March Madness for the NCAA basketball along with other common sporting events have been cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions. As I was reading the Beatitudes this morning in Matthew chapter 5, I put together a couple brackets for us to play out today. Put the eight beatitudes on two brackets of four. 1 goes with 5, 2 goes with 6, 3 goes with 7, and 4 with 8. (#1 with #5 Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.) When our stubborn, rebellious spirits have been broken, we are then able to be merciful. (#2 with #6 Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.) Purity of heart comes from having faced up to the reality of who we really are inside. It comes from permitting the master potter to create a new heart within us. (#3 with #7 Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God) and the last ones would be (#4 with #8 Matthew 5:Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.) Being a Christian doesn’t mean living an unnatural life. It doesn’t mean escaping from reality. Rather it means living in the now, knowing who we are and to whom we belong. It means living with a clear definition of our problems, knowing that with God’s help we can face the impossible and stand in the winner’s circle. It means sailing through the stormy seas of life smiling in triumph, transforming adversity into opportunity. Pastor Don [image: image.png]