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Poor in Spirit – or POOR?

Blessed are the poor in spirit’ (Matthew 5:3 NIV)

In what appears to be Jesus’ inaugural address to the disciples (Matthew 5:1-2), we hear him say that in our lives, we should feel ‘blessed’ (Matthew 5:3).

Jesus does not only say the word once or twice, but nine times in all, and each time he says the word, he does so with yet another different reason for us to feel blessed about our lives.

But in the Biblical context, what exactly does it mean to be blessed, and what does it mean to be poor in spirit, and should we strive to be poor in spirit?

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association explains that to be poor in spirit does not necessarily mean to be ‘poor’, or to live a meagre life, but it means that we must, ‘be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant’ (https://billygraham.org.uk/answer/what-does-it-mean-to-be-poor-in-spirit-as-jesus-said-we-ought-to-be/ – accessed 18/01/19).

What it means, is that we should not be self-seeking, but be, and live, a humble life.

Blessed, is a literal translation from the Greek ‘makarios’ ( μακάριος), and it means to be happy. Strong’s number for the word is ‘g3107’ and the definition for the word says;

a prolonged form of the poetical μακάρ makar (meaning the same); supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off; – blessed happy (x-ier).

So another translation of the verse could be;

Oh the happiness of those who have a humble spirit, the kingdom of heaven will belong to them‘.

Being ‘poor in spirit’ could also refer to being humble (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association), but it could also refer to the understanding that we as a broken people, desperately need God in our lives, that without him, we cannot live the way that God wants us to, without any help we are unable to perform what scripture says we should be doing; that without Jesus, we simply cannot do anything (John 15:5), that we really need his strength in us, and we know;

He strengthens those who are weak’ (Isaiah 40:29 GNB), which is good news for me, as I regularly fail in many various ways, and some that are really spectacular failures.

They who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength’ (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).

So if we wait for God to show us, and rely on him, then our strength will be restored so that we can try again, to live as he wants us to, so we can really be blessed, life is all about second chances.

In 1964, Ken Dodd released a song, called Happiness.

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess’ (Bill Anderson – Columbia records).

Happiness is a real gift, and it is also important to life, it makes it all worthwhile. We need to be and be able to feel, happy, and Jesus came to give us that. By dying on the cross in our place!

We can now be happy that Jesus came to give us a second chance for eternal redemption, and if necessary, a second-second chance etc.

We can be happy that we now have an eternal hope that will end with us living with Jesus, for he has already gone to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).

We can be happy that we did not deserve any of this, yet he still freely gives it, for, ‘Christ died for the ungodly’ (Romans 5:6 NIV).

Jesus died for the people that we used to be!

But that is the important thing to remember, he died for ‘the person we used-to-be’. We are now different, we are now in relationship with Jesus, and we are now new;

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he [or she] is a new creation’ (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV – emphasis mine).

So are we blessed?

Do we feel blessed?

‘Makarios’, happy, blessed!

Could this also be a translation of the verse?

How happy are those people who understand their dire need for the One-True-God, and that the need for God to be in their life, and those who know that they need the love and guidance that only he can give them, and the strength to ‘carry on‘, that comes only from him, ‘for theirs is the kingdom of God’ (Matthew 5:3 ESV).

HOW BLESSED ARE YOU?

HOW BLESSED YOU ARE!

 

poor-in-spirit

 

There is no limit to Your power
There is no stopping what You plan
You give us faith to move the mountains
And hope to dream again
We see the fires of revival
The darkness giving way to light
The glory of Your grace advancing
Let it burn up the night
Let it burn up the night

Let the walls come down in Jesus’ name
Let the lost be found in Jesus’ name
Let the church arise
to shine Your light to the world
Shine Your light

Your house forever undivided
All Your sons and daughters one
At the cross we are united
Our hope is in the blood
Our hope is in Your blood

Salvation’s tide is rising
As all Your people seek Your face
Your life a river flowing
To wash our sin and shame away

Salvation’s Tide

M. Maher, J. Ingram, B. Younker, K. Stanfil

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Father we thank you for second chances, and for second-second chances. We know that we do not deserve what you so freely offer to us, but we know that we really, really need it in our lives. Our lives were empty before you came in and changed us, help us to really live out our blessed life and shine for you.

