We can do better.
The number of patients in our (expanding) cancer wards are proof.
We can be better.
The fact that poverty, racism, and war still exists are proof.
We can live better.
Technology, design, accessibility of everything and to an extent everyone, are proof.
So where do we begin?
We…begins with me-the me in you and the me in me have got our work cut out for us.
It won’t be easy.
We may be tempted to believe that we don’t matter.
But in this case, “me” counts.
You and I are not numbers yet we count.
“It’s God’s plan to overcome evil with good in human history and to use each one of us to do it.”-Dallas Willard
I recently read “Happiness According to Jesus” by Bobby Schuller and I didn’t know what to expect. Would it be cheesy or would it be something I would want to read again. The latter proved true. See, months ago, Hillsong Church released their vision for 2015 and it was entitled “A Dangerous Declaration.” It was referring to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, here it is:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 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.
–Matthew 5:3-12, excerpt provided by biblegateway.com
Upon reading this or hearing it, many people assume they understand it. I did. That is until I read “Happiness According to Jesus” by Bobby Schuller. He took this famous passage in scriptures a.k.a The Beatititudes (BE ATTITUDES) and invited readers on a journey of “you think you know but do you REALLY know?”
The reason why The Sermon on the Mount is such a “Dangerous Declaration“ is because it challenges us and invites you and I to a whole new way of living. One part unconventional. One part radical(ly amazing). One part Do You Dare? At first glance, many assume that it’s eight attitudes but it’s more than that…it’s a declaration to people who are suffering. And if we’re being honest, that’s you and that’s me. Each of us find ourselves suffering, hurting, broken in our own way. Maybe it’s a health issue or financial issue. Maybe it’s in your marriage or lack there of. Maybe it’s with your kids or your family. Maybe it’s in your job or education. Maybe it’s a combination of many of these.
“The Sermon on the Mount is an invitation to a life that’s better than anything we can put together on our own.” –Bobby Schuller
“Live an honest life.”-Bobby Schuller
Don’t be a show off.
Be a blessing to everyone. Yes, even those who hate you, curse you, gossip about you and/or harm you. “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”-Mahatma GhandiForgive everyone. As Judah Smith says, “Nowhere in the Bible, however, do we find God distinguishing between levels of sin. God doesn’t share our rating system. To him, all sin is equally evil, and all sinners are equally lovable.” We’ve all made mistakes. We are all in need of forgiveness. All of us.
Don’t worry about anything. (see Philippians 4:6-7)
Love God. Love yourself (as in respect yourself). Love each other. No exceptions.
A life well lived is not merely hard work, it’s HEART work. Transformation of your life comes from a transformation of your heart. Likewise, transformation of a family, community, country, world comes from a transformation of the heart of them.
When you are in relationship with God, pain, suffering, and hardships don’t go away but they become stepping stones in which your life is built upon. With God, you and I will have the strength we need to overcome any and every obstacle we face.
God loves you and I a lot. His way of living offers us indescribable peace in the face of our pain, solace in the midst of our suffering, blessings from our brokenness, love and life that no one can take away. No one.
It’s a radical way of living. It’s hard. It’s challenging. On many occasions, it can seem nearly impossible. But the key is, we don’t have to go at it alone. When we open our hearts to God, God shares his heart with us. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). So what does that mean? It means that when we trust in God and commit to living life His way, we are never, ever alone. He is with us through and through and when we don’t think we have the strength, He is our strength. When we don’t know what to do, He is our pathway. When we are at our wits end, He will help us take the next step.
Our world can be better because you and I can be better.
Things can change because we can change…if we want to.
The impossible is no longer impossible when we realize that with God, all things are possible (see Luke 1:37, Matthew 19:26).
We don’t have to face anything or anyone alone because God is always with us.
Our need for God in our lives is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of incredible strength and humility.
…And it’s the first step to eternal life.
“In the economy of God, our value is priceless.”-Christine Caine
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