“How Blessed Are You?” | Word For Life Says

 

There is no deep thought here or great spiritual revelation, just a question, “How blessed are you?”  One day I was sitting outside and just watching the trees blow lightly in the breeze.  I was listening to one of my favorite sounds of summer, the locusts in the trees.  I felt the warmth of the sun while watching the birds busy on the branch across from me.  My mind asked me, “How blessed are you?”  It’s kind of a rhetorical question because we are soooo blessed.  Not with great material possessions or new positions of honor, but with life.  Every day we are living is a blessing from the Lord.  Every day we breathe, no matter the outcome, is a wonderful gift from God.  Every moment with our families is to be treasured no matter how much they can pluck your nerves sometimes( 🙂 ).  Every day we get to experience is a day someone else didn’t get to enjoy.  Every book we get to read is a story that’s something special.  Every blog we get to meander over is a joy of fellowship bringing together people from around the world.  Every moment, every second of every day is God saying, “I’m still here.  I still love you.  I’m still in control of it all.”

“How blessed are you?”  I’m very blessed and I don’t take one day God has given me for granted.  Everything He pours into my life is a major blessing.  As I said, no deep revelation, just a question from a very grateful heart on today.  Enjoy your blessings today!!!

 

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“Know That God Hears!”

 

“I called on the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and set me in a broad place,”  Psalm 118:5, NKJV

It was one of those moments in prayer when you could utter no words, tearing streaming down your face, and only one phrase keeps repeating itself in the heart. That was me one night and try as I might to redirect my prayer, the Holy Spirit within me kept drawing me back to Psalm 118:5. I couldn’t get past it. After several attempts to lead my own prayer, I acquiesced.

There had to be a reason why my heart stayed so solely on this one verse. A revelation struck in the midst, telling me that I needed to be reassured that God hears me.  Sometimes the heart, as faithful as it can be, needs the additional support of knowing God hears.

“I called on the LORD!” God has so many wonderful characteristics and attributes, but one of the things that always strikes me as impressive is the fact that He hears my prayers, Psalm 54:2. In all lowliness of mind and heart, we come before Him freely. The Sovereign of the universe becomes attentive to us, to our needs, and bows down His ear to take on our concerns. He doesn’t have to but He is mindful of us, Psalm 8:4. He centers Himself to focus wholly and completely on us.

“The LORD answered me!” God responds! Our deepest heart’s desires do not fall on deaf ears. God is not playing cat and mouse with us. He wants us to seek Him that He may be found. “Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near,” (Isaiah 55:6, NKJV). Then, He can respond!

How would we receive it if God verbally and clearly answered us? I, honestly, would probably freak out. But, answer us He does! How often have we gone in prayer, and the Sovereign of the universe has moved and acted on our behalf? Too many times to count! Often in my prayers, I am always thanking Him for inter-weaving Himself through every area of my life because I may not have heard an answer, but I can see His response. I can see Him moving mountains and obstacles. I can feel Him bringing peace in the midst of the storm. I wonder at His glorious love for us that causes Him to respond.

“Set me in a broad place.” Distressing times are tight. It feels as though you really can’t move this way or that. You feel locked in and bound up as if unseen shackles are imprisoning you. But, when God answers prayer, you feel release. You feel a freedom that was once a dream. It no longer feels like the walls are caving in on you, rather with a Herculean strength of the spirit, you feel like you can now push some stuff out of your life and move on.

My heavenly Father hears me! There’s no need to get too deep with words here. Sometimes we just need to be reassured of these old, simple truths. God hears me! Take that, and go in the peace of God today.

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“Be Anxious for Nothing!”

How many times have “anxious” thoughts robbed us of the enjoyment of today?  How many worried days have we spent trying to control the uncontrollable?  How many times do we expend all our energies and might to solve all the world issues only feel like a wrung-out washrag at the end of the day?

Worried thoughts have a way to compel us to look to ourselves for the answers that we can’t find.  Believing that in and of ourselves we are the all end authority to all of life’s issues, at least this is what the human intellect would have us to believe.  Rather, God exhorts us over and over to rely on Him.  To come to Him in prayer and relinquish all of our cares, worries, and frustrations on Him because He cares for us.

The Lord knows what a heavy load humanity can carry.  He has felt it in His own being.  As a matter of fact, He carried it all to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to carry these burdens alone.  Yet, when push comes to shove and trials and tribulations knock on our personal doors we feel a need to answer the call and find a remedy for our problems on our own.  As a result, we struggle to find the answer to the question of why we can’t find peace in the midst of it all.

In actuality, the reason peace seems so evasive to many of us is because of our personal insistence on trying to do it on our own.  We pick up the problems that we are going through with every intention of carrying them to the altar and leaving them with Jesus.  Walking away from the altar of prayer, we pick those same problems back up feeling a need to control the outcome on our own.  As if God can’t handle our specific needs. Our humanness gets in the way of His divineness.  The limits we see on humanity are then applied to God and it gets in the way of His wonder-working power in our lives.

