Thursday, April 4, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS
“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  (1)
 
Who among us would say “No” to God’s blessings?  We want God’s blessings flowing to us all the time.    Isaiah 60 portrays an array of benefits and blessings God promises to Israel.  But does God withhold blessings and is there anything expected of those who receive His blessings?  Here are a few points in Isaiah’s book which merit our attention.

GOD’S BLESSINGS ARE BEYOND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING.

We tend to count God’s blessings in terms of earthly possessions and material gains.  But blessings from God cannot be quantified and we cannot put a dollar value on them.  This is how Isaiah describes God’s blessings on His people.  God brings them from darkness to light.  He restores to them what was lost.  He grants them genuine welfare and all round prosperity.  He protects them and offers them victory against their enemies.  He grants them peace and happiness while keeping them strong and vibrant.  If God grants these blessings, do we need anything more?  God’s blessings manifest as true happiness, overpowering comfort and as peace which passes our understanding.  These are things which money cannot buy.

GOD WITHHOLDS BLESSINGS WHEN HIS COMMANDS ARE NOT OBEYED

Too often we take God’s blessings for granted.  Therefore, we cannot comprehend why God would ever withhold His blessings.  When things go wrong and we face tough situations in life, we wonder ‘Where is God?’  Have we not asked one time or another, “God, don’t you see my plight?” or “Don’t you hear my cries, Lord?”  Isaiah answers these questions right at the beginning of chapter 59.  He asserts, “Surely, the arm of the Lord is not shortened and His ears are not too dull to hear!”  It is disobedience and sins that lead to withholding of God’s blessings.  Sins are not only the ones that are committed, but they relate to sins of omission as well.  God detests violence, whether they are physical, mental or emotional.  God wants His people to uphold justice, truth, honesty and integrity in all that they do.  It grieves God when His people remain silent against acts of violence, lack of integrity and absence of truth and honesty in public life.  In the sight of God, these are sins of omission. 

GOD SENDS HIS BLESSINGS SO THAT WE MAY SERVE HIM

When we receive God’s blessings, we are called upon to be sources of blessing to others.  Jesus quotes the opening verses of Isaiah 61, as his mission statement at the beginning of his ministry.  (Luke 4:18-20)  We need to be partners in the ministry of bringing good news to the poor, freedom to prisoners, sight to the blind and release to the oppressed all around us.  In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus found his disciples asleep when they were asked to watch and pray.  At the point of his capture, Jesus said to them, “Rise! Let us go!”  And they did.  Today, the risen Lord is asking us to wake up from our slumber and follow him.  Let us rise up and get going!

Prayer: Lord, help us to hear your voice and enable us to obey your commands.

Thought for the day:  We are blessed so that we may become blessings to others around us.
 
Abraham Mathan, MTC, Seattle