How to be #Blessed


When, exactly, did the word blessed start appearing all the time? It used to be the kind of word that was the preserve of grannies and rural vicars. Now it seems to be just about everywhere. It’s as if everyone is, or wants to be #blessed. But what exactly does it mean?

As I was thinking about this the other day, I decided to have a little search on Instagram to see what it was people were hashtagging as blessed. And I have to admit, I was kind of surprised by what I found.

It seemed like that particular hashtag was most associated with women with rather large breasts. Probably not what the grannies or rural vicars were referring to. And, unfortunately, leaving me feeling resigned that I most definitely am not blessed!

Of course there were a load of selfies (including a couple of fit men) some pictures of babies and plates full of food, and a whole lot of some what inspiring quotes.

Not exactly what the word blessed brings to mind.

Not exactly what Jesus meant when he said blessed are the poor in spirit in that sermon on the mount.

How have we managed to misunderstand this word so much, that big boobs and hot bodies have become synonymous with the word blessed?

How has this holy, bible word become so distorted.

Blessed is about none of this. Not at all.

How can it be about expensive jewelery when Jesus says that we are blessed when we are poor in spirit, because this is when we realise how much we need him.

How can it be about cute kittens when Jesus says we are blessed when we grieve, because that is when we find comfort.

How can it be abouut posed and edited photos when Jesus says blessed are the humble. He even says that the whole earth will be theirs.

How can it be about plates full of food when Jesus says we are blessed when we hunger and thirst for justice, when we want to do the right thing for people. That is when we will be satisfied.

How can it be about pictures of our latest purchases when Jesus says we are blessed when we are kind, when we show mercy to others, because he will show mercy to us.

How can it be about half-naked bodies when Jesus says we are blessed when we think pure thoughts, because that s when we will see him.

How can it be about clothes which have been made in sweatshops when Jesus says we are blessed when we seek peace, because then we will be called his children.

How can it be about semi-inspirational quotes when Jesus says we are blessed are those who are persecuted for doing the right thing, he even says that the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.

How can it be about seeking likes when Jesus says that people will insult us, that they will say evil and hurtful things about us, but even then we are blessed. We can even rejoice in this pain, because the rewards will be waiting for us in heaven.

Being blessed, and getting blessed, has nothing to do with stuff, or hot bodies. In fact, what Jesus tell us is the exact opposite. He tells us we are blessed through what many would consider hardship, because that’s what brings us closer to him.

None of these #blessings are true Blessings, they do not bring us closer to God, they actually turn our eyes away from him they are like a barrier between us and him.

Today I am thankful that I am not #blessed, with a fit body; that would only distract me from what God has planned for me, but that I am truly Blessed by my heavenly father.

 

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He Didn’t Have to But He Did

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He didn’t have to wake you up this morning. But he did.

He didn’t have to give you breath. But he did.

He didn’t have to die for you. But he did.

Some times we take these things in life for granted. As if God owes us life. As if he owes us forgiveness.

As. If. He. Owes. Us. Anything.

How self-absorbed? What kind of distorted thinking must we have to think that the God of the universe, the creator of everything, who holds it all in the palm of his hand, actually owes us a single thing.

And yet we go through everyday, acting as if we deserve life, as if we derve forgivenss, as if we deserve any kind of blessing.

How dare we. How can we forget the chasm that exists between us and God. The cost of death that was required to bridge that gap between us and him.

We should be living every single second of every single day filled with wonder that God would even bother to remember our names. Let alone love us. Let alone send his Son to die for us. Because of us.

How dare we forget to scream to the whole world about what God has done for us. When we really didn’t deserve any of it. When a girl will shout about a boy buying her a few cheap flowers that will die in a couple of days. Why are we silent about the God who did so much more for us?

How can we possibly be so preoccupied by the pointless inane things of this world instead of getting down on our knees and worshipping him.

God didn’t have to save you. He doesn’t have to keep on blessing you. But he does. Because of who he is.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

 

 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

The Sorrow Before Joy

Finding Joy After Sorrow, we will all face sorrow and suffering at some point, but how can we find hope in that? Is it possible to know joy after sorrow?

Though the sorrow may last for the night:
The joy comes in the morning.

These are not just some nice song lyrics, they are a promise. Not just the second line, but the first as well!

When we look around us, it might seem as if some people get of lightly in the sorrow department, but the truth is, at some point we will all face sorrows. For a while life may run smoothly but then we come face to face with trials again. And those trials can be immense. Continue reading

Emotions of Easter: Indignation

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We all think that we are better than someone. We just might not realise it.

Maybe it’s that person who you work with, who seems to do everything so slowly, and then takes extended lunch breaks!

Maybe it’s that lady you know who has a baby, yet abandons it to go out partying every other weekend. Continue reading

A Secret Garden Devotional

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A couple of months ago I recently re-watched my favourite films from childhood: The Secret Garden. What wasn’t to love: children who are wiser than their parents; secret cousins hidden away; and, of course, the Yorkshire accents!

But deeper than that, the story of orphan Mary, sent to live with an unaffectionate uncle, is one that we can all relate to. Her longing to belong, and have a place to call her own resonates, no matter what your age.

There are so many things that I could take out of this story, but it’s her invalid cousin, Colin, that have chosen to focus on. (Forgetting the slightly creepy scene where he tells Mary he wants to marry her!)

Colin had always been told that he was an invalid. He spent his whole life believing that he was unwell. Unable to leave his room or have contact with other people for fear of spores. His legs have become so weak that the can barely walk, and looks pale and sickly. As if he were really unwell. Until Mary comes along, and sees through the lies that he has been told, literally pushing him out of his comfort zone and into the daylight.

Before she came along he was barely living. He had believed the lies he had been told all his life, living in the dark, barely seeing the sunlight. But when she come into his life, she broke the power of those lies, by telling him the truth.

Maybe there’s some lie you believe about yourself. Maybe you believe that you can’t achieve anything, or that you are useless. The only thing that can break through those lies is the truth.

When you shine the light on those lies, you begin to realise that they had no power in the first place.

This might be hard at first. In a sick kind of way, you, like Colin, may have become used to this half-life. Maybe these lies have been attached to you for so long that flesh has grown around them, and they have to be ripped out.

Facing up to the lies, and accepting the truth can be a painful process. And, like Colin learning to walk, it may take time. But when you have been set free you will experience more life than you could have ever imagined possible.

1To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31-32)