And if He is supposed to bless you, exactly what does that blessing look like? No one takes it away from me; I’m laying down my life of my own accord. Am I right? We’re often prepared to accept a greater middle ground, more shades of grey between right and wrong instead of the black and white attitude we have when we’re on the receiving end of a wrong decision. The collection of labor which I suddenly found myself with – and only because of the Covid Pandemic - was unprecedented – an able-bodied son, son-in-law and a grandson, age 6, who loves to use a power drill with a little help from his dad and “Pops”, as he likes to call me! Those who see and feel the state that they are in by nature being deeply sensible of their sinfulness, guiltiness and helplessness. Here’s one way, Matthew chapter 5, verse 6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. We use cookies to improve your browsing experience, analyse site traffic & personalise content, but we do not track you when you leave this site. Who would not depend upon such a Lord for blessing? It’s not so much that some people think I’m a little odd – how can he be all religious like that? Jesus, the Son of God, miracle man, could do anything, here He was in our midst but how did He use His power? 1:3). And you know what, I know many a Christ follower who’s missing out, at least in part, on the fun and the vibrancy and the blessing of life through the same immature decisions in their relationship with God. I guess the first thing in trying to come to an understanding in what Jesus was really saying here is that meek doesn’t equal weak. Well obviously it was Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are …He had to be joking right? We first meet him in chapter 7 of the book that bears his name. Featuring a sermon puts it on the front page of the site and is the most effective way to bring this sermon to the attention of thousands including all mobile platforms + newsletter. How can we be blessed? The teacher’s name, I remember this, was Mr Moore. It’s kind of bizarre to look back on because the pain and the mourning went on, as I said, for quite some time but in the middle of that was God, very real, very present, to comfort me through and I came out of that time a totally different person, far from perfect let me hasten to add, but totally different. Problem is what we mean by blessing … and what God means by blessing can end up being two entirely different things. And often it is the struggles and trials, the aching disappointments and the unfulfilled longings that best enable us to do that. Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy. We want to imagine that success according to our definition is exactly the same thing as blessing according to God’s definition. In other words the rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. There are people listening today who are listening in secret because if they said they believed in Jesus openly they’d be persecuted. In part it means integrity and virtue, purity of life but that’s still not all of it. He setteth forth His magnificence in blessing children of men. What a silly question – of course, we all want to be blessed, right?! Reach 250,000 people with a Gospel message, Reach 500,000 people with a Gospel message, Reach 1.3 million people with a Gospel message, Reach 2.5 million people with a Gospel message, Reach 5 million people with a Gospel message, Reach 7.5 million people with a Gospel message. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who literally want it so much they’re prepared to suffer for it, that’s the sense of those words to hunger and to thirst here, those who are suffering for and longing for righteousness right now are going to be blessed right now in the present tense because they will be filled, they will be satisfied. I wonder if in your heart of hearts when you hear that word ‘blessing’ your default position, your instant response is to equate God’s blessing with success here and now. Firstly that word “blessed”. Friend if you’ve never taken the step of admitting the truth about yourself to yourself and to God today’s the day, the very day to do it and if you’re someone who’s admitted it and today again you find yourself falling short of God then today’s the day to go before God and admit again. So … …. RCCG Open Heavens. See there was Mr Moore, he was one of my favourite teachers and in my childish mind I’m kind of expecting that so that he lives up to who he is in my life, so he demonstrates that he is in fact worthy of being my favourite teacher when I point out the error of his umpiring ways as I saw them what he should actually do is automatically bless me by capitulating and agreeing with me. As things turn out, our expectations of God are really, really important. Yeah, yeah, I know that Jesus said in this world we’d have tribulation, John chapter 16, verse 33. There was an interesting article in my local paper, the Australian newspaper recently talking about one of the greatest risks of the world economy, in fact to world peace in the coming decade. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled. I am a preacher preparing to preach on Ephesians 1:7 and was thin; God'sAbundantBlessings Love it! Blessed beyond imagination! For a long time I wasn’t, for a long time I thought of myself as being something of a hot shot. What’s that all about? (Hebrews 6:18, 19). But isn’t it funny how that strong sense of right and wrong stays with us. I remember being in that dark place of mourning and grief, it went on for a long time, several months and it actually took a year or two to get through. An inheritance that can never be lost (I Peter 1:3-5). The truth is pain is never easy, mourning and grief are never easy and we wouldn’t wish them upon themselves or anyone else but they’re not meant to be easy. See faith is the assurance of things that we’re hoping for and the absolute strong conviction of the things we can’t see. God always opposes the proud but He gives grace to the humble and to the meek which is why Jesus truly could say: My friend meekness is a beautiful quality in people, power under control is a beautiful quality in people, some of the most powerful people I know in this world, a General in the army, heads of large corporations, they’re powerful and yet they have a humility and a meekness about them. We know all that theory but that’s for other people. Sometimes we need to be told just the way things are. Now of course sometimes He does, absolutely, but no one’s life is completely successful. You and I know when we stop and think about it, that a mismatch of expectations is always going to cause pain and conflict. But in the middle of that time of mourning, it doesn’t feel as though God wants to bless us. First, I’m going to assume that most of us on one level truly want to obey God. Again, astounding is God’s bounty! … I mean, are you expecting Him to bless you or not? He said: For this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. Well religious is one thing I’m not. