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photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc
photo credit: Rennett Stowe via photopin cc

Today’s red letters are from Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Mount.

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. - Luke 6:38

I know that nine out of ten times (perhaps 99 out of 100) when this is taught, the lesson is about money, but I think it has a much broader reach. The fact is that the context is that of relational advise more than money advise, though Jesus’ words are flowing back and forth between giving, and loving, and judging, and well, just life in general.

And that is what I want to use for my application today, LIFE.

Are you stingy with your life? Do you keep all of your “self” to yourself? Are you a life hoarder?

Have you ever noticed that when you pull back from living your life in community, your life begins to dry up? At first it might feel like you have a bit more freedom, nobody asking you to serve, nobody poking at your life, or getting in your stuff. But soon, you feel like life is not fulfilling. You go through a rough patch and there is no one to stand beside you.

I don’t think we realize that life is a commodity, and we are not given life to hoard and keep to our selves, but the life we are given is meant to be shared, spread around, planted, given away.

Now, I know there are some of you out there who give away all the life that you have, and keep none for yourself, and of course you are the ones reading this thinking – “I should get more involved” – Well, perhaps not. Be sure to save some of your precious life to sustain your family. He who does not care for the needs of his own family is worse than an infidel – that goes for your time and love and life, as much, or more than it does for your money.

But if you find yourself feeling alone, left out, forsaken, consider whether you have stopped sharing that wonderful commodity that God has put in your hands for the express purpose of sharing – YOU.

Do you want to unstop the flow of life into your world? Share what you have, and God will press it down, shake it together and pour so much life back into your lap you won’t know what to do. [Tweet This]

How was Jesus able to feed 5,000 people? By taking the tiny offering of a young boy who was willing to share.

Paul said it this way:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. - Galatians 6:7

Spread some life today!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Matthew 5:3
Blessed... 

I want to share with you something off the charts about the word “Blessed.” We toss this word around pretty carelessly. If someone sneezes we say “Bless you!” or if we are real spiritual we might say “Ga bless you!” But this Greek word “Blessed” is pregnant with meaning. If you read the beatitudes in the Amplified Bible you will see the word “Blessed” rendered 14 different ways in these 8 statements. 

  • Happy
  • Blessed
  • To be envied
  • Spiritually prosperous
  • With life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions
  • Enviably happy
  • With a happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace
  • Blithesome (who knows what that means in this day and age – but you get the idea.)
  • Joyous 
  • Fortunate
  • In that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation   
  • Enviably fortunate
  • Possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace, regardless of their outward conditions.  
  • Enjoying enviable happiness.
  • In the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of his outward conditions.
 Blessing holds Assignment, Ability, and Authority [Tweet ThisFar from being a wish for good luck, a blessing has in it vision, authority and power. We treat our words very lightly these days, and can blow off the power of our words. God spoke the worlds into being and we make off handed comments that hurt others, or destroy our own confidence. Consider the power of blessing:
Creation:  
And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. ~ Gen 1:28-31 
Notice that after He created, He blessed man. This blessing holds in it His expectation for man. “Be fruitfuland multiply and fill the earth, and subdue it.” It is both blessing and commission or command! But God never expects from us that which is too much for us. He never puts on us burdens we cannot bear.
God’s blessing acts as an assignment or commission. When God gives an assignment is it much more than an errand to run. Think about Nehemiah. When the king sent him to rebuild the walls of the city, the king gave him his blessing and assigned to him the resources, and authority to complete the mission.
God’s blessings grant authority. When God told Adam to subdue the earth, God was telling Adam that he had the authority to rule the earth, all creations was in subjection to Adam at that point. God had given him the authority to rule.
God’s blessing reveals ability. It would be unreasonable for God to expect us to subdue the earth if we did not have the capacity. This blessing not only tells us we are called to do this thing, but that He stands behind us and will back us up with power. Adam could fulfill all that God blessed him to do.
As we read the Beatitudes, we will see God’s plan for us – we will receive assignment, authority and ability to be what He calls us to be. What follows is a path leading from man on the street to son or daughter of the King, exercising authority and ability carrying out His assignment.
Ben NelsonThanks for reading.
Come back soon!
Ben

My friend Cheryl from Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones just posted a wonderful collection of scripture and thoughts asking and answering the most important question of all:

Who do you say that I am? ~ Jesus

A long time ago, Jesus asked the disciples a question. I don’t think they really understood how important that question was, until, suddenly, like the flash of a bolt of lightning from the sky, one of them was given a revelation. To know the answer to that question still requires revelation to this day. Yes, anyone can repeat the answer, but when you are asked this question, don’t just answer with your head, say aloud what you believe in your heart

Read More

Who do you say He is? | Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

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My friend Cheryl from Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones just posted a wonderful collection of scripture and thoughts asking and answering the most important question of all:

Who do you say that I am? ~ Jesus

A long time ago, Jesus asked the disciples a question. I don’t think they really understood how important that question was, until, suddenly, like the flash of a bolt of lightning from the sky, one of them was given a revelation. To know the answer to that question still requires revelation to this day. Yes, anyone can repeat the answer, but when you are asked this question, don’t just answer with your head, say aloud what you believe in your heart

Read More

Who do you say He is? | Burning Fire Shut Up In My Bones.

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” (Matt 6:12,14-15)

These are some of the strongest words in all of scripture. How can Jesus make this unequivocal statement? And on such a difficult topic!

Is He really saying that our forgiveness is subject to review on the basis of how we forgive? I must be missing something. Or am I?

Consider this:

Without Christ, our ability to forgive is virtually non-existent. Without Christ, a man cannot ever really forgive, because he does not KNOW forgiveness. Until you know the true freedom that comes when your weight of sin is lifted, you cannot understand what it means to forgive.

Until you see the magnitude of your offence before a Holy God
Until you see the inestimable treasure that was laid down to pay the price for your forgiveness
Until you know how immense your sin was

… you will be hard pressed to reckon others worthy of your forgiveness.

Once you see that your offence was far beyond your ability to repay, then and only then, you may be able to let go of offences against you.

In conclusion, Jesus is not so much stating that if you want to be forgiven you can earn forgiveness by forgiving others, but rather, your ability to forgive others is an indication that you have been forgiven, [Tweet This] that you have been set free and given the ability to forgive.

Without God’s forgiveness, you will never be able to forgive.

Does this make sense?

Thanks for reading today. Tell me what you think.

Ben

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