Blessings and 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 pronouncement of blessings and cursings was an intimate part of the Jewish culture.  Many Israelites would bring their children to the Rabbi’s to receive a formal blessing.  A blessing is a prophetic profession of some future good in an individual’s life.  A cursing however, foretells of some impending calamity.  The blessings that Jesus pronounced upon the crowds were entirely dependent upon their reaction to His message.  Those who chased after the passing pleasures of this life would ultimately enter into unending sorrow.  Those who chose to deny their own desires in order to serve God, would eventually inherit eternal rewards.  Without question, every genuine believer must embrace sacrifice.  Some common sacrifices may include wealth, a potential career, power, property, prestige, or any number of other selfish indulgences.  Because the path to peace with God includes enduring some manner of present pain, most will reject the gospel and continue in sin.

    To more easily understand this scripture, we need only look at the modern day credit card crisis.  Right now, Americans possess more debt than many previous generations could’ve ever possibly imagined. This current epidemic is often the direct result of extreme self-indulgence.  When a person goes out shopping and they can’t afford an item, they might use a credit card to avoid denying themselves the joys of some passing pleasure.  But paying for things with money we don’t have doesn’t make the pain disappear; it simply postpones it.  Eventually the credit card company is going to come looking for their money; causing those who have fed their fleshly appetites to endure the suffering they so desperately attempted to avoid.

   Many people have spent an entire lifetime avoiding pain; indulging in pleasurable endeavors instead. However, their suffering hasn’t been eliminated; its only been deferred.  They will eventually be required to ‘pay the check.’  Chasing after wealth, material possessions, careers, and even a good reputation can lead to an eternity of pain.  So then, self-denial is the way to inherit eternal blessings.  Volunteering, using our excess wealth to bless the needy, spending time listening to others, evangelizing, as well as visiting widows and orphans, are just a few of the ways we can practice self-denial in this life.  Where are we currently denying ourselves?  What do we have in excess?  Is it time, money, or even knowledge? What can we give away?  By denying ourselves, we will become servants of the living God; and in the coming kingdom, we will receive the blessings of eternal life.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to willingly endure the pain of sacrifice in the present time; that we might refuse our own desires in favor of fulfilling Your purposes.  May we deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow You.  Reveal to us where we can be more selfless; where we can be more giving; and where we can be more loving.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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