Today is Thursday and my ladies group is in full swing again! Last week we started an Andy Stanley series called What Makes You Happy? http://northpoint.org/messages/what-makes-you-happy/ We learned that no thing (get it? nothing) makes you happy. That happiness involves a who or 2 and not the what’s in our life. If you think about it we aren’t going to have regrets about any things in our life but we could have regrets with the who’s or relationships in our life.
Today we watched part two of the series where Andy examines the beatitudes in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Using the beatitudes as an example Jesus answers the question what makes us happy? The beatitudes all start with blessed which is a Greek word meaning fortunate or happy. Stanley challenges us to listen to the 8 beatitudes to see what they all have in common. He says Jesus had a brilliant insight about happiness that we will either adopt in our lives or spend our lives clashing against.
Stanley goes on to break down the beatitudes like this:
- Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven–No one is happy. To be poor in spirit we acknowledge how much or how little we have and are completely dependent on God every day.
- Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted–Mourners are emotionally connected. There are bad things in the world and mourners face moments of grief and embrace that death is a part of life. Stanley says “fear of dying will rob you of the joy of living”
- Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth–Being meek means you understand yourself within God’s kingdom. That you are part of God’s creation in the world but aren’t the center of it.
- Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled–Stanley says “Happy are those with no guilt, no regret and a clear conscience” People are happy even when it costs them and they recognize that sin separates us from relationships and eventually from God.
- Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy–Stanley explains this as “happy are the relationally generous” People who aren’t seeking revenge, forgiveness and don’t hold grudges or bitterness. They make a conscious decision to extend to people what they don’t deserve. These people are happy even though they never got an apology.
- Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God–Purity leads to clarity. The pure at heart have the greatest chance of seeing the activity of God. Renew and purify your mind and following God leads to happiness.
- Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God–Because God wants to make peace with us and when we make peace with others we are acting like God. Stanley says troublemakers are the opposite of peacemakers and they are troubled by happy people. Happy people are reconcilers.
- Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven–We all suffer for doing right or wrong and do we want to be persecuted for the doing the right thing or the wrong thing? Blessed are those who choose righteousness even though it costs them. We will be happy in doing the right thing and facing the consequences but won’t be happy doing the wrong thing and facing the consequences.
To sum it all up Stanley focuses on the common denominator which is happiness is an outcome. We sow and reap our way to happiness, it is a journey. Even if you have sowed your way to unhappiness you can sow your way out. Decide today to embrace these ideas and you will be HAPPY!
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you–Matthew 5:11-12
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares
I can’t take any credit for these bars! They are perfect for breakfast or a snack!