so blessed

you are so blessed. so blessed to have a job that paid you six figures last year. so blessed to be a character in a movie. so blessed to go to disney. so blessed to take your kids to a pool to go swimming. so blessed with a house that has more than ten rooms. so blessed to vacation. so blessed to drive a brand new car. so blessed that your looking younger instead of older. so blessed to rest. so blessed with a new house. so blessed to get that new flowing top that looks amazing with those pants. so blessed to redecorate your house. so blessed to workout. so blessed to have everything.

in the last week, a variety of my friends defined being “so blessed” with pictures and those supporting comments. look at any social media site, and mostly we will celebrate the blessings of stuff, indulgence, selfishness, money, whatever God gave to make life easier. but is that blessed? maybe we are using the wrong word.

finding myself curious, i looked up the word blessed, in the dictionary, to find some of these definitions: made holy, consecrated, those who live with God, having a sacred nature, connected with God, very pleasant, welcome or appreciated, held in reverence, honored in worship, worthy of adoration, reverence or worship, divinely or supremely favored, blissfully happy or contented, thankfulness, to protect from evil, worthy of worship, revered, bringing contentment, etc.

synonyms of blessed are exalted, hallowed, glorified, magnified, beauty, adored, divine, redeemed, resurrected, rewarded, saved, among the Angels, holy, delightful, pleasing, satisfying, grateful, gratifying, etc.

Jesus teaches us what blessed is in Matthew 5….

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you,persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

if blessed is more me time, more stuff, more money, then how does that leave the rest of the world? what are the stats now? maybe 80% of the world live on close to nothing or a little more or a little less. are we saying the majority of the world isn’t blessed? am i not blessed if i don’t have cable, my kids don’t attend private school, my car’s engine light is on and we eat expired food? does it mean ‘not blessed’ to make little money, struggle with anxiety and be a harvester of free fun.

surely, my perceived worldly lack does not define me as “not blessed.”

Jesus teaches us the better way…

Blessed are those who are poor in spirit.  We are blessed if we know our absolute need for Jesus. We are blessed when we admit our deep spiritual poverty and our complete inadequacy to do this life without Jesus. We find our completeness in Jesus and the Kingdom of heaven is ours!

we still owe money for our house. my jeans have holes in the knees. the car has just enough fuel. some of the excess is gone. but, oh how blessed we are because He is enough. we know our need for Him and we are a big broken mess without Him. we are not in control and we need Him to light our way. we survive and in that we thrive. we are blessed.

Blessed are those who mourn. We are blessed to face hardship, loss, despair, pain and tears. We are promised trouble and reminded Jesus overcame the world. Our sorrow brings us close to Jesus, teaching us to share in His sufferings. And He meets us and we are comforted. Blessed is knowing comfort.

a friend needs a job, another’s work computer crashed, my friend’s mom needs food, a friend’s daughter is pregnant out of wedlock, bedbugs have invaded multiple apartments and friends have lost everything, a little girl got raped, our missionary friends battle for visa renewals, another friend’s dad has weeks to live, a little boy is so sick and awaits surgery, a mom sleeps in a chair at the hospital, a new friend feels lost and without purpose, another’s AC unit is on the blink, someone i know committed suicide, other missionaries will visit soon for a respite, another friend is recently divorced, a friend battles with health, another fights for life after a horrible car accident, my friend’s grandson is in trouble, my friend’s checks keep bouncing because they never have enough, another kid has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, a lady i know needs a car and a place to sleep, a boy is running a fever and another battles nightmares. the sorrow around me goes on and on and on. and then the brokenness of our sin – the addictions, lying, back biting, anger, worry, fear, hostility, bitterness, self-seeking mess. we are filled with sorrow. this list is a drop in the ocean to the pain this world knows. every person i know battles something every day. we are all acquainted with trouble. we are blessed when we mourn, for we will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, the quiet, the gentle, the easily imposed upon, the submissive. The meek are those that do not want to fight with people, a calm person, strength under control. Meekness lays down our own way for the sake of obedience to Jesus.

my first thought of a meek man is a former Bible teacher. he prepared the lessons and presented from a place of humility. he confronted the truth boldly, but with love. when he jumbled his words or felt as if his response was not understanding or from his flesh, he called, or stood before the group, and apologized for his humanity. he was always strength under control, facing difficulty with prayer and reliance on Jesus. he willing sacrificed for the sake of obedience. his life teaches meekness and he will inherit the earth.

