Blessed

Psalm 115: 15

May you be blessed of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

I have noticed that there is a new expression that has gained much popularity. It seems I hear it mostly on voicemail messages not actually spoken person to person. That expression? “Have a blessed day.”

It is a nice sentiment but at the same time can be pretty empty. I expect that the people who leave this on their voicemail message are very sincere about wishing you to be blessed; I hope they are anyway. But it is good to remind ourselves from where blessings come.

God is the source of all blessing, but we are the hands of the Lord here in the earth. So, although all good things come from above, it is through us that the Lord reaches out to others. And while it is nice to wish others a blessed day, let us not forget that we can effectuate that ourselves. You can be the one that ensures that they have a blessed day by blessing them.

Hasn’t Jesus taught us that it is not enough for us to just say to a hungry person, “Be fed.” He taught us to feed them. When we wish for someone to be fed or to be otherwise blessed aren’t we really saying that I hope someone will bless you today? Aren’t we really expecting the person’s blessed day to come through other people? Well, why should we wait for someone else to have the idea to bless them? It is already in our mind and on our tongue.

Additionally, hungry and homeless people aren’t the only persons needing blessing today. Everyone you see could use a blessing. Also, do some kind thing for someone wherein you have no benefit in the blessing. In other words, bless someone in a way that you are not also reaping a benefit. It is alright to have win/win situations, but we need to learn to do what is in the best interest of others even if it is not in our interest. How much of a blessing is it really if your blessing of someone else is reaping a benefit for you? You’ve got to ask yourself how true your motive is if that is a constant occurrence.

And lastly, become a giver. Let being a giver become part of your personality. Look for opportunities to bless others. Try to figure out a way every day to do something kind for someone. What if we all got in the habit of blessing one person a day? Wouldn’t that be something? We might start some kind of revolution. I think it could really have an impact on our communities. So, shall we start today? Find someone to bless. Do something kind; give to others. I guarantee that you will end up being the most blessed person of all.

Fingerprints

Deuteronomy 28: 6

“Blessed will you be when you come in, and blessed will you be when you go out.”

An apt description of what this verse means in practical terms is that you see Jesus’ fingerprints on the fabric of your life. Or perhaps you like footprints running across the landscape of life. Whichever metaphor you choose, the effect is Jesus’ influence all over one’s life; little drops here, little touches there. Of course, there are the tidal waves of blessing too, but it is the dew drops on every leaf of life that have caught my attention. They could easily be ignored but when you lift your eyes, you see that Jesus is very gently watering every corner of your life. So many of life’s daily matters are simply taken care of, things about which one has not even prayed, things we would not even think to pray about are simply taken care of. It is like the most beautiful of spring days when you open your eyes to find flowers have bloomed where you did not plant.

I have been overwhelmed recently by the sheer number of details Jesus and Father have taken care of for me. It is humbling because these golden touches have nothing to do with my prayer or anything else I have done right. All glory to God, it has absolutely nothing to do with me. Father, in His goodness, knows issues which need attention, and He has been taking care of these things Himself. When I recently lifted my head, I saw Jesus fingerprints were all over my life. He has been busy blessing me. Some of the “little” touches have been nothing less than miraculous. Beyond Yahweh’s kindness is His attentiveness and I praise Him that He is paying attention to the details of my life.

The other side of this is the sorrow that people who don’t have Jesus don’t know how much they are missing. When I see all the little things Father does for me, I realize how barren their lives are. How does one explain the blessing on one’s life? How do we convey the love that Father pours out in even the smallest details? There is such a release of stress, stress we might not even realize we are holding when Father takes these things off our plate. You look around and find matters have just been handled, even matters which haven’t made it to your to do list yet. Problems are resolved before you realize there was an imminent issue. I wish that for everyone. I hope others will see the beautiful grace of Jesus upon our lives and join the club.

Overcoming the World

Revelations 12:11

And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony.

There seems to be confusion over who fights and who wins the battles of life. What role does Jesus play? What role do we play? Has he not defeated the enemy? Fortunately, the Bible answers these challenging questions for us, as you will see.

