How To Receive Blessing

Being blessed by GodThe blessings of God belong to us.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph 1:3) These are real promises. Every spiritual blessing  is ours.  What does that look like? Look at the fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Gal 5:22-23) Does any of that look like anything you’d like to have in your life? What about physical blessing? Jesus said: Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. (Mat 6:25) That means that God will provide all that you need in life!

Does it start to look like God wants to bless you in just about every way possible? So, if He’s so willing to give it, why don’t you have it?

One reason is because you may not think you deserve it. We’ve been trained to earn what we get. We think that if we behave ourselves, we’ll be rewarded. When we screw up, we feel guilty and don’t feel like we deserve any reward, and that blocks what God wants to do. And, as it turns out, we’re human, so we screw up all the time — so we never feel like we ever deserve blessing.

But here’s the thing, God knows we’re human. He’s known that all along, and He’s not bothered by it. In fact, Jesus died for us knowing just how human we were, and loved us the whole time. We can’t earn His blessing. He gives it freely, knowing who we are. There’s no way to be perfect, so get over it. When you mess up, repent. Give it to Jesus and let it go. Guilt, condemnation, and fear will block all the goodness that God wants to put into your life. Confessing your sins and continuing to feel guilty is not His plan. You have to know that you are forgiven when you repent.

Now ask God to bless you. That’s perfectly ok to do. He wants to do it. Say, “Father, I receive all the blessings that you are giving me.” Now watch what happens in your life. When you see blessing begin to come to you, thank Him. Be grateful, then ask for more. That’s ok, too. There’s no limit to how much blessing you can have. It’s all yours. More than you could possibly hold onto. In fact, you may have to ask Him to hold back at some point so you can take it all in.

Blessing is a by-product of living in a loving relationship with God. Once you get over feeling like you have to earn it, you can live with the grace of God on you that your spirit hungers for. Love, peace, and joy are yours. Provision to meet your needs are yours. God wants to take complete care of you. All you have to do is let Him.

Do Something Impossible Today — Here’s How

 Do impossible things with God.I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)

Is this true? It’s from the Bible, so it’s either truth or a lie. I choose to believe that the Bible is truth. It is the word of God, and God is telling me that I can do anything. Wait…anything? That probably means that if I put my mind to it I can do all things that are within my limitations. Because, if I study hard enough, or practice hard enough, or think good thoughts long enough I can do things that are pretty hard.

Nope. That’s not what it means. Studying hard and practicing are works of my own effort, not through Jesus. God says that I can do anything, if I rely on Him. That means that it’s all His effort, not mine.

So what does anything look like? Well, use your imagination. Imagine that the Holy Spirit is asking you to do something that seems impossible. It probably looks a little scary, because it if wasn’t you could do it on your own. But what if you accept that God can do what He wants, and what if you agree with Him to do what He asks. Now impossible things begin to happen. Now you can do anything because Jesus is with you.

What’s stopping you right now from doing impossible things? Fear. Fear is lying to you. Fear says that God will not what He says He will do. Fear is a liar. Tell it to leave you. Turn to God and tell God that you trust Him. Ask Him to help you do impossible things, then trust Him. Just do it. Now the next one will be easier because you have experience that God will be there for you. Keep doing it. Soon, the impossible things will become an amazing and fun adventure.

What’s The Difference Between Serving And Being A Servant?

serve others in true loveI think that there are many in the church who understand what it is to serve others. They work in the kitchen, feed the homeless, and pick up trash. But we have to be careful about doing works for the sake of works.

Yes, it’s good to feed the homeless. Yes, it’s good to work in the community. But ask yourself why you would do that? Because people are hungry! Because it needs to be done! But let’s remember this: And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Cor 13:3)

Are you serving or a servant? There are a few ways to look at that. One way is to see serving as an act and servant as a mindset. To be a servant to others is to intentionally put them first. Yes, it’s nice to do good things for others, but to do them in sacrifice, in love, goes to the heart of God. I could give my body to be burned for others, but if I do it out of obligation or merit, I would suffer for nothing. My actions must be to truly care about people.

