Fill In The Blanks

When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord Bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” 1 Samuel 15:13

God is often seen by some as distant and disinterested; that He gives general guidelines and the rest is up to us to “fill in the blanks.” Many people think God’s either too busy to focus on our problems or doesn’t care. Samuel gave Saul specific orders, but he decided to interpret those to his own advantage. Bad idea.

Jesus said that God knows the number of our hairs. He wants us to know Him better, and become more like Him. He’s given us precise instructions, but we only follow the ones we like! If we let God fill in the blanks for us, we won’t have the empty spaces; we’ll have the complete sentence He wants to write for our lives.

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Bad Guys

He loved to pronounce a curse – may it come upon him; he found no pleasure in Blessing – may it be far from him. Psalm 109:17

There’s no shortage of bad guys and bad gals. There never has been. We live in times where news of scandals and crimes are flashed before us every minute. It’s easy to think the entire world has lost its balance, but it hasn’t. Radio personality Paul Harvey said, “In times like these, it nice to remember that there have always been times like these.”

God doesn’t change either. He’s not surprised by any of the current antics and crises. He’s in charge of all of them. He point isn’t to worry, but to have faith that He knows what He’s doing. That may be more faith than we can muster.  Let’s start praying for more.

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Tough Stuff

David asked the Gibeonites, “What shall I do for you? How shall I make amends so that you will Bless the Lord’s inheritance?” 2 Samuel 21:3

Not all blessings are bound to be good for everybody. Here David’s asking how to remove a drought caused by crimes committed by the late King Saul. The answer from the Gibeonites was permission to put death seven of Saul’s descendants. David granted their request. God then provided rain, a blessing.

We don’t know why things happen. God sometimes lets the wicked harm the righteous. Job, Jeremiah & Habakkuk asked why, and received the same answer: WAIT! God’s sense of justice isn’t limited by time. We want justice NOW! Praying for justice is risky. All our sins deserve severe punishment. Don’t pray for justice, pray for mercy, and, hopefully, He’ll be kind and give us it NOW!

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Walk Don’t Run

For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will Bless you in the land you are entering to possess. Deuteronomy 30:16

Strolling means to walk in a relaxed and unstressed way. We don’t do much of that. We’re always in a hurry because we don’t want to be late, get there last or miss our favorite show. We’re on the run.

God’s never in a hurry. He’s not slow or fast, He’s always on time. Our life with God should be a walk. Jesus never used “run” in a positive manner. We’re called to walk – toward Him and with Him. Then we’ll have time for a relaxed conversation and really get to know Him!

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Star Struck

I will surely Bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Genesis 22:17

Stars are awe-inspiring. In the city they’re like little flashlights that blink through the night haze. In the country, they’re astounding, uncountable brilliant pin pricks. Ancient people worshiped them as gods. Astrologers still insist that they control our lives.

God almost always uses stars as an example of His generosity, His blessing. Abraham was a nobody, and God made him into something great, just because he had faith. Jesus said that if we had even a small faith, like a mustard seed, we could move mountains. We all want to be stars, at least in the eyes of people who matter. Let’s pray for an increased faith and see if that will brighten us up!

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Second Chance

As for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely Bless him; I will make him fruitful and greatly increase his numbers. Genesis 17:20

Everybody likes to win, and everybody likes a winner. We never remember who got second place. But we come in second, third and last all the time. We lose more than we win. If a baseball player hits .300 they’re famous; despite that they were put out 7 of 10 times at bat.

God gives us second chances. God was kind to Ishmael. He was Isaac’s older brother, but wasn’t chosen by God to be Abraham’s heir; he was second. Instead, God gave him twelve sons whose descendants became the Muslims; not bad for second place.  God continually bails us out of the trouble we put ourselves into. Thank God for giving us second chances. Unfortunately, we’ll always need them!

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Hearing Test

The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of His bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to Bless all the work of your hands. Deuteronomy 28:12

God wants to bless us. He loves us, like any good father, He wants the best for us – we’re His children. Kids come in three flavors: Little, Middle & Big. Parenting little kids takes the energy, but they tend to want to obey. Middle kids (teenagers), question and sometimes rebel, but can be usually controlled by withholding privileges.  Adults kids are autonomous; they can be reasoned with and sometimes persuaded, but they are in total control.

We’re all God’s adult kids. We don’t have to listen to anything He says; often we ignore Him. Mark Twain remarked about how smart his “old-man” got after he turned 21. God’s our Father.  Let’s listen up!

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Be Nice

All peoples on earth will be Blessed through you. Genesis 12:3

We all try to be nice. We’re nice when we allow a car cut in front of us during traffic. We’re nice to the waitress and store clerk. We’re nice to policemen! Ultimately, we’re often nicer to strangers than the people we’re suppose to love. That’s because loved ones have either failed to live up to our expectations of them, or, more likely, we’ve failed to live up to our expectations for ourselves and we need an outlet for our frustrations.

God’s incredibly generous. Not only does He bless us, He blesses those who we bless. Let’s start at home. Let’s start with ourselves. He is blessing us right now! Go and do likewise.

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If Only

The Blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today.  Deuteronomy 11:27

We love to “if only” ourselves. If only we had said this. If only we had said that. If only we had done something differently! We are constantly second guessing ourselves about what other people think of us.  Someone once said, “Don’t worry what people think about you because they don’t think about you very often.” True, true, true.

God, on the other hand, is always thinking about us. He has an amazing plan to bless our lives if only we keep His commands. Yet He doesn’t force them on us. He gives us the free will to obey or not. Amazingly, He blesses us even when we fail, but He’d surely bless us more if only we were more obedient.

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Pay Back

Have You not put a hedge around him and his household everything he has? You have Blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. Job 1:10

We all like to think that if we do good, we’ll be blessed. Sounds like karma, right? Even the “prosperity gospel” movement tends to say that we deserve nice things because we’re such a nice people. God owes us!

Job found out that God has His own priorities. God rewards our efforts, but not necessarily with physical blessings. We are called to be obedient – period. Jesus says we should act like slaves who work all day, serve their master dinner  and only then get a break. That’s not how would have designed the system. Our reward may be on this side of heaven – or that. Wait!

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