All Saints’ Day: 01 Nov 2021 – Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 149; Matthew 5:1-12; Hebrews 12:1-2 ~ “Blessed are those….”

All Saints’ Day: 01 Nov 2021

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening:

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one
communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of your Son:
Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and
godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you
have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ
our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns,
one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

“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)

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I sing a song of the Saints of God / Hymn with lyrics / Christian devotional / All Saints day Song

https://youtu.be/rPGHcnPJmNY?rel=0

[Please click on above link.]
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NT Reading: Revelation 7:9-17 (ESV)

A Great Multitude from Every Nation

7:9  After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

   “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
   They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
   For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

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Psalm: Psalm 149 
Sing to the Lord a New Song
HalleluYah (Psalm 149) – James Block

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Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:1-12 (ESV)

The Sermon on the Mount

5:1  Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

5:2  And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

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

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “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.

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Beatitudes – John Alexander Wilson

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Prayer: A BEATITUDES PRAYER
07/06/2021 By Jared Dees

A BEATITUDES PRAYER

Dear Lord,

Make me poor in spirit, so I can receive the kingdom of heaven.

When I mourn, help me find comfort.

Make me meek, so that I may inherit the land.

Help me to hunger and thirst for righteousness, so I may be satisfied.

Make me merciful, so I may obtain your mercy.

Make me pure of heart, so I may see you.

Help me to make peace, so I may be called your child.

When I am persecuted for righteousness’ sake, show me your kingdom.

Amen.

+ Christ as a light, illumine and guide us. Christ as a shield, overshadow us. Christ under us; Christ over us; Christ beside us on our left and our right. This day be within and without us, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom we speak; in the mouth of each who speaks to us. This day be within and without us, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside us on our left and our right.

Benediction: Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

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+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday Morning: 19 Aug 2019 – Matthew 5:1-16 ~ Jesus’ Teaching: on blessing and visibility

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for the Renewal of Life – Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Matthew 5:1-16 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount

One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

  • “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.

Teaching about Salt and Light

“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.
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Morning Reflection:

Jesus’ Teaching: on blessing and visibility

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.”

– Matthew 5:3 –

In Chapter 4, Matthew recorded the launch of Jesus’ ministry – from overcoming temptation to announcing the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Jesus preaching, accompanied by miraculous healings, attracted a large following. So Jesus decided to sit them all down and explain what it means to turn away from sin and turn to God – what it means to live as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Matthew presents Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5-7) beginning with the Beatitudes.

The Beatitudes describe the character of those who will receive God’s blessing in God’s Kingdom – they are an attitude check for every believer – toward ourselves, toward our sins, toward God, and toward the world.

+ the poor in spirit – are those who recognize their personal unworthiness to stand in God’s presence and who depend utterly on Him for His mercy and grace. Recognition of our own spiritual bankruptcy is the prerequisite for receiving Kingdom joy.

+ those who mourn – do so because they sense their spiritual bankruptcy. It’s an expression of genuine sorrow and humiliation over our sin that leads to repentance and the comfort of God’s forgiveness.

+ those who are humble – are gentle in their dealings with others, and unpretentious in their lifestyle. The humble are heirs of the God’s Kingdom – receiving a promissory portion of their inheritance in this world, and their full inheritance in the world to come.

+ those who hunger and thirst for justice – are those who seek holiness, or godliness, not only for themselves but also for the society in which they live. It involves working and praying for the revival and renewal of society’s sinfulness.

+ those who are merciful – forgive the guilty and have compassion on the needy and the suffering. Mercy involves receiving God’s loving-kindness when we don’t deserve it. Merciful people give to others what they themselves have received from God.

+ those whose hearts are pure – are those who are single-minded in their devotion to God; it includes freedom from hypocrisy. Those with clean hearts can look forward to seeing God in the person of Messiah when He reigns on the earth.

+ those who work for peace – replicate Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation bringing people together with God and one another. It is not simply the absence of war, or cessation of hostilities; it is a reconciliation rooted in the cross of Christ – the Prince of Peace.

+ those who are persecuted for doing right – replicate Jesus’ ministry of suffering. The world does not give up its hates and self-centered living easily. Those who live rightly in God’s eyes become targets of those living for money, sex, and power – those who have rejected God’s rule and reign in their lives.

