Tag Archives: blessed

Follow My Example?

I Chronicles 29

King David gave generously from his own treasures toward the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. Then he went to the people and challenged them to follow his example.

That spoke to me today. God has give me so much, blessed me way beyond what I deserve. Not financially, necessarily. Although I have enough to be comfortable. But I certainly don’t have the equivalent of tons of gold and silver to throw around.

Yet God is reminding me how truly rich I am.

I have my health, a working brain. I have hands and feet and a voice. I have Jesus! I have the forgiveness of my sin, and the gifts of having the Spirit of God in me: love, joy, peace…

I have God’s own words at my fingertips!

The questions then, are these: Am I using these things generously toward the building of God’s Church? Am I investing in people, introducing unsaved people to their Savior?

And, would I ever in a million years suggest you follow my example?

I’m wondering if I’d want you to put in the same amount of time I put into serving God; if I’d want you to use your talents in the same way I use mine for the glory of God. I wonder if I exercise my faith in a way I’d want you to exercise yours, or am I serving half-heartedly, giving only what I think I can afford, hoping you’ll not notice?

David said, “follow my example.” Can I say that to you?

If not, why not?

David’s prayer in verses 10-19 reminds me that everything I have belongs to God. It all came from God in the first place. I own nothing. I am nothing. But I am a steward of everything He’s given me.

May God, when He examines my heart rejoice when He finds integrity, when He finds me giving away with both hands what He’s given me, so that someone will come to His saving grace.

I pray the same for you.

(Psalm 1) Blessed To Bless

I’ve never really studied the psalms. I’ve read them often and have been blessed and challenged by certain phrases that stand out to me as I quickly read over them. But I’ve never dug deeper into them as I have other places in God’s Word. I think it’s time.

So using the opinions written by Bible scholars like those who contribute to my Apologetics Study Bible, Warren Wiersbe’s “Be Worshipful,” Matthew Henry, Josh Hunt, and others, I’m going to take one psalm at a time, word by word, and prayerfully consider this portion of Scripture like I’ve never done before. This could take a while.

I memorized Psalm 1 in the KJV when I was a youth. It’s taken decades to really look at what God would have me know through these familiar verses. In fact, as I’ve looked at this psalm for the past 2 1/2 hours, I am challenged to do what it says!

The first word in this psalm is “blessed,” or “happy,” and isn’t that something we all aspire to? I don’t know that anyone would say they just want to be miserable and to go through hard times. So, here is the key to happiness according to God’s Word:

First what not to do. Don’t go the way of the world. Don’t go along with the crowd. Don’t take what your professors or politicians or rockstars or pro-athletes or peers or news anchors say as gospel. The loudest voices aren’t always the right voices, aren’t always the truthful voices.

Some of those voices mock Christianity, reject Truth, deny God. Do you want to be happy and blessed? Don’t walk with them. God would have us know that the blessed, the happiest people are those who don’t listen to the ungodly, are those who don’t align themselves with unbelievers.

Here’s the other aspect of the key to happiness: Love God’s Word. Yes, love the Bible. Read it, but don’t stop there. Pray about it. Think about it day and night. Let it become a part of you.

Commentaries and study guides help. I’m going to be looking at several while I study the psalms in the next few weeks (or months at the rate I’m going). But there isn’t a Bible teacher or Bible scholar who can replace the treasure that is God’s own Words.

In fact, if you need counsel, direction, advice for life, there is no better place to go than to the Giver of life! Happy, blessed, are those who make Scripture a priority.

The psalmist compares people who are grounded in God’s Word to a healthy tree, planted by water, and bearing fruit. It is a picture which demonstrates that our nourishment comes from spending time in God’s Word. Reading the Bible and allowing it to feed us produces fruit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Now here is something Warren Wiersbe said, “We must remember that the tree doesn’t eat the fruit; others eat it.” (Be Worshipful; by Warren Wiersbe; David C Cook publisher; 2009; p 22))

When we delight in God’s Word, we bear fruit that will bless others. That in itself is WHY we are blessed. If we want to be blessed so we feel blessed, if the blessing stays with us and becomes more important than the Giver of the blessing, that is idolatry. And idolatry is sin. (from page 21 of “Be Worshipful)

The prosperity the psalmist speaks of is the number of eternal souls saved by the fruit we bear.

