“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”
— Jesus, Matthew 5:9, NIV, accessed from BibleGateway.com
It seems that many Christians have trouble with the idea of Jesus as a peacemaker and even more trouble with the idea of themselves as peacemakers. After all what can one person in this world do to stop the violence and pave the way for peace?
The answer to this is simple. We stop being violent. We become peace. We live, breathe and act out of peace. One person. One kind loving act. That is how it is done. Is it easy? Of course not. But is it possible? Yes, but we cannot look at the whole big picture of violence in the world because it will be overwhelming.
No one can wave a magic wand and make all war and violence stop. But we can calm the violence and anger within ourselves. Next, we bring our families, churches, and communities together in peace. That’s how peace spreads. One person at a time.
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
— Jesus, The Bible, Matthew 5:6, NIV, Accessed by Bible Gateway.com
Some precious souls can do many good deeds; they feed the hungry, help heal the sick and wounded, comfort the abused, visit the imprisoned and do many other good and honorable things. Yet these same people are often, themselves, rejected, misunderstood, seen as prey either socially, financially or politically and often do they cry out in their anguish for fair treatment.
How can we be an instrument of God to help the person seeking fair treatment find peace in God?
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.” — The Bible Matthew Chapter 5:1-2, New International Version, accessed via Bible Gateway.com.
Beginning today we will be considering that great teaching session of Jesus usually referred to as the “Sermon on the Mount.” This sermon takes up three chapters of the book of Matthew (5, 6 and 7) and includes lots of good stuff. This is where Jesus talks about being salt and light in the world, murder, oaths, “an eye for an eye,” giving to the needy, prayer, laying up treasures in heaven, judging others, ask, seek, knock, true and false prophets and disciples and much, much, more.
But this lengthy teaching begins with what we call The Beatitudes, that series of statements beginning with the words “blessed are.” We will be going through these verse by verse, one per day.
Dig a Little Deeper: As we read about these think about the people Jesus calls blessed — is it shocking? How does it go against conventional wisdom or popular culture?
“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.”― Rich Mullins
Dig a Little Deeper:
As followers of Jesus, how can we love like Jesus loved?
Here we are again at the beginning of the month of December when we celebrate “Christmas.” Are you one of the people who dread this time of year and just wish it would be over? Do you feel like you are going through the motions of the season because you don’t want to let your family down or that you wouldn’t be a “good Christian” if you didn’t? Are you tired of the great festival of greed and excess the holidays have become? Have you noticed that instead of bringing us together, the divisions that separate us seem to grow even deeper during this season? So what do we do?
Well I have a suggestion. Let’s realize that the busyness and excess surrounding the holiday called “Christmas” are not part of the Christmas story or the message of Jesus. Let’s take the myths and fables out of our celebrations. And finally, let’s stop worshiping the baby in the manger and start following the life and teachings of Jesus, the way shower and master teacher.
This month we are going to be looking at the life and teachings of Jesus and how they apply to the lives of his followers in the world today. My personal preference of translation of the Bible for my personal study is the King James version because I love the language, but I have chosen to use the New International Version (NIV) for this series because it is easier to read.
Each day’s post will end with an opportunity to dig a little deeper into the lesson, by considering a question or questions. I encourage you to think about these, live with them for a while. Journal about them or post your thoughts to the comments. Please get active in this discussion, we really want everyone to gain a real understanding of what it is we are celebrating during this holiday season.
Yes, this may be challenging, but it will be life-changing if you allow it. Please join us in this great adventure into the life of Jesus.
Dig a Little Deeper:
During the month of December Christians celebrate light and Jesus.
How do our celebrations reflect the light and life of Jesus?