Dwelling On The Beatitudes

MOUNT OF BEATITUDES

Capernaum, Israel

Matthe 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,  for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

 One of my favorite places in the whole world.

Whenever my heart is conflicted or I’m feeling overwhelmed with this life, it is this place that I think of.

This place, where it is believed that Jesus taught to many, saying things, such as, “… blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Where He called me blessed and said that I would inherit the kingdom of heaven.

So grateful for these words in Matthew 5 and love remembering back to the moments when I sat on this mountain, in front of this gate, dwelling on these words and imagining what that moment must have been like, reassuring myself that it’s all gonna be okay.

And to all who are overwhelmed in this life (and to myself in particular), take a deep breath, and remember… you are blessed. Seek His kingdom first, and EVERYTHING else will be added unto you. [Matthew 6:33]

Side note: Which means, if you are seeking His kingdom first, and you don’t have what you think you need, then it’s not for you yet – because when it is – he will add it unto you. He promised.

Many days my actions (or just plain human stupidity) may not always reflect it, but I am so grateful that God sees my heart and that I truly desire after Him. Sometimes – and when I say sometimes I mean like every, single day – I make a total mess out of myself. It amazes me that God carries this abundance of grace that is renewed each morning, and that He can see the promise in me, even when I can’t see it in myself.

The Love Of Christ and Decisions and Such.

I am adjusting to life in Haiti, but still in that grace window where if I’m going to cop out it needs to be now. Trust me, I have asked myself a couple times if we wanna run away yet; and when I say we, I mean myself and my subconscious. We have had quite the discussions these past few weeks, to say the least.

I don’t question myself due to life in Haiti being hard, but because I left a life that I loved. In light of heartache and home ache and border crossings and super energized kids on Christmas vacation, I was having “a moment”. God always seems to always meet me at my “moments” just to reassure my heart, and prolly a little bit to give me a reason to not pout.

Nevertheless, this morning was a great discussion and reflection on Christs’ compelling love and how that love will in turn cause us to react as a result. I knew that the decision to come here was right, but that doesn’t mean that it would be easy. I wasn’t expecting easy, but I also wasn’t expecting such heartache. Such perfect timing of God meeting me at “my moment” to remind me why I made the decision in the first place.

The reflection is here.

Church.

Wanna talk about someone stole your seat at church?

Nothing to wear?

Just couldn’t get the kids out the door in time?

Too hot? Too cold?

Service is too long? Too short?

How about walking miles with 5 kids, three of whom are toddler triplets in 90-something degree weather?

That’s who I sat by at church today.

 

 In an open air cafeteria with 300 other people and six fans circulating the outside heat. Plastic chairs (like the ones outside on your back porch) filled the room and those with no chairs spilled out onto the patio, listening and watching through the doorways. Maybe that’s why they aren’t late.

I sat in the back and watched as people came into service, and tried to not make cultural comparisons. But what I saw wasn’t necessarily culturally different, but a difference in desire. I was taken back at how eager people were to be in the house of God. Regardless of their morning, or their clothes, or if they had a Bible or not. Upon entering, everyone went straight to the front, trying to squeeze into any available seat before taking a row behind.  A little boy came in, with girls tennis shoes on, christmas socks, pants too short, and a plaid, short sleeved, button down shirt – and so proud about it.

I was almost ashamed of myself, at how little it takes to get shaken up on a Sunday morning if even my hair isn’t looking great, and I was watching a couple hundred people, wearing the best outfit that they own, and so proud that they were able to come before their God and honor him with their best.

I sat with one of the triplets on my lap, falling asleep on my arm, while the mother breast fed the other two. At the same time. In front of everyone.

Now there’s a cultural difference for ya.

(Figured I shouldn’t include a photo… although I thought about it.)

The offering count team.

God is moved by sacrifice and He was definitely in the house this morning. Regardless of all other things, this sanctuary of people came to worship their God and He showed up in the midsts of them.

Pastor Sam was so gracious (I had no idea what he was saying, let alone that he was talking about me until one of the other missionaries told me he was addressing me) to welcome me to the service and pray blessing over those who come to Haiti to serve.

... just like Free Life - load in/ load out team getting to work! 🙂

He spoke about Jonah and the Whale – after an hour of worship – and every person sat intently in their seats, beads of sweat dripping, hot air stagnating, until the moment he prayed and released. Not that they had big things to do – only get started on their walk home with all their kids in their dress clothes (every man wore slacks and long sleeve dress shirts and every woman wore a dress and panty hose if they had them) and not one family was out the door.

Now that’s honor in God’s house.

The A-List

When we read the Bible there key players.

They’re kind of like the A-list celebrities of the Bible.

You got Jesus. duh.

Adam/Eve. Noah. Moses. Mary and Joseph. Sarah. Ruth.

The list goes on…

But the point is that we see them as the big timers of the Word, and they were nobodies in their time. I mean prolly somebodies within their circle of influence, but even the big timers like King David and Solomon. They weren’t living to be written about. They were just living. They were walking out their lives.

I guarantee you Mary had no clue she would be the main event of a best selling Book for decades to come. That some people would actually pray to her. She was just a 14 year-old, scared, little girl. They were all people like you and me. Making courageous decisions. Or not so courageous. Praying to a mighty God. Being scared that it wouldn’t work out.

Walking through each emotion that accompanied their process. But they were the nobodies of their time, just like you and me, praying to One who was bigger and better and able to meet their needs. You know when Joshua prayed, he was scared. I bet if people in the Bible knew that they would one day be recorded about they prolly would have made such better choices.Ya know, like if you know someone is watching you it’s so much easier to do the sweet thing. If Joshua would have known he would eventually be the guy who everyone would read about when they needed to be reminded that God knew our plan before we were born, I bet he would have acted more hardcore. Like no God, I got this. I know you got a plan.

But no. He didn’t.

He lifted up (prolly with a shaky voice even) cries to God for help and protection and guidance and courage.

Because he was scared.

And I pray to the same God.

Not like ‘man we were both faithful, but lived thousands of years apart’.

Like, I have had conversations with one of the same people as Joshua. And Mary. And Moses. Heck, even Joel Osteen or Scott Thomas.

I see people doing great things and assume they have some special life or connection or  some special God or God just likes them more.

I guess it’s true what they say about people all being connected by 5 degrees… interesting.

So why do I assume that God can’t give me the same powerful answers as He gave to Moses, Mary and Joshua? Just because I can see the end of their story doesn’t mean that it was an easy ending to come to.

Know today that God isn’t just the lifter of your head, but He answered BIG prayers like splitting an ocean into two parts, putting a baby inside of a virgin woman, and leading a young boy into a leadership role of a tribe of people.

He looks at your biggest desire with not a drop of concern.

He can do the same for whatever it is that we even think in our mind or whisper about through our tears at night. He answered BIG prayers of little, insignificant, people. He asked for no criteria first. Just a willing and righteous heart.

This is what I know and this is what I will hold in my heart.

Goodnight.

XOXO,

Hope

Just something to think about: What if our lives were going to be written about in thousands of years to come. What role would be yours?