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Blessings to us

Matthew 5 describes God's radical reconstruction of the heart. If we observe the sequence, first of all we recognize that we are all in need because "we are poor in spirit."

Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency, we mourn. We quit calling the shots and surrender our control to God, we are meek. So grateful are we for his presence that we yearn for more of him, we hunger and thirst. As we grow closer to him, we become more like him. We forgive others, we become more merciful. We change our outlook, we become more pure in heart.

We have a newfound love of others, we have become peacemakers. We endure the injustice of others, we are persecuted.

It is no real shift of attitude. It is the demolition of the old structure and a creation of the new. The more radical the change, the greater the joy. And it is worth every effort, for this is the joy of God.

It is by no accident that the same word used by Jesus to promise delight is the word used by Paul to describe God: "The blessed God ...." (1 Timothy 1:11) "God, the blessed and only Ruler ...." (1 Timothy 6:15)

Think about God's joy. What can cloud it? What can quench it? What can kill it? Is God ever in a bad mood because of the weather? Does God get ruffled over long lines or traffic jams?

Does God ever refuse to rotate the earth because his feelings are hurt?

No. His is a joy which consequences cannot steal. There is a gladness that comes only from God, a holy, blessed joy.

It is within everyone's reach. It is our decision make. Let us all make, or remake, this decision today and receive all the blessings that God has for us.

Mary-Lou Branson is a retired Salvation Army officer. She wrote this article as a member of the Fayette County Ministerial Association.