Heart of Membership
The final two beatitudes explore the depths of discipleship. Sacrifice yourself to make peace. Be such a peacemaker that the world persecutes you. Remember how both the first and last beatitude ends, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There is no status in the kingdom, only service. Daily Prayer: Give me the courage to stand for your peace in the midst of conflict and love for those who oppose it.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Mat. 5:9)
Monday, October 13
Read Colossians 1. Christ has reconciled all things to himself, making peace through his blood. What needed to be reconciled? How did Jesus reconcile it “to himself?” What kind of peace did Jesus bring? Explore the irony of Jesus making peace through his blood.
Tuesday, October 14
Read Luke 6:27-38. Explore how each of these teachings of Jesus is essential to true peacemaking: Loving your enemy – turning the other cheek – the “golden rule” – lending without expected return – judging not.
Wednesday, October 15
Read 2 Timothy 2:22-3:17. Paul shows the connection between being pure in heart and peacemaking. According to Paul, what is the peace we seek for others? What kind of opposition are we to expect? Why oppose peace?
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat. 5:10)
Thursday, October 16
Read Matthew 10. Often we think of “persecution” as something that happens to someone else. Actively consider the prospect of one day being “persecuted for righteousness sake.” How would you react? What if it’s already happening? How are you reacting?
Friday, October 17
Read Philippians 1. Paul writes to the church in Philippi in the midst of his own persecution. What does Paul see as the benefit of his persecution? Both Jesus and Paul emphasize rejoicing in the midst of persecution. (v.18, Mat. 5:11-12) Why rejoice?
Saturday, October 18
Read John 15:18-27. If the world hated Jesus, and we are his followers, it makes sense that the world would also hate us. Pray to God that he would remove from you the love for the things of this world and replace it with a Spirit-filled love for those who hate us.
Bethel Lutheran Church, St. Paul, MN – bethelstpaul.com