Tag Archives: Blessings

God’s People, part 215: Woman

Read Luke 11:27-28

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Anyone who does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”  (Mark 3:35, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

MaryMotherofGodPart 215: Woman. Here we have another strange encounter between Jesus and someone who was in the crowd. He had actually just got done casting out a demon and had been accused by someone in the crowd of being possessed by the demon Beelzebub, which is a parodic name for Satan meaning, “dung god”. In Matthew, Jesus responded to this accuasation as a “blaspheming of the Holy Spirit”; however, in this instance, he simply  rebuts it by saying that Satan can’t possibly kick out Satan and that a kingdom divided by civil war is doomed.

From there, Jesus obscurely taught about the possibility of demons returning seven-fold, making the possessed person worse off than they were when there was only one demon within them. This seems to have been a warning that, just because one has been made clean from evil spirits, doesn’t mean they are out of the water and those spirits can’t return. I can only imagine that Jesus was intent on warning people of the need to remain close to him and, by virtue of that, close to God; however, whatever Jesus meant, it is here that the anonymous woman shouted out at him, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you” (Luke 11:27, NLT)!

This comment is so off topic that it is hard not reading it as someone awkwardly trying to divert the topic away from demons to something more agreeable; however, whatever the person’s intent was, it was put out there for all to hear. Jesus could have answered in any number of ways that could have been in agreement with this woman; instead, he chose to counter her in a way that did not dismiss her proposition, but rose the bar on it. He said, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:28, NLT)

On the one hand, he does not dismiss what this woman said. Indeed, his mother was blessed to have given birth to him, nursed him, and raised him up into the man he was. All mothers are viewed as blessed in that regard; still, we also tend to confuse divine blessings with earthly blessings. Thus, Jesus elevated the conversation beyond the things of this earth to the things of God.  “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

This is a challenge for us too. So often we view our positive human experiences as blessings. Honestly, we should see those things as blessings. It is a blessing to be a parent. It is a blessing to have a roof over our heads. It is a blessing to watch my children grow up into responsible and kind young adults. With that said, my greatest blessing is to have been saved by Jesus Christ and given the opportunity to put Christ’s teachings into practice.

The challenge is for us to put our blessings in the right order. There is no other blessing that is greater than the Word of God, which is Jesus Christ. In Christ, we learn what it means to be a part of God’s family and we learn that Christ is calling us into faithful service. There is no greater blessing than hearing the Word of God, Jesus, and putting his teachings into practice in our lives. Be challenged by this, and be moved by the Holy Spirit to put Christ’s teachings into action in your life.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
There is no greater blessing than our relationship with Jesus Christ.

PRAYER
Lord, help me be a person who puts your teachings in action in my life. Amen.

God’s People, part 192: Shaking Dust

Read Mark 6:7-13

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.”  (Matthew 10:15, NLT)

When we think of God’s people, we tend to think one of two things. We might think of the Israelites who were God’s “chosen people”, or we might think of specific characters in the Bible. Either way, we tend to idealize the people we are thinking about. For instance, we may think that God’s people are super faithful, holy, perform miracles and live wholly devout and righteous lives. Unfortunately, this idealism enables us to distance ourselves from being God’s people, because we feel that we fall short of those ideals. As such, I have decided to write a devotion series on specific characters in the Bible in order to show you how much these Biblical people are truly like us, and how much we are truly called to be God’s people.

Shaking-Dust-FeetPart 192: Shaking Dust. The pain that Jesus must have felt when he was rejected by his hometown of Nazareth, is easy enough to imagine. Think about your hometown. More than likely, you have fond memories of growing up there. I am sure you can remember the not so good things about it too; however, most of us look back to our childhood and to our hometowns with a positive nostalgia. It is the place, for better or worse, where we grew up and discovered who we are.

