Join Sharon and Nicole as they talk about attitudes and how Jesus' view of how our attitudes ought to "be" looks a bit different. Join the conversation as we read the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount and talk about how to live them out in our real life worlds today.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
Welcome friend. It’s time to hit pause on your busy day and enjoy the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. Let’s ponder God’s Word together and find the encouragement we need to work well and rest well. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is brought to you by Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries.
Welcome to Episode 15 of the Sweet Selah Moments podcast. We are calling this episode Attitudes. We are going to be talking about attitudes today by looking at the Beatitudes in Jesus’s famous Sermon on the Mount. When Sharon first told me she was feeling led to study Jesus this fall, I thought this couldn’t have come at a better time. The world is absolute chaos right now. There are so many different voices telling us what Jesus would or wouldn’t do, or just leaving him out of the conversation entirely. It’s all so overwhelming and heartbreaking. We can lose sight of the truth if we just listened to all the noise, I believe that if we call ourselves Christ followers, we really need to know how he actually lived his life here on earth. And the only way to know that is through studying the Bible. Sharon, before we dig into the scripture verses today that teach us about Jesus. I have a question for you.
Are there some specific times in your life when having a good attitude is particularly hard for you?
Oh yes. And I’ve just gone through an incredibly good example of something that’s strained my patience and that is being put on hold forever. And then when you finally get to the real voice person, they put you on hold again for another forever. My attitude kind of dives at that point. And yet I have to remember that it’s probably not the person I’m talking to who’s the culprit.
There’s probably just not enough people on staff, but it’s still hard. I have a bad attitude when I’m sick, especially nausea. I just am very grumpy with nausea. I hate it. I just do. And I guess the last one, I mean, I could go on forever, but another one that really bothers me is when I make plans and I’m excited about my plans and then they’re gone. That can make me really crabby. Yes, it can. So basically it’s, whenever I’m focused on myself and my own agenda and needs, that’s when I get crabby cause I get thwarted when I’m not thinking about the other person, when I’m just thinking about myself and I really need the Lord to help me, especially then. So how about you?
My turn now?
Similar to the plan’s changing thing, I get really just so grumpy when my plans change. You’re all excited for something, you’ve planned for it. So that’s hard for me. With my kids when they whirl through and destroy a room I’ve just cleaned or when they’re fighting, like that’s just the worst. The fighting drives me crazy. Having to wait for anything. That’s really tough for me. And again, sick, same thing. When I’m sick or have a migraine, I’m just a super grump.
Got it. Okay. True Confessions right there.
Don’t come near us when we’re sick!
That’s right. Don’t keep us on hold too long. Right? Well, as we start the study of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount, which is what we’re going to be doing and I’m so excited about it. The very first section is aptly called the Beatitudes and Charles Swindoll in my Charles Swindoll Study Bible says that we can look at them as the BE attitudes. This is how we should BE in our attitudes. Basically. I thought that was a fascinating way to look at it. And I think it’s fun that this is where Jesus starts. So it’s going to challenge us, Nicole, this whole sermon on the Mount is challenging. In fact, I was tempted to skip parts as I was planning our series. I thought, Sharon, no, Jesus thought this was important. And so it is so we need to do all of it. So it’s going to be good to dissect and study our Lord Jesus’ words, concerning attitudes of the heart today. So we’re going to look at Matthew five, one through 12. This is our Sweet Selah moment. God’s word. You know, so often I’m like, Oh Lord, help my words not to ever lead anyone astray, but when I’m reading God’s word, we’re just so safe. You know, we’re just safe. So here’s our safe moment. So Nicole, why don’t you start with verse one?
Sure. One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountain side and sat down. His disciples gathered around him and he began to teach them.
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.
God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you, because you are my followers.
Be happy about it. Be very glad for a great reward, awaits you in heaven. And remember the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
That last one. I mean, I know we’re going to get to it later, but, be happy…?
This is so counter-intuitive on so many levels, but let’s start with a definition or two.
According to Wikipedia, the Beatitudes are eight blessings recounted by Jesus in the sermon on the Mount, in the gospel of Matthew. Each is a proverb-like proclamation without narrative and in the Vulgate, the blessings begin with the word beati, which translates to happy, rich or blessed. And Google Dictionary, I love Google dictionary’s definition. How weird, that I love that, but I do. It’s called supreme blessedness. So maybe we don’t know precisely what that word means because there’s all these different shadings on it, but it means really good. I mean like you are super, uber blessed if you mourn, I mean, we’re going to get to that.
