Posts Tagged ‘blessing’

If you follow my statutes and keep my commandments and observe them faithfully, I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Your threshing shall overtake the vintage, and the vintage shall overtake the sowing; you shall eat your bread to the full, and live securely in your land. And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and no one shall make you afraid; I will remove dangerous animals from the land, and no sword shall go through your land. You shall give chase to your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. Five of you shall give chase to a hundred, and a hundred of you shall give chase to ten thousand; your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. I will look with favor upon you and make you fruitful and multiply you; and I will maintain my covenant with you. You shall eat old grain long stored, and you shall have to clear out the old to make way for the new. I will place my dwelling in your midst, and I shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people. I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be their slaves no more; I have broken the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. But if you will not obey me, and do not observe all these commandments, if you spurn my statutes, and abhor my ordinances, so that you will not observe all my commandments, and you break my covenant, I in turn will do this to you: I will bring terror on you; consumption and fever that waste the eyes and cause life to pine away. You shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down by your enemies; your foes shall rule over you, and you shall flee though no one pursues you. And if in spite of this you will not obey me, I will continue to punish you sevenfold for your sins. I will break your proud glory, and I will make your sky like iron and your earth like copper. Your strength shall be spent to no purpose: your land shall not yield its produce, and the trees of the land shall not yield their fruit. (Leviticus 26:3-20, NRSV)

Why do we follow after God?

Is it to get something?

Here we read about those who faithfully keep the commandments and follow you will be blessed, but if you don’t obey and follow you will receive terror.

We are usually hard pressed to do something for long because of a reward, but all parents know that a reward will work. But is that the real reason we should follow, because we get something?

No, but does it hurt?

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. For “Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, NRSV)

Retribution is normal.

We all want to get back at those who do us harm.

Yet God calls us to a higher standard.

God does not want us to repay evil with evil. God calls us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us.

So step above the world and be the blessing that God needs us to be for His love to be made known!

170302Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live. I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David. See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples. See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you. Seek the LORD while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the LORD, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:1-7, NRSV)

Why do we spend most of our lives amassing treasures that we can not take with us?

We spend our money and our time on acquiring things that we think will make us happy but really take up space and usually take us away from the things that really make us happy. Think for a moment if you have a family, and you spend overtime working for what? To make money to buy something bigger and better? When you could be spending that overtime time with your family and making memories which do not cost extra and show them your love.

Focus your life on the things that God gives you that are important. His love and the blessings of family and friends.

Treasures of this world will pass away, but if we follow after Christ we will see our treasure multiply in heaven.

So labor for your treasure from God and worry not about the treasures of this world.

170129When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
(Matthew 5:1-12, NRSV)

These are not the things that I want to be when I think I am blessed.

Poor in money or spirit doesn’t make me blessed.

Mourning doesn’t make me blessed.

Being hungry doesn’t make me blessed.

Being persecuted doesn’t make me blessed.

But like most things Jesus touches, it is turned upside down. Because when the world thinks you are blessed, you have received your reward, but when you are mocked by the world, that is when God lifts you up.

So look for God’s blessing, not the blessing of the world!

161209Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take words with you and return to the LORD; say to him, “Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, ‘Our God, to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy.” I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon. O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your faithfulness comes from me. Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the LORD are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them. (Hosea 14, NRSV)

Sometimes when we do something wrong we are worried that turning around and admitting what we have done will warrant us punishment. We are worried about a loss of love and eternal rejection.

But here in Hosea, we see that God is waiting with arms wide open for us to turn around and admit our short comings. To tell God all of our faults. And in that, God will love us and bless us. He will not turn away from us or reject us. But God will love us. His love knows no bounds and can not be contained.

So turn to God and know that He will always bless you!

161003Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, for the sake of the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. For this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher, and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good treasure entrusted to you, with the help of the Holy Spirit living in us. (2 Timothy 1:1-14, NRSV)

How often do you talk about your children?

Your grandkids?

Do you show pictures of them and talk about their latest catch at the football game or their great success at the swim meet?

Not that there is a problem with this, children and grandchildren are a blessing that God has given us to share with those around us, like all of the blessings that God has given us.

But I wonder do you talk about the fact that God blessed you with those blessings?

In our reading today Paul writes to Timothy from prison. He is in prison for preaching the Gospel. He is in prison for telling of all God had done for him and could do for everyone else.

Now most of us will not be put in prison for preaching the gospel or saying our children are a gift from God, so I wonder why we don’t do that?

God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but a spirit of power and love and we need to use that spirit to share the greatest blessing we all have, the love of God.

Share your faith with others, as simply as sharing the latest meet scores.

Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called—that you might inherit a blessing. For “Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongues from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (1 Peter 3:8-12, NRSV)

Do not repay evil with evil but repay it with a blessing!

Bless those who persecute you! Be a blessing to the world that will hate you for what you have that is different from them.

They will hate you for the love you have for them, but do not hate them in return. Love the world that God created just as He loves it. He loves it so that He sent His only son to come and show us how to live and we killed Him.

I saw a quote recently from Abraham Lincoln, “Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?” By blessing those that make evil come our way, we are showing creation love, and showing the unity we have with the spirit. We are sharing the one love that brought us together, and brought us to the relationship with God.

Show the one love, the one spirit, the one hope to all!