GPS: August 31

By August 31, 2014Devotional

Today’s Scripture:

Matthew 5:1-12  

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to him. 2 He taught them, saying: “Happy are people who are hopeless, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. “Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth.“Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. “Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy.  “Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. “Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. “Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. “Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. In the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you.   

Food For Thought:

For many, this incredibly familiar passage can be quite puzzling. So today, I wanted to share with you the comments from the notes within The Common English Bible: Study Bible to shed some light on the meaning “the beatitudes”:  The Greek term makarios is often translated as “blessed.”…Makarios refers to a person’s being fortunate or happy on account of their circumstances. In using the translation happy, the CEB is emphasizing the flourishing, contentment, and well-being of the persons described in Matthew 5:3-12. Jesus’ words may seem strange, though, since he regards as “happy people” those who are usually regarded as troubled and unfortunate. Located at the beginning of Jesus’ first major sermon, this alerts us to the topsy-turvy nature of Jesus’ teaching. It shows us who experiences well-being and contentment under God’s rule rather than according to normal social conventions. In this way, each of these statements declares as happy people those ordinarily regarded as living miserable lives and provides them with an assurance in the form of a promise.

Prayer:

Today, take some time to pray through the beatitudes. Pray slowly for people in each of these situations. Pray for those who are hopeless that they would find hope. Pray for those who grieve that they would find gladness. Turn your heart to God on behalf of others today — using Jesus’ words and your own.

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