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What if your Blessings come Through Raindrops?
By Laura Story
Worthy Media, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Freeman-Smith
All rights reserved.
BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
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Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing."
Genesis 12:1-2 NKJV
In order to understand what God's blessings are, we must answer an important question: Why does God bless His children? Does God simply operate a straightforward reward system for good behavior? Or does He have other plans and purposes?
The story of Abraham has much to teach us about God's blessings. In Genesis 12, we learn how God made a promise to Abraham, a promise to bless him with countless descendants. And when He fulfilled His promise, God not only answered Abraham and Sara's longing to have children, but He also created the nation of Israel.
We have no reason to believe that Abraham had done anything to merit God's good favor. In fact, as we read on, we discover that Abraham's behavior was far from perfect; Abraham's life had been tarnished by lying and manipulation, stemming from his root sin of unbelief. Yet, God kept His promise.
So, what was God's reason for blessing Abraham? God blessed him "to be a blessing." God's blessing upon Abraham was given for a specific purpose: so that Abraham might, in turn, be a blessing to others. And what was Abraham's blessing? Ultimately, it was the salvation of the Gentiles! I have a personal relationship with a holy God because of God's blessing upon Abraham.
As we consider the blessings God pours out on our own lives, do we see them as resources to hoard or opportunities to steward? When God allows something into our lives, for better or for worse, do we stop to ask, "How might I use this blessing to bring glory to God?"
For Abraham, his name is forever connected with the blessing of our salvation. What might the Father do through us if we receive our own blessings with open hands?
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We do the works, but God works in us in the doing of the works.
Sharing Our Blessings
Jesus never asks us to give Him what we don't have. But He does demand that we give Him all we do have if we want to be a part of what He wishes to do in the lives of those around us!
Anne Graham Lotz
The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.
We worship God through service. The authentic server views each opportunity to lead or serve as an opportunity to worship God.
Christianity, in its purest form, is nothing more than seeing Jesus. Christian service, in its purest form, is nothing more than imitating him who we see. To see his Majesty and to imitate him: that is the sum of Christianity.
More from God's Word About Serving Others
The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Matthew 23:11-12 NIV
Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.
Philippians 2:4 NIV
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.
Proverbs 11:25 MSG
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:10 NIV
But whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Matthew 20:26-28 KJV
How Can You Be a Blessing Today?
Even if you're experiencing tough times right now, you still have blessings to count and blessings to share. So ask yourself this question: How can I glorify God today?
Your Heavenly Father has given you talents and opportunities that are uniquely yours. And the very best day to seize those opportunities—and to share them with the world—is this day. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. Today.CHAPTER 2
THE GREATEST BLESSING
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And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.... But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)....
Ephesians 2:1, 4-5 NKJV
In Genesis, we learned that God blessed Abraham despite any merit of his own. But, does that offer stand for the rest of us?
May of us believe (wrongly) that we're unworthy of God's love. It's not only that we see ourselves as having little or nothing worth giving Him; it's that we have so many things to apologize to Him for. It's not only that we have little to offer of merit; it's that we have so much to offer that is the antithesis of merit! It's not only that our life histories are woefully short of good deeds; it's that our histories are so full of bad deeds.
We have secrets in our past, things we would be embarrassed to even speak of. We have chronic hang-ups, things that make us feel unable to lead righteous lives. Why, we ask ourselves, would God ever bless someone like me? The answer to this question is the very crux of the gospel.
The apostle Paul, writer of Ephesians, puts it plainly: "We were dead." There was nothing we could offer to earn the blessing of salvation. Yet, we were in such desperate need of redemption that God, being rich in mercy, showed us His love by sending Jesus to our rescue.
The second chapter of Ephesians tells of the blessings that result from salvation through Christ: We were once far off, yet now have been brought near (v. 13); we
were once strangers, but now we are citizens in God's household (v. 19). And, Ephesians 2 also teaches us that God has not only saved us, but that He has also planned good works for us (v. 10).
The blessings described in Ephesians 2 are priceless gifts. There is nothing we could ever do to earn them. We are blessed simply because we are His!
* * *
Grace is not about finishing last or first; it is about not counting. We receive grace as a gift from God, not as something we toil to earn.
About God's Grace
The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you.
How beautiful it is to learn that grace isn't fragile, and that in the family of God we can fail and not be a failure.
You don't earn grace, and you don't deserve grace; you simply receive it as God's loving gift, and then share it with others.
Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice of an echo. Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightning.
The Gospel is not so much a demand as it is an offer, an offer of new life to man by the grace of God.
E. Stanley Jones
More from God's Word About Gifts from the Father
The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him....
Exodus 15:2 NKJV
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 KJV
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my savior; my God is my rock in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the strength of my salvation, and my stronghold.
Psalm 18:2 NLT
The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name."
Psalm 91:14 NLT
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe.
Hebrews 12:28 HCSB
Here's a question worth pondering: What blessings are you receiving today, and how will those blessings affect the way you choose to live your life?
Even on our most difficult days, we are surrounded by God's love. Yet, we sometimes focus so intently on our earthly disappointments that we fail to recognize God's eternal gifts.
