Friday, December 10, 2010

on the 8th day of Christmas . .

my True Love gave to me
    8 maids a milking . .
       7 swans a swimming . . .
           6 geese a laying . . .
               5 Golden rings . . .
                  4 Calling Birds . . .
                      3 French Hens . .
                          2 Turtle Doves,
                            and a Partridge
                                in a Pear Tree.

How do you condense to teachings of Jesus into a nutshell?  Just exactly how many verses in a song does it take to accomplish such a task?  Well today, the simple phrase "8 maids a milking" brings to mind an entire "Sermon on the Mount" that the Lord delivered to a multitude of followers, passersby, disciples, children ... His audience was diverse, His message was straight foward and His impact still lingers.
The Gospel of Matthew records this sermon in chapters 5-7 and the 1st portion of this section has often been referred to as the BEE Attitudes!  Jesus shares with those around Him about the outward 'indicators' of those whom profess to be associated with Him - their lives should reveal a distinct difference from others - they have a Hope in a future that will be shared with Him, they live and study as a disciple of His, learning about Him, longing to be like Him, and anticipating a future with fellow believers in His kingdom.

Jesus shares 8 "Blessed" descriptions . . and first and foremost you have to realize that "blessed" does not carry the same connotation that we, today, often associate with it.  Blessed doesn't necessarily mean that you've won the lottery and will be receiving lots of extra "perks" ...  it does not stand for financial or material gain - though it could . .  a more accurate understanding of "Blessed" when pronounced by Jesus is that it describes a joy and peace from within that is the result of a sincere relationship with Him. The resulting happiness is a deeply rooted and securely established peace that comes from knowing that you are His child ... and can rest in that knowledge (some may actually giggle on the outside as well . . just depends on how outgoing you are in the process!) ... :)

Ready for the BEE Atitudes we should all have?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” 
poor in spirit are those who are humble before God, recognizing they can do NOTHING or have NOTHING to purchase their way into heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
mourning, not just over the bad things that we observe in our lives today, but sincere grief over the lives that are lost and searching for His grace and forgiveness . .

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
Note to self:  meek does NOT equal weak or wimpy!  True meekness portrays a picture of self-control and gentleness, a life that has submitted to the Lord's leadership and reflects Him.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled”.

who among us does not understand the feelings of hunger or of being thirsty ... and the never ending quest to satisfy that need.  Imagine then, how much stronger the desire is to be in constant pursuit to do the will of our Father . . and His promise to meet our every need!

“Blessed are the Merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Mercy is True Love that is focused OUTward, always aware of the needs, the hurts, the plight of those less fortunate around them.  Mercy can be graciously extended because this person has an awareness and understanding of the mercy they themselves have received from the Lord, despite their own weakness, failures and/or past sins.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
This person is driven by one thing only and that is to say or do or be whatEVER pleases God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”
to know God is to know true peace - - and then be able to extend that to others . . to set as your goal and mission the job of restoring balance to a relationship or situation so that it too will reflect the Peace that passes all understanding!

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
do you realize that such "suffering" identifies us as a part of His Kingdom?  By living each day with eternity as the goal, any opposition that one encounters will be credited to them when in heaven ...

do you see a basic premise:  the BE Atitudes are very much focused outward on the needs of others.  they are very much servant-based and oriented .. desiring others nuturing over their own. They seek out opportunities to help and yet others are drawn TO them because of the quiet but consistent evidence that their lives and heart demonstrate.

Basic Rolled Brim hat

a great Adult Skull cap pattern
at this time of year it's so easy to get caught up in all the festivities and commercialism and yet it there are so many in the very midst of us who have nothing . . because of hard times or financial set backs, because of bad choices or through no fault of their own ... and if we truly are the hands and feet of Christ then it would only seem true that we also are the yarn and needles of the Lord as well!  Time to apply those BE Atitudes and make some donations to a local shelter ... drop them off at the Children's Home ... or the Children's wing of the hospital ....  Ready to be a busy BEE and make a difference?  Pretty AND practical can exist in the same sentence, so let's sit and knit a batch of hats and scarves that would reflect such a God-inspired attitude. 

a great childrens version

a sweet little lace,
knit flat and sewn up!
The first option can be knit flat or in the round, which ever is easier for you.  Rolled brim is basic and the options are only limited by your imagination and/or your yarn stash!  The 2nd option uses worsted weight yarn, smaller needles to keep things tight and compact and is another great pattern to use as an inspiration . . you supply the creativity!  And don't forget the little ones . .  add earflaps or pompoms to make your own version of fun!  one last final sweet knit - - these little hats would make a precious gift when shared with the babies that visit your church nursery . . or drop off a batch of these along with some of the kids hats at the local elementary school to the counselors office and let them distribute to those families that so quietly but desperately need to know the touch of the Lord .... through yarn and needles.  Throw in a couple of warm scarves and they will be set ... and you will have imitated the BE Atitudes that reflect a heart that belongs to Him! 

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