The next time you volunteer to clean up after a potluck, pick up someone who needs a ride, or pay for someone’s lunch, stop and look at who you are helping. See the person inside. They’re just like you and they want to be loved as much as you do.

Serving with a heart of love is enormously different from serving to get a job done. Love will reach out through the action to touch another soul.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:34-35)

Are You Really The Light Of The World?

You are light in the darkest place.

You are light in the darkest place.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt 5:14-16)

It’s easy to read this to mean that as long as I believe in God, I have His light in me and that’s all I need — my light is shining because I say I believe in God. I used to believe this — for a long time. The problem was, my light didn’t do anything. Light is supposed to chase away darkness and my light wasn’t all that visible. I went to church and read my Bible but no one was affected by it. No darkness fled before me. Why was that?

My light was weak because I didn’t actually trust God as much as I said I did. When the storms came, my house built on sand came crashing down. (Matt 7:24-28). My light was indeed hidden under a basket. Weak light hidden under a basket does not change the world, much less your own life.

I finally began to read the Bible for the truth that it is. When God says to trust Him, He means it. He means it when He says He’ll take care of me, but my responsibility is to stop worrying about it. He said He would provide for all that I need. The job, the house, the relationships, everything that matters to me matters to Him.

Learning to trust Him for the good Father that He is will turn the voltage up on your light. Pretty soon the basket has to get out of the way. And when we walk into the room, the atmosphere changes because of Who we carry in us. Darkness has to flee. People will be affected because the God of the universe just came in.

Life is never the same after we embrace Jesus for who He said He is. His love for us is a light that just won’t go out, and the more we embrace Him, the brighter it gets.

Why Is God So Unreasonable?

Why is God so unreasonable?I would like to suggest that God is unreasonable. Not because what He asks of us is just too difficult, but because we can’t reason Him fully. There’s only so much we can understand of Him, after that we just have to trust our spirits. Our spirits understand God perfectly because God is spirit. When we learn to trust what our spirit knows, it’s called faith.

When we intellectualize God without having a relationship with Him, we become like the Pharisees. They knew who Jesus was. They listened to Him teach. They saw what He did, but they didn’t want what He offered. It messed with their intellectual understanding of God.

Jesus didn’t come to set up a code of rules that the Pharisees would be familiar with. He came to be in relationship with anyone who wanted God. Relationships are messy. They get personal. Jesus wanted to connect with real people, not rules.

Coming to Jesus takes an act of will. That involves your intellect, but it also requires faith. You have to step off the cliff at some point and trust that God will be there for you. He promises that He will, all the time. Don’t over think it. He’s not asking you to stop using your brain, He’s asking you to trust your spirit.

And when you do, God goes from being unreasonable to very, very reasonable. When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you get a new brain. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) Renewing is just like being born again. It’s a new brain, not the same old one born again. Instead of your old brain, you get the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Don’t reject this. This is exactly what the Bible says, and the Bible is the word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Now that you have the mind of Christ, God becomes understandable. This is going to take some getting used to. Knowing the depths of God won’t come in a blinding flash of revelation, though that will happen too. You learn and grow — precept upon precept, line upon line. (Isaiah 28:10) You begin to trust when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. You begin to get ideas that you know weren’t yours. The mind of Christ begins to broaden your thinking and you begin to trust Him more. It’s a journey into the realms that your natural mind could never take you.

But this relationship doesn’t just happen because you read about it. It requires an active decision. You must want it and go after it.

Let’s pretend that you are isolated in a place with no access to the outside world. There’s no way to learn the things that you need to survive or help you. Then let’s say that you had an uncle who knew you were in that difficult place and wanted to help. Let’s say that he spent all of his savings to buy you a computer that would help you with everything you need. But in order to get the computer to you, the uncle has an accident and loses an arm. How would you feel about receiving that gift after it cost him so much, both financially and physically? Would you leave the computer in the box and dust it off now and then? Would you thank him kindly and use the computer to play games? Or would you hug and kiss him for the sacrifice that he made and plug that computer into the internet and discover the world?