The psalmist gives a warning to those he calls, “wicked,” those who follow the way of sinners and sit with the ungodly. Their judgment is sure. In the end, they will be separated from the righteous (not the sinless because none of us are without sin. But righteousness comes to those who delight in God’s Word and bear fruit for the kingdom as a result of an encounter with Jesus).

That separation is ruin. Loss. Pain. The antithesis of anything right. And it will never end.

I am challenged today. I do love spending time in God’s Word. I want to love it more. I am blessed by the Spirit’s gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But I don’t want to just sit here and get fat on my blessings. I want to bless others with the blessings I’ve received.

Well, this was a long post. If you are still with me, thanks! Not sure I would have done the same if I were you. I pray that you and I will delight in God’s Word every day, think about it throughout the day, let it nourish us and strengthen us so that we bear fruit today, and that someone will be drawn to our precious Savior because we are doing what Psalm 1 instructs us to do.

To we who are blessed, let’s be a blessing.

June 6; One Wealthy Dude

Proverbs 31; I Kings 4:20-28, 10:14-29; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17, 9:13-28

I imagine Solomon’s wealth might rival that of Jeff Bezos in today’s market. You read about the king’s use of gold, his articles of silver, the robes, weapons, spices, horses, etc. and know the man was loaded.

Yet Jesus, in Matthew 6 says not even Solomon in all his splendor had anything on the wildflowers in the field.

Really?

We seem to place a lot of emphasis on the material, don’t we? People like the founder of Amazon.com, who is said to be worth 150 billion dollars, are looked up to, considered successful. On the other hand, we look at people in line at the unemployment office as losers. But are we looking at the wrong things?

So many times we lose sleep over unpaid bills, where our next meal is coming from, or with a closet full of clothes, we lie awake and wonder what we should wear to work in the morning. Jesus reminds us that non-Christians do that, too.

Then Jesus encourages us to look around at this amazing world He created. If God dots the fields with colorful flowers, if He causes a tree to burst forth with beautiful flowers before it produces luscious fruit, if birds sing, and stars twinkle, and the ocean pulls back at the shore, how much more thought and care is He going to take on the only part of His creation created in His image? How much more is He going to provide for those who accept what Jesus died to give them?

Our Lord tells us to seek Him first. Take our focus off the temporal and look toward the eternal, His kingdom, and all the things we need will be given us. That’s His promise. Even more than we ask or think.

Oh, our bills might still be overdue, and our place in the unemployment line might be way at the back. But even if we had the riches of Solomon as described in the verses we read today, it could not surpass the riches of knowing Jesus.

Are you God’s child through the blood of His Son? Do you trust Him? Then quit worrying and keep your eyes on Him. God is not unaware of your circumstances, and He has a solution that will knock your socks off.

My friend who knows Jesus as your Savior: YOU are one wealthy dude.

 

Luke 14-17; Sharks in Heaven

Well, I got tripped up on a verse today I’m sure wasn’t there the last time I read Luke’s Gospel. Ok – it probably was there But once again I’m blown away at how alive God’s Word is. It speaks to me every time!

The verse is 16:9. Jesus is speaking:

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

I read this verse, then re-read it. Did Jesus just say we are to buy friends so we can get into heaven? Surely not.

Of course not!

Matthew Henry helped me understand it better. Then, after looking more closely at God’s Word, I got to thinking about the TV show “Shark Tank.” Those rich people are wise and shrewd with their money. They spend it to gain more. Sometimes they take chances and you think they are throwing their money away. Sometimes they pass on what I think would be a great investment. But every dollar they spend is done with calculated intentionality. And they usually end up with a big payoff.

Jesus, in summing up the parable of the house-manager, is telling us to use what is ours to invest in eternity, in eternal souls. I am reminded that everything we have is God’s – entrusted to us to benefit the kingdom.

