Daily Devotion for November 12, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Martin Luther's Prayer for Morning
We give thanks to you, heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ your dear Son, that you have protected us through the night from all danger and harm. We ask you to preserve and keep us, this day also, from all sin and evil, that in all our thoughts, words, and deeds we may serve and please you. Into your hands we commend our bodies and souls and all that is ours. Let your holy angels have charge of us, that the wicked one have no power over us.
Prayer to Live Christ's Word
Gracious God, Jesus is calling me to a new beginning; to a fresh call to discipleship. You are asking me to deny myself, take up my cross and follow you. It was at my baptism that you claimed me as your child. Today, I affirm that I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. I surrender my will, my desires and my life to you, O God. I commit myself to your call to discipleship: to pray, study your Word, worship you, invite other people to a life of discipleship, encourage Christians in their life of faith, serve those in need, and give joyfully of the gifts that You first gave me. This I pray in Jesusí name.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have fed me with the spiritual food of his Body and Blood. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good And to those who are upright in their hearts.
But as for those who turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord will lead them away with the doers of iniquity
Poor in Spirit
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Notes on the Scripture
The beginning of the Sermon on the Mount is often called "The Beatitudes", because "beatus" is the Latin word for "blessed", the word that begins each of these short teachings. In them, Christ turns the notion of salvation on its ear; he says exactly the opposite of what most people then believed to be true, and what, deep in our hearts, each of us wonders about. The Jews were expecting a Messiah who would be akin to an earthly king, filled with earthly power and force, mighty and magnificent, and one who would lead them to victory in battle and great earthly rewards. Instead, they got a carpenter who told them a more important truth than earthly magnificence.
The first beatitude starts "Blessed are the poor in spirit", which is hard to understand. The word "poor" is clear enough, because it means exactly what we think it means: broke, destitute, lacking something almost entirely. The English word "spirit", however, means a number of different things and doesn't translate the meaning very well. "Rich in spirit" is something that sounds like a good thing to most Christians, and in some senses, it is.
But in the sense intended here, a person "rich in spirit" does not refer to someone who is extremely spiritual, or places great emphasis on his spiritual life, or who is filled by the Holy Spirit. It refers to a person whose life is filled with his own spirit, a person who is self-satisfied, who thinks he knows everything. When Christ says that the poor in spirit are blessed, he is talking about someone who is hungry and desperate to be filled with spiritual food. He is talking about someone who is not proud, someone who has true humility in his heart. These two senses of the expression "poor in spirit" are obviously related, since they both refer to someone who is eager to listen and be taught, someone who wants to receive spiritual truth.
It is possible to be rich in some earthly manner and still be poor in spirit. It is not money that corrupts; it is love of money. (It may be difficult to have a lot of money and not love it at least a little, but it is not impossible.) It is impossible, however, to be "rich in spirit" and gain the kingdom of heaven. The first teaching of Christianity, therefore, is this: You must want to listen; you must want to learn; you must have a place that is empty into which the Holy Spirit can find room to live.