The gift you’ve been given by God is far, far more valuable than a computer. Jesus, the Son of God, sacrificed His life and then gave you access to all of heaven. His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) It’s just amazing. Everything you need in life is yours. God has promised to take of you and delight you. The key to receiving all that you need is this:  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) Seek after the Lord. Ask for more understanding of who He is. Find Him in the scriptures, in your prayer time, in looking at His creation. He’s there, and He’s waiting. There is so much He wants you to have. He’s a great Father and He wants the best for you. Go get it.

If I Trust God, Why Are There So Many Problems In My Life?

Sometimes we believe more about what we think the Bible says than what the Bible actually says. We believe unerringly in what we’ve been taught by others, and yet when we read the Word that runs counter to that teaching, we somehow justify the false doctrine.

How you respond to problems will show your faith.One of the beliefs that we’ve held onto is that, if we believe in God, our lives will be perfect. Some of you are rolling your eyes, but this is a belief that many people have held onto their whole lives. I did for a long time.

What does that Bible say? It says that Jesus, the Son of God, was in a boat that nearly capsized in the middle of an ocean. It says that Paul was arrested, beaten, stoned, and left for dead. It says that Stephen was martyred. Did these men do something that invited disaster into their lives because of sin? No. These were men truly devoted to God.

We were never promised paradise on earth when we come to Christ. We were promised salvation. Despite our faith and trust in God, life happens. No matter how strong your prayer life is, the car will break down on the freeway, the kids will play too hard and lose a tooth, the dog will throw-up in a visitor’s purse. Life happens. It’s how you respond to it that will show your real walk with God.

Jesus said to pray on earth as it is in heaven. Is there provision in heaven for what you need? Yes, declare provision from heaven and thank God for His generosity. Is there healing in heaven for what you need? Yes, declare healing and thank God for His great love. Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and all that you need will be provided for you. He said that because you will still deal with life, as long as you live on earth.

And, by the way, you will never get yourself cleaned up enough for anything. You don’t have that ability. Even if you are not consciously sinning, we all have a history that has shaped our attitudes and desires, and those are not always righteous. But God knows that, and He loves you dearly. Don’t try to clean up your life so God can do something in you. Go to God with your heart in your hand and He will do what needs to be done in you. He’s better at knowing your needs than you are.  Some of those problems in your life come from what you believe about yourself and others. You may need to forgive and let go. You may need to admit that you’re not right. You may need to say, I’m sorry. Breaking some bad habits can only be done with God’s help, so give it all to Him and be obedient to Him. It will change your life.

Everyday can be filled with love, joy, peace,  and wisdom, even when you caused the fender bender or broke the boss’s favorite coffee mug. Jesus is always with you. Always. He is everything you need for everything that happens in your day. You want paradise on earth? Walk with Jesus and pray for the things of heaven to be real on earth. It’s in the Bible. Just read it.

Is Change Bad or Good?

Allow God to make changes in your life.If you’re like me, change is something to be avoided at all costs. Change requires us to let go of ideas, habits, attitudes that we held onto for a reason. We’re comfortable with what we know.  We allow new processes into our routine when it suits us. The problem is how we react when it’s God introducing them?

Sometimes God has to shake things up in our lives. He may point to a certain direction for a long time, and if we are not responsive to Him, He may turn our lives upside down to get us where we need to be. In most cases, that’s not a pleasant experience. But He does it for a reason. He always has our best in mind, and He’s not afraid to make us uncomfortable to get it.

If change is thrust upon you, turn to God and look to see what He’s doing. We always need to be more loving, kind, generous, forgiving. If God is rearranging your life, it’s because He wants to give you more of His Spirit. Go with it, you’ll grow as you do.

But is change happening because you’re fighting against God? Maybe He needs you to show more forgiveness and kindness. Are you running away from something that God is using to shape you? It’s miserable to live in a situation that stresses you, but allow God to open the doors. Don’t kick them in yourself. Those times of trial are meant to bring you closer to God. Even then, you can find peace, you can find joy.

Don’t assume that when the bottom falls out of your life that you’ve done something wrong. Maybe you have. Maybe you’ve made bad decisions, but it may be God loving you more than you realize.