Are the pathways to the kingdom of God and success in the world different?

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Welcome to day one of our week of Lenten meditations using the ancient technique of reading scripture called divine reading (Lectio Divina).  Using Lectio Divina, we let go of our own agendas and open ourselves to the word of God.

I invite you to share God’s word on you on your blog and then post it on this linky tools page.  When you share your devine reading, you are entered into the drawing to win a free copy of Praying Scripture for a Change – in introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Tim Gray.

Scripture reading:  Matthew 5:1-11
Meditation starter:  The pathway to the kingdom of God is different from the pathway to success in the world.
Lectio Divina:  There are four steps to Lectio Divina.  Follow them as you prepare your blog post.

1. Lectio (read) – Gently read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us.

2. Meditatio (reflect) – Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

3. Oratio (response) – Leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

4. Contemplatio (rest) – Let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within.

My Lectio Devina of Matthew 5:1-11

To be poor in spirit means I give up possession of my material and worldly goods.  I no longer concern myself with what I have or am to do; rather only with God’s will because nothing on this earth can harm me.

I feel deeper compassion when I mourn for the harm of evil in our world.  I stop placing a wall around my heart.

to be meek is a state of mind, to be humble of heart and to offer my daily struggles as sacrifices to honor God.  It is to recall my station in life (as disciple, husband, and father); to seek to serve them and others first instead of my own selfish interests.  To be meek is to feel comfort in my expression of love for them.  To use my gifts from God in service to glorify his his name.

I am satisfied when my need to live according to Christian moral principles – to be righteous – is as strong as my need for food and water

To show mercy is to place myself within the shoes of another – to imagine my life in their stead.  To picture their struggles, fears, joys, and triumphs.

When I am clean of heart, I am able to live outside the land of denial.  Denial is something encouraged by secular culture because it supports their prevailing philosophy of hedonism, individualism, and minimalism.  When I am in denial, my world takes precedence over God.  When I am clear in my thoughts, I see God and his will for me in this moment.

The peace-makers are blessed because they can lift their hearts above their own needs and bring together two people to forge peace.

Persecution in my country is the subtle look of disdain or ignorance I receive because of my faith.  I turn away from persecution; I do not have to engage in a debate so that I am “right” with God.  I fear not persecution because “What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

So much of my energy was wasted on worldly desires and associated situations that I considered problems.  They are imaginary because when I desire God, He takes away most of them.  I am left with the mental, emotional, and spiritual strength and courage necessary to tackle the real problems laid before me by God.  I understand that God wants me to solve these dilemmas and real problems for a reason – to prepare me to live my essential purpose – to lead a life of holiness.

Thus, the way to righteousness is through God, not the world.   Too often I have this upside down.  I cannot see God because I am not looking for him, I am focused on the world and its noise.

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