Tag Archives: blessing

Perspective

SCRIPTURE: Psalms 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (NIV)

OBSERVATION: The events that were facing King David when he wrote this Psalm are unknown.  Regardless of whether he was facing another battle against the physical enemy, going through a personal struggle or simply reflecting on who the LORD God was to him, we read that King David knew God was his helper.

APPLICATION:  The picture accompanying this blog is one that I took during a recent extended stay in hospital.  During this time I was reminded of a story of two men who shared a hospital room which had only one window.  I recall in that story how only one of these two men could see the view out the window.  During daily conversations, the man by the window would describe the view to the other.  His descriptions included a colourful picture of the park with a lake filled with ducks, people walking hand in hand around the lake and children playing in the park.  Both men enjoyed this interaction which brought joy to their days.

One morning the man farthest from the window woke to find that the other man had passed away during the night.  He asked the nurse of he could swap sides of the room to be able to enjoy the view that was so often discussed.  Bemused, the nurse agreed.  The man soon became disheartened to discover that the view was actually facing a brick wall.  The man was advised by the nurse that the other man was blind and assumed that he was sharing his perspective on what he imagined the view would be like.

We are all faced with moments of disappointment in our lives, along with opportunities to control our perspective and influence our atmosphere.  Like the blind man in this story, I had the opportunity to bemoan my view from the hospital window.  I knew exactly what direction I was looking out at, that I would be able to enjoy the sunrising in my room most mornings, and watching the weather patterns and pedestrians throughout the day.  My perspective was, despite why I was there, to make the most of the time I had to stop, rest and count my blessings; to use it as an opportunity to spend much quality time with God.  Yes, I missed my family and friends, the freedom and fresh air, but I chose to look to the hills, because I knew my help was and continues to come from God.

PRAYER:  Dear God, help me to see life through your perspective, that I may be constantly aware of your presence and help, regardless of my present situation.  AMEN

 

 

What is your thorn?

SCRIPTURE: 2 Corinthians 12:6-10.  “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” (v7 NKJV)

OBSERVATION:  This passage gives us a glimpse into the personal life of the Apostle Paul.  He had received so many revelations from God and was impacting the world of his time for the Kingdom.  He’d had visions of paradise, of the world to come.  His resume would have been long with accomplishments that would impress anyone.  By today’s standards, you would expect him to have an ego, to boast and gloat how good he was that God chose him to share these revelations and visions with.  However, there was something that preventing him from doing so.  Was it humility or was it his thorn?

APPLICATION:  We all have issues in our lives that can distract us or ground us.  The Bible doesn’t tell us what Paul’s thorn was.  Speculation and conjecture will continue however if we knew his what his thorn was, and couldn’t relate to it then the inherent message in this passage would be limiting, if not lost.  Paul saw his thorn as a gift.  It kept him grounded; from being exalted (NKJV); conceited (NIV); walking round high and mighty (MSG).

The Bible tells us that God hates pride.  It was pride that saw Lucifer banished from heaven.  Paul repeatedly speaks of how he should boast in his weaknesses.  God didn’t want Paul to loose sight of his destiny.  Whatever the challenges you may be facing right now, you have a choice.  You can let is distract you from what God has planned for you; you can use it as an excuse to wait until the conditions are perfect and your thorn has been removed, or as Paul realised that everything he did should be for the glory of God, not himself.

Start to view your thorn not as a distraction, but as a blessing.  See it as something that will act as a reminder that God’s grace is sufficient for all your needs.  God can teach you to use all you have if you allow Him, He will show you that you can seize your destiny with your thorn intact.

PRAYER:  God, you have said that you will never leave me and will equip me for the calling you have on my life.  Help me to not be distracted from my destiny by the things in my life that keep me humble and give me greater focus on you.  AMEN

 

 

Who is my neighbour?

SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:25-37.  “But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” (v29 NKJV)

OBSERVATION:  A well educated man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.  Jesus responded to the man correctly quoting from Deuteronomy 6:5 & Leviticus 19:18 by telling the man that by doing this he will live.  Wanting to know more, and possibly testing Jesus he asked who was his neighbour?  The story that follows is often read and preached on in isolation to the context of the conversation that was taking place.  The story illustrates a counter cultural principle.

APPLICATION:  As we journey through life we encounter many people of different cultures, races and religions.  From the perspective of the Jewish man who had been robbed, beaten and left half dead, we can learn that sometimes our breakthrough comes from the least likely source.  The Priest and the Levite, both religious people would have been considered as the ones to go to for help, especially the levites who were accustomed to serving the needs of other, particularly the priests.   If the man could see through his beaten eyes these two men coming near, he probably expected that they would stop and help out.  Yet they saw this man as a problem to avoid.

The Samaritan’s and Jew’s despised one another.  A deep schism existed such that if the man saw the Samaritan coming, he would have expected him to turn the other way, cross the road, or even come and beat or rob him further.  Yet this Samaritan man, despised and disrespected by the Jewish people, was moved with compassion and stopped.  He didn’t just stop, look and leave, he invested in the man.  He was his breakthrough, his blessing.

Often we expect that people would respond in predictable ways.  We may believe that people we are comfortable with are the ones we can rely on when tragedy comes our way.  If you understand this story from the Jewish man’s perspective you will recognise that those people who annoy you most, irritate you constantly, or those you may not even feel worthy of giving the time of day to, are actually the ones that God is sending your way.  The people you least expect and are most uncomfortable with may hold the keys to your breakthrough.  Your blessing may be found in the strangest of places.

PRAYER: Jesus, show me who my neighbours really are.  Help me to see people as you see them and be willing to receive from others the words that you have given them for me.  AMEN