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Your priorities for 2024

As we start a new year, let me remind you of one of the best loved passages in the Bible. It is the opening part of the Sermon on the Mount. In his opening, Jesus shared what we call the Beatitudes. They give some excellent guidelines for us to follow as we determine what our priorities should be in this new year. Following are the Beatitudes along with some thoughts from me.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed is the person who has a humble spirit as opposed to the proud individual who is convinced they alone are responsible for their successes in life. God warns us that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed is the person who genuinely cares for other people and has compassion for those who are going through painful and discouraging periods in their lives; who mourns with those who are going through the time of mourning. God promises to bring them a special form of comfort. And God also tells how we can share the comfort we’ve received with others going through what we have already gone through.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Meekness should not be interpreted as weakness. One definition of the word used here is, power under control like a wild stallion that has been tamed. The Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath. I’ve seen how just one individual can calm a crowd with carefully chosen words delivered with the goal of speaking the truth in love. Blessed are the meek who are polite, have tact and are courteous; and treat even their adversaries with dignity and respect. A soft answer can truly turn away wrath.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are those who have a hot, restless, eager longing to walk with God and to please him in all that they do in life. They not only hunger for righteousness, but they grieve over unrighteousness, corruption, moral compromise, lack of integrity and lack of godliness.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are those who feel the pain of another and can freely forgive and show mercy toward others who may not deserve mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are those whose actions are pure, but whose attitudes are also pure. They are faithful to their spouse in their heart as well as their behavior. They have rooted out any bitterness that others could not see, but it was there.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who make it a personal goal to obey Romans 12:18, which admonishes us to, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” They understand the importance of God’s command that we should not let the sun go down on our wrath.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who accept the fact that attempting to live a righteous life may mean you will suffer for your beliefs as we are warned in Philippians 1:29, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.”

 

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