Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beautiful Offering - Week 1

Sunday night we introduced our Fall Bible Study, "Beautiful Offering" by Angela Thomas.

Over the next several weeks, we are going to take a close look at the Sermon on the Mount. We will spend a good bit of time with the Beatitudes.

Matthew 5
The Beatitudes

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying:
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. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In this study, Angela asks us to look at the Beatitudes with fresh eyes. If you are like me (and evidently like Angela), you were taught the Beatitudes as things you should try to be. "Gotta be's"...You "gotta be" poor in spirit to inherit the Kingdom of God. You "gotta be" merciful to be shown mercy. You get the idea. Well, in the first week of the study, Angela asks us to revisit the Beatitudes, not as a list of "gotta be's", but as a list of promises from our loving Father for "when we are"....

Each of the Beatitudes lists a spiritual condition and follows with a promise. You can fill in the blanks below to get a fresh understanding of the promises Jesus is making in these verses.

For example, When you are poor in spirit, Jesus comes with the Kingdom of God.

Now you fill in the blakns with the rest of the Beatitudes:
When I am __________, Jesus comes with __________________.

Bury these promises in your heart. They are yours if you are a follower of Christ. Claim them BEFORE you need them. Bury them deep in your heart so that when you find yourself empty, broken, mourning, and all the rest, you will be able to rest in the promise spoken by Jesus Himself. He is near, the Kingdom is yours, and when you lay down your life, with all its imperfections, and give everything completely and totally to your Lord, it is a beautiful offering to Him.