I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for all of the experiences I had growing up where I did. The good, the bad and the ugly experiences all helped me to become who I’ve become. The same undoubtedly is true for Jesus of Nazareth. So, when his own hometown kicked him out of the synagogue and tried to throw him off a cliff, I can only imagine the pain and sorrow that caused.

It was following that event that Jesus sends his twelve disciples, who in this moment become apostles (meaning “sent”), to go town to town preaching the good news, healing the sick and casting out demons. This was a big undertaking for them. All of the teachings of Christ, all of the things he taught them and they hopefully had learned, were going to be put to the test.

As he was preparing them for their mission, Jesus instructed them to go into towns and rely on the hospitality of a single household in each town. If the place household accepted them and listened to the Gospel message, then they were to bless that house and the people in it; however, if the household rejected them or their message, they were to “shake the dust off their feet” and leave. Jesus then stated that doing such was, “ to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate” (Mark 6:11, NLT).

What’s more, Jesus didn’t just say that for the households either. He was also referring to the towns. In Luke 10:14, he put it this way, “If any household or town refuses to welcome you or listen to your message, shake its dust from your feet as you leave.” He then added in verse 15, “I tell you the truth, the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah will be better off than such a town on the judgment day.”

Ouch. Why did Jesus compare Sodom and Gomorrah to those towns? Because the predominant sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was their lack of hospitality. They refused to listen to the message of the angels God sent, thus refusing to listen to God, and they wanted to rape Lot’s angelic guests rather than treat them with dignity, respect and hospitality.

Just as Jesus did with his own hometown of Nazareth, he was telling his disciples to shake the dust off their feet and to move on from places that reject them. It wasn’t worth arguing or trying to prove one’s point, or lingering around in hopes that they would change. Rather, shake the dust off and move on to those who are receptive and hospitable.

This instruction from Christ should challenge us in two ways. First, we should unashamedly be witnessing our faith in Jesus Christ to others. We should be sharing the Gospel message and we should not worry about being rejected. If that happens, let it be. Move on from those people and focus on the ones who hear the Gospel with eager ears and open hearts. Shaking the dust off our feet should not be done judgmentally, for who know what seed might grow at some point; however, time is short and the message is urgent. Let God deal with the people who will not hear it.

Second, we should be challenged to be a hospitable people. We should never live our lives in a way that reflect Sodom and Gomorrah. Remember, those cities were not destroyed because of homosexuality (as it is often misconstrued); rather, those cities were destroyed because they were so corrupted by evil that they could care less treating strangers/foreigners with respect, dignity and hospitality. They saw people as objects to use for their own pleasure and satisfaction.

Let us not be such a people. Let us instead be a people who are sent into the world representing Christ’s love and hospitality. Let us be a people who love others, who share the Gospel, and who show radical hospitality to all, even those who are rejecting us.

In fact, that is exactly the effect of shaking dust off of our feet in those situations where we are being rejected. In that moment, we are simply showing hospitality and acknowledging that the people rejecting us don’t want us there. Thus, we remove ourselves and go to a place where people have open ears and open hearts. Begin to model this in your life and embody the radical hospitality of our Lord and Savior.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Radical hospitality does not discriminate. It knows no sexual identity, gender, race, ethnicity, ability, or any other label used to divide us. It is one and the same to all.

PRAYER
Lord, transform me into a radically hospitable person by your sanctifying grace. Amen.

The Beatitudes, part 12: Luke’s Curses

Read Luke 6:24-26

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. (Matthew 7:13 NRSV)

theoldruggedcrossWe all have an idealistic image of Jesus in our heads, do we not? Growing up, we who grew up in the church learned about a Jesus who loves us, who welcomes us, who loves all the little children, and who came to save the world from hate and evil. We learned of a cheery, jovial man who was no ordinary human, but the Son of God; what’s more, Jesus was God in the flesh. We also learned how sinful people rejected Jesus’ message of love and crucified him to a cross, following extensive torture, and left him there to die. Of course the story doesn’t end there, as Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven after appearing to his many disciples.

