Kingdom Living Here and Now by John MacArthur and was completely blown away by his take on the Beatitudes. The way that he portrays these statements at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount has changed the way I look at my heart in regards to being a child of the Kingdom.
It was the first time that I had ever thought about the happiness that comes with knowing Jesus Christ. It was the first time I had heard this word blessed translated as happy. Of course, it is not a happiness the way the world understands it, but the way Jesus defines it.
I just spent a few weeks teaching through the Beatitudes with my ABF at Grace Bible Church. This book has influenced and shaped the way I see them. I never want to plagiarize, but I probably unintentionally used too much of MacArthur in those messages. It is an incredible book and I couldn't recommend it more.
My favorite part of the book was chapter 3, which he called "Happy are the Nobodies." He defines those who are poor in spirit as the spiritual beggars who needs God. As a child of the Kingdom, I need the Lord to do something in my life, I need to beg Him to do something because I know I cannot do it on my own. He says, "Until we know how damned we are, we cannot appreciate how glorious He is. Until we see our poverty, we cannot understand His riches. Out of the carcass comes the honey. IN our deadness we come alive. No man ever comes to Jesus Christ and enters the kingdom without crawling, without a terrible sense of sinfulness and repentance" (43).
So many people are seeking happiness. They make decisions they think will make them happy. They abandon their spouses because they think they will be happier without them. They become addicted to substances because they have been lured by the temptation of happiness. But ultimately, true happiness comes in being a child of the King. And this book helps someone see the attitude of those who are His child. Read with caution, it just might change your life (even if you are already a believer).