But right now there’s so much in here. It’s like, wait, hold on a second.
It is just, what a way to snag everybody’s attention when Jesus began to start with saying, be contented and happy. And you’re supremely blessed when people persecute you and when you’re mourning and all this stuff. So now we need to look at this because we don’t naturally want to be poor or poor in spirit, depending on the translation. We’re not like, Oh, could I sign up for mourning? I just would love that.
(laughing) Sounds like a great way to be blessed.
I know. I know. So what does this mean? So Nicole, why do you think Jesus looked out at that crowd and reassured them starting like this?
Yeah, it’s definitely a good attention catcher for sure. I think Jesus just knows how broken we all are and how we try to hide it and do it all on our own. He gets us to be honest in these first few verses and really acknowledge our need for him.
He does doesn’t he? I think he looked at that crowd and because he was God in human form, he saw the suffering, he saw the one who had just lost a parent or a child. He saw the mourning. He saw those who were poor, either poverty, poor or just desperate for more, you know, in some way. He saw the humble, the ones that were sort of sitting on the fringes, not feeling like they could really sit with a crowd. I think he saw all of that. And he also, because he could see the future, saw the ones that were going to die for him someday. He saw them, you know, the lions tearing them apart kind of thing. He saw it all. I mean, we see things in one moment of time, but God is omniscient and he sees it all. And I think that when he saw the suffering of the crowd and he saw the future of some of them and he, he saw where they were. He wanted to reassure them that if they follow him, they are supremely blessed. Despite it all.
That’s so good.
So let’s, let’s parse this shall we?
(laughing) Tackle these verses.
I’m going to do verse one and two. I’ll read it. And then I shall share what I think about it. And at least when I read scripture, we’ll know, it’s the word of God. I’ll just share what I think after that. And then we’ll go back and forth. So Mathew five, one and two starts like this. It says, “One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountain side and sat down. His disciples gathered around him and he began to teach them. The first word that stood out to me when I read this was the word saw. He saw the crowds and our God sees us. He sees us so much more deeply than we glance at people. You know what I mean? I can glance at someone and not know a thing about them, but God saw us. And when he saw everybody gathering around, he taught. Jesus is a teacher and he chose to minister to them and not be like, Oh, for crying out loud, here come the crowds again, you know?
He’s so much nicer than we are.
Yes! Yes, so he finds this mountain spot where there’s a natural amphitheater where his words can be heard. He saw how big the crowd was, no microphones back then. So it had to be a place where his voice carried and here’s this vast crowd seated and attentive. And Jesus taught them. It’s so important to study this up when we think about it, God, in human form, when given a chance to minister to a crowd, chose these words as the ones that were most important for them to hear.
That must mean they’re pretty important for us to hear too. This is what he chose. And he started with the Beatitudes. So, okay, Nicole, you get the first beatitude. Read it and tell me what you think.
So Mathew five, verse three. God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. So I looked that up in my phone app because it has all the different translations and every other translation has it written as poor in spirit. So I looked that up and Google Dictionary said that poor in spirit doesn’t just mean a physical poverty, but a spiritual lacking. So the NLT kind of takes poor in spirit to mean that they knew they needed him. I think this verse really points out so clearly our need for salvation, our need for God to fill that spiritual void. And then it gives us the gift of heaven.
As a result of it.
Yes, of letting him fill that. It’s just like double gifts.
It’s awesome isn’t it? And if you think of the opposite, ‘unblessed’ are those who are rich. Especially rich in thinking that they’ve got it all and they don’t need him. Do you know what I mean?
Because if you think you’ve got it nailed your life is planned out and it’s all going according to plan and you just are ‘the thing’.
You’re good to go.
You’re good to go. There’s no blessing there because you’re not going to end well, you know, so really supreme blessedness is knowing our neediness, right?
And going to him for that filling.
And right away. He fills it and he gives you heaven.
And then, Oh, here. Heaven.
It’s a great place to start. You’re no longer empty and poor inside. And also you get to inherit the kingdom. It’s a great start.
Right. Exactly. And this is spoken by someone who just came from heaven. Right? Before he distilled himself into the human form. He knows how blessed heaven is. Way more, better than we do.
You guys this way is awesome.
It’s kind of like me on a much smaller scale, trying to describe the Swiss Alps.
You can’t. You have to be there and just stand and cry and go, Oh, you know what I mean?
Yes. Experience it.
So let’s magnify that by 70,000 billion and you’ve got Jesus saying, Hey, if you’re yearning for me, you’re yearning for salvation and you find it. Wow, you are so blessed because you’re getting heaven.
