Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Christ - I am blessed

I am blessed...

Deuteronomy 28:2-14 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:  The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.  Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.  The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land He is giving you. The LORD will establish you as His holy people, as He promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in His ways.  Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity--in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground--in the land He swore to your forefathers to give you. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.  The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.  Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

Psalms 1:1-3 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 

Psalms 65:4 Blessed are those You choose and bring near to live in Your courts! We are filled with the good things of Your house, of Your holy temple. 

Ephesians 1:3  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.

Page-a-Day Calendar/email edition/2/2/11

“’Bless you!’ a stranger said to me when I sneezed loudly in the supermarket once again.

It must have been the tenth time I’d heard it that day as I suffered with yet another winter cold. I don’t feel all that blessed, I thought, sniffling and reaching for another tissue. I appreciated her kindness, but suddenly the phrase seemed silly. Who’s really thinking about God’s blessings when somebody sneezes? I’ve read that the origins of this tradition go far back in history, to a superstitious belief that an evil spirit could enter the body to steal the soul or to the fear that a sneeze signaled oncoming illness, requiring God’s protection for the sneezer. Whatever its origin, the average ‘Bless you’ is little more than a courtesy today.

“Still, all those ‘Bless yous’ made me think about the many times each day when I do feel blessed in small ways. I was blessed when a truck driver let me in ahead of him to make my left turn, instead of speeding up to beat me to the intersection. And I was blessed when a woman held the door open and waited for me as I struggled with my arms full of boxes for a school project. These weren’t big events, but little kindnesses that eased my way and brought much-needed help.

“Yet I’ve discovered something about these small, everyday blessings. They seem to mean the most to me when I’m on the giving end. The other day, I was waiting in the checkout line with my full cart, and I let a man with a huge box of diapers go ahead of me. ‘Thank you. You’re a blessing to me today,’ he said. But I also felt blessed, privileged to be able to pass on even the tiniest bit of God’s love that might make someone’s day go a little smoother. It’s one of God’s wonderful ironies: The more blessings I give others, the more blessed I am.

Heavenly Father, show me the ways I might shower others with blessings as You have showered me.” —GINA BRIDGEMA

God chooses to bless His children because of His great love for us – and His gifts and graces are always over the top!  The children of Israel were blessed by God – He was with them in the desert for 40 years providing for their every need – and He brought them to a land flowing with milk and honey – a land they didn’t have to work for – they didn’t have to build cities or plant vineyards – they were already built and planted.  In Deuteronomy 28:2-14 God spells out the extent of His blessings – every area of their lives would be blessed – IF.  IF they obeyed the Lord.  IF they walked in His ways.  IF they paid attention to His commands.  Why was He giving them so much?  So that they would be a witness to their neighbors – so that other nations would see God’s hand of blessing on the children of Israel and they would want it for themselves and come to see that the LORD was the King of kings and LORD of lords.  The rest of Deuteronomy 28 goes on to tell the Israelites what would happen if they DIDN’T obey Him  - didn’t walk in His ways – didn’t pay attention to His commands.  And, sadly, the history of Israel shows us what choice they made – over and over again – they rebelled – they walked away from Jehovah and served other gods – and they refused to be the light to the nations.  When they were walking in obedience (which wasn’t often) they hoarded God’s blessings – they saw His blessings as evidence that there was something pretty special about them – and anyone who wasn’t a Jew was worse than a dog.  Before you get too hasty and judge Israel for the choices they made, take a look at your own relationship with God.  When I did it wasn’t a pretty picture – there was a time when I was so caught up in my own self-righteousness that God couldn’t use me to be the “salt and light” I should have – and could have – been.  Then I was doing just what the Israelites did – walking in the world – worshipping other gods (not literally – I didn’t have any gold statues – but I had idols of the heart) – and I had removed myself from the blessings of God.  I am SO grateful that God continued to extend His hand of grace and mercy – and yes, His blessings – to me, His prodigal daughter.  I don’t want to hoard His blessings anymore – I want my life to shine for Him – for people to see what He’s done in my life and be drawn to Jesus as a result of my witness.  Is that what you want?  Then open your hands – let His blessings spill out of an overflowing heart of gratitude for all He’s done for you!  Sharon

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