Blessings or Cursings

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.  Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled.  Blessed are you who weep now for you shall laugh.  Blessed are you when men hate you […] for the Son of Man’s sake […] for indeed your reward is great in heaven […] But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are full, for you shall hunger.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.  Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6: 20-26.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The Jewish people were very familiar with blessings (the rabbi’s would often be asked to bless certain individuals.)  A blessing is a prophetic pronouncement of some future good in a person’s life.  A cursing is the opposite of a blessing (it is a prophetic pronouncement of some future calamity.)  Jesus reveals that those who are cursed in the present will be blessed in the future, and those who are blessed today, will know future ‘cursings.’  The rich will become poor, and the poor will become rich; the sad will know happiness, and those who are happy will one day mourn.  The hungry will eventually be satisfied, but the well fed will know hunger.  Jesus lived a life of self denial; a life in which the needs of others were more important than his own (even to the point of death; because he died for others he was raised to life.)  To follow Christ in to eternal life, self denial and self-sacrifice in the present are required; followers must sacrifice wealth, power, property, selfishness, ungodly careers, time, fleshly appetites, and even a good reputation (to name a few.)  This message was despised when the Lord spoke it, and it is still hated today (Note:  Jesus said, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”)  

                We need only look at credit cards to understand this scripture.  Credit cards are designed to allow a person to avoid enduring present pain.  When shopping, scores of people are faced with opportunities they cannot afford (opportunities where self-denial is required.)  Not being able to afford a product produces pain; to avoid required sacrifice, future money is spent to enjoy the present.  But paying for pleasure with money we don’t have doesn’t make the pain go away; it simply postpones it.  Eventually the pain will be endured when the credit card company comes to collect.

                Most people have spent entire lifetimes avoiding pain and indulging in pleasure; but the pain hasn’t been avoided; only postponed.  Eventually everyone has to ‘pay the check.’  Chasing after wealth, material possessions, careers, food, and even a good reputation will lead to an eternity of hardship.  Hording money and making recreation and personal time the focus of living will bring about destruction.  Those who love comfort, gossip, lusting, weekend partying, unholy relationships, and other forms of pleasure will eventually be cursed.  Self-denial and sacrifice lead to eternal blessings.  Volunteer work, giving, spending time listening to others, evangelizing, visiting widows and orphans, working with drug addicts, caring for the sick, loving others, giving people rides (all acts of selflessness will be rewarded in God’s Kingdom.)  Where can you deny your own desires to better serve others?  What do you have in excess?  Do you have time, money, or knowledge; what can you give away?  When you deny yourself in this life, and make others more important, you are serving the Living God; and in turn, you will serve Him in the life to come.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask and pray that You will help us to endure pain and to give away what we have in excess.  May we deny our own wants and pleasures to fulfill Your purposes in the lives of others.  Father, help us to deny ourselves and to take up our cross and to follow You.  Reveal to us where we can be more selfless; where we can be more giving; and where we can be more like You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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