Alright. So my turn. Okay. This is a hard one. Mathew five, four: God blesses those who mourn for they will be comforted. I think when Jesus looked out at that crowd and saw the grief some of them carried, he looked beyond it to the time of comfort. You know, that time in scripture where it says he will wipe every tear from your eyes, that’s going to happen someday. I think he’s being reassuring here. The stark, screaming pain you feel in a time of mourning will be dealt with. You will receive comfort. Maybe based on Romans 8:28 where God says all things work together for good. I can even imagine Jesus assuring me that someday this is going to make sense. Even the mourning, even the grief will make sense. Because let’s face it when something or someone precious is taken from us, we mourn, we grieve and we hate it. I mean, there’s no love in it. It’s like, I didn’t want this. This verse to me says, hang on. Don’t give up hope. There’s a blessing in this someday. No pain is wasted or useless. It matters. He cares. And he comforts. You’re blessed because if you’re coming to him, you’ll get comfort. Like, like no other comfort on earth.
That’s so good. Well, it’s like you said, at the beginning he saw the crowd. When he sees us, he doesn’t see us in this moment. He sees all our moments. So he does, he sees us in our pain now. And then he sees the completion of that pain, like where it does somehow seem to make a little more sense.
I like that. The completion. You’re right. We’re living in the mucky middle.
And it’s not good.
How is this good? How is this ever going to be good? And God already sees how it is good. Cause he works all things for good.
So to have that little glimpse into the future, like just trusting that God will see us through to that end.
And he’s smiling, thinking, Oh, are you going to receive comfort? Oh, this is encouraging.
That is encouraging. Yeah. I like that part. Much better.
Yeah. Okay. Your turn.
So the next one, verse five, God blesses those who are humble for, they will inherit the whole earth. I thought of another verse right away when I read this, James 4:6. It says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God seems drawn to a humble heart. A heart that is open to God’s Lordship. The dictionary says that humble means having or showing a modest or low esteem of one’s own importance. And by doing that, we are acknowledging God’s importance as greater than our own. It’s neat how he says the humble will inherit the whole earth. That’s completely opposite of what the world teaches us. Isn’t it?
It sure is. I love it. So the ones that are grasping and have the most toys. No. Nope. A little humble guy…ta da!
Sitting in the back by himself. Yes.
Yes, here’s the earth, you’ve inherited it.
What! I didn’t even try for this.
I was hoping for this patch of land to call my own. So, so fun. Yeah. And now that I’m reading this with you, I’m picturing Jesus smiling. As he’s telling them, it’s like, you don’t know how wonderful this is all going to be someday.
Wow. Yeah, it’s like giving your kids a Christmas gift, you know what’s inside of it. You’re super excited and you know they’re going to love it. And they’re just like, okay, what’s this?
What’s it going to be? Hope its not pajamas.
Right. Or socks again.
Yeah, that is fun.
Okay. Next one, Matthew five, six. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice. Oh my, Oh my right now this is so, so. Wait for the end part. I forgot it. I was getting so excited about hungering and thirsting for justice for, they will be satisfied. Oh amen. Amen. I mean, this just so resonates today. There are so many injustices in this world, little children being trafficked and abused. An overloaded foster care system that often can’t provide the right kind of care for troubled kids. Our black brothers and sisters treated unfairly based on the color of their skin. Refugees with no place to go; abusive relationships, on and on and on and on. Life is not fair. It is not fair. It isn’t. And sometimes the problems just seem so big.
Ray and I will take walks at night, try to solve the problems of the world together. You know, if we were in charge, you know? Actually we can’t because as soon as I come up with an idea that I know what we could do, you know? We will just do this and Ray will say yes, but if you do that, then this. And we’re stuck basically with the fact that we’re sinful and there will always be people that try to be cruel and be evil and injustice thrives sometimes.
It’s discouraging. If you think about that.
Oh my goodness. Yeah. It’s hard to know how to fix stuff when we’re stuck living with sinful human beings who seem to find ways to circumvent laws and continue to be unjust. But here’s the thing, God loves it. He loves it. He thinks it’s a blessing for us when we hunger and thirst for righteousness or justice. Either one; justice and righteous are kind of used in different translations.
We want a world where things are right. And Jesus is pleased when we want a world where things are right. He looks out at that crowd and you and me, Nicole and he smiles. I think, I mean, I don’t know. He smiles, that’s not in the Bible, but I feel like he smiles and says our cry for justice and righteousness will be satisfied. Hallelujah. It just makes me want to say, ‘come Lord Jesus. Come and make right all that is wrong. You know, for me, when I taught school and saw injustice at school where kids were bullying other kids?
