03.2 Revelation – Blessed

Blessed

We sometimes get a bit too casual with blessings.  Bless you, bless you, oh, you sneezed, bless you, too.  But blessings from God are big deals.

I know there are more authoritative definitions, but I think of a blessing as receiving undue and unearned favor.  Blessings can be conditional, and have requirements or qualifications in place to receive them, but they are not wages or payment, they are a gift.  Blessings can be something that the receiver immediately sees as a positive, but not always.  Sometimes the biggest blessings in our lives can be hardships and challenges that helped us grow stronger, change path and walk closer to the Lord.

Since creation, God has blessed His people.  He gave a special blessing to Abraham, which he passed to his son Isaac who then passed it to Jacob who became Israel.  We see in the story of Jacob and Esau that a blessing is something of great value worth desiring.  From Jacob/Israel we see it is even something worth fighting for as he wrestled with the angel of the Lord.

Jesus was serious about blessings.  His first recorded sermon is filled with blessings from Matthew 5:

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
    for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
    for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
    for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
    for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
    for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

So, when we read Revelation 1:3, we need to not take it lightly.  A blessing from God is something we should long for and desire with our whole heart.  This one is a conditional blessing offered freely when these conditions are met:

  1. Read aloud the words of the prophecy
  2. Hear it
  3. Take to heart what is written in it

By doing these things, we are offered a double blessing from the Lord.  And this particular blessing is an everlasting blessing, one that promises to the family of believers, everlasting life.  Not only is this something we should desire, but it is something that should cause a change in our lives.  It is impossible to “take it to heart” and not have a transformed heart in the process.

My Answers:

3.
a. Jesus Christ

b. God to Jesus to the angel to John.  Blessings

4. To receive undue favor.  An eternal blessing.  Increased faith leading to a better ability to witness

5. Not just knowledge but an emotional, physical and spiritual change. My love for God and others should change for the better.  My faith and the witnessing of that faith should become more bold.

05.4 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 4

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

I am a firm believer in the art of management by catching people doing things right.  I believe that recognizes and rewarding the positives is far more valuable than a constant focus of the opposite.

A few years ago I was a children’s leader for level 2 which would be 3rd and 4th graders.  I had brought stickers and while my co-leader was given the lecture/lesson I was wondering through the children.  As I saw kid’s focused and paying attention I very quietly leaned over and gave them a sticker for their nametag and a quick “thank you for paying such great attention.”

I was doing this and one little guy noticed and immediately stopped shuffling around and started paying attention to my co-leader.  After a few moments I gave him a sticker.  Almost immediately after which he went back to being distracted and a bit of a distraction to others.  Instead of addressing him, I continued what I was doing and soon gave a young lady sitting next to him a second sticker with another thank you because she was continuing to stay focused.  The little boy immediately snapped his face up and me and said, “wait… we can get more than one?”

I think we often approach the rewards of God the same way.  We are saved and confident of our place in heaven so we can go back to the distractions of this world.  But God’s rewards are infinite and not limited to “just one.”

Do you think you will receive God’s reward should not be a yes/no question.  How much treasure do you want to store up in heaven to be able to lay at the feet of the One who gave it all to you?  How trusted do you want to be?  How much do you want to stand in fellowship with the saints and prophets?

My Answers:

7.
5:12 Rejoice & be glad heaven reward same as prophets

6:3 Do not seek return on acts from men, lose heavenly reward

6:22 Hatred of men, exclusion & insult, rewarded in heaven b/c doing right

19:11 Trustworthy in little things, rewarded with great things

3:8 according to own labor

3:23 according to dilligence

10:35 Confident in heavenly reward

11:6 Faith alone is pleasing to God

8.
a.
bsf matthew week 5, bsf matthew lesson 5, bsf study 5, beatitudes study, beatitudes bible study, what do the beatitudes mean, what are the beatitude, what is a beatitude, thenotesaregood, the notes are good, bsf questions and answers, bsf questions, bsf answers, what does blessed mean, what does it mean to be blessed

b.
This isn’t a black/white, on/off.  I am trustworthy, but could be more trustworthy, I’m confident, but could be moreso, I have faith and every day that I read and pray and spend time with God, it grows

05.3 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 3

Today’s Scripture

My Daily Journal:

We live upside down lives in an upside down and inside out world.  In so many ways our ways and thoughts are different that God’s.  We think of the bible message as standing the world on its head, but it is the opposite, we are already inverted and pointed the wrong direction from birth – the good news is that God wants to right things and put us back on solid footing.

Few places is this more evident than in the beatitudes.  To demonstrate this, let’s look at each of them in reverse:

Do you want to receive the kingdom of heaven?  Then be poor in spirit.  Don’t hoard it, spend it, pour it out, it is not a collector’s item, it is seed to be planted and tended.

