God bless America. These are words we all heard a lot after September 11, 2001. Everyone was saying this and it was written on signs all over the country. As truck drivers we got to see it and probably many of us had signs like this on our trucks. One day after 9/11 I was driving through Las Vegas and on one of the casino signs that usually feature some entertainment were the words God BLESS AMERICA. Frankly as a disciple of Jesus I was a little offended. But it got me to thinking about the phrase, “God Bless.” And I thought that in the Bible that phrase does not appear. But we as Christians often use this greeting or blessing. So what is the big deal? Maybe nothing but I sometimes tend to be a detail nerd, so stick with me a minute ‘cause I am going somewhere that may be worthwhile.
In my life changing experience article I mentioned Proverbs 9:1, and how that got me praying about the seven pillars of wisdom. I don’t remember exactly how it came to me because there seems to have been several things pointing to this but it occurred to me that there are seven blessings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount that are a result of my behavior. Yes I realize there are nine blessings in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, but the last 2 are dependent on the actions of others, and possibly on the first seven.
So now the secret is out. These seven blessings have become for me the seven pillars of wisdom. As I meditate on them at least one of them will stop me and I will have a prayer time about how I need to be more mindful of that characteristic. I pray for grace. I pray for wisdom. I pray for faith. Now I have been doing this for a few years and I want to tell you that God answers prayer. My mind is being changed and made new.
Over the years I have heard many testimonies of how people came to the Lord and zap flash bang everything was new and changed. Well, I just don’t know anything about that kind of experience. But I do know and can testify God is using this in my life.
So why the beatitudes? I can only guess. First of all as I prayed, that is what became evident to me. They seemed so simple and so common. That may be a very good reason. God seems to hide the best stuff right in front of us, and we stumble over it for years looking for it. It has led me to many other verses and chapters that have expanded each one of the blessings.
Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
This all seems so very weak as I read what I have written. But even if it sounds weak to you also, please believe me when I tell you it is having an effect in my life and I am being changed. Please take me seriously when I encourage you to take the time to memorize these verses and repeat them to yourself each night before you go to sleep. Meditate on them as you drive. Let God use them in your life. Jesus didn’t just blabber off some good sounding stuff to get the message going. There are true words of life here, and I don’t see any end of searching the riches of these words.
I have almost completely stopped using the phrase “God bless you.” God’s Word tells us who he blesses. It is my sincere desire that you find the blessings of God as you live the life you have to live, therefore my blessing to you is “Be faithful!” As we work with these things God is always Faithful, and he is eager to pour out blessings on those who are being conformed to the image of his Son.
Finding grace to help in time of need.
Your brother Rick,