2 CORINTHIANS 1:1-7
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
and Timothy our brother,
to the Church of God that is at Corinth,
with all the holy ones throughout Achaia:
grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement,
who encourages us in our every affliction,
so that we may be able to encourage
those who are in any affliction
with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.
For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us,
so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.
If we are afflicted,
it is for your encouragement and salvation;
if we are encouraged,
it is for your encouragement,
which enables you to endure the same sufferings that we suffer.
Our hope for you is firm,
for we know that as you share in the sufferings,
you also share in the encouragement.
Christians are all part of the Body of Christ. We are all in this together. If I break my leg, there will be an effect on another part of my body such as the other leg having to do a little extra. If I lose my hearing I will have to rely on my other senses more to compensate. As a member of the Body of Christ, when one of us hurts, it affects us all. When one of us sins, the effects of that sin affects us all eventually. To be part of the Body of Christ is to be part of a common body of believers that can help each other. Pray for each other. Encourage each other. Lean on each other. And endure with each other. This is why we worship together. This is why division is hurting us. A body that’s missing a limb cannot function as well as a body that is whole. Rather than living in Christian solidarity we are now living in an age of Christian disunity. I could go on and on about that, but that’s for another day.
We can be encouraged to perceiver, we can be encouraged by the prayers of our fellow believers and their acts of charity. We can be encouraged by the fact of no matter how bad things are for you, Jesus endured a whole lot more than you did and for a larger reason. We can be encouraged that we can unite our sufferings with Christ and let Him take those sufferings and make something positive of them.
MATTHEW 5: 1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Today Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount takes up chapters 5,6,and 7 of Matthew’s Gospel. It is an instruction manual for Christian living that our society seems to have thrown into the trash can. Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount with eight beatitudes (or blessings).
We most certainly can live out these beatitudes in helping our fellow Christians with their daily struggles. Perhaps someone you know had a relative die. Mourn with them to help ease their pain. Show mercy on someone who has harmed you, perhaps they simply were having a bad day when they said something wrong to you. Know that if your not popular with your peers because of your faith, Jesus wasn’t very popular in His day for His Faith either. Take comfort in knowing that.
Thought for the day: The beatitudes are acts/blessings of Christian charity. We should be quick to act on those acts of charity when a member of the Body of Christ is in need of our prayers and Christian Charity.