Can you stand the heat of life?

jeremiah 17-5Our blessings passage today comes from Jeremiah 17.  Like in Psalm 1 where the blessed man was contrasted with the wicked man, so Jeremiah presents God’s description of the blessed or God favored man versus the worldly or self-sufficient man.   I looked at this passage in several translations but really liked the Message as it seemed to explain the essence of this passage the best.           Jeremiah 17:5-8 

5-6 God’s Message:

“Cursed is the strong one
    who depends on mere humans,
Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone
    and sets God aside as dead weight.
He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie,
    out of touch with the good earth.
He lives rootless and aimless
    in a land where nothing grows.                        The man who depends on himself  or this world is not rooted or grounded in anything but like a tumbleweed, rolling around in life, not producing any fruit and bumping from one thing to another.

 

Dessicated plant on sand7-8 “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season.           The men and women of God are quite the contrast being rooted, growing, flourishing, trusting and bearing fruit even when storms, droughts or things get ‘hot’ in life.

Which type of person are you?  I know from time to time we can all be tumbleweeds- tossed to and fro by the winds of the world, but we have learned that trusting and clinging to Jesus can bring us through every situation.  Walking with Him keeps us steady and calm in the midst of life’s storms and gives us a life that is fruitful and honoring towards God.

Inspirational-Good-Morning-MessagesI challenge you to walk like the blessed man today.  See if you don’t have a song of praise in your heart and your steps are lighter as you trust and cling to Jesus.

Linda

How to Live Towards Blessings

In Isaiah 56:1-2 the Lord reveals that blessings come from doing what is right, supporting justice, looking forward to God’s salvation, keeping the Sabbath and staying away from doing evil.  God promises that living a life based in His righteousness leads to blessings.

This is what the Lord says,
“Maintain justice and do righteousness,
For My salvation is soon to come,
And My righteousness and justice is soon to be revealed.
“Blessed (happy, fortunate) is the man who does this,
And the son of man who takes hold of it,
Who keeps the Sabbath without profaning it,
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”  Isaiah 56:1-2 (AMP)   

Blessings are gifts of divine favor that bring happiness into our lives.  Living our lives with a desire to do what is right is a gift from God.  Seeking His righteousness that He reveled through Jesus will help us walk with Him each day and bring blessing.  I love the way God tells us to take hold, grab onto this lifestyle so we can receive His blessings and favor to the fullest.  Keeping the Sabbath, a day devoted to worship, family, praise and one that is a respite from our days of working that life requires, will bring blessing.  We must really strive to live apart from the world and its ways that are based in greed and self-fulfillment.    I like the description James gives us in 1:26-27 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”   Watching what we say is of upmost importance, doing good for others and keeping ourselves unstained by the world’s standards and acts is what God is looking for in our lives and in our hearts as we seek to show love and devotion to Him.

today“Blessed (happy, fortunate) is the man who does this, is the goal God has set before us.  Knowing that a life lived for God is based on His righteousness and reflects His justice, love, mercy, compassion and hope for the world around us. Look for His blessings as you walk with Him today.  He is forever faithful and will do as He promises.

Linda

 

Happy Valentine’s Day with a Thankful Heart

The cynic might say Valentine’s Day is the day for florists, candy and card makers to earn a great deal of money.  I walked into a local supermarket yesterday, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of flowers, cards and candy that were on display.   On the love side, Valentine’s Day is a day when we can express our love for one another freely and not be thought of as sentimental or mushy.  How about God?  How does God express His love for us?   Here john 3 16is a familiar verse that gets right to the heart of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that who ever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For He did not sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  John 3:16-17  

How much more love could God show towards us than sacrificing His only Son on our behalf?  He loved us that much.   He sent Him so that through faith in Jesus we could be saved and not condemned.  Only sinless Jesus could erase our sin and present us whole and perfectly clean before our Holy God.

valentineWhen you say ‘thank you’ today for a Valentine gift you receive, a card, note, flowers or someone simply saying ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’, think about thanking God too.  Thank Him for sending Jesus.  Thank Him for making a way for your salvation and eternal life with Him.   That is the best Valentine I can think of that is filled with all of God’s love for now throughout eternity.

Blessings on this Valentine’s Day.

Linda

 

God’s Blessings effect our ENTIRE Life!

Psalm-128Psalm 128 gives a summary of blessedness for the believer who follows God and clings to Him in the midst of a sinful world.  The list of blessings is not all inclusive nor does it mean that because we do not experience these blessings something is wrong.  Rather, the believer can rest assured that God will bless him/her.  A truth that is seen throughout the Bible is that God blesses His people.  Faith brings blessings.

128     Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,      The believer is gifted by God      who walks in his ways!                                                as he walks with him each day.              

 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.       Your work is blessed.

 

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.                                              Your home and family are blessed.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!                                     Your city and nation are blessed.
May you see your children’s children!            Your life will be long 
    Peace be upon Israel!                                                    and filled with peace.

God blesses us each day as we walk with Him.  The blessings will look differently for each one of us but the truth of this psalm is that God’s blessings effect our entire life.  From our selves to our work to our home to our city and nation.   He blesses in all areas of our life and desires that we make an impact on those around us for the sake of the gospel.  Paul summarizes his reasons for work and ministry in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share blessingswith them in its blessings.

