I started my journey back to God in 1988. I received a beautiful new NIV Bible that day in honor of my "confirmation" into church. I still use the same Bible and have had a habit since that time that when I found a passage that particularly spoke to me, I put the date next to it. Now, each time I open my Bible, there's a small testament to the struggles and questions I've had over the years and how God's word spoke to me in that moment.
The beginning of Matthew 5 was part of my daily reading schedule yesterday. And, we've all probably heard several messages on those 12 verses of Matthew called the Beatitudes. But, I noticed 2 interesting notes I had written from 2001 that I thought I'd share.
First - the pastor we sat under at that time gave us new "definitions" to consider of what each of the key words completing the "blessed are those..." statements.
Blessed are the poor in spirit (realized all you lack without Jesus)...
Blessed are those who mourn (saddened by our state without Jesus)...
Blessed are the meek (who still have power under submission, humility, and humble)
Blessed are those you hunger and thirst for righteousness (continually thirst and hunger for "all-God")
Blessed are the merciful (to those in need AND those who wrong us, use empathy)
Blessed are the pure in heart (unmixed, pure motives)
Blessed are the peacemakers ("makers" not just "lovers" so this is ACTION oriented)
And, secondly, a parallel between the Beatitudes and the Ten Commandments...consider this: the first four of each deal with relationship between us and God while the remaining ones deal with our relationships with others!
First four: poor in spirit, mourn, meek, hunger and thirsty: between us and God
Remaining 3: merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers: between us and others
First four: no gods before me, no idols, no wrongful use of the Name, keep Sabbath holy: between us and God
Remaining six: honor parents, no murder, adultery, stealing, lying, coveting: between us and others
Kind cool, huh?