Giving and Receiving Blessing

Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble, not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.

For the one who wants to love life
and to see good days
must keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit,
and he must turn away from evil and do good.
He must seek peace and pursue it,
because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and His ears are open to their request.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
(1 Peter 3:8-12 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

Being Misinterpreted

Once I was speaking on holiness through an interpreter to a group of people who spoke Spanish. Several times people in the audience interrupted my interpreter with suggestions for her that were intended to improve her choice of words in translating what I was saying. I began to wonder what understanding the group was gaining from my effort.

In Exodus 17, Yahweh’s intentions toward the Israelis He was leading away from Egypt were being badly misinterpreted:

The entire Israelite community left the Wilderness of Sin, moving from one place to the next according to the Lord’s command. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So the people complained to Moses: “Give us water to drink.”

“Why are you complaining to me?” Moses replied to them. “Why are you testing the Lord?”

But the people thirsted there for water, and grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you ever bring us out of Egypt to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? In a little while they will stone me!”

The Lord answered Moses, “Go on ahead of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take the rod you struck the Nile with in your hand and go. I am going to stand there in front of you on the rock at Horeb; when you hit the rock, water will come out of it and the people will drink.” Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. He named the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites complained, and because they tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”
(Exodus 17:1-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

We often misinterpret the events we find ourselves in the midst of as attacks from our enemies, when they are the process of our God leading us out of Egypt. His intentions are to lead us through processes that dig the carnal and anti-Christ ways of thinking and interpreting out of our minds that have been taught to us through the influences of the world we have been redeemed from.

When things seem to be going wrong, a proper response might sound like, “Father, what must I do to co-operate with Your work in my life in this situation?” rather than one that sounds like, “God, don’t You care that we are about to die?”

A response that looks for clues to the Way out is the response that will find Him in the dust storm, and be led to the oasis and to Life.

Simple Gospel

I expect to soon be called on to pray with a 5 year old child regarding some trauma its family has subjected it to. While praying about what to pray, I started to also wonder how to include the child in the prayer.

How can I communicate to the child that we are going to talk to Yahweh? How to describe the love and the power of Jesus? How to communicate good and evil and healing and freedom?

It made me laugh when I was encouraged by remembering how much children can handle of invisible and impossible and lack of detail or rationale. I thought of how well they accept the lies we insult them with regarding equinox rabbits and solstice reindeer and the many stupidities we relate to the day before November 1 (All Saints Day).

If they can thrive in all of that trash, they should really do well when we honor them by telling them the truth about Jesus and teach them to talk to Him and listen to Him.

Anger Stinks

When we live with anger instead of controlling it by manifesting the fruit of God’s Spirit, it influences all we experience in bad ways.

We are suspicious. We are fearful. We misjudge and condemn. We whisper about others. We hope for the people we are angry with to suffer. We neutralize the power of the cross in our lives and in others’ lives.

A man with a large beard became the victim of two little boys who caught him sleeping and smeared limburger cheese in his beard. When he woke up, he was astonished at how foul his room smelled. Moving through his home, he thought his entire house stunk. Even the fresh air outside wasn’t fresh… He was carrying the stench with him everywhere he went.

Anger, bitterness and unforgiveness are like that.

Service on Purpose

One of the most likely methods of overcoming depression or selfishness or unforgiveness or sadness or hopelessness is to search for someone to serve.

Seeing others gain comfort or provision or safety or happiness can be a valuable source of the same things to us. The more I am focused on others’ needs, the more I am stepping into a condition and/or position in which my God can meet my needs.

The more I spread graces of encouragement and comfort and provision and protection, the more of those graces will be available for me when I need them. Some days, just moments later. Sometimes much later. Usually at just the right moment.

Generosity with a real sense of giving, not just hiding things so that I can find them unused by others, is the power that makes the supernatural blessing return. Give, and it will be given to you.

 

Fear On Purpose

The culture that we live in attempts to control us with fear.

People in power attempt to control others with fear. They can insulate us from Yahweh and immobilize us if they can impose fears on us. Fear of hell, fear of disease, fear of injury, fear of bad luck, fear of rejection, fear of poverty, fear of failure, and thousands of other terrible consequences can bind us and render us useless and hopeless. Most fear is irrational. Most fear is imposed. According to Richard Bandler, you were born with two fears: falling, and loud noises.

