Summary: It seems unthinkable but it is so that Christians are being attacked on many fronts but, despite the negatives, Jesus encourages His followers to persevere in doing what is right in God's sight.


The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12

Everybody I know wants to be happy. However, it appears to me that some folks may not understand what true happiness is.

There are those, for example, who seem to think that lots of money would make them happy; yet, some of the wealthiest people in the world have said that fortune brought misery to their lives.

Others seem to think that if they could just be famous, they would be happy; yet, many famous folks come to the end of their way feeling unhappy due to loneliness and sadness.

Neither fame nor fortune brings true happiness to any individual. This is as true today as it was when Jesus preached a sermon about happiness during his ministry on this earth.

Times have changed, but the search for happiness is still one of our top priorities.

Perhaps we would do well to adopt as one of our main goals in life: To be happy and to make other happy.

One of the memories that I cherish of my father-in-law is the note that he wrote to himself and taped on the mirror into which he looked every morning when he shaved.

The note read:

“Thursday mornings

Go to nursing home

Make people happy.”

Whether in a nursing home or not, we all want to be happy. We want to wake up each morning with a reason for living yet another day . . . with an inward feeling of assurance that life is worthwhile . . . with no thought as to whether or not our needs are going to be met that day . . . with as bright an outlook on life as possible . . . with the hope that someone who needs a word of encouragement will cross our path that day; so, “Lord, help me to encourage someone today.”

My father-in-law discovered happiness by making others happy. He could not make people happy by giving them money; nor could he make them happy by offering them fame. He did so simply by going where there was a need for encouragement. Oftentimes all he had to offer was a smile, a handshake, or a pat on the back, without saying a word. His actions spoke, as if to say, “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, give I thee.”

When Jesus saw a multitude of people searching for happiness, he had pity on them – and then, “He went up on a mountainside and sat down, and he began to teach them.”

“How to be Happy” was the theme of the first lesson Jesus taught in His “Sermon on the Mount”. Here was the Great Physician, taking time to sit down with those longing for a happy life, giving them a prescription consisting of eight components of the blessing of happiness.

Think of these eight components as noted minister-author Robert Schuler and my long-time friend Harmon Born, along with other respected servants of God have suggested: BE Attitudes – the person God wants me (us) to BE.

When a medical doctor prescribes an antibiotic, the patient is advised to take the entire dosage over a period of time in order to realize the full benefit of the prescription.

Jesus our Great Physician advises those who desire true happiness to incorporate all eight BE Attitudes into daily life if they (we) want to benefit fully from God’s Prescription for Happiness. Amen.


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

(Matthew 5:10)

Who Me? Persecuted? I would not say that I have been persecuted in my life. I have had it pretty good, with ups and downs, problems that I found difficult to deal with, but persecuted? I’m not sure about that. I suppose it depends on what Jesus meant when He used the word persecuted.

It might help to understand the context in which Jesus spoke this eighth beatitude. After all, He was speaking to people who had been abused throughout their history due to their identification as God’s chosen people.

The abuse had taken the form of slavery, bloody wars, destruction of cities, large numbers of inhabitants taken into captivity, despicable abuses of women and children, and so forth.

When Jesus came, the multitudes found themselves ready to follow a deliverer who would conquer their enemies. Instead, here was a Teacher sent from God to comfort them, and to confront not the enemies without but the enemies within.

For you see, as it turned out, the enemies within their ranks were more destructive of their hope for a promising future than the enemies without.

And isn’t that the way it is today? In our world, in our country, in our communities, there are forces at work that would destroy Christianity from within, if we give in to their schemes to do us harm rather than good. When we encounter wolves in sheep’s clothing, as is the case not only in major cities but also in small towns and communities, we must stand firm and speak out, and not be silenced by criticism for standing up for our beliefs.

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