This just about summarizes our Sunday School/Church understanding of Jesus. It just about sums up every movie that has been created about him, and it sums up what I believe to be wholly an American Jesus who gives us eternity but asks nothing of us in return. This, in essence, is a cheap Jesus who presents to a us a cheap grace.

Don’t get me wrong, the summary is true in that Jesus does love us, welcome us and calls us to follow him. It is true that Jesus came to save us and that people rejected his message of love. But the reason people rejected his message of love, is because it often did not feel so loving. I guess one could say that Jesus’ love was often tough, challenging, and sometimes downright impossible for people to subscribe to.

In Luke’s account of the beatitudes, we get a picture perfect example of Jesus’ tough love. Following the blessings he pronounces on the poor, Jesus hauls off on the rich, cursing them to a series of four “woes” or afflictions. He does this to drive home the message of the four beatitudes, that God stands in solidarity with the poor and will show them partiality when these eschatological (judgment day) blessings take place.

“Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:24-26 NRSV). Yikes! Remember, Jesus is not speaking this to strangers, nor to his enemies; rather, Jesus is speaking this directly to his disciples!!

No doubt, there were disciples who had given up everything to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; 18:28); however, there were also those who had not given up everything. Jesus’ teaching of God’s blessing on the impoverished, as well as his teaching of God’s judgment upon the rich, was meant to be a warning that God’s Kingdom is the ONLY thing we should be seeking to attain. Jesus is also clear elsewhere that one cannot serve two masters, that one will either serve God or they will serve materialistic gain (Luke 16:13 NRSV).

Again, if there was a way to soften this message and remain true to what Jesus is teaching here, I would; however, softening it only serves to add more sugar coating to the idol we continue to build up and name Jesus. Jesus’ message, as hard as it was in his time for people to hear, is really hard for us to hear. A majority of us in America claim to believe in God, and a majority of those who do claim to be Christian in one form or another; however, how many of us Christians really put God/Jesus first and foremost in our lives, foresaking all else in the process? That’s a tall order and most of us, myself included, fall very short of that!

Thank God that Luke’s Gospel doesn’t have the final say on what Jesus taught and/or meant by his teachings; however, we should NOT shrug it off as being irrelevant either. Luke’s Gospel gives us the bitter truth, as hard as it is to swallow, that we are not always aligned with God. What’s more, woe to us who think we are only to find out we never were (Matthew 7:13, 23; Luke 16:19-31 NRSV).

Luke rightfully has us pause and reflect on where we are in our relationship with God, a humility we should be daily embracing. Rather than viewing these woes as personal attacks against our faith, our lifestyles, and/or our wealth, we should be humbled by them and view them as true blessings in our lives. Why, you ask? Because they point us to the way, the truth, and the life and serve as a guide to keep us on the long and narrow road that leads to the Kingdom of God. Christ is teaching us of what our priorities should be, that they should be aligning with the priorities of God. If we heed that warning, we will be the “richer” for it.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting today for costly grace…what has cost God so much cannot be cheap for us.” – Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer

PRAYER
Lord, fill me with humility so that I may see how I need to change in order to truly follow you. Amen.

The Beatitudes, part 11: Luke’s Blessings

Read Luke 6:20-23

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:13 NRSV)

jesussaidwhat-webI bet you thought we were moving on from Jesus’ beatitudes, being that we just finished the last of them, right? Wrong. While we did discuss all of the beatitudes in Matthew, and we did refer to Luke’s Gospel in doing so, Luke’s account presents something unique to the beatitudes we find in Matthew.

While the differences may seem subtle, Luke’s Jesus is doing something different when it comes to who Jesus is addressing and what is exactly meant by these blessings. The most obvious difference is that the beatitudes in Luke are much more abbreviated than they are in Matthew and, what’s more, they are to be taken much more literally.