The way to obtain peace during these anxious moments is to give whatever is bothering us; whatever is burdening us over to the Lord and trust Him to give us His best in the situation.  After all, when it came to the matter of saving us He already gave us His best, didn’t He?  How much more difficult would it be then for Him to work out our everyday worries for us?  I believe you would agree that the two can’t compare.  So, if He was willing to do that for you and me, should we not then trust Him to do right by our anxious thoughts?

Would you rather place all of your problems in your own hands or in the hands of God?  Maybe it’s time to try something new.  Give God a shot at wrangling in the worrisome so that you can experience true peace.  Let’s get rid of the anxious for something better.

Be blessed 🙂

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Is Reasoning Getting in the Way of Faith?

 

The age of reason.  Whether it is defined in the historical sense as the age of enlightenment the 18th century brought forth or an actual numerical age when an individual determines between right and wrong, reasoning brings with it the idea of intellect and thoughts coming together to form conclusions on certain matters.

Reasoning is not all bad.  It gives us a premise for investigating facts about the things we are thinking about and it helps us to make conscientious decisions regarding the best course of action to take; to study and be informed with the knowledge to go forth into whatever endeavor one is contemplating.

While reasoning is certainly a useful tool (and one is expected to use it every day in their life), there are some things we just think about too much.  There are some things we just analyze too much.  And, there are some things we just want to know too much about, too much (yup, I went there).

Never once in the Bible did God instruct one in their calling to go, to research what He is offering and make an informed decision of whether you agree or not, to see if everything is up to par according to our terms, and then give Him your decision.

Nope.

Our intellect, our reasoning capabilities cannot even touch the scaffolding of God’s high and holy intellect.  He said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

When God calls someone to some extraordinary feat, all He usually says is, “Go, or do.”  He doesn’t give the ins and outs of details.  He doesn’t even give the ending away of how it will all turn out.  He just gives the command and it is up to the heart of the hearer to respond positively like Isaiah did, and say, “Here am I; send me,” (Isaiah 6:8).  With total abandon, he offered himself to God for His holy service.

Today, it is not so common for one to be as generous in their faith and obedient in their walk with Him; to let go and follow through without a certain amount of reasoning involved.  We want clarity on all the if’s, when’s, what’s, how’s, where’s, why’s, and who’s that are involved.

But, this quote really struck me as powerful.  It says, “The more you go with the flow of life and surrender the outcome to God, and the less you seek constant clarity, the more you will find that fabulous things start to show up in your life,” (Mandy Hale).  And, in a moment of personal confession, I realized when it came to certain things, that’s exactly what I was doing: seeking more clarity.  I wanted questions answered or I reasoned within myself with my personal “know-how” of why it wasn’t feasible for me to do such and such.  That outlook got in the way of just stepping out in faith and going or doing.

When Jesus called Peter to come on the water with Him, Peter didn’t question.  He just went (Matthew 14:28-29).  When God called Abraham to leave his homeland without even knowing where he was going, “Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him,” (Genesis 12:1-4).  There are oodles of examples in the Bible of people who just go or do with faith as their only method of reasoning (see Hebrews 11 for some examples).

Faith is most perfectly defined in God’s written Word where it says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1).  But, clarity and reasoning beckon for the “substance” to be uncovered and the “evidence” to be exposed.  And, that’s not what a true faith walk is all about.

Whatever side we are leaning on determines if we are letting our reasoning, and our desire to know, get in the way of our faith.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see the wonderful happen.  I know that God has so much more in store for His people.  But, we must not be our own greatest hindrance.  When human reasoning comes before Him, it must bow down, and we must walk forth in faith.  We will never see the fabulous until we stop reasoning ourselves out of faith.

“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.” (Hebrews 11:33-35)

Imagine what your faith can do if you unleash it today!

 

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“Plant Kindness”

“Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesian 4:32)

Is kindness a lost art?  The world, with its troubles and woes, has hardened so many.  Where is the tenderhearted?  Where are those who will show compassion to their brother and sister?  Where are those who forward their rights to let another pass freely?

Kindness is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) not grown on many trees these days.  A fruit forgotten in the “go get’m” mentality of many.

But kindness, if properly nourished, can transform lives and branch out beyond the individual.  Its seeds can blow in the wind and land on others, causing this precious fruit to plant, root, and grow farther than before, taking over the land of darkness to show His marvelous light.

Be kind.  Let tenderness grow where hardness tries to invade.  Give space for love to flourish.

Remember, you have been forgiven, dear friend.  The ultimate gift of kindness has been extended to your very soul.  Sow worthy fruit of that great gift.  Sow fruit that will last into eternity.  Sow fruit that will gain a heart to know Him through you.  Sow fruit that lets another know they are loved, they matter, and they, too, are important.

