That is truly GREAT

Blessed...what does that term mean for you? There are definitely times when I look at others and can see just how much God is blessing their lives. I have made the mistake of proclaiming how wonderfully lucky someone was when I observed a good thing happening in their lives, forgetting all the while how 'trivial' that term 'lucky' is after all. It is easy to say someone is 'lucky' while the truth is really that they were "blessed by a tremendous God". Sometimes we need to be reminded of the intensity of God's blessing in our lives! We are being blessed daily - by seen and unseen blessings alike. It may not be with stuff we see or feel or immediately appreciate, but every moment of life comes with some form of  blessing for those God declares as righteous! As I look back over the most recent weeks of my life, I can recount many blessings. 
 
Hallelujah! Blessed man, blessed woman, who fear God, who cherish and relish his commandments, their children robust on the earth, and the homes of the upright—how blessed! Their houses brim with wealth and a generosity that never runs dry. Sunrise breaks through the darkness for good people— God's grace and mercy and justice! The good person is generous and lends lavishly; no shuffling or stumbling around for this one, but a sterling and solid and lasting reputation. Unfazed by rumor and gossip, heart ready, trusting in God, spirit firm, unperturbed, ever blessed, relaxed among enemies, they lavish gifts on the poor—a generosity that goes on, and on, and on. An honored life! A beautiful life! (Psalm 112:1-9)

Do you know what makes these blessings extra special? We never expect them - so the joy in receiving what we receive makes it extra special. In looking at our passage today, I see several truths about one who has their steps ordered by God. They recognize the source of their blessing - it is God himself - not luck or good fortune or even the aligned stars. The condition of their being blessed is their hearts are in a place of "relishing" the commandments of God - seeking to serve him well in all they say and do. They are nurtured by his commands and they find them pleasing to their senses. An odd thing to say, huh? Yet, it is so true! When we come to hold dear to his commands, we are nurtured by them. When we are nurtured, we come to a place where their very presence brings pleasure - blessing galore. We might find some of his commands a little hard to lay hold of or 'make practical' in our lives at times, but consider the results of embracing them! The off-spring of our lives will rise up and call us blessed. I know we don't all have children in the natural sense, but we ALL have others in our lives we mentor in some respect. They are in essence our "off-spring". The modeled forgiveness and obedience in our own lives becomes something others can latch onto in theirs. There is nothing more honoring to God than to have his kids model his grace! In turn, he honors those who honor him.

The last thing I'd like us to gather from our passage is the promise of light in the midst of gathering darkness. Notice particularly - this is not a promise of never experiencing gathering darkness! In fact, we might just walk through some pretty dark places in our lives from time to time. The promise is for sunrise to break through the darkness - sunrise manifest in God's grace, mercy, and justice. Unpack that a little, why don't you? Darkness is dispelled when God's grace - his unmerited favor - enters into the dark spot. Sometimes darkness comes because we move INTO the storm - other times it is because the storm comes UPON us. Either way, it is dark! Whenever we are the ones to move INTO the storm, we often need God's grace and mercy - because it was one or more of our choices that placed us there! And...oftentimes, not they are not so wise choices, either. Why does God couple justice with his grace and mercy? God's mercy and grace are what restore - his justice is the principle by which he defines the boundaries for our lives. In other words, his justice helps us know the things which are "morally right" for our lives (just). His mercy and grace restore us to the place of living right! In turn, we live honored lives - both outwardly and inwardly. We live blessed lives. Sometimes the blessings go unnoticed, but if we stop long enough to acknowledge them, they point us to the greatness of the God we serve! Just sayin....

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