Questions for consideration:

  • Jesus concludes this portion of the Sermon on the Mount with the instruction to display what we believe – you are light and salt. In light of his teaching on Kingdom blessings, what is God calling you to say or do? Where do you need an attitude check, a change in your thinking or lifestyle. Please explain.
  • Where do you need God’s help to live a blessed life? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: On living the Beatitudes

Sovereign Lord:  Thank you for the gift of your Son Jesus Christ, who died that I might live – a full, satisfying life, now and forever. Empower me by your life-giving Word and Spirit to reflect his attitudes and, in so doing, receive your blessing.

+ Help me to recognize my spiritual poverty, apart from you I am, or can do, nothing…
+ Help me to mourn my sins, and be comforted by your unfailing love and forgiveness…
+ Help me to live humbly and find strength in weakness and power in vulnerability…
+ Help me to desire truth and justice, not simply for myself but for all people…
+ Help me to be a merciful friend to those who have failed you…
+ Help me to remain focused on Jesus, to be pure in heart, to view life from his perspective…
+ Help me to be a reconciler, to look for the best in others and bring them to Jesus…
+ Help me to be fearless, unafraid of what others think or say about me, that I might rejoice in the honor of standing for your restorative justice and rightness.

Sovereign Lord: Change my attitudes and give me the heart and mind of Christ, for apart from his love, mercy, and grace I can do nothing. I ask this in Jesus’ name who lives and reigns with you, in unity with the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.
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“The Beatitudes” – Hillsong

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Morning Reading: Fri, 25 May – Luke 5-6 ~ leave and learn

Morning Reading

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Opening – (Northumbria Community)

One thing I have asked of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.

Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.

Reading: Luke 5-6 (NLT)

The First Disciples

Luke 5 (NLT)

One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.”

“Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.

When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.” For he was awestruck by the number of fish they had caught, as were the others with him. His partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were also amazed.

Jesus replied to Simon, “Don’t be afraid! From now on you’ll be fishing for people!” And as soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Jesus Heals a Man with Leprosy

In one of the villages, Jesus met a man with an advanced case of leprosy. When the man saw Jesus, he bowed with his face to the ground, begging to be healed. “Lord,” he said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared. Then Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened. He said, “Go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

One day while Jesus was teaching, some Pharisees and teachers of religious law were sitting nearby. (It seemed that these men showed up from every village in all Galilee and Judea, as well as from Jerusalem.) And the Lord’s healing power was strongly with Jesus.

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

But the Pharisees and teachers of religious law said to themselves, “Who does he think he is? That’s blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God. Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, “We have seen amazing things today!”

Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)

Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”

Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.”

A Discussion about Fasting

One day some people said to Jesus, “John the Baptist’s disciples fast and pray regularly, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees. Why are your disciples always eating and drinking?”

Jesus responded, “Do wedding guests fast while celebrating with the groom? Of course not. But someday the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

Then Jesus gave them this illustration: “No one tears a piece of cloth from a new garment and uses it to patch an old garment. For then the new garment would be ruined, and the new patch wouldn’t even match the old garment.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the new wine would burst the wineskins, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine must be stored in new wineskins. But no one who drinks the old wine seems to want the new wine. ‘The old is just fine,’ they say.”

A Discussion about the Sabbath

Luke 6 (NLT)

One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples broke off heads of grain, rubbed off the husks in their hands, and ate the grain. But some Pharisees said, “Why are you breaking the law by harvesting grain on the Sabbath?”

Jesus replied, “Haven’t you read in the Scriptures what David did when he and his companions were hungry? He went into the house of God and broke the law by eating the sacred loaves of bread that only the priests can eat. He also gave some to his companions.” And Jesus added, “The Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath.”

Jesus Heals on the Sabbath

On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath.

But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?”

He looked around at them one by one and then said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At this, the enemies of Jesus were wild with rage and began to discuss what to do with him.

Jesus Chooses the Twelve Apostles

One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles. Here are their names:

  • Simon (whom he named Peter),
  • Andrew (Peter’s brother),
  • James,
  • John,
  • Philip,
  • Bartholomew,
  • Matthew,
  • Thomas,
  • James (son of Alphaeus),
  • Simon (who was called the zealot),
  • Judas (son of James),
  • Judas Iscariot (who later betrayed him).

