Day 133: Be blessed
God’s people getting along? In unity? Some would say more of a challenge than a blessing!
The enemies of unity are:-
“I don’t need help. I can do it on my own.”
The first step in defeating this enemy is simply to think of yourself less.
Unity is conceived when we think about “we” more than “me”.
Spinning more plates doesn’t increase your talent – it increases your likelihood of dropping a plate.
What’s it going to take to make us think we cannot do everything on our own? We need others. We need someone to help spin the plates.
Today many do not know how to converse with people, there are little relational skills. They have never been taught and they are not willing to learn. Some people are just not out-going and they do not think in this way. But even the most introverted person in the world can learn to enjoy the benefits of being united with others.
Other people are never convenient.
If you wait till you feel like it, you will never have genuine fellowship. The time excuse says that others are not that important.
The keys to unity are:
a) Don’t pretend.
Let’s not fall into superficiality for fear of upsetting people and rocking the boat. We need the courage to confront. Let’s not sweep anything under the carpet. But remember not to be rude, nor wound another.
b) Be respectful.
We’re all different. We all have someone who irritates us. When you stop long enough to understand someone then you know what they’ve been through and why they are like they are.
c) Don’t fantasise about what church, home, work should be like.
“He who loves his dream of community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter … ” Bonhoffer.
d) Be a loyal supporter.
If the devil is the accuser. Then if I step into that place of criticising and complaining about God’s family then I am doing the devils job.
e) Don’t listen to gossip.
We know not to speak it, but don’t listen to it.
People who gossip to you will also gossip about you.
Unity breeds blessing.
Day 132: Be blessed
By no means is this everyone’s favourite film, but I do like Tree of Life. It is based around a Texan family in the 1950s and focuses on their relationships and struggles. The mother wants her children to see a world of wonder, whist the father wants his children to see a wicked world.
In a beautiful scene one of the children, Jack is kneeling beside his bed saying his prayers. He says the usual list of requests that any 12 year old would, but then he begins to say things that I found so moving and challenging, because they echo my own heart.
“Where do you live?”
“Are you watching me?
I want to know what you are.
I want to see what you see.”
This is wondrous longing.
The reason I write about it is because the Psalmist recalls David’s longing for God, for His presence.
Where do you live?
He lives in a place where there is commitment, v2; where desire for Him is more than that of other things, v3-4; where He is sought after, v5.
Where do you live?
He lives in a place where you and Him can meet in worship, v7; in a journey made by both of you, v7-8; in the transferring of righteousness on to you, v9; in joy, v9.
Where do you live?
He lives in a permanent place and a desired place, v14; a place of provision, v15; and of salvation, v16; of power and direction, v17; and of great reward, v18.
Are you beginning to realise how blessed you are?!!
Day 131: Be blessed
Do you have someone who is not afraid to knock you down a peg or two? Is there a friend who will approach you and ask you how life is with your big-head?! A blessed person is someone who is not allowed to take themselves too seriously because they have learnt the importance of being laughed at over their seeming importance!
Leaders can be people with high insecurities and given to power and control simply because they have faced much criticism in their work.
Leaders can also be people with ultra-egos and given to make exaggerated and overblown statements usually about themselves though cloaked with a pretend-spirituality. All this is because their work has not been criticised.
Everybody needs somebody who’s willing to deflate their egos from time to time—even movie stars like Denzel Washington. While promoting 2007’s The Great Debaters, Washington was interviewed by Oprah Winfrey. Midway through their conversation, Washington noted the encouragement his mother had given him throughout his life. He also shared this story of his mother’s reproof over his budding pride:
I walked in the house one day and—feeling full of myself, a movie star—I said to my mother, “Did you ever think this was all going to happen?” She was like, “Please. First of all, go wash the windows for me. You have no idea how many people have been praying for you when you were being a knucklehead.”
If you don’t have someone then go find a friend and give them permission to continue knocking you down to size.
This way you will stay blessed.
Day 130: Be blessed
“With you there is forgiveness”
God wants you home again. To the place we belong.
A Father had 5 sons. The eldest was obedient, 4 rebellious.
They were told never to go near the river, but each day the 4 brothers would get closer and closer. Till one day one of them stepped in and said ‘hold my hand so I won’t fall in’ – but the currents swirled and pulled them all in.
They were swept away to a strange land, a place they were never born for, a place they could not escape from.
Each evening they built a fire and told stories of their father and the elder brother, the Firstborn.
One night one brother failed to come to the fire. “I’ve grown tired of our talks. I will build a great house and settle here.”
The next night a 2nd brother failed to appear at the fire. He sat on the hill staring at the house his brother was building, “I’ll stay here and keep a record of wrongs our brother is making.”
The next night a 3rd brother failed to appear. He was found stacking rocks in the river. ‘I’ve failed – I will build a way back.’
The last brother returned to the fire.
Then one morning came the voice of the Firstborn “The Father has sent me to bring you home.”
The first brother said, “I’ve made a home here. Go away stranger. I have no Father.”
The 2nd brother said, “It’s great that you are here to see the sins of our brother”.
The 3rd brother said, ‘I cannot stop to talk I must work. I have sinned. I need to work.”
