“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We have all heard the advice, and we smile, because we know that life is not that simple. In His Sermon on the Mount, however, Jesus takes this message to another level. He provides concrete reasons to believe that blessing comes even when we face hard times.
Week 1: When we want to give up…, Matthew 5:3; 11:28-30, September 11, 2022
Some days we are not up for the fight. The cost is too high, and victory seems unlikely. Jesus assures us, however, that He is powerfully present in every struggle.
Week 2: When we can’t stop grieving…, Matthew 5:4; Isaiah 61:1-3, September 18, 2022
Loss is an uncomfortable part of being human. The more we value someone or something, the more we miss them when they are gone. Can we ever dig ourselves out of our grief? Jesus assures us that He will heal even our most powerful grief through His loving and gracious presence.
Week 3: When we don’t seem to matter…, Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:8-11, September 25, 2022
Some voices in our culture seem to matter more than others. We call them, “influencers.” Jesus, however, challenges our perspective. He promises the world to the “meek” ones that we often do not notice.
Week 4: Full of Righteousness? Matthew 5:6; Isaiah 55:1-2, October 2, 2022
What would we want to be filled with righteousness? What would that look like? How would we do that? Why does Jesus promise blessing with it? (Recorded in our chapel, after Ian. No electricity, but God was fully present in His power.)
Week 5: When we have a hard time forgiving others…, Matthew 5:7; Micah 6:7-8, October 9, 2022
What happens after we call people to account? How do we respond to their failure? Jesus urges mercy for them and for us. Mercy enables us to function in a world of imperfect people, including ourselves.
Week 6: When we start to question our faith…, Matthew 5:8; 1 John 1:5-7, October 16, 2022
The world has a way of challenging our faith. We may start to wonder why we believe what we believe. Jesus assures us that hard questions asked with a pure heart will help us to see God more clearly.
Week 7: When we are overwhelmed by conflict in the world…, Matthew 5:9, Romans 14:17-19, October 23, 2022
Peacemaking is not for the faint of heart. Those working for peace must believe that it can work. Jesus assures us that peacemakers are God’s children, empowered to do the work of their Father.
Week 8: When we are mistreated because we follow Jesus…, Matthew 5:10-12, October 30, 2022
If Jesus, who never hurt anyone, is mistreated in this world, then we follow Jesus will also meet our share of objectors. When this happens, Jesus assures us of His promise to deliver us in His time and in His way.