Up and Out

“Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also Bless me.” Exodus 12:32

In this climatic scene, Pharaoh finally agrees to free the Israelite slaves and let them leave Egypt. He wouldn’t have done it on his own, but God’s plagues left him no choice. And after bitterly agreeing to this, he asks for Moses’ blessing.

Christians believe different things about God, which is why there are so many denominations. But even those who don’t believe He exists ask for prayers in a crisis. Pharaoh had felt the pain of God’s wrath, and knew he needed a blessing. People we work and live around have pain and don’t know how to get a blessing. Jesus send us to be their blessing. He wants us up and out to help others experience His love for them – and us!

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Sound Judgment

“May you be Blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands.” 1 Samuel 25:33

God described David, as a man “after His own heart.” He was full of God’s wisdom, intensity and sensitivity.

Here, God’s protecting David from himself. David’s mad because he’d been humiliated. He’s on his way to take revenge when God intervenes, and keeps him from tragedy. God’s always doing that for us too. We’re our own worse enemies.  Often our impulse to lash out at others stems from nothing more than a bruised ego. God avenged David and He’ll protect us too. He’ll fight our battles and rescue us from others – and especially from ourselves! We can have a heart like God’s but only if we’re wise, courageous and faithful to Him too.

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Take Your Pick

Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly called Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my Blessing!” Genesis 27:36

Life’s an endless series of choices. Most are trivial, but others just look trivial. Many of the biggest decisions we make didn’t seem important at the time but later had monumental results.

Esau is experiencing the effect of choices here. He voluntarily gave up his inheritance, his birthright, for a bowl of stew. Jacob deliberately decided to steal his brother’s blessing; both men’s choices had life-long consequences for them and their family. We only have two real decisions to make. Do we accept Christ as our Savior or are we going to inwardly deny His promise of salvation. Take your pick.

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Have and Have-Not

And without a doubt, the lesser is Blessed by the greater. Hebrews 7:7

Status plays a subtle role in our lives. Most countries don’t have formal ranks like those with monarchies do, or a caste system where birth determines everything about the future. Western cultures, though, still have plenty of haves and have-nots. Fortunately, our culture allows movement between classes. Hard work and good ideas matter.

Here, Abraham’s being blessed by his spiritual superior, the mysterious Melchizedek. Jesus isn’t mysterious and He’s more than our spiritual superior; He’s God! He introduced the revolutionary concept that all people are equal in God’s sight. Women, who had been perpetually oppressed in ancient times, were just as entitled to receive God’s blessings as men; slaves were spiritually the same as their masters. Through faith in Jesus, we can all have all His Blessings now!

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Hidden Jewels

Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see Me again until you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  Luke 13:35

God doesn’t pick the people we would; we’d always go for the smart, attractive ones. He takes the rejected things and makes them into jewels, like He did with us!

Unfortunately, the people of Jerusalem were looking for a smart, attractive Messiah, a warrior to overthrow the Romans. What they got was a man without any physical characteristics to attract people to Him. He was both meek and powerful. They rejected Him, their real Messiah. And God rejected them. God doesn’t wrap up salvation like a Christmas present. It’s wrapped in love, pain and faith.   When we open His gift, we begin a celebration that lasts an eternity.

 

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Wait Here

While He was Blessing them, He left them and was taken up into heaven. Luke 24:51

What a scene! Forty days ago the apostles saw Jesus crucified. Now He had been resurrected and was ascending into heaven. What happened?

Everything happened. His resurrection proved that He was God. His ascension was His way of telling the apostles that He was going home, to heaven, to His Father and ours. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide them, but that wouldn’t happen for ten long days. They needed faith. They had to wait, and ask:  “Would God be faithful?” He was, but even then He didn’t make it easy. They had to be courageous, consistent and wise. So do we. God said wait. For Him. That takes faith, and having faith is all we’re asked to do. Wait and Pray.

 

 

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Glory Days

“Blessed be Your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all Blessing and praise.” Nehemiah 9:5

Bruce Springsteen made the term “Glory Days” famous. His song is about people in early life who were at their peak, but never moved beyond that phase of life. The glory days are what’s already happened. In that past world, life doesn’t get better, it just gets glorified.

In this verse, Nehemiah is glorifying God for blessing His people despite their sins. We all sin. Some sins are more significant than others, but through the death of Jesus, God will forgive us if we ask Him. We don’t have to be trapped in our past. He lets us open the doors and escape the life we’ve had, and breath in the aroma of hope – hope in Him. Our glory days are ahead, not behind.

 

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At Risk

The Lord Almighty will Bless them. Isaiah 19:25

We love action. Whether we’re really “thrill-seekers” or we just like to watch TV stunts, the idea of danger and anxiety is addicting. Modern missionaries are the essence of bold living. They take their families to remote places and expose them to some measure of risk to help spread God’s word. But we’re not all are called to go to overseas. Our ministry may be here.

If we really believed that God will bless us, then we would be much bolder, including being bolder when sharing our faith. Many Christians don’t discuss their faith for fear of rejection, especially in our heightened political environment. What if our ministry the person at the next desk? There are precious few times when God asks us to take risks for Him. Will we or won’t we?

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Yes Indeed

“…and indeed he will blessed. Genesis 27:33

We’ve heard and said that life’s not fair. We don’t mind it being unfair to others if it benefits us, but we complain when the unfairness hits close to home. Fair is in the eye of the beholder. When bad people are punished, that’s fair. When we’re caught speeding just over the limit, that’s not.

Here, Isaac had one blessing, and he gave it to his son, Jacob, not his son Esau. Which seems unfair because Esau was the oldest, and his father’s favorite. He felt that he’d been cheated by Jacob and he had. But it didn’t matter to God; this was part of His design.  Many things don’t matter to Him. He has a plan that will work regardless of our feelings.  He’s not interested in fair. He’s interested in the future.

 

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Key to Success

So he said, “I am Abraham’s servant. The Lord has Blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy.” Genesis 24:34-35

In the Old Testament, wealth is often seen as God’s blessing. It may have been due to leading a more righteous life, like Abraham. Or it could have been the result of being in the right place at the right time, like Solomon. The New Testament doesn’t condemn riches but it urges more caution.

Having money and possessions doesn’t disqualify us from entering heaven, but it’s the false sense of security that does. Jesus said it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the well-to-do to get to heaven because only those in need seek Him. Jesus came to seek the lost, not those who are only searching for the key to success.

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