The Blessed Life

Ah, yes, the blessed life. Christians truly live under the blessings of God. It makes us special. But what happens when circumstances seem to reveal the opposite? Where do you land when things go wrong, when you get sick, someone stole from you, or you lost your source of income? Let me be totally honest with you, I thought that when I gave my life to Jesus I would have an easy life. I actually thought I would not have trouble in my life anymore. I was so ready for life to be on easy street because, frankly, life without Jesus was hard! I guess from the outside looking in, you might think I was experiencing hardship. But for the first three years of pursuing faith in Jesus, life was changing for the better, consistently. I could see very clearly where God was working and blessing with a yes and Amen. Then…the bottom fell out. I should say, it seemed like the bottom fell out. A lot of really tough circumstances hit my life all at the same time. It’s like my seat in heavenly places disappeared and I fell into hell. While that may sound dramatic, if you build your belief system of a blessed life as no trouble in your life, it will be a big wake up call when difficult times hit. What happened when trouble hit was an education only Father God can give.

I have to back to when my son was learning a new Bible verse. It was John 16:33. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I took a “that’s nice” approach to the scripture, I encouraged and facilitated the memorization and maybe spoke into it without really experiencing a revelation of the meaning of it. Little did I know that the timing and the scripture were prophetic. I needed to take heart and know that Jesus has overcome all the trouble I would go through. God was trying to prepare me for what was to come. I ignored it because it didn’t fit into my blessed life bubble.

So, what did Father God teach me? He taught me about sanctification. What’s that? It is God transforming us into what He created us to be in the first place. He is changing us from sinner into saint. Sanctification is the process of transformation. I call it the burning fires of God (see Hebrew 12, read the entire chapter for context). Why would it be the burning fires of God? Well, let’s take the process of making gold as an example. While gold automatically has value, it is not shiny and useful when it is mined out of the earth. It looks like a rock with gold coloring. In order to make something of use out of the gold, it has to be refined. Fire and heat are required to refine gold. Refining it makes it shiny and makes the rock soft enough to be shaped into something for use. God wants to use us to change the world, we have to be transformed so that we can be used. While there is an instantaneous transformation at salvation, sanctification is a lifetime process that we undergo as we endure the troubles and victories of life. It is the process of learning how to love and trust God and to love others. I don’t believe that sanctification ever stops, although, I do believe that sometimes refining is intense and sometimes refining come easy.¬† Some call these hills, valleys, and mountains. I like to call it life on earth, being subject to evil, the interference of other’s free will choices and learning to trust God in the midst of it all.

So what does this have to do with blessing? Well, in the midst of difficult situations and circumstances, it is easy to fall into a belief system that says your life isn’t blessed anymore. I am here to say, it is impossible for you to lose your spiritual blessings. What God showed me about blessing during troubled times is that I have to remember the simple things He has done, my identity as a child of God, and that He is with me the whole way through. Trials throw us into a time where gratitude for the simple things, for the simple blessings, brings joy in the midst of trouble. It is a time where we need to remember what we have been blessed with: salvation, provision, protection, victory and more. In the meantime, we wait patiently on God to show us the way through tough times. Take heart new believer! Jesus has overcome every trial you will have. Rest and know that you are blessed.

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Seek and you will find…God is kind

I used to think God was sitting up in heaven shaking his finger at me. I believed God thought I was a naughty little girl and there was nothing I could do to change that. It started when I was in grade school. I was in line to “receive” my first sacrament of reconciliation. In the Catholic Church this is most commonly called confession. I was talking with my friend about what I needed to confess and to be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to say. I said to my friend, “I must of said a curse word so I’ll say I said a curse word.” Yup, I lied in my first confession because I couldn’t think of anything to confess.¬†Really, it’s okay to laugh, this is funny! It’s pretty clear that I didn’t learn anything in the religion class I was taking. I truly believe that this experience led me to believe I was naughty. The truth is, I was actually a pretty good kid.

I now have a much different view of who God is. God doesn’t see me as a naughty little girl. He sees me as His daughter, forgiven and free. God’s character isn’t just about how He sees us. It is about who He is, His personality. So, let me ask, what is God like to you? Is He a king on a thrown? Unapproachable as you cower before him? Do you see him with a gavel as a judge in a courtroom…are you being judged by him? Are you guilty before the trial is over? Is He the controller of your life? The God who has a lot of rules and He expects you to follow them or you’ll be punished? Or maybe He’s the killjoy God who doesn’t allow for fun. Could He be the God that doesn’t care? He’s up in heaven watching as people suffer the pain of evil and sickness in the world. He could stop it but couldn’t be bothered to do so. It is pretty easy to see God in those roles. The world is a tough place to live and often times we attribute things that aren’t God to be Him. Mostly, because we just don’t know how to know God. The only way to know Him is to seek Him for yourself.

You could take a chance on Google and look up God and see what comes up. Or better, you could check out the Scriptures. What better authority is there on God’s character than God Himself through His word. So, would it surprise you if I said that a primary characteristic of God is that He is kind? The Bible actually says that God is kind. Let’s take a look at Psalm 103:3-10 in The Message Bible:

He forgives your sins – every one.
He heals your diseases – every one.
He redeems you from hell – saves your life!
He crowns you with love and mercy – a paradise crown.
He wraps you in goodness – beauty eternal.
He renews your youth – you’re always young in His presence.
God makes everything come out right;
he puts victims back on their feet.
He showed Moses how he went about his work,
opened up His plans to all Israel.
God is sheer mercy and grace;
not easily angered, he’s rich in love.
He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold,
nor hold grudges forever.
He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve,
nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.

 

I challenge you to take a look in the Scriptures with an open mind and search out the true nature of our God. I also challenge you to see the good in the difficult circumstances you might be facing. Next time something bad happens, take a hard look at the situation: is it God or is it something else causing the circumstance? Look for the goodness and kindness. There, you will find Him.