Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bless, and be a blessing

Bless:  To bestow good of any kind upon someone; to protect or guard from evil; beautify. At first, the word "bless" or the term "be blessed" may seem a little superfluous and we dismiss it because we really don't stop to consider just what it means.  If we consider each of these points individually, we might just reconsider our being "blessed"!  If someone comes into your life to bring good, bestowing all manner of "blessing" or "goodness" into your life, wouldn't you be delighted to have come into acquaintance with that individual?  In fact, you probably would not want to break that relationship because it has such "good benefits"! Now, this is not the purpose of remaining in relationship with Jesus, but it is a "perk" of it! As long as we remain close to his heart, we receive the blessings of his heart!  That said, we can then add the next definition - that of being protected and guarded from all manner of evil in our lives.  In fact, we can add the next simply because anyone in relationship with Jesus recognizes that he brings beauty where ashes once were, restores what was once only "damaged goods", and creates afresh inner beauty which just radiates to the outside!

You bless everyone who lives in your house, and they sing your praises.  You bless all who depend on you for their strength and all who deeply desire to visit your temple.  When they reach Dry Valley, springs start flowing, and the autumn rain fills it with pools of water.  Your people grow stronger, and you, the God of gods, will be seen in Zion.  (Psalm 84:4-7 CEV)

The condition of blessing:  To live in God's house.  In other words, we are a member of his family, made so through trust in the sacrifice of Jesus, and adoption into the family of God. 

The response to blessing:  To sing God's praises.  If you have ever felt so overwhelmed by the goodness of God, taking even just a moment to stop to consider his tremendous grace extended, you don't take long to launch into praises and accolades of our one true God!

The results of blessing:  To depend on God for all our strength and to deeply desire close fellowship with him and his people.  Dependency is a "must" in God's economy - he cannot "bless" to the same degree when we are trying to constantly do things "our way". In time, we frustrate the plans of God in our lives if we just keep resisting his rule of our lives. When we come into a place of trusting him with our lives, we come into a place of wanting to share our lives with others who also have come into this place of trust relationship.

The enjoyment of blessing:  To know refreshing, even in the driest places in our lives. There is no place we can go where God's blessing cannot reach - even the dry, barren places receive his "outpouring" of goodness.

The outcome of blessing:  To grow stronger than we can ever be apart from him and to reflect his nature to those around us.  Growth is one of the key aspects of being "blessed" by God.  In times of barrenness, not much growth seems to be forthcoming, but if we understand how God operates, we begin to see it is in these places of barrenness he is free to cultivate the growth he desires to bring forth.  We grow stronger in the place of barrenness and our roots go deeper - in search of what brings us sustenance and true satisfaction.

We may not feel blessed at all times, but know this - God's blessings never cease to exist. If we remember one of the "key blessings" in our lives is his oversight and protection - keeping us from evil - then we can honestly say the "feeling" of blessing is present with us at all times (even when we are not "cognizant" of it).  We may not recognize the place of blessing as significant, but when we draw closer to him by changing what captures our focus the majority of the time, we find we begin to sense his presence as drawing us even closer. This closeness becomes more and more important to us, until we forsake all other things within our focus - giving God not only our "majority", but our "all".  

God doesn't hold blessing out like a carrot on a stick for his kids to somehow be "enticed" into relationship with him.  Yet, just by the very nature of his goodness and grace, his blessings are ever evident in our lives just because we have drawn close to him.  It is kind of hard to imagine being blessed this much, but if we truly begin to consider the protection we might be overlooking and the beauty his presence brings, we might just be finding ourselves exalting in the many blessings of God today!  Just sayin!

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