Beautiful Attitudes for Living

And the journey continues….Matthew. The gospel of Matthew is very complete beginning with Jesus’ lineage, the angel appearing to Joseph, the visit of the Wiseman and the escape to Egypt when they were being hunted by Herod and their return and settlement in Nazareth. We see the baptism of Jesus, the calling of the disciples, teaching of those who followed him, Jesus’ trials, death, resurrection and the giving of the great commission by resurrected Jesus before his ascension. Matthew gives a complete account of Jesus’ life and focuses on His kingship. He presents Jesus as Messiah, King, and he specifically wanted the Jews who were continuing to deny that the Lord Jesus was their Messiah to recognize him as their King.

It was difficult to narrow down the wonderful gospel to a favorite part but I do love the beatitudes which are part of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. I think why this portion holds so much significance is that I have visited the area where Jesus sat and taught. It is beautiful, tranquil and bucolic.

“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.

Blessed means happy but in a spiritual sense bringing great joy and well being that is based in the kingdom of God. Jesus speaks first of those who are poor in spirit. That does not mean they were sad but that they sorrowed over their sins and repented, which will bring blessings. He also speaks of the meek. That does not mean we are to be a door mat and let people walk all over us, but that we are to be humble and open to God’s will and His ways. Those who really love Jesus and seek to be like him living a righteous life before God will be satisfied! Mercy triumphs and purity of heart allows one to see God more clearly in their life. Those who strive for peace and unity in the Spirit are known to be children of God. Those who suffer for Jesus and His kingdom will be repaid as God will reward them.

I am reminded when I read these verses of Jesus’ words in John 15:5 ““I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in youyou will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” To show these beautiful attitudes in our lives, we need to stay connected to Jesus. Without Him, we can accomplish nothing of eternal.

Linda

Bethlehem reveals God’s Omnipotence!

We have seen the power and might of God, His knowledge of people and His choices of who He would use to bring about His plan for our redemption.  Today we see His sovereign power and His control of places and world events.

Luke 2:1-4  In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world Bethlehemshould be registered. This was the first registration when  Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,”   

It was no coincidence that the Roman emperor had a census taken and that Mary and Joseph would need to travel to Bethlehem, Joseph’s ancestral home.  He was in the line of David and David’s home had been in Bethlehem in Judea since he was of the tribe of Judah.  In addition, God knew this ahead of time because the Old Testament  prophecy regarding where the Messiah would be born was given hundred of years before the event in Micah 5:2

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.

God knew when and where His Son would be born,  and it happened exactly when and where God designed it.  Not only do we see God’s sovereignty in the choice and Omnipotentcontrol of people and places but we see His Omnipotence God is All Powerful as He has unlimited power and influence.  He does all He wants and intends to do.  God is the source of all power and without God’s power everything would fall apart.  His power holds the stars in place and sustains life.   Having Mary able to travel, Joseph having to go to Bethlehem, the Roman government requiring a census are all evidences of God’s Omnipotent power.  His power and influence extends to His whole creation and nothing happens by chance.

Where do you see God’s Omnipotent power in your life?  Nothing happens that is outside His control.   His will cannot be thwarted and He will see all to completion.  No earthly leader or worldly power can stop God’s plans.  Daniel expressed his awe at God’s power in Daniel 2:20-21 ““Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
    to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
    he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding;    Daniel knew that God had power over all things, people and places.  Job also knew of God’s Omnipotent power as he states in Job 42:2  “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

job 42 2Look for God in the little things in your life and soon you will see His presence everywhere.  God’s providential care of those who believe in Jesus is a blessing beyond measure.

Linda

Road towards Pentecost begins here!

road to EmmasOne of my favorite post-resurrection appearances is the encounter of the two on the Road to Emmaus.  Overcome with grief over Jesus’ death and disbelief over what the women said about seeing Him alive,  these two followers of Christ were walking along the Emmaus Road discussing all these things.  Jesus joined them on their journey without disclosing his identity.  As they walked they were surprised that he did not know about all the events that had just occurred in Jerusalem and told him their hope that Jesus had been the long awaited Messiah.   Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures. 26 Wasn’t it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?” 27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”  Luke 24:25-27

Wouldn’t you have loved to have been there and listened to Jesus explain all about Himself?  A little later in the story when they were sitting down to eat, Jesus gave thanks, broke the bread and began to give it to them.  Right then, their eyes were opened  and they recognized Jesus.  He then disappeared from their presence.  Even though it was late they quickly returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples about their encounter with the risen Lord Jesus.

Jesus came to these two when they were in grief, despair and confusion, and He cleared up their thinking, encouraged and enlivened them.  Can you remember a time when Jesus came to you in prayer or through the actions or words of another believer to give you hope and encouragement?  Jesus promises that He will be with us wherever we go.  Just like these two, we need to look and recognize His presence with us and the hope that He brings.

Thank you JesusI pray that my Lenten Blogs have brought you hope and encouragement these past 6 weeks.  I have been mightily blessed by being with you and in the scriptures each day.  I am still pondering the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and all the blessings I HAVE because of Him.  I will continue writing on the post-resurrection appearances leading to Pentecost (40 days after the cross).  Christ appeared many times before His ascension to many individuals and groups.   They are affirming and touching encounters that teach us more about the depth of His love and care for us.

Blessings to you,

Linda

Angels appear- Oh my! What now?

shepherds fieldsI love the story of the shepherds and the angels.  God’s heavenly beings announcing the biggest event in history to lowly shepherds, the guys out tending the sheep in the lonely hills.  In the same region there were shepherds staying out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone around them, and they were terribly frightened.   Luke 2:8-9

If you had been on guard duty that night, it would have been totally dark in the hills around Bethlehem.  The only light would have been the moon and stars until out of nowhere you are suddenly surrounded by glorious flashing lights.  I think terror would have been the emotion of the evening.  Before we hear from the angels in tomorrow’s passage, let’s stop and consider why would God send holy messengers to announce His Son’s birth to shepherds?  Why not to the powerful kings of the day, or nobles?  Perhaps Jesus said it best, in Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Jesus came as our Savior to touch the lives of those that will seek Him.  He came to save 1 timothy 1 15the world from the penalty of sin which is death.  Timothy wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”  

As you listen and think about the flashing lights on that lonely night in Bethlehem, praise God that Jesus came.  He alone can save.  John 14:6 ” “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  

Have a blessed day,

Linda