The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

Someone years ago invented a word to describe the insider’s language of religious people. The strange little word is “Christianese.” Such “Christianese” words and phrases often make people who are new to the church feel like outsiders, while the church people feel like insiders. A few examples are the use of the word, “fellowship.” While it is a legitimate biblical word, only church people call “getting together” or “hanging out” fellowship. Or there is “Hallelujah” a praise language word, that outsiders would likely not comprehend. How about the phrase, “traveling mercies?” Most church people can relate to it, but I’m not sure even all of them connect with the meaning of this. Of course we mean that we want God to keep us safe while on a trip, but to the outsider this is totally confusing.

Another interesting word in Scripture is the word “Blessed” as it is used often as an Adjective describing state of people who belong to God or who are living in obedience to God. It can be used in Christianese, but it is a difficult word to replace. Some translations replace it with the word, “Happy,” but that word doesn’t quite describe the meaning of “blessed.” “Happy” is too frivolous. “Joyful” would be close, but still not quite there.

“Blessed” means that you are filled with a deep sense of satisfaction and peace that is almost indescribable. The Greek word translated “Blessed” in Jesus’ Beatitudes from Matthew 5:3-12 is “MARKARIOS” indicating a state of being, the nature of which is the highest good. The Greeks called the Island of Cypress “the happy isle.” They believed that because of its geographical location, perfect climate, and fertile soil that anyone who lived on Cypress had it made in the shade. And the term they associated with the island was “Makarios”. They believed everything you needed to be happy was right there on Cypress.

Therefore, I don’t think we can replace the word, “blessed” with anything else without losing the truest sense of its meaning.

In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus began with a list of, what have been called Beatitudes, which are together, basically a declaration of what the Christian life looks like. Each one is truly a counter to worldly cultural standards. Yet, Jesus says that person who lives that way will be “Blessed,” or happy inside because of what God will do for them now and in the long run.

The Encyclopedia of the Bible lays out that unusual lay out like this:
Taking the beatitudes ad seriatum, He talks about wealthy paupers (v. 3), happy mourners (v. 4), unaggressive conquerors (v. 5), lusting saints (v. 6), self-enriching benefactors (v. 7), realistic visionaries (v. 8), militant pacifists (v. 9), and winning losers (vv. 10-12). Thus Christ compels the merely indolent and curious to react with either serious reflection or offended withdrawal.

To be “blessed” is to have God’s favor poured out into a person’s life. It is to know that God is living inside and that, no matter what comes, God is holding and giving favor to that individual.

This Sunday I look forward to sharing a message with you that tells how we can obtain and utilized the Blessed state in our lives as we look at one of David’s amazing Psalms. This message will have to do with gaining the amazing strength God wants us to receive. The message is titled Like a Tree and is based on Psalm 1. I hope you will be with us in person or on live streaming through Facebook, YouTube or our website through looking up or with our church app (fccclovis). I look forward to sharing with you.

Blessed together with You,

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