It’s the last day of 40 Days of Blessing and it has been a wonderful 40 days. When a church our size has nearly 40 adults and nearly 20 kids attending small groups you have to marvel at all that has happened.
For me the study has truly deepened my trust in God for my every need. I’m just not qualified to know what I need – but the loving Creator who is my source of all Blessing does know. He’s the Alpha and the Omega. Which reminds me of this mornings first reading:
Revelation 22:1-4 NIV Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
One of the things that amuses me about modern Christianity that we are so focused on apocalyptic visions that we fail to notice all the wonderful and grand worship in the Book of the Revelation. Stop trying to figure out all the meanings and just soak in the overarching theme of God’s Glory. It is truly an amazing thing.
It is an incredibly powerful part of being a Christian that we interact in the world with spiritual power. We can speak with tongues of Angels, we receive prophetic words, we are able to face persecution, and much more all by the power of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 13). Of course in all of these things if we do not have love we are useless. We are like a nuclear plant that doesn’t power homes it just sits within itself seething with unused and worthless (albeit dangerous) power.
But you; Christian, have an incredible power. What are you doing with it? One thing you can do today is verbally bless those you love. Read the words of scriptures over their lives. Place your hand on your child and bless them as God has blessed you. (read Isaiah 43:1-5). Speak to a friend in need the comfort of God’s truth and pray a blessing over them. Scripture is full of blessings you can speak to people you love.
Bill Gothard says when we do this we do amazing things:
When we bless others, we can speak forth biblical answers God has for them. In this way, we begin to impart to them the desire and power to truly live those words out – empowered by the active work of Christ in their lives and the strong help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Bill Gothard, The Power of Spoken Blessings pp.31)
This great scripture has always had a profound impact on me. We just can’t ignore the importance of humility. It may not always come naturally but it is well worth the effort.
Philippians 2:1-7 NIV Philippians 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
There’s this amazing thing about God on the one hand He absolutely must trumpet his Glory (or He is being selfish) but on the other He chooses; in Christ, to be humble. “Amazing love – how can it be?”
God is not like any of us.
Oh how I wish I wrote down the exact bumper sticker! Yesterday I was driving along innocently when a “Proud to be Pagan” bumper sticker caught my eye, the next bumper sticker basically tried to say that Pagans supported freedom of religion only to be burned at the stake.
Boy is that just historically laughable. Freedom of religion is a Christian invention. Pagans ran Christians through the lions at the Coliseum, Pagans not only burned Christians at the stake but systematically killed them off for centuries. Pagans held crusades long before the term was invented. The Christians who pursued the Crusades were really recent converts from – pagan belief – barbarians.
We have plenty to repent about and the Church has repented publicly and will continue to do so but let’s not try and whitewash pagan history either. Burning babies, human sacrifice, wars, are all central parts of pagan history.
Sure in response Christians did some pretty horrible things but let’s not be historically ignorant. Long before Christians came along the worshipers of Baal were killing off the worshipers of Zeus, and Thor’s folks were killing off Apollo’s followers. Christianity did not eliminate war but they didn’t create it and there is a promise with the Christian faith that paganism will never offer:
New International Version (NIV)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Be a blessing to the world create 36″ of world peace around your body today. The problem in the world is not God it is humanity.
This video captures a thought I have been exploring for some time.
Titus3:4-7 was this mornings reading (and Sunday morning’s sermon text).
God saves us. We westerners have grappled with the meaning of this for some time. We really struggle with being “helpless” but the fact is the human is helpless to overcome their sins and the only course to salvation is God’s saving us.
This is further expounded throughout the book of Ephesians but specifically covered in the foundational text of the Reformed Tradition:
English Standard Version (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
What does it mean to you today that the God of the Universe, the one who creates all things, knows all things, is all present, and is all powerful created you? and is calling you to a profound and meaningful relationship?
What does it mean to you that God; being in his very nature all knowing and all powerful, could not create Adam without knowing and creating you?
These are profound, awesome, and wonderful thoughts to live with. They should be life changing and life impacting.
Be blessed, bless God, and bless others.
Tuesday’s big idea is found in John 8:12-51 as Jesus proclaims who he is.
Jesus lights our path.
Jesus gives us the truth.
Jesus is eternal.
These big ideas should shape the Christian’s life. From the big things down to the little things.
Practical Blessing for the day – Drive nice. Do you glorify God in your treatment of your fellow travelers? Its never too late to start.
I’m on the road this weekend so I missed my post yesterday but today’s devotion has a powerful suggestion. Prayer Walking. Walk you neighborhood or another neighborhood and pray over each and every home you pass.
Prayer really is a powerful weapon. If Christians prayed over every home in our city for 40 days would there be a change?
You bet there would be!
God bless and see you Sunday!
Isaiah 2:1-5 describes the establishment of the House of the Lord as preeminent upon the earth. This is such an exciting thing to consider, the physical manifestation of God’s reign on earth will occur in such a manner that none can ignore it.
However, Christ has already come to reveal God as preeminent. We are touched by the living God as Christ dwells among us as the Emmanuel – God with Us!
Bless God today by being focused upon him. Cut your fellow humans some slack – they are only human.
I’m amazed how often focusing on God and just ignoring my daily problems is all the solution I need. It really does make me recognize that the only way for me to become a better person is for me to focus on God more. God must be preeminent in my daily thoughts.
Is it possible for a human being to magnify God? Apparently; so if we are students of scripture, we will remember a passage commonly called “The Magnificat”:
Luke 1:46-49 46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
What a glorious thought but theologically I have issues (Oh do I have issues)- God cannot be made larger can he? Of course not. I as a human cannot add to God’s glory.
But we can call attention to him. We can magnify people’s ability to see and hear God in their lives. By example we can show the love he’s given to us. By example we can praise him. Living changed lives we show symptoms of God at work on earth.
So how will you magnify God today? Mary sang of God’s love for the simple, and poor what will you/I do?