Learning from a painful experience with a red stovetop burner not to touch one again when it glows is wise. Learning to be afraid of stoves is not. Fearing our enemies is as irrational as fearing stoves. Additionally, it could cause problems between you and your God.

“So I said to you: Don’t be terrified or afraid of them! The Lord your God who goes before you will fight for you, just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. And you saw in the wilderness how the Lord your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place. But in spite of this you did not trust the Lord your God, who went before you on the journey to seek out a place for you to camp. He went in the fire by night and in the cloud by day to guide you on the road you were to travel.

“When the Lord heard your words, He grew angry and swore an oath: ‘None of these men in this evil generation will see the good land I swore to give your fathers, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh. He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land on which he has set foot, because he followed the Lord completely.’

“The Lord was angry with me [Moses] also because of you and said: ‘You will not enter there either. Joshua son of Nun, who attends you, will enter it. Encourage him, for he will enable Israel to inherit it. Your little children whom you said would be plunder, your sons who don’t know good from evil, will enter there. I will give them the land, and they will take possession of it. But you are to turn back and head for the wilderness by way of the Red Sea.’              (Deuteronomy 1:29-40 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

 

Fruitful on Purpose

I must bear the fruit of the Spirit if I want people to experience Jesus, raised  from the dead, through my life.

If I answer situations I encounter with creative expressions of the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, fullness of faith, gentleness and self-control, I have introduced people to Jesus Himself.

E. Stanley Jones described three levels of life:

  1. a demonic level – I return evil when I encounter good
  2. a humanistic level – I return evil for evil: a legalistic response
  3. a divine level – I return good for evil

I can live at the level Jesus lives in: goodness, even in response to evil. Bear much fruit. Be awesome.

From God or Man?

“Was John’s baptism from heaven or from men? Answer Me.”
(Mark 11:30 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

One of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, has died. You know that your servant feared the Lord. Now the creditor is coming to take my two children as his slaves.”

Elisha asked her, “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”

She said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.”

Then he said, “Go and borrow empty containers from everyone—from all your neighbors. Do not get just a few. Then go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour oil into all these containers. Set the full ones to one side.” So she left.

After she had shut the door behind her and her sons, they kept bringing her containers, and she kept pouring. When they were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.”

But he replied, “There aren’t any more.” Then the oil stopped.

She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; you and your sons can live on the rest.”
(2 Kings 4:1-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible® ©)

I ask you, now: was the miracle of the oil from God, or from Elisha? And I suggest that you allow your answer to influence your expectations of miracles in your life.

Yahweh wants to bless you. He wants you to ask for His blessings for others. Expect the best and the most impressive things – those that bring Him much glory and that offer much exposure to humanity of His love and power.

The miracle of the oil happened because Yahweh is good, not because Elisha was powerful. Yahweh is still good. He’s your God now.

Going to Heaven

I feel as though I am about 40 years late doing the things that I believe I am in the earth to accomplish. Among other reasons, this sense that I have not really entered into my destiny here yet makes me pretty annoyed when the church around me is singing songs like “Precious Lord” – asking for permission to leave the work in the field unfinished and go to Heaven for the eternal picnic on the streets of gold.

Most of the songs written by the church in the ’30s through the ’50s were about going to Heaven. Much of what was written in the ’80s and ’90s was worship. Some was about the harvest – the unbelievers we have the privilege of offering good news to about salvation and the Kingdom of Heaven. Our songs declare our hearts – we sing about what we treasure.

The more our minds are set on manifesting the culture and power and persons of Heaven in the earth, the more successful we will be at populating Heaven with converts. The more we are whining about wanting to leave the harvest ripening in the field and spend the “afternoon” of the ages in a rocking chair instead of in the heat of the workplace, the less likely we are to be successful at bringing the Lord of the Harvest the nations.

They are an offering that He deserves. They are worth His life to Him. They need to be very valuable to us. They need to be brought to Him.

Eying Others’ Needs

Proverbs 22:9 has an interesting phrase in it. In the Holman Christian Standard Bible, it reads:

A generous person will be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor. 

Young’s Literal Translation left a picture untouched in it, though:

The good of eye — he is blessed, For he hath given of his bread to the poor.

The person who has a view to see others’ needs is a profitable servant to the King. That person is looking for ways to bless the Lord: “When you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:40) That person is thinking of someone other than her- or him-self. That person is harboring love in their hearts.

A man with an evil eye hastens after riches,
And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.
He who gives to the poor will not lack,
But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. 

(Proverbs 28:22, 27 NKJV)