The bullies were the hardest kids for me to love. Oh my goodness gracious. I’d be like, how can you be so mean? And then I have to remember that they probably were bullied. You know, that there’s a cycle going on there and they’re deeply, deeply wounded themselves. And then I get all messed up with, how do you judge, rightly you know, when is your past an explanation for your present, all that stuff. And so I’m super glad that I am not the judge of the earth, I’m just saying.
Thank goodness, huh?
And Jesus is. And I think that’s what’s going to be so satisfying. Jesus sees every heart. He sees every motive. He sees how much we could have done and what we could not have done with our mental capacity, with the tools we were given. And he judges right.
And that’s so nice.
Isn’t that a relief?
To know we long for that justice, but I think we know just like you and Ray talking and walking like Josh and I sit on our porch and we talk about the issues of the world and we’re left discouraged on our own wanderings about how to fix it. But when we look to Jesus, it’s like he can do it right. He can justify. And it’s such a relief.
Yes. Because he sees it all and we don’t, we do not see it all we don’t, but someday justice will reign because Jesus will reign. What a good day that will be. Oh yes. I really am excited for that day.
Oh yes. Your turn.
All right. So talking about mercy and bullies and verse seven is God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy. So I don’t know, mercy is such a beautiful word to me. I sometimes just lump it in with grace and don’t fully appreciate what it means on its own. My favorite definition that I found listed for mercy was ‘compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm’. Wow. When I think about the punishment that my sins have earned, and what God and his mercy towards me has held back because of Jesus I, I’m left in tears. I have nothing to stand on. There’s nothing I can do on my own to be free of my sinful nature. Only God can extend this mercy to me. So as one who has been shown great mercy, I need to then show that same God given mercy to others.
Yeah. It’s interesting how often God links the two, if you’re merciful, you will receive mercy.
If you forgive sins, I will forgive you. In another passage of scripture, he does link them. He wants us to note what he’s done and go and do likewise.
You’re right. It’s never, mercy is never just a received thing. It’s always, receive it and show it. It’s almost an immediate reaction to it.
Yes. Yes. The reaction to his mercy ought to be, to give it because it feels so good because back to that justice thing, we want justice, but we really want mercy.
Mercy for ourselves justice for everyone else.
Exactly. Exactly. So they go together and how nice that God puts the justice thing and then the mercy thing right next to each other because… And they’re only met in the cross obviously because sin deserves punishment.
And Jesus took the punishment. Therefore we are given mercy. So it’s a fascinating and only God, I mean, this is a plan too big for any human being to have ever thought out.
Yeah. So, okay. I’m going to do two in a row now for the sake of time. So I’m going to do Matthew five, eight and nine. Okay. So God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God. So, you know, I think our tendency as human beings, when we see injustice is to become angry and harsh. I’ll give you an example of that from my own pathetic life, which has thankfully been redeemed by Christ. When I was, I don’t know, maybe married two years. So (at) 23 (years). I saw the movie Silent Scream, which is a really hard movie to see because you see an abortion occurring and you see a baby crying. Well, it affected me big time and I had sort of been neutral about abortion before that.
I became actually impossible to live with.
I really did. You know, I’d like to say that it converted me into this sweet, nice person, but Nicole, I was, I was awful. Nobody could really talk to me. I just lectured them. And if they deviated one centimeter, from what I thought the correct position was, I would, I would overwhelm them with words and scorn. I mean, honestly, I’m ashamed. I’m saying this, but I’m ashamed of it because I did nothing to help people see the issue wisely, nothing.
All I did was create an image of people that believe life began at birth as sort of insane.
We do that don’t we sometimes?
Acting, you know? And so I wasn’t pure in heart. My first response was, was dismay. But then what I did instead of keeping that pure heart, which would have thought about the mamas who have had abortions and hurt because they did and who didn’t know and, and who thought they had no choice and all this stuff. Instead of thinking all those ways, I just wanted to hurt others. It was, it was ugly and it was not pure. And it did not please God. And I didn’t see God in that time because I was on a crusade that actually, even though it should have been God’s crusade was Sharon’s. We have got to be so careful with every issue.