The 4th brother by the fire said “will he forgive me?”
The firstborn replied, “Would he have sent me if he wouldn’t?” and the younger brother climbed on the back of the firstborn and began the journey home.
What best describes you: pleasure seeker; bitter talker; work-driven or are you being carried back to the Father’s house.
“With you there is forgiveness”
Day 129: Be blessed
All of my life greatly oppressed, walked over, my body scarred forever.
BUT they have not gained the victory over me!
Yesterday, Mr Obama, the first black US president gave his address at the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC almost 50 years to the minute after Martin Luther King Jr culminated the march with his celebrated I Have a Dream speech. The time – 15:00 local time (19:00 GMT) – was marked by ringing bells. “They assembled here, in our nation’s capital, under the shadow of the great emancipator, to offer testimony of injustice, to petition their government for redress and to awaken America’s long-slumbering conscience.” He went on to applaud the maids, labourers, porters, secretaries who transformed the US into the nation it is today.
Aung San Suu Kyi has become an international symbol of peaceful resistance in the face
of oppression: “A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” Freedom from Fear
Bono wrote the song ‘Walk On’ based upon her determination to keep going.
What you got, they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight…
Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t deny it
Can’t sell it or buy it
Walk on, walk on
Stay safe tonight
Friends whatever it is: Slandered all your life, scarred for life, oppressed, in the hands of the wicked or walking through the valley of the shadow of death …. BUT they have not gained victory over me.
Keep going! Walk on!
Day 128: Be blessed
“…your children will be like olive shoots around your table.” v3.
Two thousand year-old olive trees are not unknown, and some exist today. They have a way to ensure their own safety as they grow old. They send up new shoots from their outlying roots. These small young trees surround their “parent” tree, serving as buffers from the wind that help to protect the aged tree.
One of the joys of pastoring was to see children look after their parents as they grew older. Hospital appointments, home visits, shopping, and then above all gathering together in their final hours.
Whether we have our own natural children or not, if we have given ourselves to the younger generation then when we grow old they will be there for us, surrounding and supporting us in our time of need.
You may not be a parent physically but you can still be a mother and father. I have just finished reading a tribute to a lady who “was a mother of many”. This could be you.
Blessing is having someone younger than you be there in your hour of need.
So we can perhaps all be a blessing by supporting our own parents and/or those that have mentored us.
Day 127: Be blessed
3 do-nots to stay blessed:-
Do not attempt what only God can do, v1.
Do not burn the candle at both ends, v2.
Do not forget to pass the baton, v3-5.
Day 126: Be blessed
“One day we will beat cancer” is the dream of Cancer Research.
But it’s not just a dream. It’s a work ethic. Last year they spent £351 million in the UK on pioneering work in radiotherapy and other advances in cancer drugs.
“I have a dream” was Martin Luther King’s vision and it is still America’s problem. In 1963 black people couldn’t go to the same cinema as white people, this no longer applies thankfully. Yet the work must go on. A march a few days ago in Washington didn’t attract many whites at its 50th anniversary. The blacks are still asking for better healthcare, voter rights, better education. The dream lives on, the marches will continue.
Do you have a dream?
My new role with Elim International Missions has given me a new dream.
It is a dream that involves God bringing back what has been broken, v1.
It is a dream of such proportion, it looks like it couldn’t happen ie streams of water flowing in a desert, v4.
Do you have a similar dream?
I know it’s not enough to dream.
So I will continue to sow with tears.
I will do what I can without being afraid to do it with weeping.
And I trust God will do what He can.
I am banking on laughter, joy, great things and as the Message says at the end of v6 “armloads of blessing.”
Pray for me!
Day 125: Be blessed!
Children don’t need fairy tales to tell them about dragons. They already know. They need fairy tales to tell them there is someone to fight the dragon. — G.K. Chesterton
On the old maps, back before the world was understood in modern terms, cartographers, map makers, would put down what they knew, but at the edges of the map, beyond which they had no knowledge or understanding, they would often write, “Beyond here, there be dragons.”
Today someone is sailing into uncharted waters where there may well be dragons. They face uncertainty and danger. They need to be reminded of the old but also the important truth: to trust in The Lord.
If you looked back on your life and created a map of it there may be opportunities that were marked “Beyond here there be dragons”. There are ideas and places not explored, people not connected with.
Yet today that all stops. Today is the day of trusting in The Lord. Those who do will never be shaken and will endure for ever.
It is those with this kind of faith who find they trust easier.
It is those who know what it is to be truly blessed.
Day 124: Be blessed
Faith is confidence in the person of Jesus Christ and in his power, so that even when his power does not serve my end, my confidence in him remains because of who he is.
Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods)
There are seasons we go through that it seems like God’s power is not helping us at all. The power of the enemy can at that time be speaking the loudest. The threat of being swallowed alive, engulfed and swept away was all part of the attack.
Even today you may be waking up facing such difficulties.
I am sure you have asked yourself many times, “How did I get myself into this?”
Place your confidence in who He is! He is The Lord, in charge of everything.
Place your confidence in where He is! Right by your side.
God specialises in the great escapes of life. We escaped at salvation and we will escape again.
My confidence in Him tells me I am blessed!