Last week I talked about testing that God does walk us through testing however the testing is never done to hurt us only to reveal to ourselves who we really are and how very much God loves us!
You hear me say all of the time you are the one God loves the most and with that idea comes the promise of his blessings. Today I want to remind us of some of the many blessings God has for us, as it is easy to forget in seasons of chaos.
James 1:12, 17
Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him…Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes].
As I mentioned last week, we all go through trials, testing, and temptations. God knows and is aware of every battle we face. As men and women of God, as we learn to rely on the Lord, we learn to gain victory in every situation. We see God’s hand of blessing through it all (mostly once we have gone through it and are on the other side of it)
God never changes, he is the same always despite the trial, tests, temptations, and battles, He remains the same always loving us, believing in us, having hope for us it is His nature (love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things)
His desire, always, is to bless us.
Most of us have to battle a mind-set of…we haven’t worked hard enough to be blessed, we aren’t good enough to deserve blessing, always waiting for the philosophical, other shoe to drop, it is easier to believe in the negative than the positive but in God’s mindset He is always looking for ways to bless us as we place ourselves in a position to be blessed.
I hope today as we look at a few passages you will realize you are and will be blessed!
It seems every time we turn around the news is telling us there is something else to fear, the latest disease, the economy, terror cells all around us, inflation, recession, climate change… lets look at how the Bibles tells us to handle this through God’s blessings
‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you;
Do not be afraid, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, be assured I will help you;
I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].’
11 “Indeed, all those who are angry with you will be put to shame and humiliated;
Those who strive against you will be as nothing and will perish.
12 “You shall search for those who quarrel with you, but will not find them;
They who war against you will be as nothing, as nothing at all.
13 “For I the LORD your God keep hold of your right hand; [I am the Lord],
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
We don’t need to “feel” God (although we will “feel Him mostly), faith is believing His word that He is with us always and He promises we don’t need to be afraid because He is always with us. Once again, He sees what we are afraid of, both the real and imagined and his promises are not just that he is with us but that He will help us through the fear, holding us, defending us, protecting us, we simply need to choose to believe God at His word….Jesus confirmed it this way
Matthew 28:20b (Amplified)
…..lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.”
Whether it is the end of your life or the return of Jesus, He promises he is always there. The battle is believing it even when you can’t feel it or believe it to be impossible. He is always there fighting for you, protecting you, leading you guiding you….
And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].
The early church was facing persecution and prejudice from all sides, James had been killed 15 years earlier and Peter had just been crucified. Paul pens this during all of that
There are many things that happen in our lives daily that can shake us up, cause us great concern but the Holy Spirit, through Paul, promises peace, it is always there for us but we place ourselves in a position to receive it more easily if we do as Paul suggests a few verses earlier.
Philippians 4: 4-6
Rejoice in the Lord always [delight, take pleasure in Him]; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit [your graciousness, unselfishness, mercy, tolerance, and patience] be known to all people. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.
Please understand, God’s promises are always true, our sensitivity to them may be great or hindered by the positioning of our hearts. Being always grateful, choosing to believe God is always for us and knowing and physically giving our worries and cares to Him causes us to eventually be more sensitive to the peace He offers us. If we choose to always worry, choose to not fight to believe God’s promises of course we will miss them. Like our salvation, God’s promises are free but we must choose to be in a position to receive them.
The Holy Spirit explains that through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 17: 7,8
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, And whose hope is the LORD.
8 For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
The challenge to living this way, believing in the promises of peace in times of battle, struggle, when there is no possible hope or deliverance that you can see, which is part of the meaning of drought is revealed in the verses following this passage
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? 10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
Sometimes we need to take a breath, if we are feeling overwhelmed, feeling like the Lord can not be trusted and simply stop and ask the Lord to search our hearts, to ask Him to show us our situation and our attitudes through His eyes. We may find that we are making decisions and doing things that are counter-productive to allowing the Lord to bless us with peace. God always wants to bless us.
God’s heart’s desire for your life right now and your future is always that you walk in the full confidence of His presence being with you and the blessing of peace in your life regardless of the circumstances…..if that is the case then why don’t we always have peace? If God’s promise for peace is true why don’t we always have it?
Check your heart….God’s promises are always true….we face battles every day and they do wear us down but part of the blessing of God is that no matter how we feel, He is always with us.
Even if we are feeling alone He is with us
Even if tragedy strikes all around us, He is with us
Part of His planned blessing in our lives is the blessing of peace, free from worry and anxiety always being with us so we don’t have to carry those cares but instead and know He is carrying them.
Are you struggling with peace today, I know and the Lord knows there is plenty to be concerned about The Holy Spirit through Peter in 1 Peter 5:7
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Can you believe the blessing that he is always there for you, wanting to lift your cares, even in the darkest times He is there, even in the heaviest times He is there.
Choose to allow that blessing to be real for you. It is easy to believe He is there when things are great but choose in your dark places, your most heart wrenching places, your most anxious times to allow the Lord to remind you, you are not alone, He is there.
Please come today so you can walk out of here knowing without a doubt He is with you. Circumstances mean nothing, He is with you!
I want to end today’s teaching with this prayer a combination of several scripture verses
Number 6:24 – 26; Deuteronomy 7:9
‘May the LORD bless you and protect you. 25 May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. 26 May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.’ Understand, therefore, that the LORD your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.