Forget Me Not

When you are harvesting in your field and overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may Bless you in all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 24:19

We work hard and it’s very easy to suspect that those with less are lazy or made poor decisions; otherwise they would have as much as we do, right?

Job said that men at ease have contempt for misfortune. The Lord is telling us that we are called to be generous whether we feel rich or not.  The man who left the sheave may have been having a poor harvest, but he still left it for those even more needy. And when we do that – and sometimes it hurts – Lord will bless us too.

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Expect the Unexpected

Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam.  He struck his hands together and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have Blessed them these three times.”  Numbers 24:10

Life’s unpredictable.  We think, plan, hope and pray. We often don’t get what we ask for. James would say we don’t because we doubt.  He’s got a point.

We ask but expect the worst.  We usually think we’re not worthy of God’s favor because we are sinners, and we are  But God gives rain to the righteous and the wicked, so “merit” isn’t in the picture.  Balak had paid Balaam good money for him to put curse on Israel, but he only got blessings instead.  What if God wants us to bless somebody when anyone else wanted them cursed? That would be unexpected. That would be Divine!

 

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Go Girl!

“Most blessed of women be Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, most blessed of tent-dwelling women.”  Judges 5:24

Women are often overlooked throughout history.  Most people can probably count the names of heroic women on only two hands. The Bible, however, is full of courageous women who followed God and put the men to shame.  Like Jael, who drove a stake through the enemy commander’s temple and won a war.

Today, Godly women are fighting daily.  They battle against the sexualization of their daughters, their sisters and themselves. They contend for the hearts and minds of their men and boys from the explosion of pornography.  They strive for appropriate recognition and respect.  Jael lived in a tent and saved her people; women now contend with more subtle and sophisticated enemies. Jesus is the new stake, and He’ll win our wars.

 

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Guilty As Charged

But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come upon them. Proverbs 24:25

We all love to see justice done – unless it is about to be done to us! Convicting the guilty sounds simple. The first question is whether the person is innocent, or can they go free on a technicality?  It’s not as simple as it seems.

Once guilt is established, then what’s the right punishment? Without Jesus, it’s death and hell.  With Jesus, our guilt has been forgiven but there are often serious ramifications this side of heaven.  Forgiving a wrong doesn’t mean the bad guys go free; there are many Christian criminals in prisons. What it means is calling a sin, a sin and suffering the consequences. Then there can be plea for mercy, which He is often kind to grant.

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Some Are and Some Aren’t

His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be Blessed. Psalm 112:2

Every generation looks is concerned about the one coming after them.  A line in a song from the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” is: “What’s the matter with kids today?” It was written in the 1950s.  Nothing’s changed!

We were those kids.  We’re now in control and are, in our own way, mighty in the land; we’re blessed.  Are our children? The answer always seems to be: some are and some aren’t.   Does the fault lay in us being less than perfect parents? God doesn’t demand perfection, but He wants progress – in our relationships, in our generosity and in our love for Him.  Uprightness has more to do with looking up and giving up and less to do with looking down and giving in.

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Say Cheese!

All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has Blessed. Isaiah 61:9

Everybody smiles for the camera. Saying “Cheese” makes the corners of our mouths grow wider.  How often do we smile at God?  We’ve all been around someone who’s so enthusiastic that it bugs us. Sometimes we want to slap them and make them embrace a more “realistic” view of life.

Christians ought to be the world’s happiest people.  God has a sense of humor, and since we’re created in His image, we do too.  Humor is God’s way of humbling us, and helping us not to take ourselves too seriously. He knows what is best, and, if we really believed that, they couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces. What do our faces look like when no one’s looking?  Shouldn’t we be smiling?

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In and Out

You will be Blessed when you come in.       Deuteronomy 28:6

God always knows when we’re “in” with Him and when we’re “out.”  It’s the same us; we’re in with some people, and out with others.  We’re often in with those we know the least, like coworkers, and out with our families. – and ourselves!

Knowing that God is loves us whether we’re in or out with someone or ourselves is a great path to peace.  We can approach everything with more joy and confidence.  We are blessed by Him because He loves us, not because who we are, or what we said or didn’t say.  Focusing on whether we’re in or out with others is exhausting. We’re Out with God when we want the control and In when we realize our dependence on Him for everything.

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Rest Assured

And God Blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done. Genesis 2:3

Did God need to rest?  Whether He needed to or not, He rested. We need to rest too. But weekends have replaced the concept of a Sabbath, and those are often scheduled out to the minute. We get tired, but we don’t rest.  Rest sometimes sounds wimpy!

God wants us to rest because it gives us our only time to enjoy Him and His blessings.  When we rest, we come the realization that God has GIVEN all this to us.  He’s provided us with our families, jobs, education, etc.  He wants us to be thankful for all of it.  He’s even got the future all planned for us too.  We can rest assured of that.

 

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One Last Shot

This is the Blessing that Moses the man of God pronounced on the Israelites before his death.  Deuteronomy 33:1

Moses’ story is mostly one of rejection, frustration and fear.  Sound familiar? And just before he died, he blessed the very people who had made his life a living hell for 40 years!

We sometimes want to “finally” tell people off.  We want to let them know how they hurt, humiliated or ignored us.  Moses put up with that, lived in a desert and didn’t get into the promised land. But he didn’t curse his people, he blessed them. Without God, it’s impossible to bless people that we really want to curse.  If we can master that (and it takes a lot of prayer!) no one will be able to control us. Our last shot will be a blessing for them and us.

 

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Howdy

Just then Boaz arrived from Bethlehem and greeted the harvesters, “The Lord be with you!” “The Lord Bless you!” they called back.  Ruth 2:4

It’s nice to get a friendly greeting.  “How are you?” “Doing OK?”  Whether the greeter really cares about how we’re are doing is questionable; just like our response “Fine,” “OK,” etc.  No intimacy or feelings shared.  We’re being polite.

Do we want to be more genuine?  How we greet God everyday is much more important. We can be up-beat or ignore Him. Often we grunt and move on.  We always want God to be cheerful, right? He LOVES us, but He doesn’t practice politeness. He’s blunt, which is typically the way He gets our attention.  When we feel that bluntness, it is good to remember that God didn’t write an etiquette book. He wrote one on obedience.

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