Posts Tagged curse

Blessing is a Choice

Deuteronomy 28: 2, 45          NIV

All these blessing will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God. 45 All these curses will come upon you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord you God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11: 28 (NIV).

I call on heaven and earth as witnesses today that I have offered you life or death, blessings or curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants will live. Deuteronomy 30: 19 (GW).

Lest we be deceived, thinking God has changed His tune since we are living in the New Testament, I included the words of Jesus from the gospel of Luke.  There is blessing in obedience.  No one wants to hear this, I know.  Obedience is not at the top of our favored subjects. We should not mourn, though.  There is plenty of good news here.  Yes, if we do not obey, the curse, which is in the land, will overtake us.  You do know that there is a curse out there, right?  It came with the fall of humanity, but God’s blessing is bigger than the curse.  And, it is elective.  Anyone who chooses to participate in the blessing, rather than the curse, can.  We learn that from Deuteronomy 30: 19.  God allows us to choose.  So, we can choose to be blessed and why wouldn’t we?

Well, because the price is obedience and, honestly, our generation has a problem with being told what to do, even by God.  We are very self-aware and self-guided.  That is the choice we make.  Will we humble ourselves to the direction of the Lord, or will we adhere to our own form of wisdom?  The answer seems obvious, doesn’t it, but if you observe the world around you, I think you will find very few people who are actually submitted to the Lord.

The other question which must be addressed is, “What, or whom, are we to obey?”  Jesus answered that question in Luke.  We must first humble ourselves to hearing and receiving the Word of God.  Then we obey what the Word says.  That’s it.  Listen and obey.  It sounds easy but it requires slaying our egos and that is hard.  Still, I think I would rather have the blessing than build an altar to my already over-inflated ego.  What about you?!

Recovery

Psalm 35: 26 – 28          NIV

May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion; may all who exalt themselves over me be clothed with shame and disgrace. May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The Lord be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

It has taken three days to share with you the insight and emotional outpouring of David which is found in the 35th Psalm. I wanted to give you this psalm because I know that we all have been in David’s shoes emotionally.

One of the key points we can glean from this passage is that David knew his Bible. In this passage he essentially prayed Genesis 12: 3 which reads, “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse.” It is always wise to pray the promises God has already given us. Where there is a passage which relates to our circumstance then we already know God’s will. In this case, all we have to do is line up our prayer with the promise God has already given.

The other point which I think is key is to notice how David ends this Psalm. He was certainly in great distress and poured out his heart to God but when he gets to the end he has reached the point of declaring God’s greatness. That is one of the keys to David’s success and to his great relationship with God. There are other psalms wherein David begins with a recitation of his troubles but always at the end he has laid his problem at the throne of God and taken up his instrument to sing praises to the Most High. This is a very valuable lesson. It is acceptable to lament your woes. It is okay to tell God your troubles and your feelings, but do not end your conversation there. Keep communicating with God until you reach the praise and thanksgiving stage. Keep praying until your trust in His saving grace has returned to you. Remember too, that our New Testament instruction from Jesus is to pray for our tormentors. Their actions will return to them because of the bad seed they have sown. However, we now have the power and authority to even save them from themselves because in Jesus we can pray for their healing and a reversal of their fortunes. It certainly is not the easiest thing in the world to do but we have Jesus, and in him all things are possible, even praying for our enemies.

Redeemed, Restored & Renewed

Galatians 3: 13 – 14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles.

This is a message of the cross that we do not hear often and yet it is so profound that we should be shouting it from the housetops. This is a huge statement. While we were yet under the curse, God provided a way, the way, to redeem us from that curse. Jesus Christ, our beloved, went to the cross not to bear the burden of the curse but rather he became a curse so that we could be freed from the curse, from sin and from death. Jesus went to the cross so that we could be redeemed from the curse of the law and thereby be reconciled to God and into the blessing of Abraham.  

This passage encourages further study for it demands an answer to the question, “What is the blessing of Abraham?” It also answers many questions and some very large ones at that. We know, beyond doubt, that we are to live lives of blessing being no longer under the curse. We are heirs of all of the promises God made to Abraham. We know what the Christian life is to look like and it is not one of sickness, disease and poverty. Those are in the curse. It is not a life on anguish and torture. We are delivered from the curse of the law, from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of his dear son.

