Tag Archives: blessings

July 8; What Have I Done To You?

Micah 4-7

When I read what God says through the prophet Micah, and apply it to my life, I am convicted and humbled. I mourn, and I rejoice.

God is once again expressing His frustration with His people (which is me). He can go over the many ways in which I am blessed, the countless times He has been faithful to me, and yet find me unfaithful and disobedient.

He can warn me about the consequences ahead, the severe penalty for sin, yet I tell myself I have plenty of time before I really need to repent.

I hear God ask, “What have I done to you, Connie? Have I burdened you? Answer me.” (6:13). And I am speechless. I have no defense.

The truth of the matter is, God has blessed me. I have everything I need in this life. I have more than I need. I have Jesus Himself! I know the One Michah describes, the Ruler who came from Bethlehem Ephrathah, who is the eternal One, the Good Shepherd. I know Him! I am His and He is mine!

May I remember God’s past faithfulness to me, may I stand with Him to defeat my enemy Satan, may I hear Him, obey Him, love Him like He deserves.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior, my God will hear me. (7:7)

 

June 8; Is It God’s Fault?

Ecclesiastes 3-6

Solomon, in his sin-induced depression, says that God is evil. God gives a man wealth, possessions, and honor, but He doesn’t allow the man to enjoy them. “Not fair,” Solomon cries.

But, friend, if God created this world, if He blesses His children with Himself, why is it His fault if we don’t have fun, or if we don’t live on Easy Street? God gives. And gives. We make choices that come with consequences. Then we cry “foul” when we reap what we sow.

King Solomon was in a very dark place when he wrote this portion of Scripture. But I’m glad God included it in the final cut so we can read it today. I can’t  agree with his assessment of life. Because I know that life with God is glorious, worthwhile, joyful, and eternal.  In 5:20 Solomon does say that when a man enjoys this life it is a gift of God.

He seldom reflects on the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.

If you are dissatisfied with life, let God occupy your heart with gladness and thankfulness. It really isn’t God’s fault if you don’t.

 

May 10; One Thing I Ask Of The Lord

Psalms 9, 10, 27, 37; 2 Samuel 15:37, 16:15

I read a few of these psalms a couple of times this morning because I found myself thinking about the state of the world instead of the condition of my heart. I found myself identifying the “wicked” as those who are fighting against the Truth, people who are killing Christians, others who blatantly sin and then condemn those of us who speak against it.

Yes, there are evil people in the world. And yes, God wants His Church to defeat Satan in the worst of them. But I’m reminded God can’t change the world until He changes my heart.

The “wicked” David wrote about were flesh and blood people to him. To me, the “wicked” is Satan, my own inclination to sin, anything that keeps me from having the best relationship with God. David says this is Psalm 37:4:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

He continues to tell us what that looks like; Commit your way to the Lord. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Refrain from anger and turn away from wrath. In Psalm 9 David tells us to praise the Lord with all our hearts, to be glad, rejoice, and sing praises.

Warning: if you think Psalm 37:4 is the magic formula to getting something you want, think again. This verse is absolutely not saying that if you do this, this, and this you can rub the magic genie lamp and have that windfall show up on your doorstep. I have little patience with people, including preachers, who say if you praise the Lord, raise your hands, shout your praises it will somehow result in you getting a material blessing.

For me, the key is found in Psalm 27:4:

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.”

Notice David doesn’t say, “One thing I ask of the Lord is that my enemies drop dead around my feet.” Or “that I will win the lottery, or beat a physical illness, or that my political party controls the nation.”

David says to God, “The only think I want is just to be with You, to gaze upon Your beauty, to seek You in Truth.”

Is that the one thing I ask of God? Is that the desire of my heart? Is that the thing that is my focus, my goal, my joy – just to have God near me? Why wouldn’t it be? There is love in His Presence. There is strength, comfort, rest, protection, joy, peace. No material blessing, no amount of money can buy what God can – and wants – to give His people who are delighting in Him, to those who are His through the blood of Jesus.

And it is from there that God and I can change the world – one redeemed soul at a time.

March 24; Personal Blessings

Deuteronomy 33-34; Joshua 1-2

Do you know what I like about the blessings Moses gave to the twelve tribes before he died? They are all so personal. Yes, the entire nation was living under the Promise of God concerning the land. They were all God’s chosen nation. But Moses knew that nation was made of individuals. And each of the tribes had unique strengths and weaknesses.

Moses asked God to give Reuben a large family, to give Judah help against the enemy, to bless the work of Levi, to give Benjamin security. I hope you’ll read these chapters today and ask God to speak to your heart. Because I believe God is as intimately interested in each of us as He was with the ancient Jews.

