Did I mention that I am having a blast reading through the NIV/Message Parallel Bible ?
It has the trusted, "accredited" NIV Biblical translation, and along side it Eugene Peterson's amazing modern-day language interpretation. There's a great description of it on the Amazon website.
Anyway... reading through Matthew 5:3-11
Jesus pulls his committed apprentices to him and tells them something very profound.
"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 sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Beautiful passages. Very poetic. And if you grew up in the church, they're very familiar. But I've never really been able to appreciate the entire meaning of the words. Obviously Jesus found them to be a very important teaching point. Perhaps I should strive to understand? A lot of times, I'll ask the Holy Spirit for revelation. In this case, the revelation was The Message translation.
Check this out.
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule."
"You're blessed when you feel you've lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."
"You're blessed when you're content with just who you are - no more, no less. That's the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can't be bought."
"You're blessed when you've worked up a good appetite for God. He's food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat."
"You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being 'care-full', you'll find yourselves cared for."
"You're blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world."
"You're blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That's when you'll discover who you really are and your place in God's family."
"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom."
Depending on where you find yourself today, one or another may pop out at you as something you can grab ahold of. I think I could read this list several times over several months, and each time it will mean something different to me. These are words from the lips of Jesus Christ. You can take ahold of them as promises to keep close to your heart. Let them wash over you, today. Let them bring you peace.