. I would like to share that with you to close this weeks blog entry: 
https://openthebible.org/article/what-does-it-really-mean-to-be-blessed/

Have a (truly) Blessed Week, 
Chris 

Source: 
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A1-12&version=NIV

The Frivolous Pursuit of Happiness

I hear a lot things like, “I just want to be happy” or “when will it be my turn to be happy?”

Businesses and people market things by telling people to find something or someone to make you happy. 

This mentality leads to people making their entire lives revolve around being happy.

And you know what? That is selfish.

Sounds harsh, I know. But if your entire life is about making yourself happy than the above statement is true.

Not only is it selfish but it is an empty pursuit.

Happiness is incredibly fleeting. 

Think about when you got something that made you incredibly happy. Could be a toy as a kid, a gift as an adult, something you bought. 

How long did that happiness last? How long before the item just became another thing in your life?

How long before you needed something else to make you happy? 

Maybe it’s a fun event you went to or a vacation, at the time it made you happy but then it was over and you needed to do something else to make you happy.

Heck there’s been times where I have gone back to a town I visited that was a lot of fun and made me happy when I was there only to feel depressed because the town no longer gave me the same feeling. I was pursuing a fleeting emotion. 

This leads to people having relationships that are purely built on making themselves happy. Even marriages that are built on the foundation of happiness. What happens in that relationship or marriage when happiness leaves? 

It will collapse.

Which will make you unhappy.

Truly if your goal in life is happiness you will spend most of your life unhappy. 

So what should you pursue?

You should pursue the supplier of all things good.

God.

Pursue God and your life will be filled. Filled with purpose.

It will be a life that is about self sacrifice and serving God and His creation. A life that has true meaning. 

Yes there will be happiness along the way but in addition to that, true joy, peace and love.

A life where you truly enjoy the happy moments and our grateful. Not waiting for the next new person, place or thing. 

A life where you have all you need because you have God. Because in the end what good is it to gain the world and forfeit your soul?

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris 

Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2021

The past couple of years I have made posts on Dr. Martin Luther King on MLK Day, well this year I have decided to share my blog entry from 2021 as I really like the content in the entry and the online service my church did for that week.

In addition here is a link to last year’s entry as well: https://thegoodword2016.wordpress.com/2022/01/17/martin-luther-king-jr-day-2022/

I hope everyone has a blessed week,
Chris

The Good Word

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was an amazing man. Every time I have heard him speak in videos he gives me goosebumps. I have to admit I do not know enough about this man. But he was a true a hero and treasure to America and to the Kingdom of God.

Here are a few quotes from the great Dr. King I saw on an article (I will post the link to the full list of quotes below)…

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“Always be sure that you struggle with Christian methods and Christian weapons. Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline, using only the weapon of love.”

“It may well be that we will have to repent in…

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Newness

Revelation 21:5 (The New King James Version) 
5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

We are now in a new year. And while everyone is talking about the “new year” it’s the same old, same old. People are making new resolutions and promises. 

Which will lead to new failures and broken promises. 

Often then people will just wait till next year to try all over again. 

But what if there was something different? 

What if I told you about a way to truly change and see the world the way it was intended? 

Through the eyes of Jesus Christ. 

This world is cursed by sin and the wages of sin is death. We are all flawed and fall short of the Glory of God. 

But does God look down on us? Does God hate us? 

No, God loves us. He made us in His image and sent His son Jesus to die in our place so we can be reconciled to Him and have eternal life. 

When you accept Christ, the Holy Spirit will indwell in you and you can truly change when you live by the Spirit of God. 

Not only will you be saved from Hell but you can also be transformed through sanctification. Go see and hear testimonies from people whose entire lives have been changed through Jesus Christ. 

Not only can your life be transformed by Jesus now but also there will be a day where He will make all things new. No more pain, no more suffering, no more sin. 

But you know what? That is not even the Good News of the Gospel. You see I am sure many people may read this and say, “I’m good. I am fine the way that I am, if I need change I can do it my way. I don’t need Jesus.”

But let me ask you this, does your way get you out of hell? 

Because Jesus said He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. That no man comes to the Father except through Him. When you stand before God who is a righteous judge will you attempt to show yourself and your good works as means to save yourself? 

A righteous judge can not let you go without justice. But if you accept Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for your sins you will not face hell. 

So I ask you to please… 

Remember God’s resolution. 

Remember God’s promise. 

Remember His Word. 

And Have a Blessed Week, 
Chris 

Source: 
https://biblia.com/bible/nkjv/revelation/21/5

More on This Verse: 
https://www.gotquestions.org/I-make-all-things-new.html

There Will Be a Day (Jeremy Camp): 

In Defense of Christmas II: Video Series

Five years ago I wrote a blog entry called, “In Defense of Christmas”. Today I am going to share with you some apologetic videos about Christmas that put to bed the silly “Christmas is Pagan” arguments.

First Inspiring Philosophy

Next three videos from Mike Winger.

Debunking Christmas Myths:

Is Christmas PAGAN? In defense of Christmas:

Stop Twisting Jeremiah 10 Because It’s Not About Christmas Trees:

Last a Christmas Song. Phil Wickman “Angels We Have Heard On High”

He Lost

I once read about a famous rock star who died young. His music and performances were loaded with satanic imagery, it was really unfortunate. 