The flourishing of kindness makes a greater impact than the ugly fruit of hatefulness.

The sprouting of kindness pokes its head out of dismal soil, and says, “Friend, I see you as a person and I care about you.”

When kindness grows to be the biggest tree in all the forest, it overshadows and outshines everything else and shows others this is how we stand, live, and love.

What you plant today will grow tomorrow.  Why not plant something beautiful?  Plant kindness.

 

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God Gets Personal!

 

Omnipresent and personal, those words are kind of an oxymoron, don’t you think?  Yet, that’s what God is known as.  He is never kept within the walls of the status quo erected by the human mindset anyways.

Yes, omnipresent (everywhere at the same time) and personal (individually based)  are contradictory in the finite statement of the human mind, but not in the loving nature of God.  When we think of omnipresent we think of God’s work as being far-reaching.  He can extend His love, power, and authority through an infinite number of channels to touch an infinite number of lives all at the same time.  Yet, the heart and life of each individual soul are precious to Him.  You and I are a special creation to Him.  Fashioned uniquely.  Designed particularly to be you.  And, loved personally.

This is a role only God can fill.  He can govern the universe while at the same time lean in close to hear from you; paying special attention to just you.

So, if you feel lost in the vastness of all that is going on in your world today, be encouraged.  The same God that is running everything also has His eyes focused on you personally.  The same God that is everywhere all at once is reaching specifically to your heart.  And, there He gets personal with you.

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“Dear God, You are wonderful!”

Have you ever had those moments in life when you couldn’t really articulate the heart, but just the simplest of phrases seem to come to the forefront of your mind.

One of those moments just hit me, and all I could think was, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

You see, many thoughts come through our heads, and it’s literally when we start thinking of all that He has done for us, for this new day that He brought us through to see, and all the beautiful stuff in between, all my mind and my heart could say was, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

Moments like that hit every Christian during their days and journeys on this earth.  Moments of reflection that cause us to spout in adoration the appreciation we feel for Him. The psalms are written because the hearts of individuals have been touched in a way that only God can touch them and their soul couldn’t help but tell of the goodness they found in Him, and inspire others through their words, songs, prayers, and recountings of His moving in their lives.

My soul takes joy when I read that the Lord will hear when I call (Psalm 4:3) and that He has set the godly apart for Himself.  When I read simple words that tell me He is my shield (Psalm 3:3), I feel so loved and protected under the safety of His refuge (see also Psalm 17:8).  When Your Word tells me, “Thou preparest a table for me in the presence of mine enemies…” (Psalm 23:5), a tear of joyfulness comes in the midst of the concerns of my heart.  My times are truly in Your hands (Psalm 31:15) and over and over again in Your Word, Your goodness, love, and mercy show me just how valued I am in Your sight.

I really could go through His Word in the psalms and throughout this Holy Book and find reason after reason to say, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

Nonetheless, today I will not allow my praise to be restricted.  Even if I have nothing magnanimous or grandiose to say according to others, I know that God loves to hear from His children, and I want to tell my beautiful Heavenly Father, “Dear God, You are wonderful!”

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“Glorify God!”

“Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness,”
Psalm 29:1-2

Alpha and Omega! The First and the Last! He that was, and is, and is to come! Majesty! Omnipotent! Omniscient! Heavenly Father! King of all kings, and LORD of all lords! El Shaddai! He that is worthy of all honor and all praise! He, our Father who art in heaven, is worthy of all honor and all praise. His name is to be glorified. His name is to be magnified.

Ah, we know God by these titles and many, many more. Or, at least, we should. God is worthy to hear His children speak reverently about Him on a continual basis. Daily the praises of who He is in our life should pour from our lips, recognizing Him for His glorious nature. But, may I venture to say, that to truly glorify God is to go beyond the words of our lips. It is something that should be manifested in our daily lives. After all, actions do speak louder than words and for the world to see what a mighty God we serve – they will witness it through the way we glorify Him with our lives.

Matthew 5:16 exhorts us to, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The world needs a visual display of how this thing works. They need someone to show them how to shine; how to live this life the way God designed for mankind to live it. This world lacks good representation. “We are ambassadors for Christ,” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Before He left this world to return to heaven, Jesus said, “I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do,” (John 17:4). We, who are now saved, as ambassadors, are to carry on the work of glorifying our heavenly Father. As Jesus Himself pointed out, it goes beyond lip service; rather it is a life that has obediently followed Him and “worked.”

Again, actions really do speak louder than words! What Jesus did and what we have to do in our daily lives are exactly the same. Jesus said, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And, He teaches His disciples that in order for the world to glorify God, they need to “see your good works” and then they will “glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Matthew 5:16).

