Poverty

Good afternoon. It is Saturday, November 1, 2014.

Today is Authors’ Day. There are a lot of authors on WordPress, so happy Authors’ Day to all of you!

The reason it is afternoon is that I went in to work for a few hours this morning to help out. Our manager asked me, yesterday afternoon, and I reluctantly said, “Yes.” I worked for about five hours, until all the receiving left from yesterday was done.

Okay, that is not the reason it is afternoon. The reason it is afternoon is that it’s . . . well . . . after noon. That is the reason I am not doing this until afternoon!

Christi is currently out doing the grocery shopping, and should be home before too long, so I will try to get in my devotional before she gets home.

We had a great time at our pastor’s mother’s house last night, and the chili was, as before, pretty amazing. It may be the best chili I have ever had.

This evening, we have our “Anchor” prayer gathering, followed by our worship service, beginning at 4:45 PM. Come and join us, if you are in the area. We are The Exchange. Our pastor is beginning a new series on Colossians, this evening. I’m very excited about it.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
Psalm 147:1
Remember me, O LORD, when you show favor to your people; help me when you save them,
that I may look upon the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may rejoice in the gladness of your nation, that I may glory with your inheritance.

Psalm 106:4-5
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!
Psalm 71:1
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
Psalm 119:54
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Today’s Gospel Reading

While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
Matthew 12:46-50

Jesus reminds us that our “families” extend far beyond flesh and blood. In many people’s cases, their “true family” is the body of Christ.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “Really Human, Really Poor.”

“The Christian who is really human is really poor.” What does this mean, and how does it play out in real life?”

“In conversation, the poor man always leaves the other person with the feeling, ‘My life has been enriched by talking with you.'” This person does not impose himself on others; he is not “all exhaust and no intake;” he doesn’t attempt to overwhelm the other with “his wealth of insights;” he doesn’t attempt to convert the other by the sledgehammer Bible method; he listens to what others have to say, because “he realizes he is poor and has so much to learn from others.” In fact, his state of poverty gives him the ability to “enter into the existential world of the other, even when he cannot identify with that world.” The poor man also knows how to receive and express gratitude for even the smallest gift.

Peter van Breeman, atomic physicist, wrote: “The poor man accepts himself. He has a self-image in which the awareness of his limitations is very vivid but that does not depress him. This consciousness of his own insufficiency without feelings of self-hatred is typical of the poor in spirit.”

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.

Psalm 86:1-2

Father, would that I could be as poor as the man described above. I confess that I don’t listen well to others when conversing, because I always seem to think that I have some great wisdom to impart. The truth is more likely that I have nothing worthy of hearing, myself. Make me a poor man, Father. Make me to recognize how poor in spirit I truly am. I remain, even after all of these lessons and all of this time, somewhat arrogant, still. I pray that I would know my poverty, and that you could use me to enrich the lives of others. Teach me your way, that I may walk in your truth.

I pray for the rest of this day. May our worship service and prayer time this evening be pleasing in your sight, and be glorifying to your name. May we lift your name high in worship this evening. I pray for Stephanie, that she would feel better this evening, and be able to fulfill her responsibility in the children’s department. I pray for Jacob as he begins his sermon series on Colossians. Open our ears that we might hear what the Spirit has to say to us tonight.

I pray for Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs in Burkina Faso, that they and all other civilian people might be safe during the political violence that is going on there.

May we all recognize our poverty and, in doing so, enrich the lives of everyone around us.

Grace and peace, friends.

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