As you walk with the Lord today, look for His blessings in your life.  Seek to share God’s blessings with others so they may come to know your Savior and seek Him too.

Linda

Stressed? Rest in Him and Be Blessed!

Today’s blessing passage is found in Psalm 127.  The entire psalm, verses 1-5, set forth Ps127v1the idea that all of life’s securities and blessings are gifts from God.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.                                                                                    Man strives or toils in life building and watching over their ‘things’ but the psalmist is saying that unless God is in it and watches over it all the work is in vain, worthless and meaningless.                                                      It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.                                                                                                                 God brings purpose to our days and rest to those who rest in Him so unless He is in your day you will feel anxious, stressed and restless.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.                                                                                                                 God’s gift to man is family, home and children to extend one’s legacy and work for the Lord. 
Blessed is the man
    who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.                                                                                      God blesses us through our children.   One can have both physical children as well as spiritual children.  Both are as sign of God’s favor to us.  They can attest to our love for God, our character and our great hope in Him.   Truly, the man with many children is blessed.

home and familyThe psalmist gives us hope and assurance that all of life’s securities and blessings are gifts from God.   Is God in your home?   Is He with you at work?  Do you take seriously the teaching of both your physical and spiritual children so that they see your love for God,  your trust and hope in Him?  Take a moment today and thank God for His protection, direction and guidance and for His great gifts you you.  Blessings are God’s undeserved favor coming into your life.  What marvelous gifts!

Linda

Fear the Lord-it leads to blessings!

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom is a classic line found multiple times in the Old Testament.  Within each reference we are told additional reasons for fearing the Lord.  Psalm 111 tells about the Lord’s greatness and ends with verse 10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;  all who follow his precepts have good understanding.  To him belongs eternal praise.”    This verse closes Psalm 111 and leads into Psalm 112, one which scholars call its twin.  Psalm 112 speaks of a godly man and how following the Lord brings him an abundant life.  Praise the Lord!  Blessed is psalm 112the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commandments!”   The phrase ‘fear of the Lord’ is equated with reverence, awe and respect.  So having great respect for the Lord and His Word and following the precepts (principles) of His Word will bring blessing and delight.  The psalmist continues on for 8 more verse explaining how fearing the Lord brings blessings to the believer.

His offspring will be mighty in the land;        Children productive and blessed.
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house,                He will have physical 
and his righteousness endures forever.            and spiritual success before God. 
Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;    He will be of good character.
    he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;    His character will be
    who conducts his affairs with justice.                filled with generosity and justice.
For the righteous will never be moved;               He will stand firm in faith and
he will be remembered forever.                             be well remembered.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord.             He trusts the Lord in all circumstances.
His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
    until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;  
his righteousness endures forever;                   He will reap the fruits of his
    his horn is exalted in honor.                                  generosity and faith.

What amazing blessings await the man who fears the Lord and delights in Him.  The psalmist concludes with verse 10 which is a striking contrast to the blessed man.  The wicked man sees it and is angry;  he gnashes his teeth and melts away;  the desire of the wicked will perish!”    

Blessings lookAs you journey through this day, ponder how wonderful it is to fear the Lord and how blessed you are for finding your delight in Him!

Linda

 

    

Got Blessings? Are you willing to follow and listen?

When I began this series on being blessed and what it means, I started with the definition of blessed.  Being blessed is receiving a gift of divine favor, receiving good wishes or approval or receiving anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Today’s scripture in Psalm 94:12 emphasizes the receiving of happiness and stopping of misfortune which results from being open to God’s instruction and discipline.  Psalm 94:8-13  is a bit longer in the Amplified version, it brings clarity to the passage.

Consider thoughtfully, you senseless (stupid ones) among the people;
And you [dull-minded] fools, when will you become wise and understand?

psalm 94 12He who made the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
10 
He who instructs the nations,
Does He not rebuke and punish,
He who teaches man knowledge?
11 
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath (vain, empty, futile).

12 
Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord,
And whom You teach from Your law,
13 
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.

The psalmist asks us to consider God and what He has done and what He knows. God can and does bless the one who follows His teachings, accepts His correction and direction and pays attention to the details of His Word.   The blessing comes when one follows God’s Word and finds God’s peace in the troubled times in which we live.

blessings-quoteHave you experienced God’s blessing of wisdom and success in your life?  Did the greatest blessings come when you followed His Word and walked with Him?  Was it a peace-filled time even though the world’s circumstances were in turmoil around you? According to scripture, you have been blessed.  The psalmist felt that way and finished this psalm in verses 23-24 with total dependence and trust in God and His power to defend and vanquish all his foes.

But the Lord has become my high tower and defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge.
23 
He has turned back their own wickedness upon them
And will destroy them by means of their own evil;
The Lord our God will wipe them out.

May you cling to Jesus today and trust Him to bless, guide and defend you as you walk with Him.

