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February 23—Lent Devotional 2013

February 23—Lent Devotional 2013

As you read and reflect on today’s beatitude, please listen to this track from contemporary Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. We will feature this track throughout Lent.

The Beatitudes

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3

Sneeze and someone likely says, “God bless you!” Apart from an occasional blessing or benediction at church, this is about the only time someone blesses us. But Jesus often blessed or pronounced a beatitude over people (Matthew 19:13; Luke 18:15), and commanded His followers to do the same (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14; I Peter 3:9). Being blessed by God and blessing others fills the pages of the Bible. God blesses us that we might be a blessing (Genesis 12:3). As followers of Jesus we are members of His royal priesthood, empowering us to bless others.

From the earliest days of the Bible, fathers would place their hands on their children’s heads, showing them as favored by God and then speaking God’s blessing to them. Even today many Jewish parents (both father and mother) bless their children at the start of Sabbath.

As we ponder and pray our way through the beatitudes it would be an especially good time to begin blessing our children and spouse, and others close to us. In doing this, we need to remember that there is a difference between blessing them and praying for them. When we bless we leave off the word “may”; we do not pray “may the Lord bless you”, but actually speak the words “the Lord bless you…”. The power of the blessing does not depend upon us who speak it, but upon God who wills to bless. We are honored to act as God’s hands and voice as He blesses others. 

PONDER AND PRAY

You shall say to them, ‘the LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. So they shall put my name on my people, and I will bless them.”—Numbers 6:24-27

  •  Sometime today place your hands gently upon the heads of family members or friends and “put the LORD’S name” upon them by speaking God’s blessing over them (see Scripture above).
  • What do you want to say to God?

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