What about those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. They are the saints of God that want Him more than they want anything. Of course they are blessed. The satisfaction of experiencing the effects of righteousness is greater than any material possession or indulgence.

what irony that the world knows and loves mother teresa, but many would not dare emulate her way of life. most of us do not want to live in calcutta, to live without possessions, to eat what the poor eat, to experience poverty, to touch diseased people. but we want her hunger and thirst for righteous and her satisfaction in Jesus?

Blessed are we when we want to be right with God, when we hunger to be with him, when we thirst to look like him, when our lives begin to mimic Jesus. Now that is blessed and we are satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, when we forgive quickly, when it’s our glory to overlook an offense, to be kind, tender hearted, compassionate and generous. Often the merciful put aside themselves, their feelings, their agendas, to bend to the needs of others. Mercy looks like Jesus as He gave us the most mercy when He died for us to forgive us of our sin. Mercy is not because we deserve it, but a gift of love and tenderness.

blessed are we when we are merciful, because we will then receive mercy. when we forgive, we will be forgiven. when we give compassion, we will receive compassion. when we put ourselves aside, we will receive grace and more. mercy is letting the customer pay late and then receiving mercy from the vendor you in turn owe. mercy is forgiving the child for the spilled milk as we received the forgiveness of God when we yell our children. mercy is grace on steroids, grace overflowing, grace undeserving. oh, that is blessed.

Now consider the pure in heart. What does that mean? A pure heart is a complete vulnerability and exposure to who we are, here’s our brokenness, our failures, our dependence. We know our weaknesses so we are not hateful, judgmental or bitter. We long to please God, more than anything, to come clean before Him. We are aware of our sin, we are repentant of our sin and willing to confess our sins trusting Him to purify us and heal us from unrighteousness. The pure in heart give up their lives to truly find abundant life. Blessed are the pure in heart because they will see God.

And the peacemakers. They are always the truth tellers, knowing how to speak with love. Peacemakers bring unity and delight into the hearts of the shattered. Peacemakers see the path to the reconciliation and can lead others to its safety. Blessed are the peacemakers because they are sons of God.

remember the two mama’s fighting over the baby and the judge was a peacemaker, a solution finder. he told them to cut the baby in half and the real mom said, “let her have the baby.” the peacemaker knew how to get to the truth and to bring peace to a chaotic situation. then, the real mother was awarded her baby.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. Martyrs of the faith, the child who is left out or taunted for believing in Jesus, the family who is laughed at for following the way of Jesus. The kingdom of heaven is for the persecuted.

Blessed are the ones who receive criticism, condemnation, insult, or attack. The reward is great in heaven for those who suffer from the false accusations of others. Blessed are you when people speak behind your back, when they mock your obedience to Christ, and when they speak evil against you.

we are saying “so blessed” for things that bring ease, temporary comfort, status, position, power, influence, entertainment and distraction. all so temporary, used up, fleeting, deteriorating, and spent.

But Jesus is saying …
Blessed is poor in spirit.
Blessed is mourning.
Blessed is meekness.
Blessed is a hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Blessed is pure in heart.
Blessed is peacemaker.
Blessed is persecution.
Blessed is insult.

And here’s what is ours …
The Kingdom of Heaven
Inheritors of the earth
Filled with righteousness
You will see God
You are called children of God
The Kingdom of Heaven (must be really good because mentioned twice)
Great is your reward in heaven!

Let’s learn the way of Jesus and become blessed.

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