Red Letter Diary

Reflections on the words of Jesus (in red)

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Salt

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” Matthew 5:13

When the Messiah says you are something, you are that thing. Don’t lose what you are. Did you have to work to become salt? Did you shape yourself into that crystal?

You certainly have the ability to unshape it, to dissolve into tastelessness, to let yourself be trampled. This is not what He wants for you.

 This is that thing that God gifted to you that is your genuine self, this is your authentic self. 

Preserve your spice, keep your crystalline nature. He made you that way.

Rejoice and be glad…

“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

How is it that so many of us, when we make the decision to follow Christ, become those who revile and persecute others?

We have been gifted a Kingdom, shown a way toward toward transcendent bliss with the Creator, and ruling us is a king who goes to his death so that we do not have to face the terror and despair of separation from the Father. Even though He showed us the path of a peacemaker, who forgives the sins of prostitutes and rails against religious legalism, a teacher who washes the feet of his students and offers living water to outcasts, even with all this… we so often become the persecutors rather than the persecuted, we utter all kinds of evil against our brothers and our sisters.

Today I ask myself, when was I persecuted, when was I reviled, when was evil spoken falsely against me because of Jesus?

The Kingdom

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:10

Very few people in the West know the hideous persecutions Jesus and his friends and disciples experienced; however, no matter what kind of troubles we have, we are told that a kingdom will be ours.

Kingdoms set the mind awash in fairytales where one might imagine wearing a glimmering crown in a great castle. But the Messiah’s kingdom is not of this world. It is not exactly a material kingdom, and  so, what is it that we might inherit?

There are many who do know the cruelty of being shamed and mutilated to death for their beliefs and there are also those who suffer terribly in other ways without comfort or explanation.

Sometimes there is no answer for “why” we have these experiences, we only know that Christ makes a promise.

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”

And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43 ESV)

Only the suffering of the Messiah can promise criminals a paradise. If only we truly understood our lives as manifestations of the paradise of which Jesus speaks, if only we knew that none of what we perceive as suffering is in vain, if only we knew that “Heaven” is spread out before us and is within us  – and that the Messiah is in us as we are in Him as He is in the Father… if we only we could believe…

Today I pray, “Help my unbelief” and “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

“Peacemakers…”

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
Matthew 5:9

Christ does not say, “Blessed are those who make war, who break the peace, who cause division, who build walls, who hide in bunkers, who hoard treasure and medicine, who create dividing lines, who fight with others, who replace hope with cynicism, who cut off children from parents, who rule over others, who subdue, who oppress…”

How do we make peace?How do we unmake peace?

When you hear your name called, will it be followed by “child of God”? Why?

“Pure…”

Matthew 5:8

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

Your heart is your physical generator, but it symbolizes the vase for spiritual generation and His blossoming within you.

The flower that grows from your heart can  become poisonous.

What should you feed the flower in order to avoid the poisonous blossom?

When you see the pure blossom, you will know who has fed the flower.

When you see the pure blossom, you see Him, for only He is pure.

“Blessed…”

Matthew 5:7

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

When the prodigal returns, the father falls on his neck.

The sinner is set free before her the eyes of those who would condemn her.

“Father forgive them for they know not what they do…”

When we think of being merciful, we can often decide that we are not in a position to act this way toward another person, that mercy should be set aside only for people in power to bestow upon us and not for us to give to others.

Christ knows that cruelty, revenge, grudges, and vengeance are prisons for the human soul.  He has handed you the keys to this prison, it is up to you to open the door.

The door will remain open as long as you are able to show mercy.

“Blessed…”

Matthew 5:6

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

Have you ever wondered why God, in the form of a human, would continually refer to himself as food or water?  Why did Christ make it such a central point of our participation in His life that we should eat His flesh?

If it is only our spirit which sustains us, the breath of God within us, why would we feed by any other means?  How could we be truly satisfied by any other means?

There are many ways to satisfy the body and the mind here in this field of existence, but they are grounded in this field and therefore have those aspects, namely that they are temporal and therefore temporary.  Only the Everlasting can supply the everlasting.

When you recognize that your spirit is far, far hungrier than your body, then you will realize what you need to eat in order to live – to live outside and inside of this temporal field you will need to hunger and thirst for something everlasting.

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—”
(Genesis 3:22 ESV)

There was another fruit on that tree in the garden and God sent us away from it, but now He has given to us this first fruit!

How long will you go hungry?  How long will your mouth be dry?

“Blessed…”

Matthew 5:5
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

Sometimes we use shyness as an excuse to isolate ourselves, but the Accuser uses isolation to twist us inward to create a destructive self-focus.

Humility is not the same as shyness and meekness is not an excuse to remove yourself from participation in the life God is showing you.

An honest appraisal of oneself, a truthful understanding of your relationship to others and the divine, the ability to say, “I was wrong and you were right”, a teachable attitude before God and others, a listener…

What will you gain? You will understand the true nature of yourself and your existence, you will know your identity, you will inherit your meaning and direction as you walk the path… All these things will be added to you.

Listen, love, learn and be blessed!

“Blessed…”

Matthew 5:4
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”

Life in the field of time and space is filled with what appear as opposites. God is beyond this, but can break into it at His leisure.

What a thought it is to be comforted by a pure and limitless love that knows no end; and yet, it is often only when we are in deepest pain that we become aware of our access to this kind of comfort.

The Messiah, Jesus, challenges our perception of opposites and transforms defeat into victory, death into life, persecution into joy, mourning into dancing.

This is not a concept or a state of mind, this is the reality of God breaking into to our world through Christ.

You are comforted, you are loved! See, if you have eyes. Listen, if you have ears… He is showing you, He is speaking to you.

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