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Showing posts with the label Beatitudes

PERSECUTED | 40 Days of Focus, Day 25

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Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:10 | NIV)  You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
(Matthew 5:10 | The Message) Most of us have no idea what it really looks like to be persecuted. We've all experienced bullies and jerks. We've all face insults and passive aggressiveness. But real persecution is deeper than that. Persecution arises out of fear and a lack of understanding. We fear that which we don't understand. We cannot love that which we fear.

One of the most misunderstood types on the Enneagram is Type 5 - the Observer or Investigator. Fives have a deep inner commitment to truth and knowledge. They would rather sit back and people watch than actually engage in social interactions. They read the Encyclopedia for fun as kids. They are typically the type of people who know a little bit about everything and everythin…

PEACEMAKER | 40 Days of Focus, Day 24

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Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
(Matthew 5:9 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
(Matthew 5:9 | The Message) Everyone who would rather avoid conflict, let me know by making a passive aggressive comment under your breath!

There are very few people who appreciate conflict and arguments. Type Eights aside, most people would rather avoid those hard, painful conversations. But I think we are all aware that absence of conflict does not equal peace. In fact, it can be quite the opposite. Whenever a family never fights or argues, it's probably because nobody is talking to each other, they're all just avoiding the tough topics that need to be addressed. Anger and resentment bubble and simmer just below the surface. From the outside everything might look ok. But unless there is some conflict, there can never be real gr…

PURE | 40 Days of Focus, Day 23

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Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
(Matthew 5:8 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
(Matthew 5:8 | The Message) Pure in heart. Now that's a phrase we don't use a lot. We don't tend to talk about purity that often. We want our water to be pure. We want essential oils to be a certain degree of purity. We like pure gold and Purity Milk. But our hearts? Is it even possible to be "pure in heart?"

When I think of this phrase I think of innocence. Deep down we all know that we adults are anything but pure and innocent. In fact, if we meet someone in their late teens or early twenties who actually is "pure," we feel uncomfortable around them. We call them sheltered or socially awkward. There's something unsettling about an adult who is "too" innocent or pure hearted. They're just a little too childlike.


But isn't that the point? Jes…

MERCIFUL | 40 Days of Focus, Day 22

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Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
(Matthew 5:7 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
(Matthew 5:7 | The Message) A word about mercy. The word is closely related to the concepts of justice and grace. Here's an easy way to keep them all straight.
Justice: I get what I deserve (positive or negative)Grace: I get what I don't deserve (positive)Mercy: I don't get what I deserve (negative) We want the world to be fair and just. We want everything to be boiled down to a simple ration where the guilty are punished and the "good guys" get rewarded. But that all breaks down the moment we understand that bad things happen to good people, and the "bad guy"sometimes gets away with it. We begin to believe that the world is chaotic, that it's dog-eat-dog, and that only the strong survive. We can't take anything for granted - even our personal safety and survival.
Some of us…

HUNGER | 40 Days of Focus, Day 21

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
(Matthew 5:6 | The Message) What are you hungry for? What are you thirsty for? What sustains you? What keeps you feeling whole and satisfied?

For certain people among us, the answer is simple: perfection.

We all know those people who want everything to be done right, for everything to be as good as it could possibly be. We know those who chase perfection in all they do - how they raise their family, how they perform academically, how they clean their house, how they organize the files on their computer. There is a right way to do things, and a wrong way to do things. They have a very binary view of the world - right/wrong, black/white, good/evil, straight/crooked.


Good enough is not good enough.

We call these people "Perfectionists." They find their home at th…

MEEK | 40 Days of Focus, Day 20

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Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
(Matthew 5:5 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
(Matthew 5:5 | The Message) Google defines the word "meek" as quiet, gentle, and easily imposed on; submissive. It's closely related to humility. We have a hard time with those words in our society. It's a shame that meek rhymes with weak - because that's not what it means. It's a shame that humble and humiliation share the same root. We associate humility and meekness with weakness and fragility.

A Clydesdale may be meek and submissive, but that in no way means he's weak or fragile. To be meek is to harness your power, to control your strength, and not to impose your will on others by force.

Again, it's closely tied to humility. To be humble is not to think less of yourself, but to think of yourself less.

I always find…

MOURN | 40 Days of Focus, Day 19

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Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
(Matthew 5:4 | NIV)  You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
(Matthew 5:4 | The Message) Enneagram Type Fours are commonly known as Individualists or Romantics. They tend to be more creative types - painters, musicians, authors, poets, etc. They have a unique way of seeing the world, and they want to be seen by the world as unique. They are driven by a desire to be special, different, authentic, but most of all to be accepted for who they are. You may not know who they are from one week to the next as they try on different personas and styles.

But the thing that really sets Fours apart from most other types is their comfort with melancholy. Fours tend to be drawn to sad movies, heartfelt TV dramas, and emotional indie music. They embrace sorrow like it's a close friend. It's been said that Fours don't have emotions, they are emotio…

Salt, part 4

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The hodgepodge crowds from around Galilee gathered together along the shoreline of the Sea. They anxiously waited to hear what this teacher would say. The rabbi stood atop the hill, looking down towards the crowds below, full of fishermen, bakers, farmers, and businessmen. A hush fell over the people, and the rabbi said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

And so begins the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus begins his most famous sermon with blessings. When Jesus blesses the poor in spirit, the meek, those in mourning, those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, people in the crowd new, "Hey, he's talking about me." These are the peasants, the outcasts, the beat-down, the lonely, the poor, the broken, and the have-nots. They were not among the spiritually elite. They were ordinary, helpless people who longed to hear some good news from God, because according to their preachers and rabbis, God blesses those who have it all together.

Not according to this rabbi. This…