Let’s answer it this way. You know of how Moses led the Israelite nation out of Egypt, the pursuit by Pharaoh’s army and ultimately Israel’s escape through the Red Sea. Let us look at some key language from that event. “Then the Lord said to Moses, . . . ‘Lift up your staff and reach out with your hand over the sea and divide it’. Then Moses reached out with his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided,” (Exodus 14: 15 – 16, 21). So, who parted the Red Sea? If you answered “both” you are right and that is what we need to understand. The answer to overcoming trouble is in our partnership with the Trinity.

Now look at John 16: 33, “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Why should we be encouraged that Jesus overcame the world? He just said we would have trouble in the world. Jesus understood the partnership with the Father. It is the intertwined life which is the message of this ministry. In Jesus and through his victory, we too can be victorious. It isn’t automatic though. If it were, he wouldn’t have need to encourage us and he certainly would not have told us that in this world we were going to have trouble. He would have said, “All your problems will be taken care of because I am victorious.” He didn’t say that though, did he? He said, take heart because I have overcome, meaning that in his overcoming is our own. Because he overcame the world, we are now able to be overcomers too.

Today’s verse wasn’t an accident. John wrote out the formula for overcoming problems. Victory is in the blood of the lamb and in the word of our testimony. Isn’t that what it says? This is so huge. There is no way to overstate the importance of these two elements. Jesus has already done his part but ours is constant. In every situation we must speak. In fact, our words cast the deciding ballot. Victory was purchased by the blood of the lamb. It must, however, be applied to our lives and situations and we do that with our words. We either speak the victory or confess defeat with our words. Am I sick, or healed? What does the Word say? Am I rich or poor? What does the Word say? What should I expect in my work and my relationships? Is the blessing operating in my life, or the curse?

The blood of the lamb has been cast. All that is left is the word of our testimony. If we do nothing with the victory Jesus purchased with his blood, then we will have no victory. If Moses didn’t raise his staff, that sea would never have parted. God wants to teach us this extremely valuable lesson. Victory is yours but only if you apply it to your life. What is the word of your testimony? Will it bring you what you desire? If not, what should you say which would be in line with victory? Maybe I should have titled today’s message “Blood and Guts” because it is going to take both to overcome the world. Now then, tell me, what are you saying?

Blessings to You

Psalm 128: 1 – 2

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. When you eat the fruit of the labor of your hands, you will be happy and it will go well for you.

For those of you in the United States, I hope you had a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. And for those of you around the world, blessings to you!

This psalm reminds and encourages us that all who love the Lord are blessed. We are also reminded that the blessing is found in walking his path and in following his ways. As we follow him, we are led into fruitful, productive work which provides for us in many ways, including the satisfaction of a good day’s labor.

May you find fulfilment and blessing today. May you walk continually in his ways, enjoying his presence.

Promises, Promises

1 Kings 8:56

Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant.

According to all God has promised us, may He be blessed, because He does not fail. This is rich language but more importantly, it is the assurance of God’s promises fulfilled in our lives. What value has the Bible if not to see God, to learn of His ways and promises and to, subsequently, see them fulfilled in our lives? God did not give us His Word so that we can study history. That is cool enough, but He wants us to see more than the history. He wants us to receive His promises which go all the way back to the beginning. All His promises are for us today. That is what the Bible is meant to communicate to us.

There is more to this. The author would have us know that not one word of God’s promises has failed. What do you think of that? All of God’s promises are yea and amen (2 Corinthians 1: 20). In other words, God’s answer to your prayer is, “Yes.” Why do we think God made promises? It is not as though we could ever extract from Him anything that He didn’t want to give. These “promises” are not the result of a bargained agreement. We do not have anything with which to bargain. The point is, He made all the promises in the Bible of His own volition. They were all His ideas. God is trying to get blessing to us. That is the reason He has made promises to us. He forged a covenant with us, and these are the benefits of that covenant relationship. So, every promise you find in the Bible is part of God’s covenant with you. Each one represents God’s will.

