Out of the Way

And you will be Blessed when you go out. Deuteronomy 28:6

When God blesses us as we go out, He’s telling us that He’ll be with us everywhere. The outside world can be a scary place, and that fear is often justified. Going out with God as our escort should make us feel more confident, powerful and secure.

Here, God is telling the Israelites they’ll receive His unlimited blessings, but only if they love and obey Him. Jesus taught us how to love God. He said it means to love Him with our hearts, bodies, minds and souls and to love our neighbors as ourselves. John says it’s much tougher to love others than Him. But we have to go out to meet others. And we usually have to go out of our way to even try. Don’t give up trying.

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Add and Subtract

He will love you and Bless you and increase your numbers. Deuteronomy 7:13

Wanting less seems crazy. Although we love to say that we’re happy with what we’ve been blessed with, we still buy lottery tickets when the winnings hit over $100 Million. We would tithe, of course, but ultimately we have an appetite for more.

Here there’s a caution beef the blessing. Moses tells the Israelites that they’ll be blessed provided that they pay attention to God’s laws and obey them. But one of the principles of human existence is that we like control, and we don’t like to obey.That’s why there are punishments for crimes. You obey or you pay. God’s best blessings are given to those who know, love and obey Him. Don’t Screw this up. Obey.  Be blessed.

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Hunger Pains

Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Luke 6:21

For whatever reason, God created us with a need to eat. And eat we do.  Three times a day, not counting snacks and treats. We have a health crisis caused by overeating, and nothing seems to be able to stop us. Jesus understood that food is important, which is why he twice fed thousands of people with loaves and fishes.

Here, however, He’s talking about spiritual food; the only thing He wants us to truly hunger for. The food we eat and the soft-drinks and hard-drinks we consume only temporarily satisfy us. He said that only His flesh and blood have the power to give us fill us now, and give us eternal life later. We’ve put ourselves on a spiritual diet; it’s time we binge on Jesus.

 

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King’s Ransom

“Blessed is the king of Israel.” John 12:13

Kings, queens politicians and billionaires have constant police and security protection. There may be people or groups who want to kidnap them for ransom. What sort of ransom would be paid for the return of the Queen of England? Better yet, what sort of ransom would be paid for us if we were kidnapped? Less, of course. But a better question is where would our families get the money demanded for our release? Sell the house, cars etc. Would that be enough?

Jesus is our ransom. God is just, and because we’ve all sinned, we all deserve death. We can’t ever earn heaven; our good deeds are never good enough. But Jesus’ death, paid the price for our release. He paid a king’s ransom for us. What are we doing for Him today?

 

 

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Family Line

So they will put My Name on the Israelites, and I will Bless them. Numbers 6:27

Anyone with an unusual name sometimes wishes that it wasn’t so. “Smith” and “Jones” are easy; everyone can pronounce and spell them. More ethnic names present problems especially when someone’s trying to accomplish something over the phone, because it may take the hearer on the other end several times before they get it right. That’s when we may want to legally change our name!

When we are a part of God’s family line, we can sometimes have a problem with our name too. “Christian” is a term under stress. The world is increasing hostile to us. People use His name as a swear word. Here, God is saying that if we’re called by His name, we’ll be blessed. A blessing with a price!

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Promises Promises

He redeemed us in order that the Blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Galatians 3:14

We hear promises made all the time. Politicians are famous for vowing to do something and then not keeping their word. Bosses can sometimes promise  raises, but not deliver. A friend can swear to repay a loan but doesn’t. When we put of faith in people we will always disappointed because when push comes to shove “I” comes before “U” in the alphabet.

God’s promises are always kept. He promised that by having faith in Jesus we would be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit shows believers what to think, say and do. We break promises all to frequently. He’ll never break any of  His.

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Free for All

They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be Blessed. Psalm 37:26

We’re born selfish. The two year old’s cry, “mine” never completely leaves us. We love to say that we worked hard for what we’ve got, but, ultimately, our success has as much to do with where we were born and the parents who raised us, as anything we’ve accomplished on our own. God wants us to remember that. It is His generosity that’s allows us to have the health, wealth and opportunities we now enjoy.

Here, He’s reminding us to return some of what we’ve been blessed with to Him, by being loving, compassionate and charitable to others. St. Augustine said, “God has no need for money but the poor have. You give it to the poor and God receives it.” Give and get a blessing.

 

 

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Come Clean

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.  Revelation 22:14

Will next year be the best year of our lives or the worst? Will our health improve, decline or will we die? Will the country succeed or stumble? Only God knows.

This verse appears at the end of the Book of Revelation, where the new, mystical Jerusalem descends from heaven. Whether it is accurate or symbolic, the question is, “Who gets in?” Jesus has repeated told us that He is the only Way, Truth and Light – no one comes to the Father except through Him – not Buddha, Mohammad or Krishna. We only need to believe and be saved, His blessings next year will be bold and quiet. Try not to miss them!

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Wide Receiver

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus Himself said: It is more Blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Jesus isn’t into Christmas, He’s into people. It’s easy to lose sight of that in the mist of the glitter. His gift is the ultimate one: eternal life.

Imagine spending our life savings on a present that’s rejected or ignored. That would almost certainly destroy the relationship. But that’s how we often treat Him.  Yet despite either our rejecting Him outright or ignoring His blessings, He still loves us and gives us even more. The miracle of Christmas isn’t the baby in the manger; it’s the mercies He showers on us daily. We need to open our hearts wide and receive those thankfully!

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Follow the Leader

The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” Blessed is He who comes in the name for the Lord!” Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9

Jesus enters the scenes described in the Bible purposefully. Sometimes He is very subtle, like when He entered Jerusalem secretly because His time hadn’t yet come. Usually, His entries are dramatic: the angels announcing His birth, the Spirit appearing at his baptism and here, when He’s entering Jerusalem days before His crucifixion.

How do we announce Jesus to those around us? Subtlety may work, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for cowardice. Boldness may be wise, but obnoxiousness doesn’t win converts. We need to pray for wisdom – and courage. Smart people are willing to be led, and our job is the show them the perfect Leader.

 

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