March 24, 2010

A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 31



Monte Holland

This is the thirty-first in a series of daily Lenten devotionals called “Scriptural Lessons Leading to a Godly and Moral Life.” To start the study, click on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Introduction or 

To view yesterday’s A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE click on: Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 30

Today’s photographs feature St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ligonier, PA. To view click on:

Beatitudes – Seventh and Eighth

Matthew 5:9-10

 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called sons of God.

 10 Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

     I have a real desire for peacemaking, perhaps because I have a violent side that gets easily angered by injustice. I have already mentioned my tendency to “road rage.” Persons who behave badly toward others, when they know better, really annoy me.

     Peace is hard to come by in our troubled world. Our country is involved in two active war zones. Wars are going on in other places. Belligerent activity dots the globe in numerous places. Beyond that there is violence in our streets every day. We do not have peace in any sense of the word.

     George Mitchell was appointed to be a U.S. peace envoy to the Middle East, a peacemaker.  That was an exciting development. And yet much time has elapsed and peace remains elusive there.

     In school there are bullies. They have no respect for peace or the well-being of others.

     Can you be a peacemaker in the midst of bullies? It isn’t easy. Maybe it takes a group of people committed to resisting violence. That isn’t easy either. However, if we succeed, we will be blessed to be called children of God. Another way to say it is “being like the Son of God.” After all, we call Jesus the Prince of Peace. To be a peacemaker is to try to be like Jesus. Peacemakers, like Jesus, do not carry big sticks, handguns, knives, or uzis. And yet they are firm in resolve for what is right. Jesus turned over the tables of the moneychangers because they were robbing the poor. He was adamant in his concern for children and widows.

If we are to be peacemakers, we must be a mix of non-violence and steadfast concern for justice. When we are able to successfully make that mix, we will be regarded as truly children of God. Those around us will know that we march to a different drumbeat—one ordained by God.

     Our second beatitude of the day brings us to persecution and righteousness. How many people in the world are persecuted? Obviously, the number is very great. They are divided into two groups—those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake and those who are persecuted, but not for righteousness’ sake. Here we look to those who are persecuted because they lead the Godly, moral life. The blessing is not for those who are persecuted for evil deeds.

     I would focus in on persons who are verbally abused (called names) for standing up for God and God’s ways. I would focus in on persons who are relationally abused (lose school elections due to their faith beliefs, are not selected for sports teams, or not able to get dates) for standing up for God and God’s ways. I would focus in on a person whose family members are persecuted because this person stands up for God and God’s ways.

     This beatitude promises the blessing of the kingdom of heaven—a foretaste of the eternity that we anticipate with God after we die. That foretaste we have now will include but not be restricted to faith, hope, and love in our day-to-day affairs. There will be a level of confidence and peace of mind that we can know no other way. The persecution may be there, but the sense of God’s presence and love overwhelms whatever our adversaries throw in our faces.

Summary:    action or condition                                  blessing

                     peacemaker                                              called children of God

                    persecuted for righteousness’ sake           kingdom of heaven


Exercise 1: Think of a time when you have been a peacemaker. Describe how it made you feel more like a child of God, a follower of Jesus.

Exercise 2: Have you been persecuted for being openly a follower of Jesus? How does it feel? Does turning to Jesus in those troubled times help you find your way through? Do words like hope and love and faith carry the day for you?

Continue on to the next lesson on A DAILY ON-LINE LENTEN STUDY GUIDE: 32 by clicking on: A Daily Online Lenten Study Guide: Day 32


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Monte and I welcome any comments you might have on the Lenten posts. Use the COMMENT box below to respond. For details on the COMMENT CONTEST click on:



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