So, you see, praising God with your lips is one thing. But, glorifying God with your life is something totally different. Glorifying God is the manifestation of the praise that is living on the inside of you, working on the outside for all men to see. Is your life today fulfilling the command of David in Psalm 29? Are we giving unto the Lord what is His due? It was Jesus’ main goal in life. Is it ours?

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“Dear Bruised Reed…”

 

Dear Bruised Reed, God’s got you.  Some days may be harder than others, but He’s here for you.  You may stand in need of restoration; that’s okay.  He is able to provide that too.  If peace has moved away from you, He is able to call it back into your life.  If love has sidestepped you, He Himself is love, and has satisfied all the requirements of love, and is able to make it reign in your life again.  He can turn all the hurt and disappointment you are feeling into joy.  Everything may not always work out the way we want it to, but it will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Dear Bruised Reed, I’m not promising you there won’t be days of tears and that everything will always be alright for Jesus Himself said in the world you will have trouble (John 16:33).  But, what I can promise you is that when you are God’s child, you can still have hope in the midst of whatever it is you are facing.  You are not forgotten.  He sees everything.  And, you are so incredibly loved through it all.  Restoration is always in His hand for the heart that will turn to Him for healing today.

Dear Bruised Reed, whatever it is, take it to the Lord and let Him in on what’s going on (1 Peter 5:7).  Pour out your heart before our Savior who cares.  He loves you and wants to see you walk in the victory He has secured for your life through our Lord Jesus Christ.  As quick as it is to worry and complain, with the same quickness we can unload the burdens of the heart and be free.

Dear Bruised Reed, trust in His judgment today.  He has never failed a case, and He won’t start now.  Nothing escapes His notice and it is His truth, His will, and His way that will always win out in the end.  Never lose hope in what God can do in your life.  His mercies and compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22).  We are here today because of God.  We are loved by God.  We are covered by God.  And, God is the one that will see us through when we rest our lives in His grace.

Dear Bruised Reed, Jesus Christ is waiting to be your ultimate source of true peace today (John 16:33).  Turn to Him.  Trust in Him.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isaiah 42:3

But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:15-21

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“Do It with Passion!”

 

There is one thing that really gets me going and that is seeing someone work their gift or talent with passion.  Oh, I have seen people operate in the blessings of the Lord with dryness and being very dispassionate about what they were doing, and can I tell you, there is no comparison.

Talent, skill and position can only carry you so far in life because if what you are working in is not a drawing force eventually people will stop paying attention to you; eventually people will become just as dispassionate about what you are trying to put forth.  John Maxwell said,

“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.”

I agree wholeheartedly.  People want to follow one that gets their soul stirred up.  People want to walk the same course as one who is set ablaze for a cause; who is consumed with a yearning to get things done and to excel to be all that God has called them to be.

That word consumes gives the idea of allowing oneself to be spent for the cause.  John 2:17 spoke of Jesus in this sense when it says, “And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house has eaten me up.”  Other versions actually use the word “consume,” (see also Psalm 69:9).  This was said after He overthrew the tables in the temple.  His passion for God’s house stirred inside of Him and would not allow Him to pass by and watch what was going on without saying or doing something about it.  Jesus spent Himself for the cause of God.

In Psalm 119:139 also talks of being taken over with passion.  “My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.”  The cause of God was so alive in him that the psalmist couldn’t help but to be cut to the heart when others would come against His word.

Where the Spirit of God operates there can be no dull or dry commitment.  It’s all the way or nothing at all.  There has to be fervency, (Rom. 12:11).  One has to be on fire with and for what God has placed on the inside of them.

“It is the Spirit who gives life,” (John 6:63, NASB).  There is no deadness when the Spirit of God is in full operation and if you are passionate about what God has given you, you should be Spirit-led, Spirit-full, and Spirit-alive!  You should be on fire with passion!

Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”  Put your all into it!  Let what God has placed on the inside of you bubble up and boil over to the outside that men “may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven,” (Mt. 5:16).  The things you do may or may not gain attention but the things you do with passion draws people closer to Him.  God gets the glory when people see what He is doing through you and they want to be a part of it.

Live life passionately.  Live life like the Spirit of God is alive in you; live life on fire for Him.  If you are going to sing, let your voice ring out with a burning love till it reaches the souls of others drawing them in.  If you play the drums then beat them like the heart of God beats in you.  If you are going to write, write that your words are felt more than they are read.  If you are going to preach, preach as if the cloud from the glory of the Lord has already filled the temple beckoning men to take notice of His presence.  The same is true for any gift or talent God has placed in you.  Whatever you do, whatever your gift, whatever your skill do it with passion!

I don’t know if God is calling you to overthrow some tables but I do know that He is calling you to operate like He’s alive in you.  He’s calling you to use your might and be passionate about what He has given you!

Be blessed.

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