Confession: This isn’t really the second “Hands On What’s On Hand” thing I worked on. It’s actually yesterday’s effort in fabric or fiber.
But it so fits both with the next post, also on the Sermon on the Mount, and with my vision’s decided, mysterious improvement, that this piece cries out to find its place here.
When I suddenly realized last week that I could see print previously indecipherable, my fingers itched to discover whether my eyes would enable them to finish this project after all.
You see, I had completely given up on it. And it grieved me.
I started this decades ago! Yup, it was one of those projects that drags on through a lifetime, that you only get around to now and then. If you do handicrafts, maybe you know what I mean.
It was never easy. The gauge is about as fine as counted cross-stitch can get, and the colors of some threads against the background which I (unwisely) chose contrasted so little, they slowed my work, kept my stitching sessions short, and often prompted procrastination, for years!
But how curious I was now! Had my eyes improved so much that I’d be able to stitch this precious piece of scripture?
I went and pawed through my needlework bag, fished it out, wrinkles and all, and gave the endeavor a try.
I am elated to report that it’s happening! It looks like I will actually complete it! (I plan to keep at it by stitching a little each weekday till it’s finished. Then I’ll show it here. (That promise makes me accountable.)
As I stitch these words, may I consider what Jesus was teaching His disciples with them, what He desired in them — and all His followers.
And let me use this as my personal inventory, to evaluate my attitude each day. Like this:
Am I poor in spirit? Am I aware of my beggarly status, of how helpless I am, without Him, to do anything good?
Isn’t my ability now to do this project a perfect picture of that? I can’t attribute my “impossible” visual improvement, which enables it, to anything but God Himself! What’s obvious in this case is true about any other good thing I hope to do. Jesus said so (John 15:5).
Do I mourn the things that grieve God? (Like my own sinful attitudes that can so abruptly arise?)
Am I meek? For me, Strong’s Expanded Dictionary gives a most helpful explanation of the Greek word so translated:
“Praetes… consists not in… ‘outward behavior only, nor… in… relations to… fellow-men; [nor] in… mere natural disposition. …it is the inwrought grace of the soul; …the exercises of it… are chiefly toward God… in which we accept His dealings with us as good, and therefore without disputing or resisting… also… in the face of…even… evil men, out of a sense that these… are permitted and employed by Him for the chastening and purifying of His elect.’”
Do I hunger after righteousness?
Am I merciful? (The merciful don’t just refrain from vengeance, but have a generous spirit.)
Am I pure, not only in actions, but also in heart?
Do I have the heart of a peacemaker?
Am I willing to do the right thing, even if I will suffer and be persecuted for it?
What promises Christ gives for those who live these beatitudes!
Even though I came to realize how there are tens of thousands of reasons,
Counting from where I left off…
REASONS TO PRAISE HIM IN THE BEATITUDES:
Because He promises that…
- 484 – His Kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit and those who do what’s right even if it brings persecution, instead of to such as win control of earthly kingdoms by bullying and manipulation and robbery and deceit
- 485 – the meek shall inherit the earth instead of the arrogant, the surly, the malcontents
- 487 – the merciful shall obtain mercy
- 488 – the peacemakers shall be called His children
- 489 – those persecuted for His sake have great reward in heaven.
- 490 – He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill all.