This verse is part of the "Beatitudes" verses found in Matthew 5:3-12 and is a blessing if we take the time to ponder on these very important words of Jesus to all of us who have placed our trust in His finished work at the Cross. I would like to share the exhortation to these verses from my Life Application Bible. It says, "Jesus began His sermon with words that seem to contradict each other. But God's way of living usually contradicts the world's (earthly, fleshly lifestyle). If you want to live for God you must be ready to say and do what seems strange to the world. You must be willing to give when others take, to love when others hate, to help when others abuse. By giving up your own rights in order to serve others, you will one day receive everything God has in store for you.
The Beatitudes can be understood in at least four ways. (1) They are code of ethics for disciples and a standard of conduct for all believers. (2) They contrast kingdom values (what is eternal) with worldly values (what is temporary). (3) They contrast the superficial "faith" of the Pharisees with the real faith Christ wants. (4) They show how the Old Testament expectations will be fulfilled in the new kingdom. These Beatitudes are not multiple choice---pick what you like and leave the rest. They must be taken as a whole. They describe what we should be like as Christ's followers.
Each Beatitude tells us how to be blessed. "Blessed" means more than happiness. It implies the fortunate or enviable state of those who are in God's kingdom. The Beatitudes don't promise laughter, pleasure or earthly prosperity. To Jesus, "blessed" means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances. To find hope and joy, the deepest form of happiness, follow Jesus no matter what the cost.
With Jesus' announcement that the kingdom was near, people were naturally asking, "How do I qualify to be n God's kingdom?" Jesus said that God's kingdom is organized differently from worldly kingdoms. In the kingdom of heaven, wealth and power and authority are unimportant. Kingdom people seek different blessings and benefits, and they have different attitudes. Are your attitudes a carbon copy of the world's selfishness, pride and lust for power, or do they reflect the humility and self-sacrifice of Jesus, your King?
I remember singing the song with our Praise Team at Church entitled "Servant of All." It features lyrics that sums up a believers life as citizens of the kingdom of God. The part of the song that stayed with me described that Kingdom as, "Cause it's the inside outside upside down kingdom where you lose to gain and you die to live." This is so true! Since I surrendered my life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ decades ago, I've experienced first hand the fierce battle that every child of God go through to faithfully accomplish God's will in and through my life. On my own, I couldn't do it but because the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ who won every battle in this world lives inside of me, I can live the higher calling of God in my life. I wage war daily against the temptations of this world and my personal war against my own self (human nature). I've always wondered why many could not perceive the plain and simple Truth of the Gospel where you need to put your faith in what Jesus already accomplished at the Cross instead of trying to reach God through religion and good works which the Scripture attest will never gain anyone a ticket to God's kingdom (God called it "filthy rags" in His sight, Isaiah 54:6). The God of heaven and earth has provided humanity with the Only Way (Only Solution) out of our misery (being in bondage with the enemy from the time we were physically born) in order for us to live righteously in His presence and escape the Lake of Fire reserved for Satan and his followers (the proud, rebellious and ungodly). It is all in His Word, written in every pages of the Scripture, so that we don't have to guess or device our own way to gain His favor. Through Jesus Christ, we are all accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:4-14). But the Bible also tells us, "For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-25).
What more can I say about this startling contrast between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world? I had to search inward and realized that no matter how far I walked in accordance to this world (temporary existence) in my old life, something inside me felt void. We heard many people said, "There's something missing in my life!" despite all the power, fame and opportunities money can buy. After reaching the pinnacle of riches and glory, they find that true happiness doesn't dwell there. That's why we hear of people resorting to addiction of all types, non-stop parties and sexual perversion or drowning themselves with work so that they will not have to hear the voice of their conscience speaking to them. Many of them would not admit how spiritually empty their life became till it was too late. And we say, "What a waste!" I don't mean to be insensitive, but all of us were given one life to live. These people rejected Christ and as a result, they wasted the opportunity that their Maker gave them to fulfill their full potential. They unplugged themselves from their power source and chose the bogus power of the enemy which was meant to destroy them. Had they chose to surrender to God, His indwelling presence in them would have completed their existence---nothing missing, nothing broken! But the horror of their denial of Christ doesn't end there as they must now continue that life in the everlasting torment apart from everything good, away from the presence of God. Very, very sad! My friends, I got persecuted, threatened and called many names a lot (especially in Social Media) and even lost a few family/friends along the way just because I share "The Gospel of Truth." It deeply hurts to be falsely accused when all you have in your heart is love for the souls that would otherwise perish eternally if they miss Christ in their lives. Yet, I don't stop! As the Spirit leads, I set aside my emotions and allow the Spirit of God to use me to whomever He places in my path. It is not my place to convince anyone---it is the Holy Spirit's job. I'm just His spokesperson. Yes, come to think of it, you'll never know who is hungry and thirsty enough---ready to be filled by God. And so, be faithful no matter what, for our work in the Lord is never in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).
For this Card, I used an image from A Day for Daisies called "Fairy Queen Primrose" that I colored using my Touch Five and Prismacolor markers. The base is white CS, cut and scored to create a 5.5 inches square card. The DP's are from Paper Studio, the flowers I layered are from Prima and inked around the edges with Distress Ink (Ground Expresso), the brad from Recollections and the gems are from Tulips. I also added glitters (Stickles-Crystal) to the image as well as the leaves (punch used from Fiskars). On the upper right corner, I stamped the vines from Penny Black and also stitched all over this card. I am delighted with the result.
THEY SHALL BE FILLED CARD
THEY SHALL BE FILLED CARD LAYERS
THEY SHALL BE FILLED CARD INSIDE
THEY SHALL BE FILLED CARD WITH ENVELOPE-BOX
This Card is entered into the following Challenges:
Inspiration Destination---ATG/Shaker Card
Mod Squad---Spark it Up
Paper Shelter---Flower Power
City Crafter---Photo Inspiration
Create and Makes---ATG/Yellow
A Bit More Time to Craft---ATG
A Perfect Time to Craft---ATG
Crafts Galore Encore---ATG
Let's Craft and Create---Girls, Girls, Girls
Love to Craft---ATG
Hope you join the fun at our WAW Challenge. Wonderful prizes awaits our winners from Lawn Fawn (Paper Pad and Stamp Set), All Dressed Up Stamps (Digi Images) and His Grace Works ($15 GC). You can choose to incorporate the free Word Art (sentiment) you see in my card for projects you wish to make and link with us though it's not mandatory. You can submit up to 5 projects (Anything Goes) each week as long as it's family friendly, inspirational or uplifting. Can't wait to see what you come up with. Have a blessed week and find opportunities to share the hope you have in Christ by being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. Hugs!