You want to be comforted?  Then mourn.  Come along side the sick, weak, poor, suffering.  Open your heart and compassion and mourn with them.

You want to inherit the earth, to be great among men?  Then be meek.  Serve don’t be served.  Humble yourself.

Do you want to be filled?  Then fast.  Go hungry and thirsty for the sake of righteousness.  Pass on the junk-food of this world for the amazing banquet of the Almighty.

Do you want to be shown mercy? Be merciful

Do you want to see God?  Purify your heart.  (Growing up we would recite Psalm 51:10-12 as part of confession prior to taking communion.)

Do you want to be called a child of God?  Then seek peace (not just the absence of war as in a stalemate or negotiated truce, but actual and lasting peace).  Be a peacemaker not a warrior or diplomat.

Do you really want the kingdom of heaven?  Then put yourself out there in this world for righteousness sake, with the knowledge that you are going to be persecuted.  Be bold.  Do not be ashamed of the gospel.

But all of this was and is the opposite of our thinking.  We think to receive the kingdom of heaven we need to lock ourselves away in study.  Self assurance makes a good leader, not meekness.  We look to avoid mourning and hunger.  We believe in the survival of the strongest; show no mercy; climbing the ladder no matter who gets stepped on.  Peace?  A strong offense is the best defense.

In other words, our ways are not God’s ways.  Our thinking is not God’s thinking.  And, FYI:  Ours is wrong.

My Answers:

5.
The beatitudes are upside down/opposite to man’s thinking: Is 55:19 My ways higher than your, my thoughts that yours, 1 Cor 2:13 not the words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Ghost teaches, 1 Cor 3:19 the wisdom of the world is foolishnes with God 1 Cor 1:18 the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us it is the power of God

6.
a.
Strong, Content, Proud, Unrighteous, Unmerciful, Stronghearted (self-sufficient), Warriors, Persecutor

b.
Meek, pure in heart, peacemaker – Gives me calling to serve and great joy in that service

05.2 BSF Matthew Week 5, Day 2

Today’s Scriptures

My Daily Journal:

Post Modern Man Thirsts for the Mercy of the Trinit-“P” =  PMMTMPPP = Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Thirst and Hunger, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

I loved that the description of these that BSF used was “Eight Characteristics of True Christians.”  Let me contrast that with the description “situation.”

As humans we blame situations and “stuff” a lot.  Stuff happens.  Bad karma (cringe!).  That’s life.  People mourn because something bad has happened.  People are meek because they lack power or strength.  People go hungry because of poverty or strife.

But in this sermon, these are situations or events or s**t that happens.  These are choices.  The one who is poor in spirit is the one who pours out their spirit, spending it for the benefit of others.  The one who mourns is the one who cares and comes along side those in trouble and need.  The one who is meek is the one who willingly lays down their power and bragging rights for the opportunity to lift up others.  The one who hungers and thirst for righteousness puts righteousness above even the most basic level on our human hierarchy of needs. Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemaker – all choices.  Persecuted because of Righteousness is the choice we share with the prophets of old, to stand on the Word of God even knowing the human hardship it will bring.

This isn’t a list of “bad things happen to people but God makes everything right in the end”.  This is a list of characteristics.  This is a list of choices.  It is Christ describing His mission and what he is calling His followers to do in kind.  We don’t need to ask WWJD – here’s the playbook.

My Answers:

3.
To receive something special, a gift.  To have some who looks after you and does good for you, as in a benefactor.  To be able to help or care for others with a willing and joyful heart

4.
a.
Poor:
One whose own spirit is spent, depleted or who recognizes their own spirit as insufficient

Mourn:
Sad or broken hearted.  To be moved by loss or grievance to the point ot pain.  To recognize ones own grievances as such.

Meek:
Humble, not boasting, not proud for owns sake

Thirst/Hunger:
One who is permeated by the desire for righteousness: emotionally, spiritually, mentally and physically

Merciful:
To put others before self.  To seek good for others over gain for self.

Pure in Heart:Committed to God and God alone.  To trust only in Him

Peacemakers:
Peace with God through reconciliation, to be ambassadors to others on His behalf and to not discriminate in that work.

Persecuted:
One who is true to righteousness to point of suffering to maintain that position

b.
Post Modern Man Thirsts for the Mercy of the Trinit-“P” =  PMMTMPPP = Poor in Spirit, Mourn, Meek, Thirst and Hunger, Merciful, Pure in Heart, Peacemakers, Persecuted.

c.
They are interlinked.  For me it is to hunger and thirst more for righteousness – there is so much wickedness surrounding us you begin to accept it as the way of the world instead of recognizing it as unrighteousness and offensive to God.