"I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. -- Ezekiel 34:26"
LISTEN: Laura Story, "Blessings"
Blessings is one of the great themes of the Bible. The word in its various forms occurs well over 400 times. Blessing is related to the root "to kneel" -- promoting a humble position, a open attitude to the workings of God -- so critical for blessings to manifest.
It s in God's nature to bless. Divine blessing conveys abundance of life's material and spiritual riches, to make holy, To make happy or joyous; to confer prosperity or happiness upon; to grant divine favor to. As humans we are called to bless others (especially our children) to express a wish or prayer for the happiness of; to invoke a blessing upon.
It is a challenge of our faith then when we do not feel God is blessing our paths, and we face obstacle after obstacle.
There two important spiritual lessons God wants to teach us: 1. Blessings come in disguise; 2. we need to count our blessings, even in times of trials.
Songwriter Laura Story, wrote her song, "Blessings," while sitting in her car, on the back of a receipt, after she found out her newlywed husband had a brain tumor. It's been a rough time since that diagnosis, but Laura says"
" I feel like we’ve kind of gotten to a place of having to make a choice. Are we going to judge God based on our circumstances that we don’t understand, or are we going to choose to judge our circumstances based on what we know to be true about God? Not that I choose the right thing every day, but I’m learning that every morning when I wake up to choose to trust God."
Because of this, one of the most neglected spiritual practices is counting our blessings. We are called to bless each other, especially our children. Do we hug them, or touch them lightly (depending on their age!) and say a brief blessing -- "May God Bless you and make you like Sarah, or Abraham etc..." or someone else they can relate to? We can take a page from the Sabbath service, where children are blessed weekly. In blessing, we become more trained to see how God is using us, even in very difficult circumstances. So one of the greatest spiritual practices we can do is to count our blessings, start by naming 1-2 blessings, and working up. Practice blessing counting as a family, or with a prayer partner. What would it be like for us as a church to go on a "Blessing Challenge?" What a difference it could make in our lives!
God wants to bless us. God wants to use us to bless others. As John Calvin remarked: " All the blessings we enjoy ...should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors."
"Lord, open our eyes so we might see blessings, in all its forms, in our lives. We bless you! We bless those around us -- may they know your love through all the circumstances in life."
HAVE A BLESSED WEEK!