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Posts Tagged ‘blessing’

God scatters blessings to his people throughout Scripture and throughout our lives.  And He gives us the command and the privilege to bless others.  I love to write blessings for people.  So here is my blessing for you, my readers.

May you rise when you fall and come out of the darkness into God’s light.  (Micah 7:8,9)

May you be built up, not torn down; planted, not uprooted.  May you turn to God with all your heart. (Jeremiah 24:6,7)

May you hope in the future of God’s good plans for you. (Jeremiah 29:11)

May you comprehend that it gives God joy to always do good to you. (Jeremiah 32:40)

May you receive the new heart and new spirit God is giving you.  (Ezekiel 36:26,27)

May nothing of the world, the flesh or the devil satisfy you, but only God. (Psalm 90:14)

May all the days and years of your life stolen by the evil one be restored. (Joel 2:25)

May the comfort, peace and healing of God bring praise to your lips. (Isaiah 57:18,19)

May you feel cords of lovingkindness as the Father bends down to feed you. (Hosea 11:4)

May God pour out His Holy Spirit on you. (Joel 2:28)

May you know that in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1)

May you be convinced that nothing can separate you from the love of God. (Romans :38,39)

May the eyes of your heart be enlightened that you might know Him. (Ephesians 1:18)

May God surprise you with blessings beyond what you can ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

What about you?  How has God blessed you?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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I’m in a very wonderful but busy season of travel and speaking.  Rather than just post fewer articles here on Kindling, I have chosen to introduce you to some of my Redbud Writers Guild friends.  I think you will love meeting them, reading their very good writing and experiencing new connections with our Savior.  This post is by Marlena Graves.

Lately, I’ve been thinking in terms of blessing and cursing. I wonder, am I a blessing or a curse to my husband and daughter? Do I drain them or refresh them? Would they rather run into my presence or flee from it?

I also think about what I could do to bless those with whom I come into contact on a daily basis. It could be as simple as a smile or as disciplined as cultivating a welcoming and hospitable spirit—the Spirit of Jesus.

Have you noticed that all sorts of different people were drawn to Jesus? Children, the rich and poor, those of differing political persuasions, the mature and immature, Jews and Gentiles, male and female, societal pariahs, the educated and the uneducated—all types were drawn to Jesus. His presence was inviting and refreshing.

Jesus made breakfast

And do you remember what happened after his excruciating crucifixion and reality-reordering resurrection? He cooked breakfast for his disciples, the weary and haggard disciples who had deserted him a few days before. Instead of shaming them and demanding that they serve him, he served them.

Jesus cooks breakfast for us, too. He invites us to sit and rest for a while—to eat of the food he has for us so that he can restore our souls. I’ve realized that Jesus is always others-referenced, always thinking of how he can bless and refresh others (our part is receiving what he offers us).

 But because I am not Jesus, I have to think of intentional ways to bless others while fully relying on the power of the Holy Spirit. I have to be intentional because I am, like all of us, naturally inclined to seek my own interests and blessings instead of blessing others. 

Let’s not fool ourselves

Do we bless or curse those within our circles of influence? Do we have any inkling about whether or not people seek to be around us or to avoid us? All of us have weaknesses that alienate others. Some of us are impatient and lash out easily; others of us don’t speak up when we should. Perhaps we are self-absorbed and opportunistic—using others when we believe they’ll serve our purposes and discarding them like trash if they don’t. People pick up on these things. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking they don’t. 

While we certainly are weak, we have a good many strengths, too. Here’s the question: are we using those strengths or are we too fearful to use them? We are robbing people of God’s life and blessing when fear keeps us from using those gifts. Satan delights in the burying and hoarding of God’s treasures. When we fail to exercise our gifts, it’s as if a limb or organ within Christ’s body is dysfunctional or even dead. And that’s a curse both to us and others. 

Jesus said that the greatest person in the kingdom will be the servant of all. Servants are usually in the background—seemingly invisible. They often go unnoticed and are sometimes mistreated. They do not call the shots. The master does. Attention is not to be showered upon them; it is to be showered upon the master. Servants are to be others referenced—focused on blessing others. Like Jesus.

In John 13, Jesus demonstrated the nature of a true servant when he washed his disciples’ feet. One thing we learn from his example is that we bring God’s life and blessing as we serve God and others. Alternatively, we curse God, ourselves and others when we are self-absorbed and self-serving. Are we a blessing or a curse?

What about you?  Are you blessing or cursing your family, friends, neighbors?

Marlena is an “artist with words,” writing about the Creator and his creation.  She lives in Ohio with her husband Shawn and daughter Iliana.  You can read her blog at His Path Through the Wildernessand follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Photo courtesy of http://www.bandit.co.nz; "O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on." —From Othello, by William Shakespeare

I’m in a very wonderful but busy season of travel and speaking.  Rather than just post fewer articles here on Kindling, I have chosen to introduce you to some of my Redbud Writers Guild friends.  I think you will love meeting them, reading their very good writing and experiencing new connections with our Savior. This post is by Marlene Molewyk.

