I had the opportunity to speak at my church on the beatitudes. A few months back my Pastor asked me if I would want to speak on Father’s day weekend. So, I asked some basic questions about where he would be in the scriptures and what sermon series we would be in for our church. He indicated that he would be in Matthew speaking on the kingdom of God, as he was telling me I started to giggle with joy. What he didn’t know was that I was familiar with those scriptures because 2 weeks before this interaction I was in prayer with the Lord and the Lord stirred my heart on the beatitudes. It was as if I needed to write some notes about them because I was going to need them soon. I told my Pastor Yes, I would speak.
You can listen to the message I spoke here:
What are the Beatitudes?
The Beatitudes are a picture of a Kingdom citizen but not just that! They are a picture of the King. These beatitudes are a new standard of living. They are not like a self help manual but are like Christ living in me – a reality.
The Beatitudes invite us into a new way to steer our lives and show us what it means to be blessed and to be transformed by God.
The first 3 beatitudes are intense! They feel an awful lot like stripping away at the things that we humans hold dear, things like self- sufficiency, self-satisfaction, and self-importance. They did mine! These first three are like heart exercises that kept working until I succumbed to my need for God. Here is how these 3 played out in my life to bring me to Christ.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This blessing is the blessing of a soul that begins to cry out for God.
I remember the day I started to call out to God. I was on the back porch of some guy’s house that I didn’t even really know. I was on drugs and wandered outside, once again, to look up at a moonlit sky and stars wondering if God was real. I sat down on the back steps to smoke a cigarette and with broken dreams in mind and hollowed out heart I spoke up to the sky saying, “God are you real, if you are I need you to help me? I’ve got to get out of here. Will you get me out of here?” In that moment, I knew I didn’t have anywhere else to turn. I couldn’t get myself out of the situation that I was in. My heart looked to God on that day and the journey to find Him began.
To become poor in spirit is just the beginning. All the other beatitudes are built on this one. It is meant to break our pride, self-righteousness, and entitlement. It is meant to show us our need for God. It helps us to become aware that we don’t have what is takes, our lives are a mess, and we are not enough. We need God.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
This blessing is the blessing of a soul that truly sees what sin has done.
I was 19 years old. It had been only a year since I graduated high school. All I could think about was how bad I had screwed up my life. My mind swirled daily about all the ways I had hurt the people that I cared about. The things I had done, seen, and been a part of. The guilt and the heartache was too much to bear. I just wanted out! I did everything and anything just to find relief. A few days after I had cried out, “God are you real?” my sister found me at a drug dealers house that we both knew. She had tracked me down. Something in me just knew that her phone call was an answer to that first cry from a few days ago. So, I, caught a bus to Iowa from California. My life was crumbling all around me. I had $20 to my name, after I bought the ticket and even though I would travel 1925 miles from home and my soul was so heavy, I knew I couldn’t stay the way that I was! I would end up one Sunday morning in a little church down the street from my house. Again crying out to God and asking Him to help me.
Blessed are those who mourn because those who mourn see the true state of their souls. They don’t just know that they need God; but they are deeply aware that they have sinned, and are broken, and that they can’t fix themselves. It is this mourning that leads them to the cross of Jesus Christ. It is this mourning that keeps us aware of the state of our hearts and souls. It keeps us turning toward Jesus, so that, He can heal our broken places.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
This blessing is the blessing of knowing God is your strength not you.
I was 7 months pregnant with my daughter. I was so fearful and worried that I would screw up my life and now the life of my unborn daughter. I had been staring at the bible for months trying to understand what it was saying but nothing made sense. Again, I cried out to God over and over again saying, “God are you real? I need you! I cant do this! I don’t know how to be a mom. Help me. Please?” Then one day I heard words that breathed hope into my soul in a TV commercial. A man said, “Are you wondering if God is real? Call 1-800 number” Instantly, I sat straight up and called. A little booklet came weeks later. I read the words from Romans 10:9-10 every word like water to my soul. It said, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” I sat back, took a deep breath and said, “Its that easy!?” and I heard God for the first time, “Yes it is!” In that moment I believed the word of God, prayed a simple prayer, and I was birthed into the Kingdom of God. I have walked through and will continue to walk through layers and layers of learning to be meek until Proverbs 3:5-6 is so real to me that Jesus is the only one I trust in.
To be meek is to realize our own powerlessness and to put our trust in the power of God to save us. This meekness works in us through the Holy Spirit to transform us into people who have a humbleness and gentleness worked in and through us. This meekness sets us up to learn to allow God to be our defender and provider. We develop a spirit that is free from being greedy and grasping to get our way and get one over on other. We know we are just dust and Jesus is our only salvation.
God is so loving and good. He draws us to Himself over, and over, and over until we finally cry out to Him. Then He turns our lives into something we could have never dreamed up. I look back and see how God took a fearful, insecure, just faking it to make it, messed up little girl from California and 20 years later, after that first cry, He turned her into a NextGen Pastor.
Are you ready to see what God has in store for you?
Thanks for Listening,
Starla – Next Gen Pastor – Springs of Life Church