Blessed to be a Blessing

As we approach the gracious season of Thanksgiving, it is not only obvious but humbling to ponder and acknowledge how blessed we all are by the generous hand of our God through our Savior and friend Jesus. Salvation and eternal life are and will be more than we could ever hope for and imagine. However, the blessings don’t stop there as good gift upon good gift are poured out on us moment by moment leading to an abundant and joyful life for us each day.

We are blessed so generously not only because of God’s infinite love for us but so we can also be a blessing to others. There are dozens of verses in the Bible that make reference to this principle but I especially like the sentiment expressed in 2 Corinthians 9:8 that says “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.”

The amazing fact about the concept of “blessed to be a blessing” is that when we bless others in Jesus name we are again blessed creating a self sustaining circle of blessing. That’s something that does not always make sense but is a mysterious miracle of God in our lives. His blessings are all around us as the old hymn “Showers of Blessings” so melodiously proclaims but if we want blessings to pour from heaven even more then we need to take some action and bless someone else through our words and deeds in Jesus name. :)

True Wisdom

I’ve been reading over and thinking about this verse recently and find it interesting that it does not say anything about reading books, learning theology, gaining knowledge, developing philosophies, etc. to grow in wisdom. It simply says all who obey God’s commands will grow in wisdom.

This is definitely counter culture to what the world says today where we have millions of downloadable books, thousands of sermon outlines and Bible studies online, internet degrees from tons of schools and answers to all your questions on every search engine……of course we all know everything we read on the internet is true. LOL

Could it actually be “less is more” in God’s eyes? Could it be that the less “stuff” that clutters our minds the more we can actually see and follow Jesus? Could it be that simpler faith is the path less chosen but more peaceful, rewarding and abiding?

Wholesome Words

I wanted to share a great devotion by “Our Daily Bread” I read [text is below] on wholesome words.

Words are a big deal. The Bibles says they have the power of life or death. Wow, that is kind of scary to me. It makes me realize what a responsibility we have when we speak. Which also, makes me sad when I use them carelessly or hear others do the same.

While the article below focuses on crude and lewd words, we need to also be wary of what topics, stories, jokes, sayings, metaphors and even news we share as this is what fills our minds and in turn other’s minds when we speak. Thoughts are where what we say begins and so we need to have our focus on Jesus and godly things above like it says in Col 3:2 before we open our mouths.

Just because you read it, heard it or even worse saw it does not mean you need to share it. What we say and share can give credit, acceptability, and even honor to things so we need to think before we speak. Does what we say fit the Philippians 4:8 model. Is it true, lovely, pure, excellent, praiseworthy, etc? Not just one of these but all of these. As my mother-in-law says “just because you have diareha does not mean I need to hear about your mess.” It is so tempting for us to think and talk about messy stuff but is that really edifying? You can see how what people say and in turn, think has effected our society as what we watch on TV turns up in the news. Things that once appalled and offended us now don’t seem to even cause us to blink an eye now.

Holy words, holy things, good words, good things, wholesome words, wholesome things. This is where we need to walk regardless of our circumstances as it will change our circumstances as others are drawn away from the pull of the world by the sweet fragrance of Jesus.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. —Ephesians 4:29

A while back, an Emmy award-winning actress took a courageous stand and walked out in the middle of the Annual American Music Awards ceremony. Her reason? She grew increasingly upset and disappointed by what she described as “an onslaught of lewd jokes and off-color remarks” and raw and raunchy comments by presenters, performers, and hosts. She said the evening was an affront to anyone with a shred of dignity and self-respect.

Unwholesome speech was a problem even in the apostle Paul’s day. He reminded the Christians at Ephesus that they should put away vulgarity, lewdness, slander, and obscene talk from their lives (Eph. 5:4; Col. 3:8). These were expressions of their old lives (1 Cor. 6:9-11), and it was now out of place with their new identity in Christ. Instead, their lives were to be characterized by wholesome speech. Their good or wholesome words would give grace to the hearers (Eph. 4:29). The Holy Spirit would help guard their speech, convict of any filthy talk, and help them to use words to benefit others (John 16:7-13).