Amen

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Christian

I knew I was NEW!

the new creation has come‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Different translations change the words slightly; and the New Living Translation says that, ‘anyone  who belongs to Christ has become a new person‘ (2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT), we can start afresh in His eyes..

We all know that we are not a new person really, but Christ does not see our past. Moses, when receiving the stone tablets for the second time, as God passed in front of him, heard the voice of God say, ‘The LORD, slow to anger, abounding in love… … maintaining love… .. and forgiving wickedness‘ (Exodus 34:6-7 NLT).

Speaking about compassion, Micah knew that when we repent of our sin, ‘you [God] will tread our sins underfoot‘ and not only that, they will be, ‘thrown into the depths of the ocean‘ (Micah 7:19 NLT). The Psalmist David knew that once we confessed our sins as Jesus taught the disciples (Matthew 6:12), then, ‘you [Lord] forgave the iniquity of my sin‘ (Psalm 32:5 ESV). The Lord said through Jeremiah, ‘I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins‘ (Jeremiah 31:34 NLT). When writing to the Romans, Paul said ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven‘ (Romans 4:7 ESV) Once we have repented, our sins are forgiven, ‘Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away‘, and not just that, ‘you [God] have comforted me‘  (Isaiah 12:1 NIV).

Paul reminded the Galatians, ‘What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation‘ (Galatians 6:15 NLT); he also reminded the Ephesians, ‘put on the new self, created in the likeness of God‘ (Ephesians 4:24 ESV); and as we are new, we also have, ‘a white stone, with a new name written on‘ (Revelation 2:17 ESV). And for our part, ‘what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God‘ (Micah 6:8 NIV).

And what happens after this? ‘he [God] will be the source of peace‘ (Micah 5:5 NLT) in our lives. The one thing to remember is that our great and awesome God, is, ‘God of my salvation‘ (Isaiah 12:2 NIV).

Amazing Grace.jpg

 

Seeking God more than we do other things, is what we are taught to do, ‘Seek the Kingdom of God above all else‘ (Matthew 6:33 NLT). For we know that eventually, ‘at the name of Jesus every knee will bow‘ (Philippians 2:10 NIV). When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said, ‘Pray like this; Our Father in Heaven… … May your will be done… .. forgive us of our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us‘ (Matthew 6:9,10,12 NLT). Whatever we do, ‘the heavenly Father to whom you pray… … He will judge or reward according to what you do‘ (1 Peter 1:17 NLT). Paul told the Romans that he did what he did not want to do, and vice versa. We need to  do everything that we do, as we should do it, We should live Godly lives, but we cannot do it alone, ‘Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies‘ (1 Peter 4:11 NLT).

 

I may not walk on water 
but I’ve seen the rolling seas
Never have I told the wind to calm
but I’ve felt it’s mighty breeze
and I can’t pretend that Noah
and I were life-long friends
but when a rainbow blocks my vision
a flood of messages he sends me

and you and I cannot ignore that
Jesus Christ is Lord of all and
every knee will hit the floor
Because Jesus Christ is Lord

Don’t ask me how an acorn
becomes a mighty tree
but if seeing is believing
then I guess I must believe
You know there’s got to be a maker
behind this universe
‘Cause no one in their right mind
would say it all fell into place

Jesus Christ is Lord – (Secrets of Life #6)
Nia Jones, Mal Pope

 

downloadFather God, we thank you that with our repentance and your forgiveness, we can become mighty men and women of God, serving you in whatever you want us to do. Help us to look to you at all times, whether things are going well or going not so well. Lord we know that we can do all things through the strength that comes from you, help us always to rely on it and you.
Father we thank you for the opportunities that we have to share the Good News of your Son, coming to earth, living with us, preaching about you, dying for our sins, and rising from death. We know that death has been defeated, and that we can look forward to having a home with you eternally.

Amen