Lent Days 1-3
Lent — Day 1 A Study of Mathew 5
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
I guess the first question is who are the poor in spirit? The poor in spirit here refers to those who in their own estimation of themselves are humble, without spiritual power or significance of their own. Here are two other translations.
“Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous— with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!” Matthew 5:3 AMP
“Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” Matthew 5:3 GOD’S WORD
To be poor in spirit is to be devoid of selfishness, pride and self-reliance particularly in matters of eternity, salvation, forgiveness, mercy, grace, healing and the like and having the same attitude toward others, recognizing their humanity and forbearing them in their weaknesses, faults and failures.
The blessing for those who are humble and know that they must rely on God for life is the Kingdom of heaven. Knowing that your life is only destined for death apart from the saving work of Jesus Christ is to be poor in spirit.
When we are poor in spirit the strength of God is made perfect in our weakness, in our spirit “poorness.” What we recognize as our inadequacy, Jesus more than makes up for in His empowerment by the Holy Spirit in us.
Those who boast in their independence and power apart from an acknowledgment of God, profess themselves to be above any reliance on God. But God is neither moved nor mocked by such boasting. These are those the Bible calls—“fools.” [Romans 1:22] They say in their hearts, there is no God. [Psalm 14:1] In other words they have no spiritual need, no shortcomings, but they are self-deceived. They are spiritually poverty stricken, but unwilling to admit it. So, they remain dead in their sins with no means of reaching heaven.
Those who are poor in spirit recognize their need for a Savior and because they choose life in Jesus Christ they gain the kingdom of heaven also.
Lent - Day 2 - A Study of Mathew 5
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
It’s hard to imagine when you are going through it that mourning could ever lead to anything of joy or happiness, let alone blessing. But that is exactly what Jesus said it would and will do.
Now there are different kinds of mourning or at least different ways we grieve. There is the heart breaking grief and mourning that attend the loss of a loved one, a sibling, a parent, a child a friend or even a stranger. There is a different kind of mourning that attends a sense of a loss of a desired opportunity or long sought after achievement that was never realized, the mourning for a relationship that was breached by loss of trust or fidelity. There is also the mourning that attends the loss of place, position or ability, or the loss of things, property, keepsakes, treasures. Then there is the mourning that attends the loss of hope, of expectation of good and the resignation to an undesired end.
Whatever the cause of the mourning, Jesus says the antidote is comfort and particularly mourning where the heart is grieved when life is taken or cut short in its prime or before it has a chance to realize its destiny.
Apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ mourning has no purpose, no end or reason. It is just unrelenting sadness of the heart. But in Jesus mourning is a means of grace, an opportunity for the love of God to manifest in our hearts at the deepest levels of comfort and ultimately restored joy.
“For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
Yes, joy does come, because that is God’s default position on all matters of life, that we should have it and have it more abundantly. Death and dying are anomalies in the created order of things. To have righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit is God’s intended purpose for us, now and in the world to come.
When mourning comes into our lives, we can respond to it with the hope that the promises of Jesus are yes and amen. In mourning we are blessed because in it we receive the comfort of God by the Holy Spirit, our Comforter.
The mourner is blessed not to remain in mourning, but to be comforted and restored to joy.
Lent – Day 3 - A Study Of Matthew 5
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
“But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalm 37:11
Jesus is very clear here. The braggadocios, the prideful, the arrogant and haughty, those who are the antithesis of the meek will not have a place in the earth. Certainly not in the world to come, but even here and now the Word declares that the wealth of the sinner will come to the righteous.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” Proverbs 13:22
Now, meekness is not synonymous with weakness or softness in any way. It is rather a quality of character that chooses to be humble in face of pride, confident, without boasting, and strong without domination or manipulation or bullying others. The meek are like Jesus in that they make themselves of no great reputation seeking not the approval of men but only the approval of God.
Those who are meek are characterized by a quiet and steady disposition, recognizing their desperate need for the Lord Jesus Christ, for salvation, for truth, for hope, for grace, mercy and love. They are confidently dependent on Him without fear, without wrath or doubting.
The meek are not seeking great wealth, power or influence over others. They do not seek to dominate or rule over anyone or anything, but these things are granted to them because they cannot be swayed by them to the right or to the left. They make no claim to their importance but always and in everything lift up the Lord and worship Him, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit only.
The meek are content in whatever circumstance they find themselves, in plenty or in want. Their circumstance at any given time does not dictate the attitude of their hearts, only their faith and trust in God.
The meek shall inherit the earth because they can be trusted to steward it without becoming lifted up because of it. Their one true and overarching desire is to please God and to do His will above all else.
The way of the meek is the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, to seek Him, to know Him, to hear Him, to follow Him and obey Him, to love and most importantly to know that they are loved by Him.
The earth becomes their inheritance because their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
“He will not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.” Psalm 112:7