In the Matthew account, Jesus is preaching to the crowd that has gathered at the base of the mount to hear him preach. Yet, in Luke, Jesus is not teaching the crowd; rather, Luke records that “looking at his disciples”, Jesus gave them his beatitudes. What’s more, Luke’s beatitudes are seemingly addressed to them as it is written in the second person rather than the third.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” This first beatitude predicates the remainder of blessings. It is upon this blessing that the others rest. More importantly, as we will see in the next devotion, it is upon this blessing that subsequent curses are ajudicated. It is in this blessing that Jesus makes very clear to his disciples, and to all of us, that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor. It is also important to note that Luke does not mean the “poor in spirit”, or the poor in any other sense of the word. Luke means exactly has it reads, God’s kingdom belongs to those who are literally impoverished.

For those of us who are living with some money in the bank, whehter we are middle-class, wealthy, or the upper one percent, this teaching should shock us. It should not only be shocking, it should be scandalous and it should make us feel a bit nervous. What does Jesus mean by this? If I am NOT impoverished, does this mean that I WILL not inherit or enter God’s kingdom? How can Jesus expect us to impoverish ourselves and/or our families for some kingdom of which we have no clue will arrive in our lifetimes?

Following this, Jesus enters into blessings that are reversals of the current world order. Those who are hungry will be satisfied, those who weep will laugh and those who are hated, excluded, insulted and rejected as being evil because of their devotion to Jesus have much to rejoice over for they are actually included in a great heavenly reward. Also, they will be among a great insider’s club of people who were persecuted for doing what is right!

What makes Luke’s version of “The Beatitudes” so scandalous is that it goes against everything what we know to be true. In Jesus’ time, those who were poor, sick, hungry, etc., were so because of their sins and/or flaws. In a meritocracy such as ours, isn’t it true that those who work hard, pick themselves up by the boot straps, find success, and amass wealth are the ones who are truly blessed? Why would Jesus discourage working hard and amassing wealth? Isn’t Jesus a capitalist?

While Matthew’s version goes into more depth, and speaks to a larger audience, Luke’s version really presses us to take a long, hard look to see how we measure in God’s kingdom. Have we given up our desire for merit and fincancial gain? Luke not only takes the existential plight of the impoverished and flips it around on the wealthy but, more importantly, asks us, his disciples, to evaluate ourselves and choose which side we’re on.

I wish I could soften Luke’s message, but I cannot. Luke’s Jesus draws the line in the sand and flesh’s out what is meant in his teaching that “you cannot serve both God and money” (Luke 16:13). What I can do is invite you to reflecton how seriously you have taken Jesus’ teachings. There is a definite cost to following Christ, and that cost should make us pause and even feel a bit uncomfortable. Yet, Jesus is also trying to tell us that the reward is WORTH the cost. What’s more, as the old adage goes, if you don’t pay now you will surely pay later.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Discipleship is not an offer that man makes to Christ.” – Rev. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
PRAYER
Lord, help me to know the cost of discipleship and to choose discipleship regardless of the cost. Amen.

THE CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO, Part 11: God’s Favor Realized

Read Luke 4:14-21

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE “And then [Jesus] told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.’” (Mark 16:15 NLT)

 Recently, a fellow colleague and friend of mine got into a conversation about the scripture passage I was preaching on at the church that I serve. The passage is Luke 4:14-21 and is on Jesus’ first recorded visit to the synagogue in Nazareth following his baptism and wilderness experience. In that passage, Jesus is handed the scroll of Isaiah and he opens it up to the following passage: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.” Inspired by the conversation, I have decided to devote a series of devotions on this particular passage, which has become known as “The Christian Manifesto”.

Part 11: God’s Favor Realized. It’s truly hard to put the Christian story into perspective. By Christian story, I don’t mean the Gospel story of Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Son of God. What I mean by “the Christian Story” is the story of the rise of Christianity. In the faith-based film, “Risen”, the filmmakers try to tell account of the Resurrection of the Christ, but they do so from the perspective of the Roman Tribune who led the legionnaires responsible for crucifying Jesus. While, I am not about to give away the film for those who may not have seen it, what is great about it is that it really shows the Gospel message coming into contact with Rome.

