Summary: To cope with the battles of life, we need to understand the preattitudes. A sermon leading up to the Beatitudes.

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Battles and Blessings

Matthew 5: 1-12 February 3, 2002

Did you ever have one of those days when everything seemed to fall apart? For example, you got up & discovered the alarm clock didn’t go off – your head is pounding with a bad cold – you cut yourself shaving – stumped your toe on the coffee table – discovered you were out of coffee (you just threw away the old coffee grounds in the garbage & now out of desperation you’re digging them back out of the garbage) – and now outside to the car to discover the battery is dead - so you get it jumped off by your angry neighbor – you finally arrive at work an hour late & then remember that it’s a holiday and you could have stayed in bed & then realize why your neighbor was so angry…

It can happen to any of us… A little seven-year-old boy named Steven had one of those days… He went to sleep with gum in his mouth and woke up with it in his hair (have you ever done that, it makes a mess) – when he got out of bed he tripped over his skateboard & cut his lip – then he got toothpaste all over the sleeve of his new sweeter – in school it was gym day & he hated gym – when they chose sides for a game, he was the last to be picked – when he got home for dinner, his mother had cooked lima beans, which he hates – there was lots of kissing on TV & he hates kissing – his bath was too hot, he got soap in his eyes – his favorite marble went down the drain and to add insult to injury, his mom made him wear the pajamas with the little birds on them… As little Steven laid in bed, he said his prayers – “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep – Lord, thank you for this day, but don’t give me another one like this – because I just don’t think I can cope with it… I think I’ll move to Japan…”

Hopefully, you haven’t had a day like this, but all of us have days that stress us out – days that take us into the battlefields of life – and we wonder how in the world we’re going to make it through our battles of the day…

For the past several weeks, Lori & I have been stressed out… I worry about my 94-year old grandmother – I got a call from the rest home Monday to tell me she had had a stroke & they were taking her to the hospital… Lori has been stressed out about her job & her future… I think we’ve all been under a lot of stress lately…

None of us are exempt from the battles of life… I know several of you are going through some tough times right now… You’re facing some battles that you don’t understand & like little Steven, you’re saying your prayers just hoping tomorrow will be a better day… But listen to me, I’m here to share the good news with you… Not only will tomorrow be a better day, but today will be a better day – because we have the JOY of Christ in us & there’s not a battle on this earth that can take away our JOY from heaven…

You see, we have the JOY, we have the means, we have the instructions – We’ve been told by Jesus himself, how to be happy & blessed – and if we choose not to be happy & blessed, guess who’s at fault… (I’ll give you a clue – Not Jesus!)

There’s a story about St. Francis of Accessee, he came from a very wealthy family – he was fed with a sliver spoon – he had everything a person could possibly want – except happiness…

So he left his home, like little Steven, he moved away… He gave up all of his riches – his lifestyle – his earthly kingdom, in search for the one thing he was missing – His happiness, his JOY… and years later, he found it… After all these years, he had discovered the secret to true happiness… Do you want to I know where he discovered the secret?

In the 5th chapter of Matthew – the Beatitudes… It’s here that Jesus tells His disciples, and He tells us the secret to happiness…

Here Jesus begins His sermon on the mount – the greatest sermon ever preached by the greatest preacher who ever lived…

Matthew tells us in verse 1, “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. Then He began to speak, and taught them…”

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