Hello Church Devotion Sept. 02, 2013

B is for Blessing

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’” Genesis 1:27-28 NIV

Living in the south some of you may be familiar with the saying, ‘Bless your heart’ or some similar variation. It is often used as a term of endearment or gratitude. But in reality we don’t hear the word/s blessing, blessed, or bless used in everyday situations. It is one of those words we hear in God’s word and at church and occasionally in regards to some other events. It is a word with deep and intrinsic value. In Genesis1:27-28 we see and learn about the true essence of blessing and from whom it comes. A blessing is a divine favor or heavenly reward. At the creation of all things, humanity was blessed by God and given a heavenly reward to be the centerpiece of creation as God created us in His own image.

God’s blessings did not stop at his creation. He has continued to bless us, his people in ways that we are not and never will be worthy of. The blessing we receive from him is not something that we earn or can ever strive to ascertain in and by ourselves. It is very apparent how blessings from God are one sided. If creation wasn't enough to teach us that it becomes even more clear after the Fall of man when God comes into the Garden to discover sinful Adam and Eve hiding from him. God could have responded in many ways but he chose to restore them to himself. He chose at that time to foretell of the coming Savior, his Son who would once and for all redeem sinful humanity. Just as quick as he blessed us with life, he restored us through the promise of a savior that brings us the blessing of eternal life. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”(Romans 10:10-13, NIV)

God’s blessings come in many forms throughout our life. We have unfortunately started to lose sight of his blessings in our culture. Many of us have forgotten that all things good are from God. Whether it be food, shelter, medicine or anything that provides and sustains life it would not be possible without God. In our enlightened, postmodern age, we have started to fall trap to the lie that through study and self discovery we can begin to manage and even provide blessing on our own. This neglects the basic reality that life in and of itself is a gift. We are not promised tomorrow (see Matthew 6:25-27) and yet when we forget to see each day as a gift/blessing from God we begin to slip into the worldly perspective that attempts to claim ownership of blessings. We begin to strive for goodness as the world or culture around us classifies it, as if we can provide more than the creator whom we slowly forget.

The worldly perspective is an inward focused view that on its best days sees humanity as a progressing people. It sees people as a group who can and should strive to better themselves and in that process bring more blessings to all of humanity. Although this seems harmless and beneficial at first glance, what happens when the common view of what is good is disagreed upon? What happens when sin rears its ugly head and greed, selfishness, and other forms of malice reassert themselves? Even if the core group seemingly has progressed towards more outward kindness, have we at the end of the day added even another second to one’s life? If in that progress we have neglected the foundation from where all blessings flow, have we truly progressed at all?

Now you might be thinking we should still encourage all people to strive to be a blessing to others. Yes, it is fine to encourage more blessings but we must not forget where blessings begin and whom they originate. God teaches us to be a blessing and to bless people as he blesses us. God says in Luke 6:27-28; 31; 35-36, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to these who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you… Do to others as you would have them do to you… Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” So as we go about living our lives let us strive to be a blessing to those around us by recognizing the blessings that God has bestowed on each of us every day. We can be a blessing because God has blessed us.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your immense blessings that you give to me each and every day. Thank you for life as each day is a gift and we are not guaranteed tomorrow. Lord, help me to remember your blessings and lead me to be a blessing to those around me. Lord, I ask that you keep us all safe this day and help me to never lose sight of your blessings in my life, especially the forgiveness of my sins through your son Jesus death and resurrection. I ask all this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Further Thought:

1. In what ways has God blessed you today?

2. When you recognize that you have been blessed by God, then you realize that you have blessings that you can share with others too. How might you be a blessing to others through the gifts God has given you?