Additional text: Deuteronomy 28: 1-14

Deuteronomy 23: 5

Nevertheless, the LORD your God was not willing to listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you because the LORD your God loves you.

It is my opinion that Christians should not be feasting on the nightly news. Sure, it is good to know what is going on in the world but realize, it is the world’s news that is being reported, it’s even in the title of the news show. Those reporters are not reporting your news because you are not of the world. Does this sound trite? I hope not because this is a very important point. The news shows can only report the condition of the world. Our news is found in today’s scripture selection. We have been relieved of the effects of the curse and God has given us blessing instead.

Now here is the truth of this matter. You can have either report you wish. If you listen to and meditate on the world news tonight then that is what you will receive. If, however, you read God’s report and meditate on it, that is what you will receive. You will have whichever you give your attention to. You see Christians going the way of the world and it is heart breaking. It is because they are filling themselves with the world. We have 24 hour news channels that pump the airwaves full of doom and gloom and if we participate in it we will receive doom and gloom. It really is that easy. If, though, you fill your heart and mind with the Word of God and let His words penetrate your spirit then you are going to reap blessing even while 10,000 fall at your side.

Romans 10: 17 teaches us that faith comes through hearing. Whatever you put in your ears consistently is what you will have faith in. It is easy to develop fear in your heart. All you have to do is pump yourself full bad news. The reality is that even under the same circumstances some people will suffer while others succeed. We usually attribute the successful person with good luck but it isn’t luck. They daily program themselves to succeed. Computer programmers know this. They say, “Garbage in, garbage out.” They understand that the output can only be as good as the data input. So what input are you feeding to your spirit? It absolutely will determine whether you succeed or fail, whether you live in the blessing or wallow in the curse. And may I say, I have seen the truth of this personally. You can watch two people who are equally situated and in five years their conditions will be very different because one of them chose to listen to God while the other filled up on the world news. Your spirit can’t bear that immersion in the world. Don’t do it.

A person who will apply the Word of God to their lives will succeed even when the economic and environmental conditions are against them. Success isn’t in the stock market. It isn’t in your job. It is in the Lord our God who causes us to reap where we have not sown, who gives us a hundred-fold harvest in the midst of the famine. Our success is our inheritance from God so don’t let the doomsayers influence you. They aren’t talking about you. Your God, your Father loves you and turns the curse into blessing for you. Let His words fill your ears and your heart. Believe His report. You will be so glad you did.

Loving the Unlovely

Romans 12: 14

Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not.

This is grown-up Christianity. We have gone into the deep water. We know that if we love Christ we will keep his commands. Paul is preaching Christ here. Besides, we know that Jesus is the word, the entire word. But if that is not good enough let us see what Jesus said when he was still in the earth. Matthew 5: 44 reads, “But I say to you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” One translation says, “… bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you (KJV).

If you do not like these two verses, I don’t blame you. It is just not natural to heap blessing on those who persecute and hate us. But then, we weren’t called to be natural, were we? We are called to be supernatural through the power of Christ at work within us. These circumstances are when we most need the miracle working might of Christ Jesus ministering in us and through us. Jesus said that all things are possible with God (Mark 10: 27) so the key here is that we must be with God. We are not going to succeed in praying for and blessing our persecutors without God’s strength. The Apostle Paul received this revelation as well. In Philippians 4: 13 he wrote, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” With God all things are possible which is a really important thing to know when you believe that He has called you to the impossible like saving a country or forgiving your obnoxious brother-in-law. I wonder which is more difficult. Regardless, you are going to need God’s power and strength in order to do what you are supposed to do. We know that we are to follow all of Jesus’ teachings and obey his commands. If you have made a quality decision to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and be obedient to the calling within you including obeying all of Jesus’ ordinances then you need the power of God at work in your life. But, fear not. Father God has created a foolproof way for each of us to operate in that awesome power that can only be obtained through Him. He just comes and lives inside of us. We take off the grave clothes of our former lives and don the glory of the living God. He, God, becomes again our covering just as in the Garden of Eden when humanity was surrounded by the glory of God.  

There is nothing God cannot due and by extension there is nothing you cannot do when you are joined with the Holy One. You can even pray for your enemies and bless those who persecute you. Your glory is the Lord himself and He will lift you up and He will enable you to do all things. You are half of an unbeatable team. Now, what will you do?