Tag Archives: God’s blessings

2 Chronicles 11-13; Not Blessed

There is a repeated theme in Scripture: Obey God and be blessed. Disobey God and He will remove His blessing.

Rehoboam’s life demonstrates this truth. He and the Jews over which he ruled enjoyed three years of peace and prosperity when they were following God.

But I can almost hear you. “I am a Chrstian. I live for God. I pray. Yet I struggle. Where’s my blessing?”

I’m going to say something you might not want to hear, something you probably already know: God never promised we wouldn’t struggle. In fact, He told us to expect hardship. They hated Him. They persecuted Him. And Jesus said we can expect the same.

Remember our enemy is not flesh and blood. It’s not the landlord who is threatening eviction because you don’t have rent money. It’s not the thug who sells drugs to your daughter, or the boss who refuses to give you the promotion you deserve. Our enemy is Satan who delights in making us miserable.

Satan loves to get our eyes off Jesus, and focused on that person who hurt us, or that difficult situation we are facing. He loves to hear us questioning God, or considering chucking it all and living like the world when the world seems to have it all.

When we read things like Rehoboam’s story we might be tempted to believe a right relationship with God equals easy living. It worked for Rehoboam. Why not me?

Because God wants to give you more than just temporary comfort. What comes out of a right relationship with God? Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.

You can’t buy that stuff.

When you have that precious relationship with God, you have encouragement like what we find in Romans 8:31: If God is for us, who can be against us?

What about Hebrews 13:5? Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Paul tells us in Philippians 4:19, But my God will supply all your needs according to his riches in glory.

The Bible is filled with promises like these for those of us who have confessed our sin, and accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. However, you might be tempted to say, “It’s easy for you to say, Connie. You had money to pay the bills this month.” And I did.

I know many of you are going through unspeakable hardships. Health issues. Money problems. Family heartache. Persecution. And more. I will not promise you that a right relationship with God will erase the troubles in your life.

But I am suggesting that, even in the midst of the darkest days, you are blessed if you know Jesus. Don’t miss it. Don’t allow Satan to steal your joy, or your peace, or your confidence in the One who loves you and gave Himself for you. Don’t let Satan blind you from seeing the ways in which God, who does all things well, is working in your life and is standing with you in your troubles.

And I believe that God will open doors that can bring about a solution to your problem, maybe even perform a miracle on your behalf. You might get an unexpected check in the mail.

Or not. Obedience is not the ticket to getting what you want. It is the ticket to getting what God wants for us.

God delights in blessing us. But He can’t if we hold on to sin. Whether it’s during the days of Rehoboam or today in 2017, obedience = blessed. Disobedience = not blessed.

May we confess our sins, and be blessed.

 

 

September 16 – A Prayer For Our World

Daniel 7-9

Reading Daniel’s vision reminds me that there are forces of evil out there. There has been since Satan and his followers fell from heaven. ISIS, murderers, liars, thieves, adulterers, bullies, and the like are tools of our enemy against a Holy God.

We act like it’s about us.

But evil is Satan’s tool in his war against God. I think if we want Satan defeated in this country and in our world, if we want to put a stop to the evil around us, our prayer should be like Daniel’s prayer in chapter 9:

Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, we have sinned. We haven’t listened to You. We are ashamed of ourselves in light of Your righteousness. We are rebellious and disobedient, so You have allowed us the consequences for our sin. Even in that, we’ve not turned to You. Now, O Lord, Your Name is a reproach to those around us. The name “Christian” is hated and scorned, and meaningless. So God, not because we have any merit on our own, not because we deserve Your mercy, but for the sake of Your Name… forgive us. Bless us in the sight of nations. Let unbelievers recognize Your compassion to those who humble themselves before You, who turn from their wicked ways, and who follow You alone. Not because we deserve it. But because by doing so, people may come to You. And You deserve that.

May 26 – For Luke: Psalm 139

Psalms 131, 138-139, 143-145

The newest member of our family, baby Luke, is scheduled to make his appearance in August. Right now he is an adorable bulge in his mommy’s tummy. A sometimes wiggly bump that stretches and turns and kicks so that those of us outside his world can see and feel that precious life, growing and developing fearfully and wonderfully.

So it’s no surprise that I thought of Luke this morning as I read the 139th psalm. “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast the sum of them!” God is thinking about Luke right this minute.

Psalm 139 is so personal and it expresses how intimate a relationship with God can be. It’s how God wants our relationship with Him to be. I hope you take time to read this Scripture today and let it speak to your heart.

For Luke, I pray he will accept Jesus as his Savior as soon as he understands what sin is and what Jesus did for him. I pray he will enjoy a close relationship with God his whole life. I pray Luke will be confident in the fact that God has searched him and knows him, that God encloses him behind and before, that God’s presence is with him even in the darkest times.

I pray Luke will allow God to defeat Satan in his life, that he will hate evil as God hates it, that he will follow God’s lead each and every day.

God knows the number of Luke’s days on this earth. I pray they will be days of blessing, and days that God is pleased to use for His glory because Luke is faithful.

 

September 11

Psalms 118, 129, 148, 149, 150; Ezra 6:19-22; Zechariah 9:1-10

I was standing in front of my sixth grade class when our secretary came to the door and asked me to step into the hall. I knew something was wrong by the look on her face. As head of the AV department I knew how to operate the school’s classroom TV’s from our hub in the main office. She wanted to know how to turn on the office TV without turning on all the TV’s in the school. A plane had hit one of the Twin Towers and it was all over the news.

Do you remember where you were the moment you heard about the terrorist attack on our country? Thousands of people spent the last minutes of life in unspeakable panic while the rest of us watched helplessly.

I couldn’t help but think of that day when I read Psalm 118 this morning.

“Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever.”

“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

“The Lord is with me, he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.”

I wish I could say that our country heard the wake-up call and turned back to God after that awful day. I wish Satan had been defeated. But I look around and see even more godlessness, more lies, more depravity than I saw before 9/11.

What’s wrong with us? How could we let those dear people die in vain?

Dear Christian, let’s continue to pray for our nation. We have seen what can happen when God removes his protection and I don’t want us to ever forget. Let’s pray for our President, for his relationship with the Savior, for wisdom, for honesty and truthfulness. Let’s pray for our Legislators. Pray that those who know God will stand for the truth of Scripture. Pray that the decisions they make won’t be based on a party policy, but on what God says. Pray for our military that God would strengthen those brave men and women who know him and are serving our country to protect our freedoms. Pray for their families whose sacrifice is equally as important. Pray that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit will change lives in government, in the military, in the media, in our towns, in our churches, and in our homes. Pray that Satan would be defeated in the hearts of Americans and, in turn, our great country. Pray that God will bless America with himself because he has found us faithful. 

And pray for the families and loved ones of those whose lives were lost or whose bodies were broken on 9/11 and in the war in the Middle East since that day. May they allow God to be their comfort and strength and may each of them… each of us who call America our home… bow before our Holy God and realize our need of him. Only then can we truly be that nation under God.

I will give thanks to the Lord for he is good. He may have removed his protection that day but he did not remove his love. Men can do unspeakable crimes against each other as we saw on 9/11 but they can’t kill my soul or take away God’s grace from my life. And, although Satan may have won that particular battle through those terrorists, he cannot win the war he’s declared on our God.

It’s a spiritual war we are in, but it often shows itself in bombs and chemicals and crashing airplanes. America, let’s be counted as followers of the God of Creation. Let’s side with the victors, those who follow Christ. Then we can say with the Psalmist: 

The Lord is with me, he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.