Today, consider what the greatest blessing—God's gift of grace—means to you. And, while you're at it, consider ways you can nourish that gift and share it.CHAPTER 3
WE PRAY FOR BLESSINGS, BUT WHAT KIND?
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For now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face.
Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 HCSB
When you pray for blessings, what kind do you pray for? If you're like most of us, you probably pray for things like health, wealth, and safety for yourself and for your loved ones. And, if you're like most of us, you're probably disappointed if God doesn't give you the things you've asked for.
Because we're only here on earth for a few short years at best, we human beings have a decidedly short term perspective. Usually, we pray for the blessings that we believe will improve our lives today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next year. But, God has an eternal perspective—He sees His creation (and we're all part of that creation) in the context of eternity.
Time and again, the Bible teaches us that God is sovereign and that He reigns over His creation. Our Heavenly Father has a plan for the world and for our lives. He does not do things by accident, but we cannot always understand His purposes. Why? Because we are mortal beings with limited understanding. And although we cannot fully comprehend the will of God, we should always do our best to trust the will of God even when we don't receive the things we've prayed for.
* * *
Grace grows best in the winter.
C. H. Spurgeon
About Unanswered Prayers
Prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them.
C. S. Lewis
If God chooses to remain silent, faith is content.
Ruth Bell Graham
Our Lord never asks us to decide for Him; He asks us to yield to Him—a very different matter.
Prayer may not get us what we want, but it will teach us to want what we need.
We must meet our disappointments, our persecutions, our malicious enemies, our provoking friends, our trials and temptations of every sort, with an attitude of surrender and trust. We must spread our wings and "mount up" to the "heavenly places in Christ" above them all, where they will lose their power to harm or distress us.
Hannah Whitall Smith
More from God's Word About His Infinite Wisdom and Power
Can you solve the mysteries of God? Can you discover everything there is to know about the Almighty? Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—but who are you? It is deeper than the underworld—what can you know in comparison to him? It is broader than the earth and wider than the sea.
Job 11:7-9 NLT
The earth and everything in it, the world and its inhabitants, belong to the Lord.
Psalm 24:1 HCSB
Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?
Job 2:10 HCSB
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "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 NIV
We can gather our thoughts, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.
Proverbs 16:1-2 NLT
Learning the Art of Acceptance
When events transpire that are beyond our control, we have a clear choice: we can either learn the art of acceptance, or we can make ourselves miserable as we struggle to change the unchangeable.
Learning the art of acceptance is difficult for most of us, but not impossible. Can you summon the courage and the wisdom to accept life on its own terms? Can you do it today?
Surrender to the Lord is not a tremendous sacrifice, not an agonizing performance. It is the most sensible thing you can do.
Corrie ten BoomCHAPTER 4
WHAT IF YOUR BLESSINGS COME THROUGH RAINDROPS?
* * *
God blesses the people who patiently endure testing. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
James 1:12 NLT
Have you ever experienced a bitter disappointment—or even a personal tragedy—that later turned out to be a blessing? Have you ever experienced a temporary loss that, in time, was transformed into a permanent gain? And, do you believe that God has the power to use all your experiences—the good, the bad, and the in-between—for His purposes? If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, then you know that blessings can, and often do, come through raindrops.
In times of hardship and pain, we may feel abandoned by our friends, by our families, and by our Creator. But if we believe that God has left us, even for a moment, we are mistaken. God never abandons us, not even when the raindrops are falling in buckets. Through every storm of life, He is ever-present, offering us His grace, His love, and His mercies.
When Jesus went to the Mount of Olives, He prayed, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42). Jesus knew the pain that He was destined to endure, but He also knew that God's will must be done.
From time to time all of us must endure days filled with suffering and heartache. And, as human beings with limited understanding, we can never fully understand God's reasons for allowing the raindrops to fall. But, even when we cannot understand why things happen as they do, we should always trust the One who is intent upon blessing us throughout all eternity.
Can you trust God in times of happiness and in times of hardship? Can you trust Him today?
* * *
Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.
Romans 12:12 HCSB
About Tough Times
If we believe in Jesus Christ, we can face every problem that the world holds.
Jesus loved the will of His Father. He embraced the limitations, the necessities, the conditions, the very chains of his humanity as he walked and worked here on earth, fulfilling moment by moment His divine commission and the stern demands of His incarnation. Never was there a word or even a look of complaint.
Through all of the crises of life—and we all are going to experience them—we have this magnificent Anchor.
Sometimes the Lord rides out the storm with us and other times He calms the restless sea around us. Most of all, He calms the storm inside us in our deepest inner soul.
Lloyd John Ogilvie
Contentment is trusting God even when things seem out of control.
Teach us to set our hopes on heaven, to hold firmly to the promise of eternal life, so that we can withstand the struggles and storms of this world.
More from God's Word About Adversity
We are pressured in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8 HCSB
You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth. You will restore me to even greater honor and comfort me once again.
Psalm 71:20-21 NLT
Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
Psalm 146:5-6 NIV
Excerpted from What if your Blessings come Through Raindrops? by Laura Story. Copyright © 2012 Freeman-Smith. Excerpted by permission of Worthy Media, Inc..
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