Like a Tree By the Waters

A verse-by-verse commentary on Psalm 1

Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

True joy and success belong to the one who is dedicated to uprightness. He does not listen to every piece of advice, but weighs it carefully in wisdom, choosing not to act upon the promptings of the foolish or wicked. He does not stand for what is wrong, but boldly stands for what is right. He does not make friends with those who mock the truth – rather, he is mocked and rejected because of his stand.

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Blessed are the Persecuted










Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets before you.

(Matt. 5:11-12, NKJV)

The Beatitudes are full of irony. The poor become rich, the sad find comfort, those willing to be ruled become rulers, and the hungry are filled – while the rich become poor, the full become hungry, and the happy become full of sorrow.

But perhaps the greatest irony is found in the very last Beatitude: “Blessed are the persecuted.” Continue reading

Blessed Are the Peacemakers









Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

(Matthew 5:9, NKJV)

A few months back, I was on break at Chick-fil-A and having a bite to eat in the dining room, when I overheard a snippet of a conversation between two guests at the table next to me. My guess is that one of the men was a pastor, and I overheard him ask a question of the other man that made me pause and think.

The question that was asked was, “What is the difference between a peacekeeper and a peacemaker?”

I thought to myself, “What is the difference? A peacekeeper would keep the peace, while a peacemaker would make peace. But what’s the difference on a practical level? How does keeping peace look different from making peace?” Continue reading

Blessed are the Pure in Heart









Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.(Matt. 5:8, NKJV).

What a lovely verse! And a beautiful promise! That we shall someday see God! Doesn’t it make you just want so much to be described as “pure in heart”?

So far the Beatitudes have focused on attitudes and character traits that, while at times may be difficult to attain, at least seem possible. We can recognize our sins and be poor in spirit; we can mourn over our sin; we can meekly yield to Christ; we can earnestly desire righteousness; we can be merciful to those around us.

But can we be pure in heart? Continue reading

Blessed are the Merciful

mercifulWe all know what mercy is: not giving someone what they deserve. But I’ve never really thought about what that means for me. I know God has shown me mercy in not punishing me as I deserve, but how can I be showing mercy to others? I’m not in a position of authority where I can mete out merciful judgments left and right.

So what can it mean for the average person to show mercy? Continue reading