 

For most of my life, I’ve struggled with envy. Over the years, I’ve envied others’ looks, possessions, talent, relationships, families, parenting success, career success, ministry success, and lives in general. You name it, and there’s a good chance I’ve envied it at some point in my life. As it turns out, I have a lot of company in this—the Bible is teeming with tales of envy that result in destructive outcomes, including:
 
• Murder (Cain and Abel, Pharisees and Jesus)
• Attempted murder (Saul and David)
• Selling a sibling into slavery (Joseph’s brothers and Joseph)
• Bitter rivalry (Rachel and Leah)
 
Clearly, terrible things spring forth from envy! Even so, I never really felt a need to examine envy in my life. I didn’t consider it a huge problem, since it never prompted me to murder anyone, sell a sibling into slavery, or give a maidservant to my husband, in the hopes that their children would help me one up my sister. Instead, I managed envy in quieter, more hidden ways, including:
 
• Feeling crummy about myself.
• Avoiding people and situations that triggered envy.
• Criticizing and wishing ill upon people I envied.
• Feeling competitive with people I envied.
• Looking for negative personal traits or life circumstances in people I envied, to make myself feel better (as in: “Well, she may be pulled together in this area of her life, but thatarea of her life is really messed up.”).
• Feeling guilty for engaging in all of the above, and thus being a terrible Christian.
 
Although these actions seemed a lot less evil than the biblical examples listed above, they were destructive nonetheless. In fact, envy was a double curse in my life, and here’s why:
 
• It was a curse to those I envied.
One definition of the word “curse” is “to wish or invoke evil, calamity, injury, or destruction upon.” This means that whenever I criticized or wished ill upon those I envied, I was silently and unwittingly cursing them. And biblically, curses are the opposite of blessings.
 
• It was a curse to me.
By succumbing to my envy, I allowed the enemy to use me like a puppet. I became a human conduit through which he channeled his desire to curse and destroy. Envy also gave the enemy many opportunities to curse me, by sowing anger, discontent, and bitterness in my life. This was destructive to my heart, my mind, my walk with God, and my relationships with others.
 
Several years ago, I read an excellent book called Envy:The Enemy Within, by Bob Sorge. It opened my eyes to envy and its presence in Bible, and it also helped me identify the source of my envy: comparison and coveting. Every incident of envy began when I compared some aspect of my life against someone else’s life, and I came up wanting. I ended up coveting what the other person had, and this made me feel crummy about myself, as well as annoyed at God for shortchanging me.
 
Once I noticed this pattern, I tried to squelch the constant comparing going on in my head, while trying to be more content with my life. This helped, but it didn’t solve the problem, because certain situations and people continued to trigger envy in knee jerk ways that took me by surprise at times.
 
Then one day, God showed me a way to decisively transform envy from a double curse into a double blessing. It’s a surprisingly simple strategy: every time I feel envious of someone, I pray for God to bless that person’s life, especially in the specific area where I’m feeling envy. Here’s the outcome of this strategy:
 
• It blesses those I envy.
These people are no longer unwitting recipients of my curses. Instead, they receive unsolicited prayers for God’s blessings to overflow in their lives. As a result, they’re being built up, rather than torn down, as a result of my envy.
 
• It blesses me.
I get a real kick out of the fact that I’m no longer a puppet being manipulated by the enemy. Instead, I’m totally screwing up his plan to hurt others through me! I’m also becoming a better friend than I used to be, because I have a greater ability to truly rejoice with my friends, when good things happen to them. I believe this is what God wants from me—I’m doing unto my friends as I hope they will do unto me, when good things happen in my life.
 
These days, I still experience envy, but it doesn’t harass me as much as it used to, and it quickly evaporates when I start praying. My new strategy is also overflowing into other areas of my life. For example, when I feel burning anger and unforgiveness toward people who have deeply wronged me, I’ve started praying for God’s salvation and blessings in their lives, and I’ve been amazed by how much less I’m tormented by anger and unforgiveness.
 
I do the same thing when people make me angry in petty ways, which is especially helpful when I’m driving. Instead of screaming curses and speeding tickets down upon drivers who cut me off, I now shout, “God, I pray for salvation and great blessings for that jerk who just cut me off!” Obviously, my attitude still needs some adjusting, but hopefully you get the point.

The bottom line: envy stinks, but being used by the enemy to tear others down stinks even more! So if you struggle with envy, I encourage you to face it head on, and I hope and pray for amazing results.

What kinds of situations trigger envy in your life?
 
Marlene Molewyk is a writer, speaker, and homeschooling mother of five. She previously worked as a broadcast journalist for an NBC affiliate, a production assistant for the Oprah Winfrey Show, and a corporate public relations manager and consultant. Molewyk’s writing has appeared in Liberti and Practical Homeschooling magazines, and she blogs athttp://marlenemolewyk.blogspot.com.

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