Living the Beatitudes

If ever there were poor in spirit, I believe those affected by Hurricane Katrina qualify. In reaching out to those victims, we have the opportunity of living out the words Jesus spoke in the Sermon on the Mount.

God is in control.

It may be hard to see evidence of His presence in the midst of the unfolding story taking place in America’s Gulf Port and neighboring states. Even here in Germany, the images weave and bob across our television screens. The devastation is almost too much to comprehend.

A husband whose wife slipped from his grip in the surging floodwaters of New Orleans is probably one of the faces I will most remember. His hopelessness broke my heart. I know there are more stories that will never make the news as thousands of lives are irrevocably changed.

There are the accounts of courageous rescues – children swinging in baskets dangling from helicopters, everyday folks using boats to look for those stranded on rooftops or within dark attics, and still more risking their own lives to help reach those unable to help themselves.

Unfortunately, there are the images of looters. The first reports seemed to be of desperate people seeking food and water in a city that cannot provide either. But, as is the case with the human condition, the looting has gotten worse as people grab anything of value.

Tragedy seems to bring out the divine and the diabolical.

It’s hard to watch the pictures or hear the bottomless pain in the voices of survivors. For most of us, the natural tendency is to help. There are many ways to do that and I’m sure those so moved to do so will.

I can only think of one thing we can all do – pray. Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco has asked residents to spend today in prayer. While many so easily say it’s the least they could do, I believe it is the best and most we can do. As you watch the news, hear a radio report, or peruse the internet, stop and pray for those folks.

The residents of these states have months of struggles ahead. Yet the urgency to just find the living and provide basic human needs for them seems most critical right now.

Each of us can live out the beatitudes. It shouldn’t take a disaster to do so. I praise God that while the diabolical stories will surface in the floodwaters of this tragedy, the more divine examples of doing what Jesus would do will emerge, attesting to the Creator’s presence in His children.

My prayers are with all those whose lives have been touched by this tragedy.
“There is power in prayer.”

Blessings, Francine

Listening to God

When I first began Words from the Heart, I was committed to doing two things: always pointing to God and being real. I did not want this blog to be about me but instead, all about God. He began this journey for me and it’s been beyond what I could’ve possibly imagined. But more about that next time.

One of the things I’ve learned from God is that there are times we all need to stop and breathe. Now is one of those times for me. The human side whispers that I should forge ahead in this current commentary on the Sermon on the Mount and ignore everything else.

God knows our lives are filled with … well, filled with living. And so, over the next few weeks, I have some of that living to do.

I am preparing for a trip from Heidelberg, Germany (where I temporarily reside) to my permanent home in Arizona to enjoy my family, share in birthday celebrations, and begin my new journey as a published author. Fortunately, through the wonder of the internet, I’ll still be posting here. But I think smaller chunks of commentaries might work well for both me and those of you who take the time out of your busy days to visit.

While I believe the commentaries on the first three beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-5) are really worth more than a cursory glance, I thought I’d do a recap here and list previous entries by date, title, and scripture reference. Since much of what I write is based on previous writing, this gives a pretty clear picture of my beliefs and a brief idea of how I got to this point in my spiritual growth.

One thing I can say with certainty – God is faithful even when we aren’t. I’m living proof.

Here’s the list. I know that God has directed my thoughts and my path, so I’m praying for those who might need some words of encouragement and that they find those words in these previous commentaries.

May 3 Beginnings
May 4 What’s Peace?
May 13 Defeating the Darkness of Depression
July 8 Getting it Right
July 11 Who is in Control?
July 13 Giving up Control: 2 Timothy 3:1-8; Romans 1:21-32
July 15 A Word of Caution: Romans 2:1-4; Psalm 18
July 18 Recognizing God’s Control: Matthew 11:28-30; John 10:38; 14:6
July 20 Priming the Pump: John 4:9-15
July 22 More than Entertainment
July 25 What Are You Thinking About?: Proverbs 27:7, Philippians 4:8
July 27 The Battlefield of the mind: 2 Corinthians 10:5
July 29 Dress for Success: Ephesians 6:10-17
Aug 1 Building Blocks: Matthew 7:24-27
Aug 3 Who Is this Guy?: Matthew 22:36-39; Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:42, 46
Aug 5 Speaking to the Heart: Matthew 5:2-12
Aug 8 When Is It Good to be Poor?: Poor in spirit, Matthew 5:3
Aug 10 Needing and Giving: Poor in spirit, Matthew 5:3
Aug 12 A Grand Inheritance: Kingdom of Heaven, Matthew 5:3
Aug 15 Looking at Ugliness: Mourn what?, Matthew 5:4
Aug 17 What About Me?: Those who mourn, Matthew 5:4
Aug 19 I Can’t Do This: They shall be comforted, Matthew 5:4
Aug 22 Father Knows Best: Blessed are the meek, Matthew 5:5
Aug 24 Meek isn’t Weak: Matthew 5:5
Aug 26 Eternal Vision: They shall inherit the earth, Mathew 5:5

Blessings, Francine

SPECIAL NOTE: Here are those links to several web sites that can provide much more detailed guidance than I’m able to do here. Check out “Running Empty” or “Power to Change” (see list of links to the right). For more in-depth study, you can visit “Now Try God” at or “New Christian Life” at as additional resources. The bottom line – don’t accept what I say as gospel. That’s what the Bible is for. As always, I welcome your comments or you can contact me at

Building Blocks

Have you ever played with blocks – when you were young or maybe with one of your kids or grandkids?

Children love to build things and their excitement shows as they hurriedly stack those blocks. All they want is to build something spectacular, but in their rush, they don’t spend much time on the foundation.

It’s the same with our faith. Many hear the word and set about to build their faith with good intentions, but we all know where the road that’s paved with good intentions leads. They begin a faith built on works rather than a faith built on the word. They preach, they minister, and they do many things. However, they don’t lay a solid foundation – and don’t even realize their errors until the faith they’ve built crumbles.

Children easily go back to their pile of blocks and begin again – they don’t mind starting over. Eventually, as they grow, they learn the secret to a beautiful creation is building a strong foundation. Too bad we don’t have their imagination, spirit, and persistence. Sometimes I think that’s why Jesus used references to children.

If we want to grow strong in our faith, we need to learn from Jesus, and not only through His teachings but through His living examples.

After calling His twelve disciples, Jesus began teaching and healing. Large crowds began following Him. His longest recorded sermon is the Sermon on the Mount given on a hillside to enormous crowds and probably lasting several days. It summarizes Jesus’ ethical teachings for every day life.

If we are to know Jesus, we can begin here, but I’d like to suggest looking at the end of this teaching first because it gives a vital truth we should strive towards as we seek to learn.

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on a rock.
The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not collapse because its foundation was on the rock.

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and battered that house, and it collapsed, and its collapse was devastating.” Matthew 7:24-27, International Standard Version

The world has seen enough disasters to understand the importance of a solid foundation that will withstand nature’s fury. What are you going to build your faith on?

As always -- blessings, Francine
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