A person left a comment directed at the writer along the lines of, “Yeah well he’s famous and people still all these years later love his music and no one knows who you are”. 

At first I was angry at the reply but then after I thought about it I realized in both the Christian view and atheist view, the famous rock star tragically lost.

If the atheist is right, well the rock star died so young he isn’t around to enjoy his legacy, his wealth or his fame. He’s just gone.

If the Christian is right, the rock star is in hell for eternity suffering for his sins. 

It’s a modern example of Pascal’s Wager*.

Truly there is nothing in this world that is forever, it all withers away and dies.

What good is to gain the world but lose your soul?

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris

*Learn about Pascal’s Wager: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P40/pascals-wager

Luke 18:9-14 Bible Study Guide

Hello Everyone,

This Wednesday Night at my church I will be leading a Bible Study on Luke 18:9-14. I wrote a study guide this morning so I would like to share that with you for this week’s entry. Hopefully the questions can help you think about the text in a more in-depth way.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Luke 18:9-14
New International Version
The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Questions

-When you read this parable what comes to your mind? What are your first thoughts?

-Let’s compare the two people in this parable. 

-For me there seems to be a common trend of Jesus speaking up against arrogant religious leaders. How can this be a cautionary tale to us as Christians especially in leadership?

-Do you think the pharisee was a bad person or perhaps just misguided?

-Is it possible to become so focused on God’s commandments that we forget God’s grace?

-This may be a tough one. What’s some tips and guides we can all use to stay humble while not sacrificing our integrity?

-Tell me some of your closing thoughts.

-Prayer 

Grace

The grace of God is truly amazing and honestly inconceivable. 

We try to understand it and we try to explain it but God’s grace is incredible.

God’s grace is of utmost importance. Because we are saved by grace through faith in Christ Jesus.

God saves us with His grace.

Nothing can separate us from the love of God.

Doesn’t matter how far you have fallen, God’s grace is for you. Have faith and you will be saved. 

Repent and believe.

Repent and return.

Nothing can top the grace of God.

Have a Blessed Week,

Chris 

Further reading…

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/grace-bible-verses/

A Song…

Low Standards, Lower Grace

Last Week I wrote about God having “High Standards but Higher Grace”. How does this compare to a worldly view?

The world right now is promoting love, acceptance and tolerance.

But is this true?

Have you tried lately presenting your Christian beliefs to a worldly person?

How much love, acceptance and tolerance have you received?

I know they’re many Christians who are hard hearted and lack compassion and love as well but I am strictly speaking of what God’s standards are against the world’s.

The truth is the world’s standards are not as loving and accepting as they claim.

Speaking of standards, the world’s standards are so low. So much is considered okay. Lying, adultery, divorce, lust, violence, I could go on and on. As long as their is an excuse behind it like, “It was only a white lie” or “They deserved it”.

The world is telling you to enjoy all of life’s pleasures, just be yourself with sayings like “You do you!” and “Live your best life!”

Sounds great on the surface but in reality that way of life is empty and has no moral compass whatsoever. Another persons pleasure could cause another’s pain. You may say, “It’s fine as long as it’s not hurting anyone else”.

Is it? What if it’s hurting oneself? Do you really think it’s healthy to live a life for pleasure? You will always be unsatisfied looking for the next fix. A new house, car, phone. The dream vacation isn’t good enough when you find out your neighbor did the same vacation but got the luxury suite.

You will be left empty, jealous and wanting more.

Now let’s talk about grace, that is the main focus here.

The world has an extremely low version of grace.

Make one mistake and the world will attempt to destroy you, there is no forgiveness offer, no redemption allowed.

Don’t believe me?

Go and pull up a job application. The vast majority of them require you to inform the business if you have committed a crime in the past. Doesn’t matter if it was 30 years ago it will always be with you. If a similar crime happens in your area, the police will show up and question you first because you will always be that criminal for the rest of your life.

That is the world’s standards and that is just one example.

They will claim God is harsh, cruel and judgmental. But in reality what is God’s grace?

The Bible says God will cast our sins into the bottom of the sea, He will remove our transgressions as far as the east is from the west.

All you need is faith and repentance.

If you have faith you will stand before God not as a criminal, not as a liar, not as an adultery, not as a sinner but has a redeemed child of God.

That is true Grace, that is true love. That is something the world will never offer you.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Further Reading:
https://explorethebible.lifeway.com/blog/adults/10-things-god-does-with-our-sin-session-11-psalm-321-11/#:~:text=When%20God%20forgives%20our%20sins,depths%20of%20the%20sea%20(Mic.

High Standards, Higher Grace

At Men’s Prayer Breakfast on Saturday we planned on discussing Matthew 5-7 but in the end we didn’t even get through Chapter 5 because there is so much to unpack.

One point that was brought up was the difficulty of doing a lot of what Jesus is saying.

During the discussion it came to me, “high standards, higher grace”.

We do have high standards to follow as Christians but the Grace of God far exceeds are failures.

This does not give us a license to sin or ignore God’s commands.

No it should give you hope and more reason to follow God’s commands. Because while God’s standards are high it’s not just His grace that is higher but His love and His mercy.

Have a Blessed Week,
Chris

Matthew Chapter 5:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%205&version=NIV