Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Calling and the Beautitudes

Scripture:  Matthew 4- Matthew 6

This is the calling of the disciples and the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.  This is one of Jesus’ most famous sermons.  (and honestly, one of my favorite pieces of scripture!)

Observation:  In Thirteen, our college and career ministry, we’ve been talking a lot about what a Young Adult Christian looks like.  This scripture seems to talk a lot about the qualities that a Christian has.  They are peacemakers, meek, and pure in heart.  They are sometimes persecuted and sometimes sad.  They are salty and bright and faithful.  They despise vengeance and strive to keep their word.  They love their enemies and are generous.  They don’t worry, for they know they are taken care of.  The verses that really captivated me came at the end of chapter 5.  Jesus reminded us that even those who don’t believe often do good things.  But rarely do they love their enemies.  That struck me.

Application:  I’m still asking myself.  What am I doing differently because I believe in Christ?  I was at a pool party this weekend and watched a group of amazing young Christians interact with their peers.  I kept trying to see if there were differences between how we acted and how the rest of the rowdy college students did.  Did we act like Christ called us to?  Did we love others?  Were we faithful?  Were we salt and light?  In the end, I decided that while there is always work to be done, God can shine, even in the midst of a pick-up water volleyball game!

Prayer:  Lord, please continue to preach your Word to me. Continue to change my heart and my life so that I look more like you.  Help me see the blessings of today and be a blessing to others.  Amen.

Grins and Blessings!
Pastor Emily

14 comments:

Mary said...

So many lessons in here: How to face temptation (with God. How to be happy (do what God requires. Love your enemies (like God does0. Pray (like Jesus did). It makes me want to sing- "This little light of mine!" and "Don't worry, be happy!"

Lynne Watts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lynne Watts said...

Here'a what I love about the Bible. You see something new everytime you read it! I've read the Beatitudes a million times but today I noticed this: "Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach THEM, (my emphasis)saying,..." I've always thought of the Sermon on the Mount as a sermon given to crowds, hordes really, of needy people who were following Jesus around. I've never really noticed that it was actually an intimate conversation with his personally chosen disciples. This makes a huge difference to me. It is as though Jesus sat down personally with me (his disciple) and said, "Here's how to have joy (one of the definitions of blessed... I looked it up) in your life." How can you not be touched and transformed by a personal message like that?

Mom&Dad said...

As I started this section, I was shocked to really read that Jesus was "led by the Spirit into the Desert to be tempted by the devil." Two things - The Holy Spirit will be with us through all temptations and trials, but that we are led to temptation to build our strength as Christians. But note, that only after Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights was he prepared for the devil. As I continued to read, I realized how blessed I am when I truly live the Beatitudes. I will continue to let my light shine as often and in as many places as I can. Are you?

Lindsay said...

So many good things here! Lynne and Mom - you both pointed out two things that I noticed for the first time too. I too thought the Sermon on the Mount was given to all those crowds gathering... but no, they saw the crowds and then Jesus and the disciples sat down and he began to teach them. I also was struck by the Spirit leading Jesus to the desert. The Spirit took Jesus their on purpose to prepare Him for temptation. Times in the desert can lead us closer to God.

The part that really got me on a personal level. Forgiveness. Yeah, those dreams I was chatting about yesterday, I've been denying forgiveness. I think it's time to let that go so God can fill the space it has been taking up in my heart. After two days of Summer of Scripture, it's quite obvious that God is tell me it's time so that he can fill me with all He has in store this summer. Ok God, I'm ready...

Sara Armstrong said...

Can you imagine how many sermons have been preached from these chapters? There are countless ways to interpret and discuss the meanings of the beatitudes etc. What I get from these chapters is boldness. Jesus was bold enough to go into the desert with the devil and resist temptation. Bold enough to preach, heal and stand against the Pharisees. Jesus lets his light shine brightly on the hill. He is the saltiest of salt. I wonder what my reaction would have been if he had asked me to lay down my nets and follow him. Jesus, show me where to be bold!

Eve Rainey said...

So much good stuff in these chapters. Like Sara, I was struck by the boldness, especially of those first called disciples. I've never noticed it before when reading these verses. It seems they had no hesitation at all! They just stopped what they were doing and followed Him - no questions or debates. There have been many times I have felt God calling me to do something and I have either procrastinated doing it, argued with myself why I shouldn't or ignored it all together. What opportunities and blessings did I miss? Father, help me to be more obedient to your callings so I can live and experience all you want for me.

Lynn Grigsby said...

Emily, thank you so much for starting this daily study and blogfest. I agree with Lynne Watts that, almost every time I reread a portion of the Bible I see something new, or in a different way. But even better, this blog is like being in a unique, virtual study group. I see things in a new light by the observations of others who are sharing their thoughts and insights as they study each day. I also agree with Sara and Eve that I'm inspired by the fact that the disciples, when called by Jesus, simply and boldly walked away from their families and all that was familiar to them, and followed Him. I pray that God will open my heart to the opportunities that are being presented to me so that I may also follow in our sweet Lord's steps.

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

How I loved reading this blog, Emily, and the comments left by all. Wow, what insights!
Yes, I am keeping up, but also have my own blog for daily reflection based on daily assigned readings, so might not leave as much feedback as I'd like.
Love the prayer for today, too; yes, I want him to continue to change my heart and life so I can look more like Christ to others!

Sonya said...

We have been talking a good bit in Sunday School about fear and worry and how paralyzing they can be. These verses connected with me personally on two points: the futility of worry and the directive to pray for our enemies. I am currently being tested on both of those principles through a situation at work. And until this moment, I have failed that test of my faith. Sometimes it's hard to be meek and humble, but that's what God calls us to do. Armed with these verses and your comments, I feel better prepared to face the temptation to fume and fret and throw me a good old-fashioned temper tantrum. The message God led me to today was just the refresher course I needed.

Julie Wilson said...

I agree that worry is one of the hardest things to stop in life - we try to pray and let go (and let God) when things bother us, but it is so hard not to pick that worry back up again. Maybe my little light can shine brighter if I stop worrying so much? Worth a try!

Carol Flores said...

I agree that when you come to the Word with an open heart and mind, God will show you what you need to see at that time!! In Chapter 6 I saw two places (v.8 and 32) where it assures us that God knows our needs. That was reassuring!
What struck me most today though were the examples of confident obedience, both on the part of the disciples and of Jesus. They dropped it all and followed without worry. Jesus quoted scriptures without hesitation to combat what Satan threw at him! (I also noticed that Satan quoted Scripture too..) He TAUGHT the disciples the traits a Christian should have and told us to CHANGE -- eliminate the things that are causing us to sin.

I pray that worry and fear will not hold me back from what He wants for me and that I have the confidence to make the changes I need to. I know that because of this study I will be better prepared to quote the Word as a defense Satan.

Morgan said...

A lot of what everyone has posted about stood out to me as well: the obedience of the disciples, the command to not worry. But one of the first things that stood out to me in today's reading was in 4:1-11. I get the feeling that this doesn’t really describe the great detail of tribulation that Jesus was going through when the devil is testing him. Verse 11 says “angels came and attended him” leading me to believe these scenes weren’t just casual conversation between Jesus and the devil, but very trying, difficult, grueling and exhausting experiences for Jesus. This is something we should keep in mind when going to difficult and trying times, Jesus struggled too, but God was there for him and sent angels to care for him.

Kennesaw UMC said...

Thank you everyone! What a wonderful time this has already been! Some of you read my mind for today...ha!

Also, Martha, link us to your blog. Some may want to read that and don't know about it!

I'm excited to keep reading with each of you!

Blessings!
Emily