Windsor Community United Methodist Church
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Jim Markus, Certified Lay Speaker Candidate "Journey: Blessed" July 17, 2011
Journey – Blessings
Certified Lay Speaker Candidate
May our ears be open to the words from my mouth, our eyes open to the blessings of the Lord.
God Bless You! How many times have you heard those three words? Are you on a journey to or with the God who blesses? If you were to remove the words bless, blessed and blessing from the Christian vocabulary, our prayer life, congregational worship, and preaching would be greatly affected.
In our prayer life aren’t these the friendly words that we’re accustomed to hearing and using, wouldn’t life be barren without them?
Words of blessing help us pray for God’s protection and vision, and help us glorify Jesus.
Remember what Jacob prayed for in Genesis 32:26, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” God answered him. He gave Jacob a limp! (congregation will react) Perhaps Jacob should have been more specific in his praying. Is a limp a blessing? Or is any other affliction? It can be – at least it was for Jacob. It changed his walk with God, and it can do the same for us.
God gave Jacob a new name, Israel, which meant “he struggled with God and with men, and overcame” (Genesis 32:27-28) the man with the limp became an over comer – can you? (My struggle w/cancer-pacemaker)
The life of faith involves paradoxes. If we want to receive, we must first give. If we want to be leaders, we must first become servants.
Remember what the Lord will say to us as he said to Abraham. “I will bless you – and you will be a blessing”.
The way to be exalted is to be humbled, and the way to get a blessing is to be a blessing. This is a journey, is it not?
When like Jacob we surrender to the Lord, than we can experience his over coming power.
(Good spot for a contemporary illustration) (Power-Biblical)
Remember that the apostle Paul prayed for divine healing?
Was he also praying for a blessing? God answered
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. Paul accepted God’s plan and submitted to him. Paul was able to say “For when I am weak, then I am strong”. When this becomes our creed we are blessed in our journey with God.
In the eternal economy of God, strength that believes itself to be strength is weakness, but remember weakness that believes itself to be weakness is strength. We must always remember that weakness plus faith plus grace, equals power.
(add healing illustration)
Here’s a bit of Biblical knowledge, bless, blessed and blessing are found over 5 hundred times in the Bible and will describe such diverse things as rain, bumper crops, babies and of course, salvation from sin.
Our English word bless is thought to come from the old English verb Bletsian, which meant, to consecrate through blood.
The Latin gives us benediction (to speak well of) and the Greek means “to eulogize”.
Scattered throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament Epistles are statements we call benedictions. The word benediction means “to speak well; to speak something good”.
Have you ever wondered in your journey what is a blessing?
In searching the Biblical record, the conclusion is that a blessing is any act of God that brings him glory by us accomplishing his will and helping people grow and do his will.
Have you ever shopped at Walmart or Target and found “Blessings” on the shelf? Of course not! They only come from the Lord. We can’t explain blessings – how they happen, when they happen, and to whom they happen. Do we ever wonder what to do when blessings happen to us?
God’s blessings involve a price to pay – the shedding of the blood of Jesus – and a submission to the Lord that says, “not my will, but your will be done”.
Remember God blessed his creation, earth, and now his creation blesses us.
God, you remember, blessed the Sabbath, and it became a blessing to Israel and to us.
Remember, the principle of “Faith and Obedience bring blessings” it still applies, though the promised blessings may be different. We still must live by faith, and faith shall lead to obedience, and obedience leads to God’s Blessings.
We must remember that we are united to Christ by faith and share his life, the Father, therefore, blesses us because of his son, Jesus Christ. Is not the Father the source of every good and perfect gift, and our only access to him is by prayer in the name of Jesus and for the glory of Jesus; God’s answers are his blessings to us.
Sometimes, we don’t always recognize God’s gifts as blessings. In fact, circumstances in our journey of faith can be so painful that we wonder if God really cares.
Consider Jacob’s limp, Paul’s thorn in the flesh, and especially the crucificion of Jesus. These events from the Bible look like tragedies, but in God’s time they became victories. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. WHAT IS THAT PURPOSE? Conforming to the likeness of his son.
The world complains about pain and difficult situations because our world lives primarily for happiness, but God’s people (that’s us) learn to rejoice in our sufferings because our goal is holiness, wanting to grow in our journey to be more like Jesus Christ –Is that not our happiness?
God wants us to receive from him and share with others. We are channels of God’s blessing, not reservoirs. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive”.
(slide showing canals and reservoirs)
Aren’t we sometimes called to be canals which then become reservoirs or lakes?
In our Christian Journey, Jesus told us, “Give and it will be given to you”.
God has already blessed us with “every spiritual blessings in Christ”and with faith we may draw from that treasury.
I invite you to become a “BENEDICTION BELIEVER”
Make this your journey to blessings.
Closing prayer -------
Heavenly Father, as we make our journey to blessings make us a canal, not reservoirs but huge lakes to draw from them spiritual blessings in Christ and to always remember: It is more blessed to give than receive. Amen