We are called to reflect God with all we are, and that includes our words. May our mouths be filled with thanksgiving and words that benefit others.

Holy Spirit, we need Your help. Guard our hearts and minds today. Help us control our thoughts and words so that we might lift others up and show them who You are and what You’ve done in us. Amen.

God Never Stops

You know one of my favorite thoughts is the fact that Jesus is constantly calling everyone to him and bringing more of heaven to earth each day. He is working moment by moment to save people and bring about good here on earth.

I love how Jesus affirms this when he says in John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” God mirrors this thought even in the Old Testament when He says in Jeremiah 32:40 “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.”

To me it is summed up in Deuteronomy 12:7 with the culmination of God’s gracious goodness for our lives ” There, in the presence of the LORD your God, you and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything you have put your hand to, because the LORD your God has blessed you.”

What a great picture of satisfaction, contentment and safety! All because of God’s protection, redemption, constant care and great love for us. :)

Encourage Someone Today!

Encouragement is something EVERYONE needs and it is a gift we ALL have to give. It is FREE and makes a HUGE difference in peoples lives so nothing should keep us from generously showering others with godly, wholesome and kind encouragement!

It may be as simple as a smile or life changing as a fitly spoken word of blessing. Whatever type of encouragement you feel lead by the Lord to give you should do it often and even daily for as Hebrews 13:11 says “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called today…”

As the verse says “today” is the day to start this holy and healthy habit and see what a change it will make in your life and the lives of those around you. I hope you are encouraged by the art and verse below and today will be a special day of blessing for you. :)

Believing the Best

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1

Believing the best is something that is hard for many of us. It often requires looking past, over or around what we perceive and choosing to think differently. However, it is essential to us as Believers if we are to live abundant overcoming lives. Even when we can’t see it we need to believe it. This is true hope in God, His character and of course His promises.

Take our father in the faith, Abraham who despite what he saw, felt, perceived and imagined became the father of nations and more.

Romans 4:18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” New International Version

Romans 4:18 Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping–believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” New Living Translation

I like how the NIV says Abraham in hope believed “against all hope” like he was refusing to give into the perception of the impossible. The NLT makes it even clearer that despite the fact there was no reason for hope, Abraham believed.

What a role model for us to follow in this determination of hope and believing the best despite what our senses, feelings and mind tells us. A devotion my wife shared with me recently puts it like this: Expect the Good “Can you get an attitude of faith that expects the best? Not waiting for the next bad thing to happen to you, but, with a child’s joyful trust, awaiting the next good thing in store for you?

That is our call as Christians and our key to finding joy and peace through the power of Hope in God. He is faithful and good so let’s not only hope the best but believe the best each day.

Sights and Signs of Life

With summer in full swing, the days are long and full of fun activities. God’s presence can be felt like the warm sunshine each day. Joyful noises of birds singing, people laughing and an occasional rain shower fill the air. However, if we are not looking for these beautiful sights and signs of life, we can miss the comforting and good gifts God gives us every moment of our lives.

That’s right God is constantly covering us with His tender care and lovingly carrying us through the journey of life until we are at home with Him forever in heaven. Some days seem long and there are even season’s when we don’t see or feel this truth of God’s love. However, not only is God there protecting, guiding and blessing but He and His promises are always faithful and true.

It is in times like these we often need some extra nudges to see God’s blessings and goodness all around us. We need to be reminded that God is so good and that He is pouring out His love on us in so many ways. The song “Count your blessing, name them one by one” is not only for children but everyone regardless of age.  It’s a sure way to brighten up a day and fill it with some “Sonshine” that will put bounce in your step and song in your heart.

In case you need some visual prompting to think and believe God’s best about the day, check out the attached pics below. :)