Are You Blessed?

You know those people who always say “be blessed!” when you check out at the grocery store?  Or the customer service rep on the phone who concludes the call with “Have a blessed day!”  I love it when they say that.  It feels good to be blessed and to be reminded to have a blessed day.

But what does it mean to “be blessed” or to have a blessed day anyway?  Beautiful words but what do they mean in real life?

Matthew 5:4-10 says “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.  Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Did you identify with one or more of those people above?  I did, several of them.  God is so good, all the time, even in the hurt and the pain and the pure messiness of life.  The next time someone says “be blessed” to you, remember Matthew 5:4-10 and remember God’s promise to you and to your heart.

You are loved, you are cherished, you are blessed, just as you are.

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus

Isaiah 41:10 – So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 138:7 – Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.  You stretch out your hand against the anger of the foes; with your right hand you save me.

2 Corinthians 9:8 – And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work

John 1:16 – Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.

Psalm 1:1-3 – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.

Christmas In August

So the first Christmas catalog arrived in the mail yesterday!  You know the kind that has all the random stuff that would make great gifts for all the random people in your world?  As I casually flipped through a few pages I found myself thinking of people, like “oh, my sister would love that” and “oh, this would be perfect for our neighbor from two years ago.”  The excitement of bringing joy to others is contagious.  The more I flipped through the catalog the more I wanted to buy and the more I imagined joy on peoples faces when they opened their gifts.  It was a beautiful daydream (I was good and didn’t immediately place an order for half the catalog).

If giving gifts at Christmas brings us so much joy, imagine how much joy Christ must have when he gives us gifts.  Every moment of every day we are receiving various gifts from God.  Whether it be an encouraging word from a friend, the ability to get up out of bed, or a hug from a loved one, each moment is a gift.

The smile on God’s face and the love in his heart when he carefully crafted each moment of your life is beyond our ability to imagine.  He loved you so much that he flipped through the catalog of creation and hand picked each and every moment to gift to you in life.  Nothing was done by chance.  Everything is good, even the bad messy times, because you are loved and cherished by your creator.

Stop to see the gifts around you today.  Look at the gifts that were given to you by God and lift up prayers of thanksgiving for the blessings you have been given.  Thank God for his love and his heart of giving.  You are cherished beyond measure.  By his grace you can receive everlasting life.

James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.

Nehemiah 9:6 – You alone are the Lord.  You have made the heavens, the heaven of heavens with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them,  You give life to all of them and the heavenly host bows down before you.

Revelation 4:11 – Worthy are you, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and because of your will they existed, and were created.

1 Timothy 4:4 – For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;

Psalm 148:2-5 – Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!  Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!  Praise Him, highest heavens, and the waters that are above the heavens!  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created.

John 3:17 – For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

 

Photo by Tofros.com from Pexels

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Life can feel like a series of repeats over and over and over. Like the “Groundhog Day” movie! Wake up, go to work, repeat. Wash dishes, put them away, use them, repeat. Relationship is great, then bad, then healing, then repeat. Drop kids at school, pick kids up at school, feed them, put them to bed, repeat.

But life doesn’t have to be that way. One small change can change the entire trajectory of that moment, of the cycle and, ultimately, the course of your life. We are constantly making decisions in everything all day long. Mostly tiny, small decisions, but even a slight variation in those small decisions results in big changes. It’s those big results that break you out of the mundane routine  of wash, rinse, repeat.

When you’re washing the dishes, set aside that time to also be your prayer time with God. When you have a relationship going badly, use that phase to draw closer to God and pray that He would not only grow you as a person but that, through your growing, that relationship would be blessed. When you drop your kids off, speak a blessing on them as they run out the door. I always tell my kids “have a super-awesome-terrific-fabulous-stupendous-amazing-wonderful day.” They recite it with me knowing it by heart. We do it every day without fail. Make it a habit when you pick up your phone to check Facebook or mentally check out that you first open your Bible app and read 10 verses. Make it a habit that you only get to watch TV if you’ve read your Bible that day.

In the mundane routine repeats of life, make some small change and it will change the entire course of your life. Focus more on how the kingdom of God can be served in that moment of life instead of how you can be served. It just takes one decision to change your life forever.

The smallest decision with the biggest impact you could ever make is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Galatians 5:25 – Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:10 – For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Colossians 3:17 – And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Peter 2:21 – To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.