Do you see a promise of health or healing? Do you see the assurance of prosperity? What of favor and His continual presence? All those are God’s intent for your life. Therefore, we are to hold those up to Him, almost like an offering and receive of His glory and bounty. What kind of Father would He be if His children did not partake of His bounty? Can you imagine parents who live in affluence but do not share their sustenance with their children? That would just be wrong. We understand that from a human perspective, but we do not always translate that over to our Heavenly Father who, by the way, chose to be called Father. He self-identified Himself as our Father and that is a tremendously important concept. We did not name Him; He did. And with that choice to be our Father, He accepted a host of responsibilities towards us. He forever calls us His children which means He accepts the responsibility for our welfare. And, that is the source from which the promises originate.

Not only has He given us His word on a wide range of topics, He has not failed in any of those promises. Do you believe that? Are you living in every promise of God? If not, why are we not enjoying the fullness of His fruit? Is the Bible absolute truth? It says not one word of His good promises has failed so either that is a lie, or it is truth. If it is truth and we are not living in the fullness thereof, then where is the disconnect? Has He fulfilled the promise and we were not in the right checkout line? Is there something we must do or is it a simple matter of belief and trust? God is not a man that He can lie so we can rely on Him as truth. Therefore, the analysis must proceed from there. He is truth and love and life. In Him all prayers are yes!

Sustaining Trust

Jeremiah 17: 7 – 8

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”

What refreshing and comforting words we receive today from Jeremiah. The person of faith and trust is represented as a tree. Trees live a long time, longer than humans. In the Bible, they are contrasted with the grass of the field which is here today and gone tomorrow. The imagery portrayed in today’s verse is comforting, I believe, because it paints a picture of something that is not easily swayed by the winds of change or challenge.

He whose trust is in the Lord is connected with the source of life. When our lives are planted near the source of the living water, we, like the tree, draw in sustaining water. Our roots reach out and grasp the Father, Son and Spirit and through that connection they feed and sustain us. Life flows into our root structure through our intertwining with the trinity. This verse says that even in a drought or famine, our leaf shall not wither nor shall we fail to produce fruit.

The fruit from the tree comes from the blessing of the living water. As long as we are tapped into that water, it shall continue to produce fruit in us, even through times of hardship. When our trust is truly fixed on the Lord, we shall not fear nor shall anxiety have a root in us. We are blessed for “blessed is the [one] whose trust is in the Lord.” Even in the time of trouble, blessing flows through the root system of those who trust God.

Fear not, beloved. Your blessing is not from the world, neither is your sustenance. Life is in the water, the living water that Jesus promised us. Even in times of great trial, our trust in our Lord and God fills us with His provision and sustains our souls. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your understanding (Proverb 3: 5), but rather lean, in faith, on Him.

Lucky or Blessed?

Deuteronomy 28: 12

The LORD will . . . bless all the work of your hand.

As many of you know, last year at the MS Bike ride, I won a bicycle. It was very exciting. At a different event I won a Jersey shadow box. Recently there was a drawing in an exercise class and, yep, I won. Yea!

People have been saying I should go to Las Vegas. Others said, “We need to get in the car right now and go buy a lottery ticket.” Truthfully, I love winning. It is exciting and fun, but I still don’t feel lucky and I didn’t go buy a lottery ticket.

I believe my good fortune comes from my Father. I don’t mean to intimate that he causes me to win a raffle over someone else that He loves. It’s just the blessing that He is and that is in operation because of him. The more I am into Him, the more that blessing seems to get on me.

Father really does help me with a lot of things. Sometimes I am lucky in games, but I think the truth is that my Dad helps me. Perhaps, I can hear Him and feel His nudges a little better these days.

I don’t feel lucky, but I will say, I am one of the most blessed people I know. I have good fortune, no doubt, but my fortune has a name, Yahweh. He is my good luck and my blessing. I just need to press into Him more so that more of Him gets on me. Then it is hard to go wrong. I love the Lord and He is good to me. He loves you too. That is not Las Vegas kind of love. It is infinite love so press into it and see the blessing flowing all around you. You are blessed!