Monday, June 11, 2018

June 12, 2018

"Blessed is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly , nor stands in the path where sinners walk, nor sits down where the scornful gather."   Psalm 1:1

Here's a pop quiz: "Would you rather be blessed or cursed?"

I think I know your answer.

Though the answer is obvious, the significance of that answer is not. You are either one or the other. If you are not blessed you are cursed. I say that because I fear there is a tendency to think that there are shades of blessedness. But the fact is if you are not living under God's blessing you are cursed. There are not "kind of blessed" or "sort of blessed" people. His blessing begins with the removal of the curse. Unless you understand that you will not appreciate the importance of being blessed.

The writer of the Psalms spells out clearly what it means to be blessed.

I like the Amplified Version of the Bible to give clarity to the undesrstanding of Biblical texts. Here is how it explains what it means to be blessed: BLESSED =  (HAPPY, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable).

You can plug in those synonyms without it altering the meaning of the verse. HAPPY is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly......."

To be blessed means to be happy! Happy about what? He is happy because of Who he loves - God! He is happy because of how he lives - godly! And He is happy because of what he learns - the Word of God!

Also, you can substitute the word "fortunate" as well! A blessed man is a fortunate man because of what Jesus did for him on the cross! Notice it didn't say "lucky" it said fortunate. Blessing comes as the result of right choices and decisions not from a random confluence of events.

Thirdly, you could replace "blessed" with "prosperous". Usually, a blessed man becomes prosperous because he makes good choices and wise decisions that result in profitable outcomes for a "blessed" man.

You have it within your power to live a  "blessed" Life! The question is, "Will you?" Will you choose to live a bless life? Now that you know three things God blesses and you refuse to do any of those things - you will live under the curse of sin and pride.

Do you love God with ALL your heart?

Do you live according to His Word?

Do you have a desire and a discipline to learn His Word?

Loving, living and learning lead to blessedness! Reject the curse - receive the blessing!

June 11, 2018

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."  Philppians 1:21-22

The barnyard animals loved their farmer. He had taken good care of them for many years and made their lives very pleasant. He loved them and in their animal way, they loved him.

One day they were discussing how blessed they were to be owned by such a kind and generous man. It was decided they would honor him to show their appreciation. They all readily agreed and began to brainstorm on the best way to communicate their appreciation for him.

Finally they came upon an idea that pleased them all. Since the farmer arose early every morning to do his chores they knew that he loved eating a good hearty breakfast. So, to thank him they thought they would prepare a breakfast in his honor.

"How shall we do it?" one of them asked.

"Well," said the hen, "I will gladly contribute a half dozen of my delicious eggs!"

"Great idea!" said the cow, "I will give milk for him to drink and cream for Him to make butter for his biscuits."

The hog was strangely silent. The hen and the cow looked at him indignantly and the hen challenged, "Hey, hog! I am giving eggs for our farmer's breakfast and the cow is gladly contributing her milk. How about if you donate some ham and bacon!"

This simple silly story about the barnyard animals illustrates the difference between involvement and commitment. The hen and the cow were willing to be involved but the hog would be committed. They would be giving from themselves but he would be giving himself. That is a big difference! That is commitment! Involvement costs you something - but commitment costs you everything!"

Paul in saying, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" is saying, "I am committed not just involved!"

How do we know that he is committed? We know because he is willing to die. He was willing to pay the cost. Paul loved God more than He loved life itself.

What about you? Are you involved or are you committed? 

How do you know? 

How would others know? 

How would God know? 

What price are you willing to pay? 

Do you love God more than you love your own life?