So careful that we are pure in heart so that we see God through this. So that when we’re dealing with these things, we deal with it from his perspective, which is he loves the world. He is so much gentler than we are. He just is. He just is, Oh my goodness. I allowed hatred and judgment to cloud my thoughts. I lost God in my rage and did harm and not good. Anyways, those who see God are the ones whose hearts are pure. So let’s work on that.
And then the other part, peace maker. This also applies, you know, was I trying to make peace with anyone? Oh no. I was like stirring up animosity very quickly with everyone, including poor Ray who got blasted if he opened his mouth and said anything.
Yeah. They’re good sounding boards sometimes poor things.
Yes. So basically I was failing at the beatitudes. Cause God says he loves those who work for peace. For those who work for peace. You know, sometimes in our righteous anger, we are no longer working for peace.
We start working out of our own flesh. I think our initial response might be something kind of godly. And then we just get so enraged with it that anger, our flesh starts going and then it becomes Nicole’s Crusade. Or Sharon’s crusade and not God’s.
Exactly. And we justify it because the root cause is good. No, no. We are expected to work for peace.
Exactly. Yup, no matter what.
And God made peace through Jesus for us. The blessings come when we seek peace, it doesn’t mean we lie and say evil is good, but it does mean that we see every human being, including the one we’re arguing with as a soul in desperate need of God.
Oh, my goodness.
Wouldn’t that change so many debates and arguments and fights?
Wouldn’t it? Yes, it would. If our heart was for that other person in love, first of all, they’d listen more because I listen way more better to people that like me.
Oh yeah. They come at me, guns blazing. I’m like, Whoa, defensive.
Right away. Yeah. I think this is a really good verse for this time, because there are many things to get mad about right now.
Oh yes. Pick an issue, any issue.
But God blesses those who work for peace. They’re the ones that are children of God. Why? Because God works for peace.
So if we want to be his kids, let’s speak truth in love and work for peace. Amen. And amen.
There. Your turn. Alright.
So my three verses, I’m going to do the next three, cause they’re all on persecution. So verses 10 through 12, 10, 11, 12. Yes. That’s three. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it. Be very glad for a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. Wow. This is a tough section.
Yes, it is.
My first response to all of that is not what Jesus listed here. But I think, I think the bar is set so high here to show us that we really can’t do this on our own. That it’s almost impossible in our flesh to be happy when people do us evil. To be fine when they’re persecuting us and lying about us. But this, these verses highlight our need for Jesus. He needs to be working in my heart on my attitude if I ever want to be able to say, I am happy for this persecution. But he does promise a reward. And I love the gentle reminder in the last verse where it says, remember the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. What an encouragement to be reminded that many of our heroes of faith also walked this path with Jesus.
Yes. To be in that company is to be in good company.
Yeah it really is.
And to be recognized as Jesus’s to the degree that people don’t like us because of him.
That’s kind of an honor.
It is. It should be like, yes. I see God.
Yes. Let’s hope we think that if we get persecuted.
Right, keep that in mind!
Oh my goodness, this was, this was wow. It really was a lot to chew on. I’m going to close us in prayer and pray for you who are listening as well. Because man, that was a lot to digest. And then Nicole, you can close us out. All right. Oh, heavenly Father, thank you for the teachings of your son, Jesus. We know they’re your teachings, Lord God. And we want to learn and grow. God, forgive us when anger blinds us to mercy and kindness. Forgive us when we want to run away from grief and poverty and persecution. Help us to grasp the truth that you see, you care and you will make things right someday. Oh how we thank you for that great and sure hope. We love you Lord. And we choose you. We choose you in good times and in the hard times for where else could we go? You hold onto us and out to us the words of life. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.
Amen. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have a whole lot to chew on this week mentally. I want so much to walk out what we studied. How about you? We always love to hear from you friend. You can write us at sweet selah.org/podcast. You know what else we would be really grateful for, from you? We’d love for you to share our podcast with others, follow us and write positive reviews if you like us. We also gratefully receive donations. It costs money every month to run these podcasts. Sweet Selah Ministries is a 501c3 nonprofit ministry. We run on your donations. If you can help us go to sweetselah.org/donate. Most of all thanks for listening. We love our times with you each week. Next week’s episode moves from attitudes to actions. Yes we are to be still and know God first, but then we’ve got stuff to do. We can’t wait to share more next time in episode 16 Actions, coming out next Tuesday until then may God bless you as you seek to walk with him.
Speaker 1 (30:22):
We are so glad you stopped for awhile with us. The Sweet Selah Moments podcast is a cooperative production of Word Radio and Sweet Selah Ministries. More information about this podcast can be firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for joining us.
You can download and print the transcript here.