MONDAY MINUTES With Pastor Chris McCool (November 15, 2021)

I am sharing an article below by Elder Mike Ivey, regarding the Beatitudes, which he posted on his Facebook page this past week. It is an outstanding overview of these precious verses, and I hope they are encouraging and helpful to you as it was to me! I am posting this article in two parts, part one today and part two next week, Lord willing.

May the Lord bless you is my prayer!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Thoughts about the Beatitudes (Part One)

By Elder Michael Ivey

The blessings Jesus cites in the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11) are qualities-of-a-good-life experiences those who follow his teachings receive, know and appreciate. As such, in addition to actually providing sheer enjoyments of comfort, peace, etc. they also function as a sort of transcendent, or metaphysical barometer which monitors spiritual health in terms of natural well-being, as to be comforted, being happy, being at peace, being joyous etc..

Recognizing, consciously appreciating, and being thankful to God for these blessings are indicators of spiritual health. Failure to do so is a danger signal that our faith is being attacked and wavering and our souls are suffering. In this way the beatitudes are similar to canaries miners once used to signal danger.

The delicate systems of Canaries are more sensitive and susceptible than are human systems to the deadly gases mining activity can unintentionally release. These gases cannot be seen. They make no sound; and, in most instances cannot be smelled. However since canaries respiratory and nervous systems are more sensitive, for centuries miners carried these songbirds into mines as a way to detect poison gas. As long as the canary chirped and sang the miners knew they were in no danger. However, if the canary stopped singing and became lethargic the miners knew they were breathing poison and needed to immediately leave the mine.

In addition to providing believers with generally joyous, optimistic perspectives, the experiential blessings Jesus mentions in the beatitudes serve a function that is similar to the “canary in the coal mine” by letting us know when our faith is threatened as we struggle against sin. As long as we are happily at peace in our souls, are comforted and rejoicing to serve God, as long as we can know and appreciate the mercies of God in our lives and are spiritually fed by the gospel, as long as we appreciate the benefits of patience and steadfastness when facing trials and tribulations and prefer and seek peace with others rather than quarreling or looking for fault, as long as we set our affections on God, knowing it is a blessing to love God who first loved us, then we can understand by these blessings that our faith is properly working and our souls are spiritually robust.

Like the canary who sings in the coal mine when all is well, in a spiritual sense our souls rejoice with sonnets of praise to God which stirs up our joy in the LORD and gives us happiness and peace as we receive Christ’s beatitude blessings. And like the canary who cannot breathe poison and still sing, when we allow the poisons of worldliness to contaminate our lives by indulging lust, greed, worship of pleasure, angst, envy, jealousy, frustration, fear, divisiveness, worldly cares, etc., our sinsick souls are cast down. Optimism is replaced by fear. Peace is smothered by angst. Lust chokes out charity. Worry drains us of joy. Our souls struggle to find and express hope and our faith is on life-support. God’s blessings are still all around us. But when the poison gases of worldly charms and cares so fill our thoughts and passions, we lose sight of God and are cutoff from recognizing and appreciating his blessings.

To be continued next week. . . .