Posted by Karah

An oxymoron is a combination of contradictory terms, like jumbo shrimp. Match the words below to form oxymorons.

pretty     same     living      act      good

difference     grief     dead     ugly    naturally

Think About It
Read Matthew 5:10-12. How about that for an oxymoron: blessed persecution, blessed insults, and blessed evil? It sounds crazy, and nothing any of us would want to invite. But Jesus said it, so it must be true. Believers pursue God’s way of life even when it runs counter to the things the world considers to be important. Because of this, you will face opposition and persecution, but you will be blessed.

Take Action
Evaluate your life. Is it different from the way the rest of the world lives or do you fit in? Explain. (In your Journal)

Do you act differently at Camp than at home?

If people do insult you and make fun of you because you’re a Christian, is it because you represent Him well or because you judge and antagonize? Explain.

In what area of your life is God calling you to live differently for His glory? What steps will you take to do so this week?

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Be Real

Posted by Karah

Fake diamonds. Fake money. Fake eyelashes. Fake Moustaches (at Camp) Fake Picassos. Fake you?

Read Matthew 5:8-9. In what ways are you sometimes tempted to fake righteousness? It’s something we all struggle with from time to time, but true believers have a deep-seated inward desire to pursue the things of God. God knows your heart—you can’t fake faith with Him. Take some time right now to get real with God. In your journal, write your honest prayer about where you currently stand with Him.

Behind the Story
The religion God’s people had come to know was one of hypocrisy. The religious leaders of the day faked righteousness by doing all sorts of outwardly religious things. They went to church, gave offerings, obeyed the commandments (when people were watching), and even prayed out loud. But their hearts were impure—they were far from God (Matt. 23:25-28).

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Hungry and Thirsty

Posted by Karah

Let’s say you haven’t eaten much in the last few days. You’re extremely hungry and thirsty. What do you want the most and what extreme measures will you take to get it? Think of a few ideas.

When you’re really hungry and thirsty, that’s really all you can think about. And you’ll focus every bit of your energy on finding food or water. If you want something bad enough, you’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Now, read Matthew 5:5-7. Ask yourself:

  • What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?
  • Does that describe you? Why or why not?
  • Who in your life is a good example of hungering and thirsting
    for righteousness?

Just the Facts
To hunger and thirst for righteousness means you:

  • rest in the gift of grace, not the goodness of your abilities.
  • make God’s will your purpose all the time, not just on Sundays.
  • depend completely on God, because you know that apart from Him, there’s no righteousness to be found.
  • take each of His commands seriously.
  • make Him your priority because all other passions leave you empty inside.

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”
—Saint Augustine

Going Deeper
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned righteousness five times. Those references help us better understand what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness. Check them out:
– Matthew 5:6
– Matthew 5:10
– Matthew 5:20
– Matthew 6:1
– Matthew 6:33

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Poor In Spirit

Posted by Karah

Read Matthew 5:3-4 carefully in your Bible. Then, consider the definitions some of the key words and phrases below.

BLESSED —adjective
endowed with divine favor and protection; those who live with God in heaven.

people who depend only on him (CEV); who realize their spiritual poverty (NCV); those who know there is nothing good in themselves (NLV)

those people who grieve (CEV); when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you (MSG); those who have sorrow (NLV)

The Point
It’s an unavoidable truth: to be a follower of Christ, you must be “poor in spirit” (admit your need for God) and mourn over sin and its consequences. If you don’t, you can’t have a right relationship with God.

What that does and doesn’t mean:

Sin bothers you but doesn’t defeat you.

You’re happy because God is awesome, not because you are.

You are content because heaven is yours, not because your life on earth is so satisfying.

You readily admit your sin—and God’s grace, not legalism, compels you to do so.

Take some time to think over what this verse really means. By the definitions, are you poor in spirit?

Are you someone who grieves over sin? What does it really mean to say you’re blessed today? Pour out your thoughts and feelings to God. Use your journal to record them or your prayer.

• excessive adherence to law or formula
(theology) the doctrine that salvation is gained through good works; the judging of conduct in terms of adherence to precise laws.

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What’s The Attraction?

Posted by Karah

Do you go to church . . .

  • to see your friends?
  • because you think the speaker is cool?
  • to learn about God?
  • because your parents want you to?
  • because the music and media stuff entertains you?
  • to serve others?

    Read Matthew 5:1-2. Ask yourself:

What do these verses tell you about why the disciples came to where Jesus was?

Do you go to church for the same reason? Why or why not?

Do you have a personal relationship with Christ? Explain. If so, how is it challenging or changing you?

Think About It
Today’s Scripture passage describes a huge crowd. In today’s church culture, we’d get so excited. We’d roll out a sweet sound system, set up a stage, bring in a cool worship leader, and put together a PowerPoint presentation complete with info about upcoming events for the big screens. Jesus didn’t operate that way, though. In fact, He did the exact opposite. When He saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain and sat down. He didn’t have to try to draw people to Him; those who longed to know Truth came to Him and listened. The stuff wasn’t the attraction. Jesus was. Jesus still is.

The Point
True disciples of Christ don’t need to be entertained; they know they need a personal relationship with Him that challenges and changes them. Jesus’ disciples came to Him to be taught, to learn what it means to follow Him. Do you do the same?

Take Action
What are some ways you will spend time with Jesus this week so that He can challenge and change you? Comment a few ideas below, or jot them down In your journal.

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