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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Thursday, April 28, 2016
Today’s scripture reading:
These verses are called the beatitudes, from the Latin word meaning “blessing.” They describe what it means to be Christ’s follower; they are standards of conduct; they contrast Kingdom values with worldly values, showing what Christ’s followers can expect from the world and what God will give them; they contrast fake piety with true humility; and finally, they show how Old Testament expectations are fulfilled in God’s Kingdom.
Some believe that the hunger about which Jesus spoke is a hunger for righteousness. Others say this is physical hunger. In any case, in a nation where riches were seen as a sign of God’s favor, Jesus startled his hearers by pronouncing blessings on the hungry. In doing so, however, he was in line with an ancient tradition. The Old Testament is filled with texts proclaiming God’s concern for the poor and needy. (NLT)
Luke 6:17-23 – When they came down the slopes of the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear himn and to be healed, and Jesus cast out many evil spirits. Everyone was trying to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and they were all cured.
Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said, “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is given to you. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for the time will come when you will laugh with joy. God blesses you who are hated and excluded and mocked and cursed because you are identified with me, the Son of Man.
“When that happens, rejoice! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were also treated that way by your ancestors.”
Susan Thogerson Maas (Oregon) titled her story “BLACKBERRY PIE;” here is a portion of Susan’s story:
“Blackberry bushes menace our property like towering green monsters, their thorny vines threatening to engulf the whole garden. . . . How amazing that something so aggravating can produce such a delicious treat!
“I thought about the blackberry bushes as they related to today’s reading, in which Jesus talks about truths that seem impossible and contradictory. And Romans 8:28 [see below] indicates that bad circumstances can result in a greater good, not only in heaven but also here on earth. Could that noisy neighbor teach me to be more understanding? Perhaps a frustrating job situation can provide an opportunity to gain new skills. The illness that has me down could grant me time to rest, read the Bible, and pray more deeply. If we look, we can find blessings all around us.”
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – With God’s help, I can look for good in every difficult situation.
Prayer: Dear God, help us to see how difficult situations can teach us and draw us closer to you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/
For more Helpful Inspirational Material:
God works in “everything”—not just isolated incidents—for our good. This does not mean that all that happens to us is good. Evil is prevalent in our fallen world, but God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good. Note that God is not working to make us happy but to fulfill his purpose. Note also that this promise is not for everybody. It can be claimed only by those who love God and are called by him, that is, those whom the Holy Spirit convinces to receive Christ. Such people have a new perspective, a new mind-set. They trust in God, not in worldly treasures; their security is in heaven, not on earth. Their faith in God does not waver in plain and persecution because they know God is with them. (NLT)
Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
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