Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral virtue, and in your moral virtue,
knowledge ;

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Matthew Chapter 5

This picture is , supposedly, not Photo Shopped. It was taken in Louisiana somewhere. I think. Anyway, I want to use the words BLESS and HEART to remember this chapter We are going to use the word BLESS because this chapter starts with what everyone calls the beatitudes. It has 5 letters and this is chapter 5 .
 I don't want this to be too long, but I want to talk about this list of "Blessed are the".  Most people, even people outside of church circles, are familiar with this list passage in scripture. What most people don't realize is that it is a description of  the process that a person goes through when they become a follower of the Messiah, Jesus .
 Verse 3 says "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". When a person realizes they have nothing to bring spiritually to earn their way to heaven, then they are ready for salvation.
Verse 4 , Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted. As we confront our own sin and short comings , we mourn. As we grow in the faith, we mourn for our loved ones and a lost world.

Verse 5. Blessed are the humble and meek for they shall inherit the earth.  This word meek, in our culture, makes us think of a mouse. But, in the Greek, this word was used for a horse that was broken. It implies power under control. This is Tango, my horse. He is very large even by horse standards. It is hard to tell how large he is by this little picture but if you look at the gate he is standing near you can kind of tell how tall he is compared to other horses because that gate is designed to allow a person to mount the horse and ride through the gate. I think we could do it but we would both have to duck. Obviously, I haven't tried it yet. Many times I have looked at him and thought that he could kill me if he wanted to and yet, he is the most gentlemanly of horses. His manners are impeccable. Tango is definitely power under control. Jesus, our humble and meek savior,will inherit the earth. He is the ultimate example of power under control.

Verse 8, Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God. It is impossible to have a pure heart without being cleansed by the blood of the lamb.

Verse 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Isa. 9:6 says Jesus is the Prince of Peace. In John 14:27 Jesus says " Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you." If you are sowing Jesus in people's lives, you are sowing peace. 

Then, He goes on to talk about being persecuted for His sake.
After that He tells them that they are the salt of the earth. I googled the history of salt. I learned that salt meant much more to them than it does to us. Salt was as valuable as silver. Part of every Roman guards salary was paid in salt(worth his salt). They would carry it with them to cleanse wounds (rubbing salt in a wound), They used to preserve meat and yes, pay for things. It was called their "solarium" This is where the word salary came from. They used to rub newborn babies down with salt. When He told them they were the salt of the earth, he was telling them that they were a healer, a preserver and were more needed than money in people's lives. 
He then tells them that they are the light of the world. Again, this meant something different to them than it does to us. Their light was usually a pottery lamp that had a large hole in the top to add oil. They looked kind of like Aladdin's genie lamp only not as fancy. The wick was a thick piece of cord that had one end coming out of a spout, and the other, soaking in the oil in the belly of the lamp. Theses lamps were very smokey and not very efficient. Every thing about them smelled like their light. The smokey smell of their light permeated their hair, their clothes, everything and  when they lit them they literally pierced the darkness. There were no street lights . When it was dark, it was dark. Where we live in Vermont, it is dark at night. We have no street lights or anything to light the night if our lights are out.  We can not even see our house from the road. All you see is total darkness. In short, He was telling them that just like their lights, they should be permeated with their new faith and pierce the darkness of this world.
He goes on in verses 17-20 to address the religious system they have been living under. Verses 21-48 He is taking on what they had been taught about certain sins and living a godly life. He makes the point that sin is a condition of the heart. All sin starts there, so He wants them to understand that their actions are not as important as their attitudes and what's really going on inside of their hearts and minds.This was so foreign to them. Everything had been about actions before, especially what was done in front of other people. In our lives, a good spiritual exercise for us is to examine our motives in front of the Lord for every prayer we pray. The Lord sees our true motives anyway even if we don't see them at first. He will reveal our true hearts motives  to us. This is sooooo good. I remember when I started doing this . It feels great. I feel so much closer to God in my prayer life now. So in short, BLESS and HEART both have 5 letters and we will use the phrase "Bless your heart" to remember this chapter. If you can work salt and light in there somehow too that would be good. Let me know if you come up with something. 

Chapter 1. the first 17 verses are genealogy, with verse 18 if you turn it on it's side, it looks kind of like a SWADDLED BABY, it is the story of the only(one) begotten son. It's the Christmas story.
Chapter 3. H2O, John the baptist baptizes Jesus, and we see the TRINITY as He comes from the water .
Chapter 4. THINK FAST, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and He called 4 APOSTLES in chapter 4. James, John , Peter and Andrew.
Chapter 5. BLESS your HEART,  first part of the chapter is the beatitudes and the last part deals with issues of the heart. (work salt and light in there too if you can).

Ok girls, keep reading! On to chapter 6 if you haven't started it already. Read it as many times as you can. It will help you to remember what's there along with your word association helps. Remember to practice as you fall asleep at night. If you fall asleep too fast, then start practicing when you stand in line somewhere or when you are at a stop light. Pray for remembrance. I'm praying for all of you. Even if I don't know who all of you are, God does.


  1. loving this, great job, Nancy,thank you!!!love Dee

  2. I never thought of the Beatitudes as a progression of the Christian conversion--great insight! I love this chapter, and I think that people tend to read it too quickly because those of us who've been Christians for a long time have read it so many times--we forget that there's always more to soak up. Thank you, Nancy, for keeping this blog going!

  3. Thank you both, for the encouragement :)

  4. Doing some catching up here :P... have to ditto the above comments. Thanks Nancy for keeping the blog up. It's great insight and very helpful!