God is asking, do I use my house, my car, my bank account, my “worldly wealth” as a means of reaching out to lost and needy people for whom Christ died? Am I spending what God has given me to gain more eternal souls for Him?

So much of what I read in Luke today seems to be calling me to take inventory, then to start investing in people for Jesus’ sake. We are given to give, blessed to bless, saved to tell others.

Read these chapters and see if God doesn’t challenge you to be the faithful son, the competent manager, the obedient servant, and to use what you are given for the glory of God.

You’ve heard “you can’t take it with you,” right? You know when you stand before God you will not be wearing that diamond ring or driving that Mercedes. Jesus says “WHEN it is gone,” not IF it goes. The only thing you will take into heaven with you are the people you have lead to the Lord. That’s it. So let me ask you this…

What kind of shark are you?

 

Psalm 1; The Pursuit of Happiness

The book of Psalms is the go-to for many people when they are sad or discouraged or feel far from God. And many find comfort in these precious chapters.

Honestly, I haven’t been one of those people. The Psalms have never been my favorite book of the Bible. Usually, as I get to this portion of God’s Word while reading through it each year, I plow through as many psalms a day as I can, just to say I’ve read them. Oh, I’m blessed by a verse here and there, challenged or convicted by others. But in general, I don’t let it speak to me like I do other places in the Bible.

My pastor has been going through the psalms with us on Wednesday evenings, and that has given me a new appreciation. So today I read Psalm 1, a psalm I memorized in my youth, and I’ve been sitting here chewing on it, praying about it, then reading what some others have to say about it. And… WOW!

We all want to be happy. I mean, come on. Doesn’t the US government even give us the right to pursue happiness? So why is there so much sadness? Why so many people medicating to mask unhappiness? Psalm 1 has the answer.

First of all the happy (or blessed) person doesn’t listen to the world’s idea of what happy looks like. It’s not found within us, or in having bigger and better things. It’s not found in relationships or self-satisfaction. People who suggest that the answers to life’s problems are situational or a matter of mind control are wicked counselors, sinners, and mockers. (vs 1)

The blessed man is the one whose life is grounded in Scripture, who loves God’s Word, who has made the Bible such a part of his life, it is with him day and night. He is like a tree whose roots are deep, nourished by living water, refreshed, and fruitful.

The psalm says the wicked man, the one who denies God or ignores Him, has no roots. He’s based his life on shallow ground that won’t stand up in the end. Like chaff, or dandelion seeds that blow apart in the wind, he has no standing with God. And he doesn’t even realize what an unhappy state he’s living in.

The dandelion looks at the sturdy oak and says, “I’m just like you.”

No, you’re not.

The blessed person, we who are happy in our relationship with God, grounded in His Word, know that this life is only a blink in light of eternity. The problems of this life are temporary, but the rewards of knowing God will last forever. We can afford to be happy in that truth, regardless of situations we face here in this lifetime. We are blessed!

Dear God, thank You for slowing me down as I study Your Word today. I pray that as I spend time in the psalms You inspired men to write, I will listen to what You would say to me here in 2018. God, I want to be grounded in Your Word, rooted in Scripture, bearing fruit as a result of my relationship with You. I’m looking forward to getting to know You better, loving You more, and serving You more effectively as I let these psalms penetrate my heart and soul.

April 17 – Forgiven and Blessed

I Samuel 25-27

Abigail asked David for forgiveness. Yes, it was her husband Nabal who had refused to help David. But 25:28 tells us Abigail, after falling on her face at David’s feet said, “Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant.”

In verse 35 we see David granted her request. And later, after Nabal’s death, David brought Abigail into his home and made her his wife. She became the king’s bride.

As I read this today I saw a picture of my relationship with God. When I fell on my face before Him and asked Him to forgive me – he did! Then He lifted me up and took me for Himself. I am His. He is mine.

The Bible calls believers the Bride of Christ. That’s me. And all because I humbled myself and asked Jesus to forgive me. How blessed I am.

I pray you can say the same.