Crowds Follow Jesus

When they came down from the mountain, the disciples stood with Jesus on a large, level area, surrounded by many of his followers and by the crowds. There were people from all over Judea and from Jerusalem and from as far north as the seacoasts of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those troubled by evil spirits were healed. Everyone tried to touch him, because healing power went out from him, and he healed everyone.

The Beatitudes

Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,

  • “God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
  • God blesses you who are hungry now,for you will be satisfied.
  • God blesses you who weep now,for in due time you will laugh.

What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.

Sorrows Foretold

  • “What sorrow awaits you who are rich, for you have your only happiness now.
  • What sorrow awaits you who are fat and prosperous now, for a time of awful hunger awaits you.
  • What sorrow awaits you who laugh now, for your laughing will turn to mourning and sorrow.
  • What sorrow awaits you who are praised by the crowds, for their ancestors also praised false prophets.

Love for Enemies

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also. Give to anyone who asks; and when things are taken away from you, don’t try to get them back. Do to others as you would like them to do to you.

“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.

“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.

Do Not Judge Others

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Then Jesus gave the following illustration: “Can one blind person lead another? Won’t they both fall into a ditch? Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, ‘Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

The Tree and Its Fruit

“A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

Building on a Solid Foundation

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
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“Build my life” – Housefires


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Blessing – (Northumbrian Community)

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
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+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 29 Jan: Zep 2:3; 3:12-13; Ps 146:6-10; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12 ~ the blessed life

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Beatitudes, Jesus describes the kind of people who are blessed in God’s eyes. May we be counted among them.

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening Prayer:

O God, write on our hearts the wisdom of the gospel, so that we may hunger and thirst for holiness, work tirelessly for peace, and be counted among those who seek first your kingdom. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Continue reading “Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, 29 Jan: Zep 2:3; 3:12-13; Ps 146:6-10; 1 Cor 1:26-31; Mt 5:1-12 ~ the blessed life”

Daily Reading: 13 June – The Teachings of Jesus – Sermon on the Mount (Part I) – Matthew 5:1-6:4

Monday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

E100:12.a – The Teachings of Jesus

Sermon on the Mount (Part I) – Matthew 5:1-6:4 (NLT)

The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 5  One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes

3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

11 “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. 12 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.

The Sermon on the Mount Carl Bloch, 1890 Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle Bjergprædiken, Denmark
The Sermon on the Mount
Carl Bloch, 1890
Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle
Bjergprædiken, Denmark

Teaching about Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Teaching about the Law

17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

Teaching about Anger

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, 24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.

25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.

Teaching about Adultery

27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

Teaching about Divorce

31 “You have heard the law that says, ‘A man can divorce his wife by merely giving her a written notice of divorce.’ 32 But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.

Teaching about Vows

33 “You have also heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not break your vows; you must carry out the vows you make to the Lord.’ 34 But I say, do not make any vows! Do not say, ‘By heaven!’ because heaven is God’s throne. 35 And do not say, ‘By the earth!’ because the earth is his footstool. And do not say, ‘By Jerusalem!’ for Jerusalem is the city of the great King. 36 Do not even say, ‘By my head!’ for you can’t turn one hair white or black. 37 Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one.

Christ crowned with thorns Anthony van Dyck, c. 1620 Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid
Christ crowned with thorns
Anthony van Dyck, c. 1620
Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid

Teaching about Revenge

38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.

Teaching about Love for Enemies

43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Teaching about Giving to the Needy

Matthew 6  “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“Beatitudes” – Lydia Shaw (Bethel Church)

Dialogued Prayer on the Beatitudes

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Keep us from being preoccupied with money and worldly goods, and with trying to increase them at the expense of justice.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Help us not to be ruthless with one another, and to eliminate the discord and violence that exists in the world around us.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Give us patience under our own burdens and concern about the burdens of others.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be filled.” Make us thirst for you, the fountain of all holiness, and actively spread your influence in our private lives and in society.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Grant that we may be quick to forgive and slow to condemn.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God.” Free us from our senses and our evil desires, and fix our eyes on you.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” Aid us to make peace in our families, in our country, and in the world.

Lord Jesus, you said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for the kingdom of heaven in theirs.” Make us willing to suffer for the sake of right rather than to practice injustice, discrimination or oppression of our neighbors.

Closing Sentence

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.
– 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

+ In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!