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Archive for the ‘Beatitudes’ Category

Acknowledgement of Sin

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” ~ Matthew 5:4 (NRSVACE)

Question: “What condition is our heart in if it is one that morns?”

The definition of the term ‘mourn’ means: ‘to feel or express grief or sorrow’ ~ “Mourn.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 8 Oct. 2017.

We mourn for those in our families who have died, we mourn for those who suffer great loss, and we mourn for our own emptiness in times of great turbulence. But to mourn as Jesus describes it in the second blessing in the Beatitudes is to truly be remorseful over sin as we recognize its deep impact on our lives as individuals, the stain and weight it has upon our hearts, and our inability to erase this sin on our own. To recognize our sin is but the first step in mourning for we also need to take responsibility; take ownership for that sin as well.

In truth, I tell you, my brothers and sisters, when we are in such communion with our creator that we are in agreeance over our own mortal sin it is a blessing from God worthy of great reward. It is an even greater blessing when we take responsibility for our sin and fall on our face before God in the deepest of sorrow. It should be an emotional response and therefore, a means test of our sincerity.

The Process of Mourning

18 “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” ~ Psalm 34:18 (NRSVACE) 

In fact, where sin is concerned we as a race of sinners undergo definitive steps before we can ever get to the deepest level that of mourning as described by Christ.

  1. Guilt – Sin makes us guilty before God, as such we can never obtain true forgiveness without the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. But in a deeper sense of the word, ‘guilt’, we feel the weight of this sin in our hearts, bearing the stain of it upon our immortal soul. In this way, we have been found guilty and full of blame separated forever from God branded forever as a sinner.  The recognition of this state of being allows us to emotionally grapple with our sinful nature.
  2. Sorrow – When we recognize our sin and the damage it has done in our life can we then feel the sorrow over our sin; broken before God and in God’s eyes ready to be molded and shaped through this emotional response of sorrow.
  3. Remorse – Taking ownership of our sin and the damage it has done in our lives can we begin to feel remorse, falling deeper into the limous test of emotional and spiritual atonement.
  4. Mourning – In this level of emotional and spiritual unity can our hearts now meaningfully cry out to God in true repentance of the sin which our human nature clings so readily to. It is here in this state of being can we come before God and truly confess our sins and for the first time in this process acknowledge Jesus as our savior, but more importantly willing confess our need for a savior.

Question: “Can there be true forgiveness without there first being a true sense of mourning?”

Consequence to Receiving a Blessing

28 “Just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” ~ Matthew 20:28 (NRSVACE)

In many ways, our sin which is part of our earthly condition forces us into a never-ending cycle of contrition. We who are born in sin can never truly walk away from it and become sinless, hence the need for salvation, the need for a savor, and the need for forgiveness. Therefore, I tell you, my brothers and sisters, that it is not enough to understand where we stand within sin as a sinner but to also comprehend the love it took to pardon all of us sinners from Jesus’s death on the cross to this very day. For it is Jesus who took on our sin so we might have hope for salvation and sit at the table with God everlasting. Each and every blessing found in the Beatitudes cost God His son’s life, the consequence far exceeds any amount we as sinful humans could ever pay on our own or together. In fact, every person on Earth could stack their wealth up in a huge pile and offer it to God and it would still pale in comparison to the cost of one sin, let alone the thousands each one of us does in the span of our lifetime. Therefore, it is a priceless blessing that God bestows upon those of us Christians who understand this dynamic and are obedient in the taking on of our sin; the understanding of the necessity of giving that sin to God on an hourly, daily, weekly, and even a yearly basis; never ceasing to understand how much God loves us and how much we need His divine love and forgiveness. The consequence for Jesus was to die and the consequence of his death for us was life everlasting so that we could be comforted while we live here on this earth.

Question: “In what way has this gift of being blessed impacted you the most?”

“For they will be comforted.”

It is truly a blessing I tell you, my brothers and sisters, when we are in such communion with God that we are in agreeance over our own mortal sin. It is truly a blessing when we take responsibility for our sin and fall on our face before God in deep sorrow confessing that sin to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  The blessing of comfort can be found in all areas of our lives, from the hard decisions we face not knowing which way to go, or which path to take, to the last act we do before passing away. Comfort is found in a life well lived, in the knowledge your sins have been commuted and the Gates of Heaven have been opened to you, to even feeling Jesus’s hand in yours as he brings you into Him. Comfort is found in the understanding that our salvation extends to the healing of this despicable condition our hearts are in. Comfort is found within the relief of this never-ending cycle of sin which is our reality here on this earth. The human condition can never be understated but so too can the blessing of God never be lacking in its ability to free us from that condition.

