A lot has happened since the last time I wrote a "Shepherd's Voice" post...church camp, family birthdays (including my own 30th!), grad school, the start of college football season...
The theme for our week of church camp back in mid-July was the Beatitudes, and they've been on my heart since then, so I just wanted to share them, along with some of my own prayers-thoughts here.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Lord, help me to learn more of what it means to be poor in spirit. Never let me forget my undeniable need for You, and the fact that it's only in You that I live and move and have my being.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
Dear God, if there's any concept You've taught me from Your word this year, it surely would involve mourning. I'm thankful, though, that Your word also describes you as "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort."
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
When I read this verse, the first thought that comes to mind is that of Jesus. I love His words from Matthew 11, where He says, "Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Help me to learn from Him how to be like You.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."
Thank You for filling me with a hunger for Your word and for Your righteousness. Help me never to grow weary in my pursuit of these things.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy."
When I think of your mercy, I think of a passage from Lamentations: "Yet this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great mercies we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
When I think of what it means to have a pure heart, I think of your servant David. His heart was certainly one that went astray on multiple occasions. Yet he was described as a man after Your own heart. And I can't help but identify with his plea, that You create a pure heart within him, and renew a steadfast spirit within him.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."
I can't help but think of how many times in Your word you are described as a God of peace. It is one of the fruits of Your Spirit. Your word describes You as being pleased to have all Your fullness dwell in Christ, reconciling all things to Yourself, making peace through His blood. And now You have given to us this ministry of reconciliation. May we be peacemakers in that sense, helping to draw all men unto You.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Father, I'm thankful to live in a time and place where I don't have fear of persecution the way Your servants did years ago, nor the way some do in other parts of the world. But regardless of what I may have to face, I pray that I learn, as Peter taught, how to "live such a good life" that those who may want to accuse will only see good deeds and glorify You.