Oh, as His beloved children through the blood of Jesus, we live under the Promise of God for eternal life, for His Presence, and His great love. But God knows His kingdom is made up of individuals like you and me.

I’m not battling cancer right now. My young friend, Caleb is. May God bless him with strength to fight this fight with steadfast faith. I don’t need that same kind of strength right now. My need looks more like wisdom and discernment about a matter. You might not need the same wisdom or discernment at the moment. Your need might look more like victory in the battle for your soul, or over a particular sin.

Maybe, like Levi, your need is for God’s blessing on a ministry, or like Naphtali you might be enjoying God’s favor, full of his blessing. I don’t know what your life is like right now. I don’t know what you need. Or how God can bless you.

But He knows. In a personal, intimate way, He knows what you need and is eager to bless you. It’s not just a one-size-fits-all kind of blessing. God’s blessings are personal.

January 27; Blessed To Bless

Genesis 37-19

Does your relationship with God have an impact on others? It should.

Joseph’s relationship with God blessed Potiphar and Potiphar’s household. The teenage boy was a slave, but listen to what Scripture tells us about that:

From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. (39:5)

Even in prison, Joseph was blessed by God, and a blessing to the warden:

The warden paid no attention to anything under Jospeh’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. (39:23)

So let me ask you again. Does your relationship with God have an impact on others, so that when He pours His blessings out on you they naturally spill over and touch the people close to you? Your family? Neighbors? Friends? Coworkers? Church? Community? Do people acknowledge that God in your life has benefited them, too?

What a privilege we have of being instruments through which God reveals Himself. We are blessed by God to be a blessing to others so that they will be drawn to Him, and find the same relationship we have with Him through the blood of Jesus.

May you be blessed, and a blessing to someone today.

Luke 4-7; Deserving

Often, when Christians or just really good people go through awful circumstances, you’ll hear someone say, “He doesn’t deserve this.” That’s the case here in Luke 7.

A centurion whose servant was deathly ill, sent some Jewish elders to Jesus, asking Him to heal the dying servant. They implied that, because this particular centurion was a friend of the Jews, he didn’t deserve the heartache of losing this valued servant.

In fact, the elders suggested Jesus owed it to the man for his good deeds: “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” (7:4-5) From the world’s perspective, this centurion was one of the good guys. And bad things should not happen to good people.

At least that’s what the elders are saying to Jesus. But the centurion had a different take. When Jesus was almost at the man’s house, He was met by a few of the centurion’s friends who had a message for Him. “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.” (verses 6-7)

This “good” man knew he wasn’t good enough.

Here’s the truth of the matter: when you are tempted to think, or you hear someone say “He or she doesn’t deserve this whatever it is,” know you are exactly right. They deserve much worse.

We all do.

None of us are good enough or religious enough to make up for even one of our sins. None of us. It is by the grace of God that we are even breathing, much less enjoying the blessing that are ours here in 2018.

Do you think God owes you a carefree life because you go to church, or because you tithe, or because you haven’t murdered anyone yet today? You might look like one of the good guys to the world, but God sees your heart. He hears your thoughts, sees what you do when no-one is looking. God knows you are a sinner deserving of hell.

But Jesus recognized the faith of this centurion, and the servant was healed. Not because the centurion was such a stellar citizen, but because Jesus is merciful and full of grace.

Remember that anything good that comes your way is undeserved. If we got what we deserved, we’d be in deep trouble. But we can thank our gracious God that He is Who He IS, that He loves us, wants to bless us, died for us so that we can be forgiven and enjoy the blessedness of walking with Him in this troublesome world.

I hope you know Him, that you’ve accepted what Jesus did for you on that cross. I hope you love Him, worship Him, and serve Him out of a grateful heart. He deserves that.

 

Ezekiel 6-10; Know that God is the LORD

When I read about the devastation that God’s children were about to face, I can get caught up in the brutality of it all. God was relentless in His discipline of His disobedient people. But I’m reminded that the discipline, the severe consequences for their sin isn’t really the point.

I was struck at the number of times God said these awful things were going to happen so the people would KNOW that He is the Lord.

Friend, there are severe consequences for sin. There is no getting around it. But God would rather you see Him. He reveals Himself in those hard times. But He also reveals Himslef in nature, in blessings, in the beauty of life, in His written Word. And the God I know would rather you see Him in the good times, recognize Him as the One True God, and make Him Lord of your life before He has to punish you. He would much rather bless you as His child.

Read God’s Word. Get to know Him. Look for the ways He is trying to get your attention. Then bow before Him, obey Him, and allow Him to pour out His blessings on you.

The alternative is devastating.