Blessings with a Purpose

I will make you into a great nation,
   and I will bless you.
Genesis 12:2

God not only blesses us, but he blesses us for a purpose.  He blesses us so we will be a blessing.  The word bless means, “to benefit.”  It implies abundantly or greatly. In the Bible we are reminded that God blessed Abraham abundantly by building a great nation through his seed.  He made Abraham’s name great.

God’s blessings are different toward each one of us. Sometimes our blessings may come through the most difficult of trials. The purest gold comes through the most intense heat, and the most beautiful gems are formed through immense pressure. Other blessings may be in the rich joy of family members or friends in our lives.

Everyone can look at unique ways God has blessed their lives. The question is, “Are we focusing on the blessings God has given us or on the frustrations?” Let’s thank God each day for the wonderful ways He blesses us, and then let’s be diligent to use our blessings to bless the world around us.

How does God want to use your gifts and talents to benefit others today?

How Deep is Your Faith?

Tree by creek

When the Robersons moved into a house not too far from ours, we were thrilled.  It’s always fun to have dear friends living close by, and especially if they give you their trees. Let me explain. You see, they didn’t like the landscaping around their house and wanted to get rid of a few Savannah holly trees. Being the kind and thoughtful friends that we are, we volunteered to take the trees off their hands and plant them in our own yard.  Wow, what a deal!  Free trees!  We found just the right spot for them.  Our house backs up to a pleasant little creek, and so we planted them near the creek to enhance the beauty of the area. Five lovely Savannah hollies lining our creek! We were so proud of ourselves.

The water in our creek tends to rise when we have a rainstorm, and boy did we have a gulley washer one night right after we planted those hollies. On the morning after the storm, we woke up and looked out our window toward the creek. Hmmm, we wondered, what were those large holes in the ground? Wait a minute, and where were our hollies? Three of them were completely gone! Yes, swept away! We had another storm soon after that, and guess what. The other two were swept downstream too. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

Now if the hollies had been given the time to take root in the ground they may have stayed around, but since they were newly planted there was nothing to hold them in the ground as the water rose and the current flowed. If you have ever watched flood waters rise, then you know the strength and power of the water’s current.  It will sweep away anything and everything that is not deeply rooted or firmly founded in the ground. In a moment, large objects can be swept away and carried for miles downstream. The same is true with the flow of life and the current of our culture.  If we are not deeply rooted in the truth of Christ and the assurance of His love, we can easily be carried away by the latest philosophies or our own whims and feelings.

There is a constant flow of ideas that “sound right,” and “seem good” in our culture today. But we must know The truth – God’s truth.  Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31,32).” As we hold to God’s teaching and are rooted and built up in Him, then we will be free from the pull and drag of man-made rules and fine sounding philosophies. Here is Paul’s encouragement to the Colossians:

 

Colossians 2:6-8

 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

 

No more shallow Christianity! Let’s be intentional about letting our roots grow down deep into Christ as we study His word and get to know Him. We don’t want to be guided by the latest fads or our finicky feelings. When we get to know what the Bible has to say about Christ, our faith is made strong to weather the storms of life and discern the philosophies of our culture. Take some time to read God’s Word for yourself each day.

 

A portion of this blog is an excerpt from Karol’s book A Woman’s Secret to Confident Living.

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colossians video

Are You Enjoying Life?

In the melody of our life, the music is separated here and there by rests.   – John Ruskin

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In music, as in life, a rest or a pause is a part of the making of the music. There are times when we must take a deliberate pause from the activities of life and the rapid pursuit of our dreams in order to rest and be still.

 

Recently, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii with his work. I must admit, at first I felt guilty for enjoying such a beautiful respite. As I sat by the pool reading one of Chip Ingram’s books, Good to Great in God’s Eyes, I came to chapter 8 entitled, “Enjoy Great Moments.” In this chapter, Chip expressed the importance of balance and the beauty of enjoying life. He wrote, “If heaviness is always the tone of your life, you’ll be out of balance, and a lot of other areas of your life will be negatively affected.”

 

He went on to say, “Here’s a question many Christians will never ask you: Are you enjoying your life? Are you deeply satisfied, drinking in rich experiences with people, places, and circumstances God is providentially surrounding you with?”

 

How kind our God is to allow me to read those very words as I took a rest from the rush of daily life and ministry. I needed a fresh reminder that it is not only good, but necessary to embrace the respite God provides in our lives. Yes, He leads us beside peaceful streams as our Good Shepherd (Psalm 23).

 

This week, I want to encourage you in two ways:

  1. Be deliberate about times of rest in your life. Don’t be afraid of the pauses, rather embrace them and allow yourself to enjoy them.
  2. Rejoice in the Lord. No matter what your circumstances, you can take joy in the fact that your Heavenly Father is with you and cares for you. He never changes. Take joy in Him and the love He has for you. The joy of the Lord is your strength.

 

Chip reminds us, “Being happy and finding satisfaction in life are gifts from God.” Don’t wait to enjoy life, embrace the blessings and great moments God gives you each and every day.

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