God’s ways

Do blessings fall from cloudless skies?

Have you noticed that “blessings” from God are not always clothed like blessings? Sometimes when they knock on our door we do not recognize them. Like peddlers, mendicants, little girls with cookies or young men and women with glossy literature we want to turn them away, give them a scrap of our time, be polite but hesitate to open the door more than necessary to converse briefly with them and then hopefully send them on their way to our neighbors. We don’t see them as blessings, but as nuisances and interruptions in our busy day of pursuing blessings by another more familiar name. We are too caught up in crossing things off our to-do lists so we can at least feel blessed, even though we really may not be blessed.
When blessings come, they are not only unrecognizable but they are also sometimes late, out of sequence and just not what we would affix as giving value to our lives. We are much more prone to bemoan the absence of blessings in our lives in the frustration of dealing with their delays and in so doing prove ourselves more ungodly than godly and anything but deserving. It is a catch 22 as they say, a paradoxical conundrum in which the very act of seeking a blessing has a way of dredging up the ungodly side of our nature that would threaten to disqualify us from the very thing we yearn.

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Why God relates to us differently

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:35-36 (NIV)

This is a curious passage of scripture, one which could make someone who is familiar with the nature and teaching of Jesus to do a double take. What in the world is Jesus talking about here?

This advice seems contrary to everything we know about Jesus from both His teachings and His dealings with His disciples. It appears to contradict His many exhortations to faith in God’s provision and to trust in God’s protection. The very idea of now being told to essentially lookout for oneself after the comfort of experiencing God’s miraculous interventions seems ludicrous.

But the reality is, Jesus’ manner in relating to His disciples is about to change. He is preparing them for His impending arrest, crucifixion and death. In the next breath He tells them: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me.’” (vs. 37)

This change in the rules of the game ushered in a very difficult time for the disciples. No one suffered more than poor Peter. First he took Jesus’ advice about the sword too literally. At Jesus’ arrest he overstepped the will of the Lord and wielding his sword cut off a man’s ear. Jesus had to rebuke him saying “No more of this!” and healed the man. Then Peter ended up denying Christ three times and going out into the night weeping bitterly. (vs. 47-62)

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Faith the Divine Exchange

“Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” Psalm 2:12

Faith is a divine exchange.
We exchange the visible for the invisible. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
We let go of what is tangible to obtain what is intangible. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
We forgo trust in self, in order to trust in God. (Proverbs 3:5)
We relinquish what we can control, to give God control. (Proverbs 3:6)
We surrender our will so we can live in His will. (Luke 22:42)
We give up doing it our way to do it His way. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
We renounce self-centeredness for God centeredness. (Mark 8:34-35)
We confess our unrighteousness to receive His righteousness. (1 John 1:9)
We risk temporal loss for eternal gain. (John 12:24)
We exchange the ashes of our lives for the beauty of His. (Isaiah 61:2)
We ignore what we can see to discover what He can see. (Romans 4:17)
We set aside what we know in order to learn what He knows. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
We exchange the unpredictable for the predictable. (Hebrews 11:1)
We give away what we have, so He can give us all He has. (Luke 6:38)
We forego our time-table for God’s time-table. (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
We disregard the natural to appeal to the supernatural. (Romans 4:19-20)
We silence the negative to speak the positive. (1 Thessalonians 5:18 & 2 Corinthians 4:13)

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