The Secret of Blessings

Why are some people blessed and others are not? Is it their beliefs, or achievements or knowledge, wisdom or skill? Is it their ability to love or show compassion?

Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, “love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” (Matthew 5:43-46)

Does it make a difference to live a life of love and compassion instead of a self-centered life? I have lived both ways, and I’ll tell you it does make a difference. My self-indulged life was closed to others because I thought mostly about myself and what pleased me. That life led to loneliness and despair. In my depression I cried out to God and He answered me. I could hardly believe He loved me, but I felt His love on me. I knew He cared for me. That’s when things changed. I began to love God in response and love and help others. Little by little I began to feel blessed.

THINK ABOUT IT

Imagine, if you will, a cup right side up and a cup upside down. When blessings are poured over the cups the one right side up will be filled, but the upside down cup will be empty. Now apply this principle to life. The right side up cup can be filled to overflowing. The love and mercy we receive from God spills on to others. But the upside down cup receives nothing. When we think only about ourselves and depend on our own intelligence and strength, we cannot receive God’s blessings of love, peace, mercy, or strength. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Friend, being blessed is in the receiving. Will you receive God’s love and blessings? Say the name of Jesus and confess your need of His amazing love. Be blessed.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Lord God, for loving us and blessing us beyond anything we could dream about for ourselves. Help us to love as you do and show mercy and compassion as you do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mary, Highly Favored

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The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Hundreds of years had passed since an angel appeared on earth (with Daniel in the lion’s den). I cannot imagine what Mary must have felt when she saw an angel (with clothes so gleaming white and a supernatural countenance). His message must have shattered her dreams of marrying the love of her life, but Gabriel explained everything so Mary understood. Then he encouraged Joseph not to hesitate to take her as his wife.

Mary was not really named “Mary” but “Miriam,” after the older sister of Moses. In Egyptian her name meant “love,” and Miriam’s calling in life was to protect the life of her baby brother as he floated down the Nile River so one day he could grow up to deliver the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt.

In Hebrew the name “Miriam” meant bitterness and rebellion. Mary’s calling in life was to usher in the life of the Messiah, who would save the world from sin, death and Satan. Both meanings find fulfillment in John 3:16: “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” Yes, God loved the world, but many people did not accept His love.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” His light shines into the darkness of our world to expose the fear, anxiety, anger, malice, corruption and all other kinds of rebellion against a loving Father. He did not come into the world to condemn the world but to save it with His mercy and forgiveness.

THINK ABOUT IT

Miriam was called to protect Moses who would rescue the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. Mary was called to bear the life of Jesus who would save the world from sin. As people who have been redeemed from sin, death and Satan, we are called to follow Jesus in reaching a cold, dark world with His love. Will you let God be born in you? Will you let His love flow through you to those who desperately need it? Begin by reading His word and spending time with Him in prayer. He is always available, and He will partner with you as you make yourself available to serve Him.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Holy Lord, for Jesus. Help us to be more like Him–more loving, more caring, more forgiving. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Refreshment for Your Soul

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“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul” (Psalm 23:1-3).

I memorized the 23rd Psalm as a girl, and on my darkest of days, the words return to me as a prayer, refreshing my soul. It overwhelms me to think that the God who spoke the universe into being, knows my every need. Nothing satisfies my longings as Jesus, my Good Shepherd does. I can say that because I’ve loved shopping all my life. I learned that the possessions, great or small, do not fill the void in my life.

When emptiness and anxiety come as unwanted guests, it is not the stuff money buys that brings me relief. It is the rest and restoration I find in God’s beautiful creation–as if I hear Him whisper in the breeze on a walk in the forest or along a mountain stream. His peace, the peace that passes understanding, calms my anxious thoughts.

THINK ABOUT IT

God created the universe, every plant, every animal. He created you and me. He is willing and able to provide all our needs. It seems kind of foolish to look to someone or something else to satisfy our deepest longings. God loves and cares for us more than we can dream or imagine. His mercies and compassions are inexhaustible–new every morning.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Lord of all, we come to you with our emptiness and anxiety. You promised to fill those who hunger and thirst for more of you. Lord, fill us up so we won’t want for anything except your presence, your love and fellowship. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Hidden Treasure

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Have you ever wondered what the kingdom of heaven is like. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44).

What would it be like to give up all you had for something precious? Are there things you’d rather cling to? God found something precious in you. He loved you so much He gave His only Son so those who believed would not die but have eternal life (John 3:16).

THINK ABOUT IT

If God the Father gave His only Son for your eternal life, what is expected of you? I have treasured things and have chosen them over what is important. Finally I figured out the Hidden Treasure is in Jesus when I was in my 40s. I don’t want it to take that long for you, and that’s the reason I write this blog. I don’t want you to walk down a path of destruction, like I did. When I had messed up my life beyond what I thought was salvageable, I cried out to God. He was faithful to reach down and rescue me from my despair. I felt loved as never before and I didn’t want the feeling to go away. I dusted off my Bible and began to read. Every word spoke to my broken heart, and I began to pray. At first all I could say was, “Thank you, Jesus” over and over. I discovered that it is a powerful prayer. When my heart became grateful, I wanted others to know the treasure I found in knowing Jesus.

PRAY ABOUT IT

Thank you, Holy Father, for Jesus. Help me to live in light of my salvation and inspire others about the amazing love they, too, can experience in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.