Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Place of Blessing

What does it mean to be in the place of blessing? And what must I do to make my life into the type of life the God desires to bless? As I thought of these questions I became more and more convinced that there are some important steps that I can take to insure blessing on my life. Like you, I want my life to be a life that is a place of blessing.

1. Do I have a Heart Condition?- I recognize that God is looking beyond my outward appearance, beyond my externals, and looking into my heart. I am not always comforted by this prospect as I know that my heart can be "deceitfully wicked". But God sees down to the core. Amazing, isn't it? God looks beyond even the current manifestation of my own sinfulness and into my heart. In less than a second God has me sized up. He knows if my heart is entertaining grievous thoughts, if my heart is resistant to him or compliant, if my heart is soft and mold-able or hard and rebellious. If I want the blessing of God on my life I need to be consistently monitoring the "garden of my heart". Do I find myself resisting his commands? Do I demand they are completely understood by my limited, finite mind before I obey? Do I fight the will of God? Am I stubbornly resisting or am I yielding to his direction?

2. Am I a giver?- One of the reasons God asks us to give is to demonstrate the trust we have in him. Seriously, a lot of people talk a good game but few people practice the art of giving. Do I practice giving my money to the needy and the poor? Do I give habitually? By that,  I mean is it my regular practice to tithe (give a 10th) as the scriptures demand? Am I giving beyond the requirements of the Pharisees (Luke 18.12 and Matthew 5.20)? Do I care to support the ministry of missionaries around the globe? Do I give beyond my comfort level?

3. Am I a servant?- Do I practice the art of service? Do I see myself as one who has come to serve or to be served? Jesus viewed himself as a servant (Mark 10.45) do I expect that I should have a higher view of myself than my Lord has of himself? And if I do then is he really Lord of my life? When I do serve am I compelled to complain or am I challenged to find the things that God is teaching me in that act of servitude? Do I only serve those who can repay me, or is there a portion of my service that is offered up to God alone?

4. Do I walk in love?- It is hard to measure love. It certainly goes beyond a feeling in the recesses of my heart. Are my actions those of Christ's love or are they marred by self interest? Is it all about me, or is it about others? Am I convinced of God's love for myself so much that I feel constrained to love those around me, even those whom society has rejected? Do I go beyond what is expected?

I am sure there is more to having my life being a "place of blessing" but certainly there is plenty here to begin the soul work necessary to be blessed. If we understand it correctly the blessing of God on our life will not only enrich us but will flow through us to others and to the glory of God. Lord, make us a truly blessed people. Amen.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Trouble with Compromise

We all do it from time to time. We compromise what we know to be good and right. A little lie, a half truth here or there, an act of disobedience that is in private, you get the idea. What we are talking about is going against your conscience. You know that you are supposed to be one way and you behave another. Human beings often overlook the little compromises in our behaviors but they are not without consequence. No, there are tragedies that exist today because of small compromises in the past. Marriages fail long before adultery happens, they fail when the Biblical standard is compromised. Businesses fail because of small compromises in the past. Ministries struggle today because truth has been compromised in the past.

Compromise is dangerous because it removes us from the place of God's obvious blessing, and because it erodes our foundation, and it jeopardizes our trustworthiness and calls our character into account. There once was a man who was in the  place of temptation. Family members were playing to his greed and telling him that a small compromise would make him money...lots of money. "Pastor what do you think?..." he began to ask me. Holding up my hand I told him this truth. "Don't compromise your soul". Unfortunately for him, he didn't listen to me. The temptation proved to be too much. And today he pays the price for his trifling with sin.

Carpenters will know this truth. If you are putting in a chair rail or cabinets, every step must be checked to insure that it is "true" to the level. Otherwise when all the work is done  and the rails go around the room, they will not match up. Your failure to stay true will be seen by all. The small compromise will eventually become obvious!