“Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful, But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
These days there are self-help books and web-sites everywhere we turn. Everyone has advice to better health, a better marriage, better kids or better finances. Have you noticed, as I have, that even much of the Christian self-help stuff is really from the world’s wisdom and not God’s.
People tend to be turned off to the Bible, here called ‘the law’, because we don’t like laws. This generation pulls back from rules of any kind. We like our independence and preferences. We like to do things “my way”. But these verses are telling how a man or woman can be blessed by God.
If we want to be blessed by the world, go to the self-help gurus. But you want God’s blessing, here’s how we do that: delight in God’s advice and ponder these things day and night.
Tags: Bible, blessings
Most of us are familiar with the term “upward mobility.” ‘The Jeffersons’ lived it. If you will remember, the opening line on the old sitcom’s theme song song said, “We’re moving on up to the East Side.” The American Dream espouses the idea that we keep moving upward in society and economy. All of us want to get ahead.
However, Jesus practiced “Downward Mobility”. He emptied Himself of all the glory available to Him in Heaven, and took the form of a ‘slave’ or ‘servant’. He climbed down the ladder to us, and taught us to have the same mindset.
I expect God to bless me and prosper my way. But I expect He will do that as I reach downward to others with greater need. This Saturday. Who will you reach downward to today?
Tags: blessings, culture, success
Monday evening Anita talked me into going out caroling with the Caroling Choir. There were ten of us that drove around to 7 or 8 shut-in families. It was bitter cold out, but getting back in the vehicles between stops made it a lot easier. It was worth it to see the delighted smiles on people’s faces. And Cora Tuttle gave us each a freshly baked cookie.
That’s the spirit of Christmas, to be able to bring joy to someone else. Parents usually focus upon the children to see that joy, but have you ever thought of passing that on to someone who can’t give it back? To bless someone who is down and out just to see them smile is what brings Christmas joy!
Here’s your assignment: Identify someone who can’t bless you back and bless them. Then get back on this blog and report to us what you did and how it made you feel. I’ll read every one.
Tags: blessings, caroling, Christmas
Back during the days of the Cold War following World War II, victorious Russia, not trusting anybody, blockaded the capitol city of Berlin between West Berlin, under the control of the American Army, and East Berlin, under the control of the Russian Army. There was tense hostility between the two cities and the now-infamous Berlin Wall was soon to be constructed. To demonstrate their dislike of the free West, the communists in East Berlin one day took a truck load of garbage and dumped it across the line into West Berlin.
The people of the West could have retaliated, but instead dumped a truckload of valuable food supplies over onto the East Berlin side. Above it they placed a sign: ‘EACH GIVES WHAT HE HAS’.
What do you have to give your enemy? Bitterness and resentment, or grace and blessing. The choice will be determined by what’s really in our heart. Think about it.
Tags: blessings, forgiveness, mercy, World War II
“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
In this case, the word “chosen” in verse 11 may not be the best translation. The original Greek word here is κληρονομεω, and means to obtain, and by implication, to obtain by inheritance into the family of God. The spiritual blessings we have come by virtue of the fact we have entered into covenant with Jesus Christ. However, He chose me before I chose Him.
Note also that it was God’s plan all along (predestination) to work everything out according to His will. Everything that happens has the divine purpose of working God’s will out in us, which is to glorify God in our lives. Although Paul and the early church were the first to hope in Christ, we follow in agreement. And there will be many more who follow after us. I’m praying for them right now.
Who are you praying for today?
Tags: blessings, inheritance, predestination
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a powerful word for each of us. He begins chapter 1 with a list of the blessings believers have in Christ. We’ll look at each of these blessings this week and next.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3)”.
Note that Paul’s interest and excitement is not in earthly material blessings, although such things are nice when God provides them. No, he is instead talking about spiritual blessings: intangible things that cannot be purchased or earned. These blessings are in the heavenly realm that only believers can enter. Because we are children of the King, all authority has been delegated to us. Access to spiritual gifts, God’s favor, and ministering angels are ours.
But, few believers ever enter this realm of Christianity. We keep seeking the Lord for His material blessings only. The spiritual blessings God gives empower believers to walk in a new dimension.
Each day this week we’ll look at another of these spiritual blessings that we have. What is one spiritual blessing that you are thanking God for today?
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over” (Psalm 23:5).
David is still reviewing what the shepherd has done in his life. In this verse he recounts three of those benefits:
1) God preparing a table for him refers to the great provision God gives. And he notes that God pours out these blessings in the face of his enemies. This is a great testimony of God’s favor in his life, and an encouragement that we can expect the same treatment from our Chief Shepherd.
2) In Bible times kings and prophets were anointed with oil; not a dab on their foreheads, but running from the tops of their heads and dripping off their beards. The anointing referred to God’s hand upon their lives. David is declaring that he recognizes the Lord’s hand in his life.
3) Using another word picture, it was a common analogy to refer to the culmination of life’s blessings being a cup. David says, “My cup runs over”, it is so full of God’s blessings.
What a rich way to look back at a person’s life! What word picture would you use for God’s blessings in your life?
Tags: blessings, provision