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!
Day 123: Be blessed
In December 1943, German fighter pilot Franz Stigler was in pursuit of American bomber pilot Charlie Brown’s plane, looking to shoot it down. If he did, it would earn him the Knight’s Cross, the highest honour for a German soldier. But as he approached the plane, Stigler saw that it had no tail guns blinking, no tail-gun compartment remaining, no left stabilizer, and the nose of the aircraft was missing. Surprisingly, he could also see into the plane, the skin of it having been blown off. Inside, he observed terrified young men tending to their wounded. Stigler saluted Brown and veered away. His last words to him were, “Good luck, you’re in God’s hands now.”
Brown was able to land the plane in England. He continued his Air Force career for two decades, but remained obsessed with the incident. In 1990, he took out an ad in a newsletter for fighter pilots, looking for the one “who saved my life on Dec. 20, 1943.” Stigler, living in Vancouver, saw the ad and yelled to his wife: “This is him! This is the one I didn’t shoot down!” He immediately wrote a letter to Brown, and the two then connected in an emotional phone call.
Stigler and Brown both died in 2008, six months apart. The article in the New York Post also noted that both men were Christians and that the obituaries for Stigler and Brown both listed the other friend as “a special brother.”
This is mercy.
Choosing not to consider the merit of the person who is receiving the love.
People around you today “have been kicked around long enough …kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men … kicked when down by arrogant brutes” v3-4 Message.
But what is in your hand? What is in the hand of the slave master, the mistress, the leader? V2.
Just as we watch and wait for the mercy of God (v2) so there are others looking to you for mercy today.
The blessed do not ignore their situation.
Day 122: Be blessed!
Blessing is found in the inviting and the accepting of being in the presence of God, v1
Blessing is found in the place of worship, v3-4
Blessing is found in right choices, v5
Blessing is found in peace, v6
Blessing is found when you are committed to doing your best, v9 (Message)
Day 121: Be blessed
Yesterday a lovely lady in the church I had pastored died. She was a gift to the church in encouragement, enthusiasm and sheer belief that God can do all things! The church will miss her. I think of her today as I read this Psalm which I have lost count of the many times I have read this in funeral services.
Does my strength come from mountain experiences? Have a look at them, look at those hill-top moments you have had with God:
a. The experience of sacrifice e.g. moments of fasting and giving. God called Abraham to a mountain range to kill his son, Genesis 22:1-2
b. The experience of worship, again the very same scene was an actual act of worship.
c. The experience of phenomena, e.g. the glory on the mountain Moses was called to in Exodus 24:12-18. We have known many manifestations of God’s Spirit.
d. The experience of transformation, e.g. the glory of Christ on the mountain of transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-3. We have known the transformational work of the Spirit in our lives.
e. The experience of prayer and guidance, e.g. the prayer mountain of Jesus in Luke 6:12-13. We have found guidance from the periods of prayer we have spent with God.
f. The experience of divine call and purpose for living, e.g. the mountain of the great commission in Matthew 28:16-20.
All these are mountain-top experiences that strengthen our lives.
Yet even these sometimes are not strong enough in the time of need.
My strength is my faith in Him:
Who did not let her fall, v3
Who watched over her, v5
Who kept her from all harm, v7
Enjoy your Saviour Jean, you are blessed!
Day 120: Be blessed
I recently heard a story of a man who brought in a violin to his local pawn shop for a valuation. According to the man’s story, he had recently purchased a piece of property that included a house and a barn. Shortly after his purchase, while inspecting the barn, he opened an old chest and discovered the violin safely tucked inside. As he dusted off the near-perfect instrument, he found the word “Stradivarius” clearly inscribed on the violin. The man was hoping the “Stradivarius” was worth thousands of pounds.
However, after the pawn store owners examined the violin and then by an independent expert, they told the man it wasn’t a genuine Stradivarius. Instead, it was a cheap imitation produced in the early part of the 1900s, worth around five or six hundred pounds. The appraiser concluded by telling the disappointed violin owner, “Just because something has a label doesn’t mean it’s real.”
I think we all know what it is to have been taken in by something. We know the effects of being lied to.
We need a Saviour from lying lips. We need Jesus.
The packaging of a lie is truth.
A lie is a false guide. It calls for decisions that would not have been made otherwise.
Being afraid of the truth births the lie.
A lie prevents justice in the present.
A lie paints a picture which is not only false but reveals the painter is insecure.
Lying is addictive. A person wants to lie again when they begin to lie.
Lying can be taught and caught. It is a sin that is passed down to the next generation.
It is difficult to know if you are being lied to until it is too late.
All of these things are why we need to pray, “Save me from liars”. Right now, you maybe oblivious to the lies that are being sown around you, but Jesus knows. He can and will save you from the effects of those lies. So put your trust in Him and stay blessed.
Day 119: Be blessed
The longest chapter in the Bible focuses almost entirely on living a life focused on God’s law.
It is divided into 22 sections, one section for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Each of the verses of that section begins with that letter in the Hebrew.
The meaning of each letter of the alphabet points us to God.
Aleph meaning first: “Jesus is the Aleph” (Rev 22:13). Jesus is the first.
Beth meaning house/creation. It is the first letter of the first word in the Bible: “In the beginning”. Jesus is the creator.
Gimmel meaning the creator’s mercy. Jesus is mercy.
Daleth meaning the hope of our dreams. Jesus is hope.
He meaning breath, symbolising the Spirit of the Lord. The Spirit of Christ is in our lives.
Waw meaning humanity and the redemption of it. Jesus is our redeemer.
Zayin meaning spiritual struggle. Jesus has struggled for us.
Heth meaning sin and the sign of divine grace. Jesus is grace.
Teth meaning the goodness of God. Jesus is goodness.
Yodh meaning hand. Jesus’ hands are reaching out to you.
Kaph meaning crowning accomplishment. Jesus is king.
Lamedh meaning a sign of wisdom. Jesus is wisdom.
Mem meaning the symbol of the revealed. Jesus is the revelation of God.
Nun meaning everlasting faithfulness. Jesus is faithful.
Samekh meaning divine support and protection. Jesus is trustworthy.
Ayin meaning the symbol of insight. Jesus knows.
Pe meaning speaking praise. Jesus, be praised.
Tsadhe meaning righteousness in God. Jesus is our righteousness.
Qoph meaning the sign for holiness. Jesus is holy.
Resh meaning the challenge of the choice we make. Jesus in all we do.
Sin and Shin meaning the symbol of peace. Jesus is peace.
Taw meaning the vehicle of sacrifice. Jesus paid the price.
Now read each section incorporating who Jesus is into each section and watch your confidence rise in the belief that with Jesus all things are possible, even the keeping of God’s law.
Do this and be blessed!