We Are Blessed
by Richard A. Cox, author of the book I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development
“A faithful man will abound with blessings.” Proverbs 28:20(KJV)
It is so reassuring to know as a Christian that despite the condition of the economy, the war going on in Iraq or violence in the streets, we are still blessed. We are blessed because we recognize God’s favor in our lives. We are children of the Kings of kings and Lord of lords, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, and what was and what will be the everlasting God. Our birthright by being adopted into the body of Christ gives us the legal right and authority to inherit good health, wealth and a purposeful destiny.
You can read in Matthews 5:3-11 to see where Jesus preached on the mountain about blessed people. Jesus made statements about taking an inventory of the characteristics of blessed people. He described blessed people as the poor in spirit, they that mourn, the meek, they which do hunger and thirst after righteous, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. These statements of blessings underline the difference between our human values and God’s values.
Jesus continued his sermon in Matthews 5:13-16(KJV) as “ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thence good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Jesus spoke these verses to encourage believers of their importance on earth to be as salt and light that must savor and illuminate His ways. These are true blessings of Christian dedication and promises that Jesus makes to us.
We must understand and realize that God’s blessings are working in full power and strength even at those times when life is extremely painful. God wants our faith to mature to understand that He uses everything that happens in our lives to move us toward fulfilling our destiny. In Romans 8:28(KJV) it says, “ all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.”
There are so many circumstances especially in third world nations where they do not have their basics needs met. We are blessed to have food in the refrigerator, clothes on our back, a roof over our head and a place to sleep. Just think if you have money in the bank, in you wallets or purse and spare change you are blessed. If your parents are still alive and still married you are blessed. If you woke up this morning with good health you are blessed because someone did not wake up to see another day.
It is important for us to take the time to reflect daily upon the blessings of God in our lives. Reflecting on our blessings will help us to learn to be content as Paul says in Philippians 4:11(AMP). It says “not that I am implying that I was in any personal want, for I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” We have earthly blessings with food, clothing and shelter, but we also have spiritual blessings. In Ephesians 1:3 (AMP) it says, “may blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm.” We are blessed with so many spiritual blessings. Here is a list of a few:
Protection. We can rely upon God’s protection in our daily lives. In Isaiah 54:17(KJV) it declares” no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
- Patience. As we mature spiritually we learn to develop patience and strength while waiting for God to answer. You will find in Isaiah 40:31(KJV) the words,
” but they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Favor. The favor of God rests upon each believer. In 2 Corinthians 9:8 (KJV) you find the statement, “and God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”
Power. As a believer God has given us The Comforter, The Holy Ghost to be a tool to administer God’s power on earth. In Ephesians 3:20(KJV) it says,” now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
Peace. God has given believers an inner peace to remain calm in the midst of the storms of life. In Philippians 4:7 (KJV) it declares, “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Provision. God continuously makes ways our no ways on behalf of the believers. In Philippians 4:19(KJV) it states, “but my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
It is just a blessing to realize we are a blessed people. God is on our side. As God’s children we are assured of blessings and His protection. We do not have time to compare blessings or ourselves with people. God has a designer blessing just for you. The blessing only fits you.
God has raised us up as he saw fit, equipped us as he saw fit. Then He put us in a place and time to accomplish his purpose in our generation. We need to do what we can for the body of Christ using our blessings of talents, treasures and time to accomplish a work for the Lord.
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How, in the Hell?
Every unbeliever that dies an unbeliever will find themselves in a literal hell. Every person whether we are a believer or unbeliever has experienced or will experience their own figurative hell – situations and/or conditions we all go through or have gone through that were so painstaking, tumultuous and discomforting that we likened them to hell.
The question I present in this article is, “How, in the hell, do we praise and worship God?” Is there some equation or formula that enables one believer to retain the praises of God while another, going through the same thing, looses their praise?
Scripture is one of the places we will find the strength and inspiration to draw from the examples of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who have gone through a figurative hell and yet shined in the midst of it holding on to their praise. David had his ordeal with Saul and in the midst of it says, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalms 34:1). David did nothing and said nothing that deserved him the pursuit for his life. He was just being who God made him to be, a shepherd boy ordained to be king of Israel.
It can seem that the flames of our hell are intensified when we didn’t contribute to the cause of the fire. Not that they are, but it seems to be because when innocence is attacked the attack bears a stronger offense. And what about the hell we catch for standing up for what is right. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood for God and didn’t bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s gold statue and were thrown into a fiery furnace. There response was, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18 NLT). We also draw strength and inspiration from our fellow brothers/sisters that have impacted our present era such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood up for civil rights and didn’t bow to the immoral and uncivilized treatment of white supremacists. He and others like him had a hell to go through for standing for what is right.
So what is it that empowers these men and women alike to praise a God that is so good even when they are surrounded and directly impacted by all that’s bad? Before I answer the question I want to venture down another road, the road of those who have caused their own hell and yet still have managed to retain a worship and praise. We’ve ALL been there.....in the belly of a figurative hell and as we look around as we look up and down we are ultimately compelled to look nowhere else but in the mirror. We find ourselves in situations and conditions where we are our own authors. Remember Jonah.........but in the belly of the whale he capitulated and prayed, “...I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone” (Jonah 2:9 NLT). Jonah authored his own hell by being disobedient, but he also authored his own deliverance by praise. God will get you out of even what you have put yourself in!
It is the degree of love for and faith in the Almighty God which empowers a continual praise and worship from a saint of God catching and/or going through hell. No equation, except for that which is comprised of the degree of your relationship (love and faith) with God. David loved and had unspeakable faith in God. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego loved and had faith in God. In one breath they say, “He will rescue us from your power...” and in another breath they say, “But even if he doesn’t....we will never serve your gods...” This may appear to be a contradiction of their faith because at one time they proclaim that he will rescue them and at another time they entertain the possibility that he might not rescue them. Actually, they have faith that he will, but also there is realization that it may not be in the way expected, but despite what He does they still have faith and their love seals the deal to make it known that it is Him we will serve no matter what. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. continued to preach despite the continued threats to him and his family’s life and the bombings of his house. He continued to proclaim love and racial equality in a time where racial tension ran high. And what is it that kept him praising and worshiping and doing the will of God? His love for and faith in God. Indubitably we can say there has been a change to this nation as a result of his influence and others like him.
Saints it is the degree of your faith that preserves your praise in hell, it is the degree of your love for God that preserves your worship in hell, it is your Praise and Worship that God uses to preserve you in hell.
Come hell or high water PRAISE HIM, WORSHIP HIM, PRAISE HIM!
“...the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!”
- Daniel 3:27 NLT
“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth”
- Psalms 34:1 KJV
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