The Relational God

26 But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’ ~ Matthew 19:26 (NRSVACE)

In my life when I am given a choice and I know that no matter what I do it will be a sin, thus being boxed into sin, I have always chosen to pray to God for His divine strength and understanding, I have asked Him to give me the knowledge and strength to do His will. I write this because we have a God who cares, a God who loves, and God who is relational. Our Lord so wants to be apart of everything we experience in our lives, to teach us His divine ways, to mold us into better human beings. God so wants to take on your worries, your problems, your roadblocks, and your sin. Because our God is relational He can relate to you in a way no one else here on earth can. God is forever, the master of the universe, and your personal savior. In God, there is nothing you cannot do or accomplish.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

Primary Goal: To Alway Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Ways to Communicate

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.

Finally, another means of direct communication os by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@Listeninfaith, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God” 

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017 

 

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It’s All About Perception

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:3 (NRSVACE)

Question: What does it mean to be ‘poor in spirit’?

At first take many of you my brothers and sisters might think it’s being faithless, not have a strong belief in Jesus or in God. Some of you might say that Jesus instructed us to be strong in our spirit as in seeking only spiritual riches, and thus logically speaking not to do such would be being poor in spirit; not seeking, not believing. Yet in the Beatitudes we are being instructed to be poor in spirit.

If for a moment we look at Matthew 6:21;

‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’

This further indicates that being poor in spirit is not seeking spiritual richness. For if I am spiritually bankrupt; which Jesus warned against, my heart will be hardened to His divine message and I will be truly lost. However, If I am carrying my own cross then my heart is with God… right?

Not so fast! Jesus being the master teacher gave us a parable to gage this first Beatitude with;

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax-Collector

9 “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: 10 ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.” 13 But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” 14 I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” ~ Luke 18: 9-14 (NRSVACE)

Question: ‘What is this parable really saying and how does it relate to Matthew 5:3’?

Take a moment and think deeply, pray on it and ask God for His insights. Let it sink into your heart without distraction.

Back to Beatitude Basics

Each part of the first eleven Beatitudes Jesus starts with a blessing; a commendation. To be ‘poor in spirit’ means to be humble before God. It means you have accepted your spiritual bankruptcy before the face of God and have come to Him with a sincere acceptance that you are sinners first. To Jesus, this is commendable worthy of His praise. People who are humble never boast, never taught, never think of themselves above all others, and most of all humble people listen intently to every word that comes from God allowing it to envelop every aspect of their lives.  To be ‘poor in spirit’ is an honest confession of your sins and is the deepest form of repentance. Think about how wrong the Pharisee had this very idea and how right the tax collector had it.

Let us all be ‘poor in spirit’, coming to our God with the deepest form of repentance and humility before our God. Truly I say to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, this is so relevant to us today as it was during the time of Jesus. I absolutely love how Jesus divided each of the first eleven Beatitudes into two distinctly different parts. The first is a blessing/Commendation, the second is a reward.

Blessing/Commendation:

3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit…’

If you read between the lines you will hear the words that Jesus did not say… i.e. His attitude towards those who cast off the worldly riches and instead humbled their hearts and followed Him. To those people in all time periods, Jesus is saying to us through His blessing/commendation that, ‘I hear you.’ How wonderful is it to know that God hears us, that God loves us, that God blesses us the unworthy.  How blessed we are to have Jesus who is love, is hope, is forgiveness, and mercy all rolled up into one. How truly blessed we are to have Him as our Lord and Savior.

Reward:

‘…for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’

 When we humble ourselves in every aspect of our lives and seek with sincerity to emulate Jesus in Heart, Mind, Body, And Spirit, with all our strength we are truly changed, we become open to Gods many blessings and He, in turn, begins to mold us into a more perfect version of ourselves, a version more Christ-like. In this, we find our reward, and to those ‘poor in spirit’ i.e. ‘humble in spirit’ our reward is eternal life in heaven. With the proper attitude, you can truly move mounts and change the world. In Christ, there is nothing we cannot do or accomplish.

In Reflection – Desire to Grow

I often wonder how many people changed their attitudes that day once Jesus stopped speaking and moved on. I confess that though I did not witness this event I am still changed after reading how many different ways God can come up with to bless all of us, unworthy sinners. I truly say to you my brothers and sisters, that God loves us so much that He blesses us and rewards us all in the same statement. Jesus has given us the examples, the roadmap to our rewards, he encourages us daily with tiny miracles if only we time to notice, and in all this, he asks for only one thing in return; to acknowledge our sin and to repent.

Amen!!! Alleluiah!

Primary Goal: To Alway Image Christ in Mind, Heart, Body, and Soul.

Ways to Communicate

As always, I humbly invite you to stay connected by sending me a message at listeningfaithfullyblog@gmail.com, or by visiting Listening Faithfully Facebook page.

Don’t forget to become part of this awesome community by signing up at Listening Faithfully Community Page. In addition, I have started a new page where you can also visit me at fb.me/listeninfaith and send me messages at m.me/listeninfaith.

Finally, another means of direct communication os by sending me a tweet on Twitter at Brian Keith@Listeninfaith, or become a part of our spiritual group: Friends who Like Listening Faithfully…. “Let’s grow together as children of God” 

Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2017 

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