While the film doesn’t span but 40 days past the Resurrection event, the reality is that, in a relatively short amount of time (only 400 or so years), Christians went from a hunted group of outcasts to being funded by the Roman Empire. How did this happen? How was it possible that a rag-tag group of disciples of a peasant Jewish mystic rabbi would found what ultimately would become the largest of the world religions? How did the one crucified by Roman Empire become the one venerated by that same Empire in less than half of a millennium? Surely, God’s that is evidence of God’s favor realized, right?

Wrong. While that historical tidbit is totally awesome and exciting for historians and theologians such as myself, it is more or less evidence of how politics can often take unexpected turns (just look at our current political climate) and that sometimes the most unlikely group can end up benefiting (sort of) from that. But when we look at the Christian Manifesto, we see that God’s favor was not coming to set up a religion, or to create yet another religious “establishment”; rather, God’s favor was falling on those who were poor, captive, blind, and oppressed, as well as to those who choose to bring that favor to them.

Who are the people to which God’s favor is extending to? The answer is simple, to all of the people of the world! For God created us all, God loves us all, and God (in the form of Jesus Christ) sacrificed it all so that we may be free from sin, death, and the things that hold us down, burden us, possess us, oppress us, blind us, enslave us and destroy us. Whether we are poor or rich, whether we are oppressed or the oppressor, whether we are blind or think we can see, whether we are poor in spirit or rich in self-righteousness (not a good form of wealth, by the way) God’s favor is upon us. We just need to realize it, accept it, turn from the things that keep us from it, and share it with everyone in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our towns, in our states, countries and world! It takes you, yes YOU, for God’s favor to be realized. Fulfill the words of the Christian Manifesto, “that the time of the LORD’s favor has come.”

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

As Christians, we should witnessing to Christ’s love by standing against oppression and evil in whatever forms they take.

PRAYER

Lord, raise me up into a representative of your love, your grace, your justice and your compassionate mercy. I pledge myselfyou’re your manifesto of hope, healing, and wholeness. Amen.

A Little Perspective

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10b)

PerspectiveHave you ever had one of those days where you take two steps forward only to feel like you are still ten steps behind? Have you ever had one of those weeks where absolutely nothing seems to be going your way? Have you ever had one of those years where you feel like the stars, the planets and perhaps even God seem aligned against you? Have you ever sat and asked the question “why me?” Or, have you ever exclaimed in frustration, “I can’t stand this life!”

Whether you admit to it or not, these feelings and under-the-breath questions and exclamations are common to the human experience. Often times, it is very hard for us to see beyond the situations we are in. When caught in stressful moments, or in the midst of life’s trials, it is very hard for human beings to see anything but the small picture. We are caught in the moment, as it were, and the bigger picture often escapes us. It is in moments like these that we literally begin to make a mountain out of the proverbial mole hill. It is also in moments like these that we are in need of just a little perspective.

As a minister I have seen some people go through pretty tough circumstances. Many of these people have witnessed to me with their faith, in spite of their circumstances. These people went through things I couldn’t even wish on my enemies, and yet they were the last to complain about their circumstances. I have seen veterans who have lost limbs and nearly their lives, who have suffered through homelessness and other terrible situations, striving to find ways to help other vets so that they don’t have to go through the same things. I have seen people who are terminally ill, worrying about others who are suffering over and above the things that they, themselves, are going through. I have seen people who are suffer from debilitating diseases giving thanks for all that they have. In India I saw young and impoverished children, infected with HIV/AIDS, dancing with joy over being visited by us at their orphanage.

On the flip side, I have seen people who are relatively well off complain over the slightest things. I have seen people who have been given so much complain about having so little. I have seen people take their lives and the blessings in their lives for granted. I have seen people who have been given so much in life feel entitled to for that much more. I have seen people who have everything in the world to be happy about walking around completely miserable about everything.