Linda

A Recipe for Blessings

psalm 40 4Today’s blessing passage comes from Psalm 40.  David leads up to verses 4 and 5 by describing the wonderful things God has done for him and can do for us.  By the time we get to verse 4, we are ready to see how trusting the Lord can and does bring great blessing and to tell others of God’s greatness.

40 I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry      In life, David had learned to wait upon the Lord patiently even when it was hard.  He experienced God’s hearing his pleas for help and His rescues personally as he waited 14 years to be king while running and hiding from Saul.  Is God asking you to wait patiently today?                  He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.             David had been rescued by God from Saul, the Philistines and from his own sinful mistakes multiple times, and he had experienced God’s restoration both physically and spiritually.  Is this your story too?
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.    David praised God for keeping him and giving him a new song of praise to sing, and he is calling others to put their trust in his saving God.  If you could name your new song from God, what would be the title?

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!   Here David reaches the conclusion that one who trusts in God and not worldly things or advice is and will be truly blessed.  Trusting God leads to wholeness in life.
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.      Lastly, David praises God for His grace, mercy, blessings and acts towards us. Even if we started now and praised all day long we could never tell of all the wonderful things God has done on our behalf.  We are truly blessed by Almighty God and no one or nothing can compare to Him!

The first 5 verses of this Psalm are all about blessings David experienced first hand and so can we.  God listens and desires that we wait patiently for His perfect timing.  God will lift us out of hard circumstances in life and set us upon solid ground if we will place our trust in Him.  He will give us a new song to sing as we walk with Him day by day.  We will be blessed by trusting in Him and not looking elsewhere for our direction and guidance.  God has given and will give us abundant blessings for walking in trust and faith.

today blessingWhat a wonderful recipe for success in life– patience in listening, trusting God to rescue and provide, singing His song, looking to Him for guidance and advice and telling about His goodness.  Will you make this your intent today?   Look for blessings if you do!

Linda

Blessing #2- His Refuge

Today’s blessings passage is from Psalm 34.  David wrote this psalm after experiencing God’s rescue from his situation with the Philistine king seen in 1 Samuel 21.  David praises God for his deliverance and protection. David praised God for his blessing -protection and divine favor in preventing his great misfortune.  Psalm 34:4-10

I sought the Lord, and he answered me                David knew God answers prayer
and delivered me from all my fears.                          and that God delivers.
Those who look to him are radiant,                     David knew seeking God leaves 
and their faces shall never be ashamed.               one glowing with hope.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him    David knew God hears him.
and saved him out of all his troubles.                      David knew God could save him
The angel of the Lord encamps                                 David knew God protects.
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!        David knew God blesses.
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,                        David knew God supplies without fear.
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;        David knew by placing his trust in 
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.     God he would never be lacking.

Do you know, like David, that God answers prayer, delivers, gives hope, hears, can save, will bless, has resources beyond measure, can be trusted and will never leave you lacking for anything?  That is an amazing list that gives me hope and assurance that God in His Sovereignty will take care of me.  I am blessed if I can learn to take refuge in Him!

gratefulAs you journey through this day, praise and thank God that He alone is your refuge and receive His blessings as you trust in Him.

Linda

Blessed Assurance- Salvation is #1

When we think about blessings and what it means to be blessed, one of the first things that comes into the mind of the believer is salvation.  Truly being spared the wrath of God in judgement and being able to live with Him forever in heaven is a BIG blessing.  ps32Scripture tell us exactly that in Psalm 32:1-2.

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

We are spared from the wrath of God (God’s anger over sin) because Jesus came, died on the cross and rose again so that we could be reconciled to God. (Romans 5:10-12)   His blood provides the atonement for our sins as He covers us so that when God looks at the believer He sees Jesus’ atoning blood not our sin.   “God gave Christ as a sacrifice to pay for sins through the spilling of his blood. So God forgives the sins of those who have faith. God did all this to prove that he does what is right. He is a God of mercy.”  Romans 3:25    We are forgiven and God promises to not hold our sins against us.  I love these verses in Micah about God, His forgiveness and the fact that He casts my sins into the depths of the sea.  Praise God once confessed, our sins are gone forever!  Micah 7:8-10 

Lord, who is a God like you?
    You forgive sin.
You forgive your people
    when they do what is wrong.
micah 7 19You don’t stay angry forever.
    Instead, you take delight in showing
    your faithful love to them.
19 Once again you will show loving concern for us.
    You will completely wipe out
    the evil things we’ve done.
You will throw all our sins
    into the bottom of the sea.

How blessed am I?   Because of Jesus and His sacrifice, God forgives my sin and casts it into the depths of the sea.   Because of Jesus,  I can continue to walk with Him each day and have His light to shine for others.  1 John 1:6-7 puts it this way.  Suppose we say that we share life with God but still walk in the darkness. Then we are lying. We are not living out the truth. But suppose we walk in the light, just as he is in the light. Then we share life with one another. And the blood of Jesus, his Son, makes us pure from all sin.”   

alive blessedMay your day be filled with joy as you reflect on your treasured state of being- forgiven, all your sins are gone out of God’s sight forever, you are able to walk with Jesus in His light each day and saved for eternity.  Now there are eternal blessings we can count upon!

Linda