Good News In Unlikely Places (Jan 5)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

January 5
Good News in Unlikely Places

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 4:1-8 | Gen 11:1-13:5 | Matt 5:1- 26 | Proverbs 1:24-28

Today’s Scripture Focus: Matthew 5:1-26

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3-10 NIV)

Jesus message was truly good news–especially to those feeling beat up, burned out, and overwhelmed by the difficulties of life. The life he offers enables the unlikely and unlovely to experience the blessings of his grace. It is a message that promises eternal life not to the proud, but to the ones humbled and despised. It is a message that brings comfort to the mourner. Instead of the powerful, it is the meek who inherit the earth. It is those who have no righteousness of their own that find their hunger for holiness filled with Christ’s righteousness. It is the merciful that receive mercy. It is the pure in heart that see God. The peacemaker is the one who is called the son of God. Most strikingly, even the persecuted find blessing for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

It all seems rather upside down. It is not those who are rich in this world that find the blessings and happiness, not the powerful or even the religious (remember the Pharisees). It is the down and out person who knows he is needy and humbles himself to receive the gift of God’s grace that is blessed. Good news shows up in the most unlikely places and among the most unlikely people.

When we feel helpless and hopeless, we are in a place where God can meet us with his grace. When we feel overwhelmed, we are in a place where we can find his sustaining power. When life overwhelms us, we find peace in resting in the everlasting arms. When things seem darkest, we are most ready for the dawning of a new day. The blessing is found in the fact that he meets us where we are and blesses us beyond anything we deserve. That’s grace—and that’s always good news.

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About pastorjeffsneighborhood

Born and raised in Minnesota, I have served in churches in Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and California. I am a graduate of Crown College (MN) and George Fox Evangelical Seminary (OR). I have also done additional graduate studies in New Testament Studies at the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary (CA). I am also a graduate of the College of Prayer. Having served as the Academic Dean and Program Director at Horizon Institute of Los Angeles for several years, I have returned to the pastorate and serve as Pastor of Big Trees Community Bible Church in Arnold, CA.
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