What I have come to understand is that we all have been blessed with the lives we have, whether we realize it or not. Being blessed in life does not mean that everything will go as I wish it to. It does not mean that I will never have bad days or that things will ALWAYS go easy. In fact, how blessed would I really be if I never had to work hard for anything? The fact of the matter is that we are alive…and that is a blessing.

This is not to guilt anyone for feeling lost in their situations; rather, this is being written as a hope-filled reminder that no matter how bad things may be, and no matter how bad we may think things to be, we have a lot to be thankful for. Let us become a people witness to the blessing of LIFE that we all have been given. Let us be a people who are thankful for whatever we have, whether it is little or plenty! Let us be a people who realize that we are blessed so that we may become a blessing and, then, let us become that blessing for others.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.” Natalie A. Sleeth

PRAYER

Lord, help me to have perspective in the midst of my trials so that I may find joy even when I am not happy, and feel blessed even when I cannot see any blessing. More importantly, use me in a way that is a blessing to others, for then I will truly be blessed. Amen.

Blessed With a Flat Tire

Read Acts 9:1-8, 17-18

ALSO IN SCRIPTURE

“We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

flat-tire“This is just going to be a great day!” I yelled out in my head. It was an hour before I was supposed to be at work. The last thing I needed was a flat tire, and it was one of the brand new tires too! Go figure. Now what was I going to do? I sat there staring helplessly at the tire. “What am I going to do?” After a moment or too of self-pity, I came to the following definitive answer: “You are going to change that tire and put on the spare. That’s what you are going to do.”

In changing that tire, my daughter got to see her daddy at work and said, “Dad, I didn’t know you knew how to do that.” I smiled and fondly remembered when I was a kid and I first saw my dad changing a tire. He was like superman to me and I felt safe around him, because he could fix anything. I smiled again, thinking that my daughter just shared in that same experience I had as a kid, and I while I certainly can’t fix everything, what a blessing to share in that experience with her. What a blessing!

Have you ever been in situations where things just don’t seem to be going as planned and you are at a loss as to what to do? Have you ever been so flabbergasted at the situation that you find yourself momentarily paralyzed it? Perhaps you’ve stood there, jaw agape, asking “What am I supposed to do now?” Or perhaps you asked, “Why is this happening to me?” We’ve all been there and have asked those questions.

Later that day, I happened to read an article about a teenage boy who went missing on New Year’s Day. A photographer for USA Today, was supposed to be at the White House, ended up with nothing to do as the President was still on vacation. With all of the unexpected extra time, she walked the streets trying capture pictures to express how cold it wass and took a shot of a man bundled up next to a sewer vent trying to keep warm. As it turns out, that man was the missing teen and when his parents saw the picture they notified the police who then found and reunited the teen with his family.

That story caused me, and it should cause all of us to pause, especially in our “why me moments.” The photojournalist could have complained about not being where she expected to be…she could have complained about all of the extra time; however, she accepted the change of plans and ended up saving a life in the process. Rather than be paralyzed by the relatively trivial circumstances, she chose to do something constructive with her time and, for the boy and his family, it paid off.

Today’s challenge is for you to rise up out of the midst of your circumstances and do something positive in the midst of the changes surrounding you. Like Paul on the road to Damascus, we never know when we will run into life altering obstacles that stand in our way, blocking us from reaching the destinations we have chosen for ourselves. We can look at the obstacle as a curse and a hindrance, but where will that lead us? Rather, God is calling us to see the potential blessing in our changed plans and in our circumstances. Sure, the circumstances themselves may not be welcome; however, God’s ability to work good through all things, and in spite of all circumstances, is a very welcome indeed! So smile and see the hidden blessing in your circumstances.

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“Turn your scars into stars” – Dr. Robert Schuller

PRAYER

Lord, open my eyes to the hidden blessing in all things. Make me a hidden blessing to others. Amen.