Time Alone With God daily devotional

6/14/2016

 

TIME ALONE WITH GOD DAILY DEVOTIONAL

WRITTEN BY PASTOR PHIL STOUT

Matthew 5:1-12

New International Version (NIV)

Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.

The Beatitudes
He said:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

START

Consider: The Sermon on the Mount is the first of Jesus’ teachings recorded by Matthew. It answers the question, “How should we live?” It cannot be emphasized enough, for Jesus closes it by saying that if you listen to that sermon and do what it says, you are building your life on a solid foundation that can withstand any storm. He also said that if you ignore that sermon, what you’re building will collapse (7:24-27). If we neglect the Sermon on the Mount, we become “Christians” in name only. We claim a grace that we do not live.

I hope you see how important Matthew 5-7 is. And I hope you see the significance of the opening words…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (5:3)

Jesus began his ministry by blessing the spiritually destitute. The sinner. The one who claims no spiritual power. The one who can take no pride in his or her own righteousness. Poor. Poor in spirit. And blessed!

This is counterintuitive. We think that God blesses the strong in spirit. We think that good people are the ones who are singled out by God for blessing. But our own perceived “goodness” and our own “strength” just keep getting in the way. When we humbly bring our sinfulness and weakness to Christ, he promises us the kingdom of heaven—the new reality he brings to earth.

Pray: I thank you, Lord, that my poverty of spirit is not my demise. When I own it, admit it and bring it to you, you open the kingdom up to me. May I never allow spiritual pride to keep me from your kingdom. When I am strong, help me to see that it is your strength working in me and that your strength is made possible by my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10).”

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