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. Does that sound anything like the world’s version of success to you? In fact, these days, pretty much, we …. In this world, expectations are incredibly important. But what about when the shoe’s on the other foot? Our ethics, our definition of right and wrong change depending on the circumstances and who’s on the giving end and who’s on the receiving end. There are a number of men in Scripture whom God blessed: Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and David are prominent examples. Not because they deserve it but because Jesus died to purchase that forgiveness for them. Hopefully I’ve grown up a bit since then … hopefully. John Wesley put it this way, he said: Those who are unfeignedly penitent, they are truly convinced of their sin. Around week five, we had to start staking the tomato plants as little fruits began to weigh down the stems. And today and over this week, in fact the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be chatting about why that one thing – this idea of success and blessing being the same thing – is one of the toughest things about following Jesus in this day and age. So this series of messages that we’re kicking off today, whilst it’s called “God’s Abundant Blessing” and it’s all about God’s abundant blessing, it’s going to strike at the very heart of this mismatch of expectations. It’s exactly what Jesus is telling His disciples in that much famed Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5 and interesting the chapter before is the record of Jesus calling His closest twelve disciples out of the thousands of people, the huge crowds that were following Him. So the next time we’re grumbling and complaining about injustice and I know there are some people listening right now here today who are suffering terrible injustice in their lives, the next time we feel as though somehow God’s deserted us we can by faith lay hold of this blessing because by faith we know that we will be filled. Over and over again in the New Testament we read about rejoicing in our suffering, “consider it nothing but pure joy when you suffer”, writes James in his letter. I’ve been walking with the Lord now for almost two decades, a good proportion of that has been studying and preaching and teaching God’s Word, if anyone should be over that sense of disappointment because of what I get to do every day, being in God’s Word, it should be me right? There are a few Greek words used in the New Testament which are translated into the English word “blessed” and in many respects this is the strongest one, it’s the most direct one. Can you see how childish that is? My sermon is really about all that stuff that happens after we get out of bed and the struggles we have each day to obey God. And so this tension develops because of a mismatch of expectations. Parishioner Kenny Meyer shares about finding God's blessings in the midst of the pandemic. God’s Abundant Blessings The pandemic has changed all of our lives. Who are the poor in spirit? Then, when he's still at rock-bottom, he finds himself blessed by God even more abundantly. The Lord did much to get my attention and a huge part of that was to humble me. See religion is all about treading on people and manipulating them and making them feel small.”. So if you were in my road, watch out! ), and they carefully planted nine tomato plants in several of the raised boxes along with green beans, carrots, zucchini, black-eyed peas and serrano peppers; they gently packed the soil around each little plant and seed and then watered them in. Short, dumpy, having a go. Sermon: God’s Favor on the New Year January 5, 2016 / Palitha Jayasooriya / 0 ... • He sends rain and makes the land fertile as the climax to a year of abundant blessing (9-13). We feel as though we should be blessed by God, but to be honest, life’s just not like that. God wants us to experience life in abundance. The temple had been rebuilt under the ministries of Zerubbabel and Jeshua, aided by the preaching of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. For me it’s so often, in fact almost always begins with knowing the truth in the middle of the mourning, in the middle of the grief, in the middle of going through those struggles after a great loss. It’s not what we expected. Over the ensuing days, we watched (somewhat impatiently!) Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Tweet, Facebook, whatever your social media of choice is, just help make people aware. Website made possible by a generous grant from, consider a gift of your time, talent and treasure. It goes something like this: there’s denial then anger then bargaining then depression and then acceptance. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. He told us that meekness is actually strength under control. He stuck to his guns, he was firm and he said if I didn’t want to accept the decision I could sit out the game. Blessing? So have a listen, this is the well known Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5, verses 1 to 12 and it’s all about the blessing that God has for us, the kind of blessing we may not expect: When Jesus saw the crowds he went up the mountain and after he sat down with his disciples when they came to him. I missed out on the fun of the rest of the afternoon through my tantrum. I’m telling you this stuff because it sets the scene for the struggle I had coming to grips with this rather bizarre blessing that Jesus is talking about here. The reason I remember him is he was my favourite teacher and naturally he refereed the game. And we kind of equate that idea of success, an idea that’s been so deeply ingrained into our nature day after day, with the idea of God’s blessing. It’s not quite clear is it? What Jesus seems to be saying here is that His blessing isn’t for all those people who are full of themselves, the people who think they’re really someone but for those who are real about who they are without Him. The hardest thing for me here is that God doesn’t always dish up what I expect Him to dish up in my life. •• For those who serve and obey Him, He is “the Lord who HEALS YOU.” 2. ... with abundance”. I will take away … It’s not a quality that we hold up as one of those things that we admire in other people. Parishioner Kenny Meyer shares about finding God's blessings in the midst of the pandemic. There have been plenty of times over the course of my fifty something years that I’ve come to the conclusion that life is just not fair. Copyright © 2020 The Church of St. John the Divine, all rights reserved. The original Greek word used here in the Bible literally means “mildness of disposition and gentleness of spirit”. And so, we end up asking some questions – like “Where is God?” and “Does He really love me?” Then why try the whole arrogance and self–sufficiency thing – but it turns out that that’s pretty empty and hollow too. If you want to know how to move in God’s supernatural favor. There are people struggling through things at work, relationships, family problems, kids on drugs. Once they’ve served their sentence they’re back on the right side of the law. 18:46; 2 Cor. Other people I know, many other people, were blessed always to have known Jesus all their lives. But then he loses just about everything except his wife. I didn’t think so and yet Jesus has the temerity to say: Now let’s unpick that just quickly so we understand the full force of what He’s saying. The ones who are prepared to nail their wretched pride and false sense of self sufficiency and their success to the cross and go before God and ask Him for forgiveness. You see those people who perhaps feel like others are always walking over the top of them, treating them like a door mat, they struggle with this too and if any of those describe you then of course you’re going to be struggling when Jesus said: And for the same reason that I struggled with it because, well that great character from the long running TV series MASH, Father Mulcahy, put it really nicely when he said, “The meek may inherit the earth but it’s the grumpy who get promoted.”. Jesus was powerful and meek, the lion and the lamb. It’s the powerful, the strong, the rich, the grumpy, those with privilege and position who end up owning everything, the weak get nothing. Plenty of people who live their lives that way so imagine my disdain and surprise then, back in those days before I knew Jesus personally, when I heard this little quote from something Jesus once said, what I now know to be the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5, verse 5: Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. The hardest thing for me is I, like most other people, have grown up with the world’s idea of success, the world’s definition of success all around me. Well to tell you the truth I’m a somewhat mellower person of what I used to be before I met Jesus, hopefully. The first is one of those ripping good parables that Jesus told about our Heavenly Father. It was like, it’s like the grief had put this impenetrable and invisible shield around me and they just couldn’t break through it. I mean how can you call that blessing? If God’s blessing me then obviously I have plenty of money, plenty of food, nice place to live, good health, great relationships, a satisfying but not too challenging job. A hope that can never be disappointed. It was now time to sit back, relax a bit from our collective labors, and let God work his miracle of growth, flowering and producing fruit. God graciously provides exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think. Exodus 15:26[The Lord] said, ‘If you listen carefullyto the Lord your God and do what is rightin his eyes, if you pay attentionto his commands and keepall his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’ 1. August 19, 2012by Living Water. It’s the very reason Jesus came to the earth. There he hired a bunch of guys to work in his vineyard for an agreed upon rate of pay. Now forget that perhaps you may have heard that many times. It means literally “to be happy”. You know I remember it as though it was yesterday and still now as I talk about it I can feel that sense of anger and indignation rising up in me. As the days passed, more and more tomatoes grew out of more and more blooms. Sometimes they wield great power, other times they sit silent and suffer loss and abuse. We’ve got our own little prosperity doctrine tucked away in our hearts. My friend if you are mourning a loss right now please listen to the truth, you are blessed because Jesus means to comfort you, that’s the truth and He means to comfort you in a very real way. As I said earlier this week one of the toughest things for us is to accept this apparent disconnect between our ideas of success and God’s idea of blessing. Let’s take a look and find out. It’s because deep down we expect God’s blessing to equal worldly success and when God doesn’t stump up with the success we’re expecting then it feels like everything we believe about God, everything we’ve struggled for in following Jesus is a lie. It’s the best way I can describe it but in the middle of that inky blackness, isolated from everyone else I decided to start reading my Bible. We read about the blessings of God for His people all the time in the Bible. “How did what you say the other day relate to this particular loss or this particular grief in my life?” Now it’s not always quite those words but that’s so often what underlies the question and it’s my great privilege to be able to speak God’s love and God’s truth into those situations in people’s lives and most often the response I receive after that is a sense of revelation and comfort at the powerful way in which God’s Word ministers into their lives. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. A disciple literally is a learner so it’s for the people who want to follow Jesus, to learn from Him, to model their lives on His life and the very first thing Jesus has to say about blessing, what was it again? Receive the FRESH devotional free daily. I mean really. We’re chatting today again about God’s blessing, what it really means to be blessed by God. Scripture shows that blessing is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in him. We’re continuing our look today at God’s definition of blessing. If recently, you have been blessed by an abundance of goodness, take time to thank God for his generosity; consider a gift of your time, talent and treasure to St John the Divine during this pandemic and watch how blessings flow back to you! You know, when we lose someone or something that we dearly love, a husband, a wife, a parent a child … perhaps even a job or a whole career, it’s natural that we should mourn that loss. I know the right things to do but I just can’t seem to do them some days. There were so many days where it felt like I was being torn apart and yes there were some well meaning friends around me who tried to comfort me and they were great, I mean I wouldn’t have made it through without them but somehow, I can’t quite put it into words, nothing they said made a difference at the end of the day. If God’s blessing me then those are the things that I have but if one of those things isn’t quite right, if one of those expectations isn’t quite being met then obviously God isn’t blessing me. When you or I have something really important that’s wrong then a real friend is someone who fronts up and tells us so. Yesterday we saw how those who were truly poor in spirit were blessed because theirs was the kingdom of God but right now let’s look at the next blessing that Jesus talks about in His Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5, verse 4: Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Africa’s one of the richest continents on the planet when it comes to natural resources and yet it’s home to countless millions of poor, of oppressed, threatened people, refugee’s. God’s blessing doesn’t depend on our circumstances. This phrase, "Blessing I will bless." The first sermon of our 2018 series focusing on the Gospel and money, Abundance: The Overflow of God’s Blessings. It means having a right standing with God. Think back to the last time that you mourned a loss, what was it? Perhaps it was the “manure tea” (look it up on Google if you’re not familiar with this magic potion) we made as a natural fertilizer that exploded the numbers; but, maybe, just maybe, it was God at work combining his soil, his nutrients, his sun, his rainwater that made his plants so productive; we just supplied some helping hands along the way. You and me, we want to pull up next to this idea of success, we so want to equate success with God’s blessing that we kind of ignore all those other bits for us, the bits about suffering, persecution, laying down our lives and taking up our cross and following Jesus because success has been so powerfully woven into who we are. Yeah, really? Meekness is not a quality that you hear many people talking about. – Deuteronomy 28:3 Read: Deuteronomy 28:1-2 (KJV) 1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD… […] Facebook ← What a Difference 10 Years Makes […] Althea Granberry Thank you for your ministry! the tomato plants and other vegetables grow and begin to bloom. And when that simple yet powerful formula doesn’t play itself out in our lives, when we imagine that blessing equals good health, prosperity and we find ourselves battling an illness or struggling with our finances then there’s a double whammy there because not only do we have to deal with that stuff that we’re dealing with but we end up battling our disappointment and our disillusionment with God. . The most powerful person whoever walked the planet was who? Well that only confirmed it for me, religion, which is what I called it back then, is just a crutch for the weak and the down trodden and it’s not for me. The exiles that h… So does that mean I’m a loser? 3. God provides abundantly for our material needs. Well I was full of myself and when you’re full of yourself it makes a huge amount of sense just to roll over the top of people. Now we could easily make the mistake of thinking here, “well that’s it, that confirms it, this Christianity thing is just a crutch for losers, you have to be poor in spirit, you have to somehow be into self deprecation. Obviously Jesus has something totally different in mind and since He was talking to His disciples when He said this stuff, His closest followers, those who were prepared not just to listen to His sermons but to model their lives on Him under His mentorship then my hunch is that this is something you and I need to get our minds around, what Jesus means about blessing because His blessing is different. For several years, I had been wanting to build some raised planters for our vegetable garden, but never could seem to find the time. Your email address will not be published. e: info@christianityworks.com, p: 719 296 9299 Problem is we often don’t realise that’s what’s going on or maybe we don’t admit it to ourselves and it ruins our lives, it ruins our walk. You can help by just spreading the word. Your email address will not be published. (Encourage the children to give away their cards with the Smiley on them. A deliverance that can never be excelled (2 Corinthians l:10). Hmm? Luke 6:38. (short prayer) Now, you’ve been blessed to be a blessing. The Voice of the LORD | God's Abundant Blessings! Clever, capable, competent, self sufficient. Not always perhaps but certainly when the wrong end of the stick affects us, when the decision goes against us. It was awful. A grace that can never be limited (2 Corinthians 12:9). Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God. Some would say I’m a bit of a tough old nutter, I’ve never really been afraid of a stoush. But there’s another bunch of people who would also struggle with it. There’s a reason for that, we’ll come to that later, but for much of my life I’d plough straight over the top of people or through them or both to get to where I was going. 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