Heir Apparent

And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, “Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be Blessed.” Acts 3:25

Inheritances are good things. It’s free money. Someone else worked for it and worried about it. We get it because we’re related to the deceased. Which creates a problem; someone has to die first.

We’re not physically related to Abraham, but we’re his adopted children. We’re adopted when we believe that his Father is also our Father. That makes us heirs of His kingdom. Adoption is the process of taking someone who doesn’t share the family DNA, and giving them the rights of natural children, including inheritance rights. Jesus’ death made our inheritance real. Don’t squander this inheritance, invest it where it grows – in the lives of other people.

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What’s It Worth

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, Blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:21

Inheritances are spent fairly quickly on things that don’t last and won’t be remembered. The talk of “leaving a legacy” usually boils down to hoping against hope that some minuscule memory of us will endure for more than a generation –  and a generation statistically is 25.5 years!

Jacob wanted to reward his son Joseph who had rescued the family from famine. Unfortunately, Joseph’s descendants turned out to be a huge force of wickedness in Israel. What we learn is that only God is good, and He holds the future. Wealth, health and everything else is temporary. The only permanent things are our faith, hope and love in Jesus. Not in anyone else, and not in anything else!

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Hit the Road

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.” Luke 1:45

Can we believe anything? We’re misled, and we mislead others. We lie because we doubt God’s plans for us; we want control!

Here, Mary is modeling Christian faith. She was a poor, unmarried pregnant girl. God gave her a vision about her baby and about her much older cousin Elizabeth, who was also pregnant. Mary believed God’s promise and then walked the 80 miles from Nazareth to Elizabeth’s home to share in the good news they both had. What faith! And we skip church on Sundays even though it’s less than a thirty minute drive. Where is our faith? In our minds or sleeping in? James said, “Faith without deeds is dead.” It’s time to hit the road and take our faith to others. Now!

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Slip and Fall

Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me. Luke 7:23

Being balanced can refer to physical balance, the kind that athletes have and older people lose. Eating a balanced diet is supposed to make us healthier, but things that used to be bad, like eggs, are suddenly good again! Having a balanced view of life usually becomes easier as we age. The stridency of young people often mellows as the accumulations of uncertainties makes life less black and white and more gray.

Here, Jesus is telling us that many things will try to knock us off our spiritual balance beam. Temptations of all kinds can trip us up, and turn our focus from Him and to things like success, materialism, unhealthy relationships and sexuality. Being His follower isn’t easy or smooth, and the road’s narrow. Watch your step!

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Peace on Earth

“Blessed is the King who comes in the Name of the Lord!” Luke 19:38

“Peace” usually makes people think of world peace; nations living together in harmony. Unfortunately, world peace is now built upon mutually assured destruction (MAD); we can wipe each other out, so don’t start anything. Peace in families is a goal during the holidays when people living different lives have to behave and act civil to each other.  Peace in that setting means love or at least patience.

Christ didn’t come to bring either of those kinds of peace, and He explicitly said so. His peace seeps deep into our souls and gives us with the assurance of our salvation. We “feel” His peace. We find it by seeking to know Him and then following Him. As someone once said, “Know Christ, know peace. No Christ, no peace.”

 

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Promised Land

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the Blessing of God. Hebrews 6:7

God’s love is unlimited! We see only a tiny fraction of the blessings he showers on us. Let’s look at a few of the blessings we’ve all received in the relatively recent past: antibiotics, antipsychotic drugs,  car air bags, bypass surgery and stents, in vitro fertilization, GFCI electric outlets, cell phones, computers and wifi. Not to mention cures for various types of cancer, infections and other diseases including the eradication of small pox and soon polio. In countries world famine is, at best, an after-thought; we never miss a meal.

Our lands have been blessed by the only One who can. We just need to remember to be thankful. Very, very thankful.

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Human Nature

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has Blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual Blessing in Christ.           Ephesians 1:3

What exactly are “spiritual blessings”? We know what material blessings look like and that’s what we usually ask for when we pray. It’s human nature to ask for God’s help and provision.

Spiritual blessings are things like faith, hope, love and humility. These don’t come naturally. We’re naturally gullible and skeptical, selfish and greedy, proud and timid. Jesus modeled how we should live in the material and spiritual worlds: Discipline and prayer. We know there are temptations that will drag us back to the pit of wretchedness we’re always trying to escape. Only Christ, and His blessing can rescue us. So, spiritual blessings are real, needed and accessible. If we ask, we’ll receive.

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Lifted Up

When He had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, He lifted up His hands and Blessed them. Luke 24:50

This is the last time Jesus is physically present on earth. He was resurrected and had been with His disciples for forty days. He told them that the Holy Spirit would to be sent to guide them. Ten days later the Holy Spirit appeared at Pentecost.

The apostles had faith. They trusted His every word. They went back to Jerusalem, elected Judas’ replacement and waited and prayed. God was faithful, and is always faithful. He often takes away many things we value: health, family, friends, marriages, jobs, etc. to change and strengthen us. We may not know why things happen, but we can know when; we’ll see His plan when we reach heaven. Wait and pray. There’s no other way.

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Back to the Future

By faith Isaac Blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. Hebrews 11:20

The future always looks hazy. When we think back on the changes that have occurred over our lifetimes, there’s hope and fear. Hope because there are now cures for the incurable, peace between former enemies and inventions that have made life easier. Despite those advances, we fear the future because many cultural changes threaten our sense of right and wrong; Christianity is in decline. We don’t like uncertainty regardless of how rosy some predictions may be.

Jesus is from our past and in our future. Because He loves us, the future will be good, whether or not we feel that way now or when events unfold. It won’t be bleak, hopeless and meaningless. Having faith in the future means having faith in Christ? Do we?

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No Free Ride

Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be Blessed through you.” Galatians 3:8

In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George experienced what his hometown would have been like without him. It was eye-opening, and he saw how much his life had affected others.

What would our world be like if Jesus hadn’t come? Would we still be worshipping Roman idols? Would it be a more caring place without His command to love others? Would the less fortunate be integrated into society without His message of equality and humility? Jesus’ life is real, His place in history undeniable and the evidence is beyond obvious. So, are we going to believe it, deny it or, the easiest way, ignore it? Free will isn’t free; it can be very costly.

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