“the beatitudes”

It’s Friday…which means this morning I had Bible study!  Wow can I just say that it is so wonderful to dig deep into Scripture with other women who are in a similar “life boat” as I am?  It’s truly wonderful… and if you’re reading this, and not currently involved in a Bible study – this is my one-time plug to encourage you to get involved with one!  I’m personally biased to same sex Bible studies, but that’s just me 🙂  There are so many wonderful opportunities to plug into the Word with other people – so that’s my plug.  The end. 🙂

This morning we began our reading of Matthew chapter 5 – which famously begins with “The Beatitudes.”  The Beatitudes aren’t new to me but I’ve never intentionally studied them, so in a way they kind of are new in that sense.

We discussed how the main “negative” interpretation of the Beatitudes says that we must become like the blessed people in verses 3-10 in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven.  This list includes “the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the pure in heart,” to name a few.  I’ll admit that the few times I’ve read through Matthew 5 before, I interpreted in this way – that I must become these things in order to be blessed and inherit God’s Kingdom.

After reading through chapter 4 of “The Divine Conspiracy,” which unpacks the Beatitudes, and after discussion among the women of my Bible study this morning, I am happy to say that I’m looking at this particular passage with new eyes now.  First of all, nowhere does it say that this list of “the blessed” ones is exhaustive.  The Bible doesn’t say that you must have only these qualifications in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Second, it helps to know the context of Jesus’ sermon in this passage.  It is important to be informed about who Jesus’ audience was for this sermon.  It turns out, Jesus was addressing “the least of these” in a way – people who could most likely immediately identify with being “poor in spirit” or being “mournful.”  The point of this passage is not necessarily to encourage us to strive to become these things – the point was to address people who are these things and express the greatness of God’s love – that these people, too, will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

Which brings me to my last point, and my favorite.  After studying the Beatitudes passage more in depth than I ever have I’ve realized a way to look at this Scripture with new eyes, a new focus.  Instead of reading this passage and wondering what it says about ME and MY life – how I should act or what I should be or what I should do in order to be blessed – I’ve turned the focus and have reflected on what it says about GOD.  This passage is just one of many that demonstrates God’s great love – what He’s doing – and what His love means for “the poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the pure in heart,” or “the peacemakers.”  This passage is not about what we should strive to be – it’s about who God is and His great love.

I’m starting to realize that all Scripture should have this “lens” of “what is God doing in this passage?” – but I think it’ll take one deep study at a time to really identify this.  All I know is the Lord is really moving and pushing in my heart and I can feel the growth.

How are you feeling God move in Your heart?  I would love to hear!  Happy Friday!

digging into the Word

This morning was my first Bible study meeting for our campus-wide Bible study.  For all you non-Calvin goers, every Fall semester Campus Ministries decides on a campus-wide study that multiple groups all over campus and even the country will study together…but separately.  My freshman year the study was on Philippians, last year was the Psalms, and this year is the Sermon on the Mount.  Cool concept, huh?

The past two years I’ve attended my dorm Bible study by default of living there.  Now being an off-campus student, I knew I wanted to plug into a group on campus as a way to connect and meet new people.  I joined an all women’s study led by one of our associate chaplains at Calvin.  We’re meeting Fridays at 8am…which can be a struggle but oh how good it is to study the word in the morning as a way to start your day!

After introductions, we dug into the word.  We read Matthew chapters 5-7 straight through.  Take a look at those chapters for a second – what a chunk of scripture is what you’re probably thinking! It was so cool to just read an overview of the passages that we’ll be digging into these next 12 weeks or so.  As part of our study, we’re using the book “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard to help us walk alongside the scripture and hopefully dig in deeper.

I’m looking forward to blogging (hopefully every week!) about my Friday morning study.

Have a blessed weekend!

summer reflections

So I meant to do this post last week, before school began but time got away from me!  School came up so fast – I have no idea where this summer went!  

This past summer was one of my most random, craziest summers of my life.  I’ve been trying to process events as they’ve come along but here are my written words, as another (but definitely not final) attempt to process my summer!

I got home from college at the end of May and then wedding planning kicked in full force.  I had my wedding shower in the beginning of June (shout out to mom and Kaleigh who gave me the most wonderful shower!)  The entire month of June was a whirlwind – and frankly I don’t really remember much of it!  Wedding week is pretty memorable – my best friend and bridesmaid Kelsey flew in from Nebraska and so my time spent with her was so special and such a blessing.  Wedding week also included hair and nail appointments, a marvelous bachelorette party, (compliments of Kelsey and her mom) and our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

On June 29 I married my best friend!  It was a surreal experience and such an amazing day.  It was incredible to be surrounded by family, friends, and our church community who love and support us as we committed the rest of our lives to one another.

Following the wedding was our 2 week honeymoon in Atlantic City, which was an amazing wedding gift and such a blessing as we began our marriage as newlywed, poor, college students 🙂  We lived in New Jersey for 2 weeks following the honeymoon and then it was the big move out to Michigan – to our new apartment and the official beginning of our life together!  

The past month Jeremy and I have been slowly moving in, unpacking, and making our new apartment home.  We also have a puppy named Optimus Prime who we adopted back in May and recently added a kitty named Sanford to our family.  To say our apartment is a little chaotic at times is an understatement but I wouldn’t change it for the world!

As far as the amazing journey called marriage – I’ll save that for another post!  Marriage, when done God’s way, can be hard but it is also so right and good.  Stay tuned for more on that later 😉

For now, I’ll leave you with some pictures! 

Image

My bridesmaids and me at my bachelorette party

Image

Our rehearsal – with VBS decorations in the background 🙂

Image

Getting married!

Image

We had a beautiful reception in Jeremy’s parents backyard

Image

Our honeymoon in Atlantic City

Image

Our little Optimus Prime

Have a good weekend everybody!