The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the “poor in spirit.”
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Two years ago, l became disillusioned with the church community. In my old church l had felt judged and ignored. Health issues had prevented me from attending church regularly here in Bochum and my few attempts to connect with people had been met with little response. I became disappointed and retreated from the community.
However, that evening l felt like l was a part of something. The same Christ that was in me, was in everyone here in this room. Tonight, we were all connected: l did not feel any rejection.
I tried to avoid conviction for a long time. But no matter how many excuses I could conjure up, I’d always end up facing the reality that I still fell short, that I was still a sinner. Conviction was just a harsh reminder of my failure to get better. What good could come from that? But as I studied the Scriptures, I began to see that they do not treat conviction as something to be avoided, but rather as a gift from God that draws us closer to Him.
The irony in this story doesn’t escape me. At the time, I was doing so much for the kingdom of God that I didn’t see the kingdom right in front of me. I was so busy trying to do God’s work, I hadn’t taken the time to see the world through God’s eyes. Ultimately it was an issue of honest worship. How could I presume to lead people to worship a God of grace and compassion if I didn’t allow his grace and compassion to flow through me?
Some may mourn the fact that Jane was martyred at the young age of 17. Certainly it was awful and evil, but I can’t help but rejoice when hearing about her life. Something about her young age is especially encouraging, as it challenges young people to live a life of boldness, courage, and devotion to God – even to death.