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Luke 6: 17 - 26
True Blessings

(The Message paraphrase)   Coming down off the mountain with them, he stood on a plain surrounded by disciples, and was soon joined by a huge congregation from all over Judea and Jerusalem, even from the seaside towns of Tyre and Sidon. They had come both to hear him and to be cured of their ailments. Those disturbed by evil spirits were healed. Everyone was trying to touch him—so much energy surging from him, so many people healed! Then he spoke:      You’re blessed when you’ve lost it all. God’s kingdom is there for the finding.      You’re blessed when you’re ravenously hungry. Then you’re ready for the bread God provides      You’re blessed when the tears flow freely. Joy comes with the morning. Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds!  24 But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get. 25 And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it. 26 “There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests— Your task is to be true, not popular.    

What Jesus is talking about here is not just ‘happiness’ as a warm, fuzzy feeling.  He’s not saying that blessing is about how much we have, or how successful we are in the eyes of others.  He’s talking about the blessing that comes from a Spirit-filled life centred on trust in God. Which means that whether our lives are filled to overflowing with good things – or we are facing challenging and difficult times – we have a deep abiding joy that nothing can shake – because we know that we are loved beyond measure, and that we are not alone - God is with us in all circumstances of our lives – good or ill.  And that is where the true blessing lies.