Browsing Tag

blessing

Faith, Spiritual Growth

Belief and Blessing

April 12, 2016

 

 

You know the story. An angel shows up to a teenage girl in the midst of her morning chores, declaring that she’s going to have a child that will be the Son of God. Mary, though shocked, accepts the angel’s words as true and responds in praise. A few weeks later she travels to stay with her cousin Elizabeth who has had a similarly miraculous pregnancy (though without the whole son of God thing). When Mary shows up at Elizabeth’s house she is greeted with a prophecy.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Luke 1:45

Blessed for Believing

Faith is what pleases God most. The majority of the book of Romans is filled with the Apostle Paul making a case for this, and he begins with the statement, “the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ (Romans 1:17) Faith is what pleases God and gathers blessing for those who believe – hence Elizabeth’s statement “Blessed is she who has believed”!

Despite all common sense to the contrary, Mary took God at his word. That’s how those who are righteous live. Faith is taking God at his word, believing that the Lord will fulfill his promises, regardless of what common sense or circumstance says.

How will you do that today? In Christ God has made countless promises to us, and I want us to be able to come to the end of our day and have it declared over us “Blessed are you who have believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises!”

It is there, in that life of faith and the eternal fruit that comes from it, that true blessing is found. Of course, that blessing might not look like what you’d expect. It certainly didn’t for Mary. But that’s a topic for another post.

 

 

 

Christian Life, Commentary, Spiritual Growth

Being Blessed

September 12, 2013

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

(Psalm 32:1-2, ESV)

 

We define being blessed wrongly. A few weeks ago in our Threshingfloor community we spent some of the evening talking about Ephesians 1and how God has “blessed us with every Spiritual blessing” through Jesus (Eph. 1:3). We came to the conclusion that most of us don’t live believing that we truly blessed. Instead our emotions and opinions of ourselves are often determined by our circumstances. If we receive a compliment on a job we did then we’re successful. If we’re older than 25 and still single then there must be something wrong with us. If our days goes well and everything aligns and goes smoothly, then we must be blessed. If everything is hectic, we’re late for every appointment, and we have car troubles then we functionally feel, think, and act as if we’re cursed.

How does God define being blessed in his Word? Psalm 32:1 makes the clear statement, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven.” Blessedness isn’t about your situation today or tomorrow. It doesn’t relate to your success or failure. If your sins have been covered by Christ’s blood you are blessed. You are blessed abundantly beyond your wildest imagination.

To have gone from under the crushing, eternal wrath of God to being seated in Christ in the heavenly realms is a transition of breathtaking magnitude. Paul likens the power it took do move us there to the power that raised Christ from the dead and gave him authority over everything in existence. (Eph.1:19) Thousands of years earlier the Psalmist experienced the joy of that transition and declared that everyone “against whom the Lord counts no iniquity” is blessed.

When trouble besets us we need to preach our blessedness to ourselves. Remind yourself of how blessed you are by looking at where your sin would have led you. Look at the wrath of God against sinners in passages like 1 Kings 21 where God tells the wicked king Ahab that dogs will lick up his blood from the ground (1 Kings 21:19), Psalm 3:7, which declares that God breaks the teeth of the wicked, God’s bowls of wrath in Revelation 15, 16, and 17, and hundreds of other places throughout scripture. Had your sins not been covered by Christ you would be laid flat before that terrible wrath. But – thanks be to Christ! – our sins have been forgiven. We are blessed indeed. As we learn to believe that our lives will overflow with joy and the people around us will begin to see that it is indeed a good thing to be in Christ. We need to be constantly reminding ourselves, “blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven.” Don’t let yourself forget your blessedness.

Christian Life, Commentary, Relationships

Forgiveness and Blessing

March 18, 2013

 

 

A few days ago Kelly and I completed the book of Job in our Bible read-through. As we were reading that last chapters, I was struck by verse 10 of chapter 42. God rebukes Job and Job readily repents of his questioning. God then turns on Job’s well meaning but rather wrong friends, cursing them and commanding them to sacrifice and have Job pray for them. Like Job they do so and demonstrate their repentance. The Lord accepts Job’s prayer and turns his anger away from the men, and then we read this verse; “And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10) Those two sentences hold a truth that is massively important for us to grasp.

In God’s economy, forgiveness precedes blessing.

It isn’t until Job has forgiven his friends for their harsh words towards him that God restores his fortunes. It’s implied that, had Job acted unrighteously and refused to forgive, he would have been left with only the clothing on his back. His fortunes were restored “when he had prayed for his friends,” not before.

Jesus himself tells his disciples to pray the strange words, “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12)  Judging by that prayer, our sins are forgiven with the same measure that we forgive others sins against us. If forgiveness is withheld from those who do not forgive, how much more the blessing?

Don’t let this pass by you lightly my friends. Our King has glorious things in store for you. Don’t let unforgiveness keep you from receiving them. If there are people in your life against whom you are holding bitterness or unforgiveness do as Job did. Repent of your own sin, then forgive and pray for them. Release both them and yourself from bondage to the Satanic slavery unforgiveness creates. Forgive and be amazed as the Lord restores you and blesses you above where you were before the harm they caused took place. Remember; in God’s economy, forgiveness precedes blessing.