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!

Sunshine

Psalm 84: 11 – 12

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD gives grace and glory; no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, how blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Let’s start off this week with some good news. Which sentence or phrase above holds the best news for you? It’s all good. May I share the God’s Word version with you as well, “The Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord grants favor and honor. He does not hold back any blessing from those who live innocently. O Lord of Armies, blessed is the person who trusts you.” I hope just reading these words blesses you.

I was immediately captured by the declaration that he withholds no good blessing from us. Our Father is not stingy or recalcitrant. He wants to be a blessing to us and to give us good things. That is a comforting thought. All goodness is in Him and a part of Him and no part of Him does He withhold from us.

Knowing that God is good and has good to bestow upon us gives one a sense of peace. Meditating on our Lord being our sun and shield captivated me though. As I thought about the sun, I could almost feel what is like when it shines its beams on one’s face. Remember a spring or fall day when the air was crisp with the edge of coolness in it. How great were those days which were sunny? Despite the cool temperature, when you turn your face to the sun, the rays warm your face and that warmth seems to reach all the way to your soul. Recalling one of those days which I experienced recently, I remember how nice it felt and I remember the “Ahhh” which escaped my lips. It’s like being kissed by God. Don’t we automatically turn our faces toward those warming rays? The sun feels good on your back but if you watch people, they often turn their faces towards the sun and let it warm and soothe their faces. You can watch the stress disipate to be replaced by a visage of peace.

As I think of that picture and bask in my own memories of the glowing warmth, I think how wise we are if we turn our faces towards God and let Him shine upon us daily. Even when the sky is dark and foreboding, His light is a radiant face lift bringing peace and relaxation to our faces which then sinks down into our spirits. It is even more empowering when I think that even as we stand, eyes closed, face turned towards the light that He is also providing a shield. We needn’t be concerned about a foe who may attack while we are off guard because He is always “en garde.” He is our sun which relaxes us and our shield so that we may enjoy that peace.

Thanks to our Father, we need never have a day without sun. Metaphorically, everyone experiences gray days. Clouds fill the horizon and the overcast sky falls heavily upon your shoulders. But . . . if you will turn your face towards the sun, our God, in those gloomy times, He will shine on you the bright light of His love and peace. There is, therefore, no need for us to sag under the oppression of a dank fog, no need to for the withering depression of grey skies. Let your face seek the light and allow the warming rays to chase the clouds from your life.

The next time you feel the weight of a cloudy day, remember this psalm. Remember your sun and shield and that He, your sunshine, withholds no good thing from you.

Qualified

Colossians 1: 12

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

You are already qualified to share in the inheritance of God. Isn’t that good news? You do not have to earn it. It is done. So, give thanks. Praise the Father. He has arranged everything so that you could be His heir. Even if you do not pray every day, get in the habit of praising every day. That is really more important because God has already done everything He needed to do to bring you into the throne room of grace. He has already provided for your every need. He has already bestowed on you the blessing of Abraham.

You have been pre-qualified. Now enjoy the fruit of what God has supplied you but always remember that as His child He has an expectation that you are not going to use all that He has provided you on your own lusts. He is not increasing you so that you can have a new boat. You can have the new boat and a jet ski too but remember that your job is to feed His children. You are to use your inheritance to spread God’s love and prosperity around. It is not only about you and how much of your inheritance you can spend gratifying the pleasures of the flesh. It is not just about a new vacation and new shoes. God wants to bless you, but He also wants you to bless others. He wants you to be like Him. He is not using up all of His resources on Himself. Otherwise, there would be no inheritance for us to receive. Don’t use up all the blessing that He is giving you on yourself. Thank God and praise Him from the bottom of your heart and then show your appreciation by blessing His kids. Find someone every day that you can bless. Then you will really see the manifestation of God.

Honored and Esteemed

Psalm 41: 1 – 2

God always blesses those who are kind to the poor and helpless. They’re the first ones God helps when they find themselves in any trouble. The Lord will preserve and protect them. They’ll be honored and esteemed while their enemies are defeated.

While typing in this verse I had to stop and just say, “Thank you Lord.” Do you ever do that? Are there times when the Word of God speaks to you so profoundly that it is as if God has just spoken to you aloud? That is the way it feels to me sometimes and I find myself grateful to be called his own. There is almost a sense of quiet awe, as if to break the silence is to be reminded that I am unworthy of His grace, but praise God, that is when the silence is ruptured by thanksgiving because in that moment we are overwhelmed with the truth, the truth that Jesus made us worthy. He did for us what we were unable to achieve through any other means.

It is in that moment of reverence and awe that I find myself honored to be the blessing that God sends into the world. You and I are God in this world. If the poor and helpless are to have their status changed so that they are no longer without help, it is up to us. Don’t think that I am telling you to go out and do good works. I am telling you to let your gratitude for what Father and Jesus have done for you overwhelm your senses and your spirit so that you just have to have an outlet for your thankfulness or you will pop.

The world does not need a group of sour faced people trying to win God’s favor or redeem themselves. It needs the love of God poured out in a real way. The world needs to see that God has redeemed us and given us joy unspeakable. Hopefully we share that joy and the world sees a God who loves them without measure, without works.

Let us not forget, though, that God honors and upholds us as we go out into the world bringing joy and hope. He takes care of our needs as we take care of the needy. He is our help in the time of need as we are help for the otherwise helpless.

Sow some joy and peace today. If you have nothing other than a smile to give, give it with gusto. Let other people be blessed just because you are there. Say a prayer that everywhere you go today, all people will receive the blessing of the Lord. Give hope and a hand to someone. Be still and silent in your personality and let the Lord speak and shine through you. The more you let go, the more blessed you will be. The more you let Him be the light, the more light you will walk in too. Be blessed, my friends.