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Posts Tagged ‘blessing’

Integrity and Skillfulness

December 9th, 2015

Allen Randolph

For any of you living in the St Louis, MO/Granite City, IL area, I will be speaking next Sunday, December 13, 10:45 am, at City Temple, 4751 Maryville Rd, Granite City, IL. I would love to meet you after the service.

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“Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NIV.

The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable.

My thoughts and comments today are about “Integrity and Skillfulness.”

You have a potential beyond whatever your natural abilities and talents may be. If you wish to realize your potential and be exceptionally successful, there are skills you will need to acquire – intellectual, social, business, writing, speaking, and other practical skills of everyday life that require your best effort and diligent practice. However well you develop your natural skills, there is a spiritual potential that is important to your becoming all that God has designed you to be. Beyond your own best efforts, God offers something more – His blessing and anointing. The Gifts and anointing of the Holy Spirit are invaluable. Without those, the best of yourself will never be realized. Ephesians 4:13 NIV.

In particular, our current theme of “Integrity” has focused on God’s testimony about David from Psalm 78:72 NKJV, “So David shepherded (fed) them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided (led) them by the skillfulness of his hands.” David’s heart aligned with God’s heart. From his heart and hands, David fulfilled God’s ministry assignment to him; David fed and led Israel with integrity and skills. God is interested in both your inner character and outward skills. To fully achieve God’s calling upon your life, both who you are and what you can do will be required.

David demonstrated qualifications of both heart and hands. With a shepherd’s sling David evidenced physical skills to protect his father’s sheep against a lion and a bear, which prepared him to defeat Goliath without fear or hesitation. Read 1 Samuel 17:32-37. Equally important, God used David’s spiritual sensitivities and musical skills to soothe Saul’s troubled spirit and refresh the King with rest. David was described as one, “who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” Read 1 Samuel 16:16-23. The final phrase is the most important of all that is said about David. That is quite a well-rounded description of attributes.

In matters of ministry and service, a spiritually empty heart results in hands without blessing to God or for man; a heart overflowing with God results in life-giving hands toward others. Jesus was clear, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45 NIV. There must be consistency of your heart and hands. A simple act of touch has the power of spiritual impartation. A hand reaching out to another offers hope and help. Your hand on a shoulder can encourage. A pat on the back can cheer and congratulate. An embrace can express comfort.

As Moses faced the end of his life, he spoke blessings over the twelve tribes, that had arisen from the twelve sons of Jacob. Moses spoke blessing over Levi, the priestly tribe, “Bless all his skills, O Lord; be pleased with the work of his hands.” Deuteronomy 33:11 NI V. It is interesting to read the entire chapter, Deuteronomy 33. God has personal blessings just for you.

Today, I pray for you that your skills would be blessed and useful to God’s purposes.

Reminder: This is the final of three devotionals, “Integrity and Potential, Integrity of Heart, and Integrity and Skillfulness.” All of this series are available at the EDL website, www.allenrandolph.com. If you have not yet listened to my video teaching on Integrity titled, “Heart and Hands,” I encourage you to do so. Just click on the title here . .

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The Generous Life

May 5th, 2015

“Good people will be generous to others and will be blessed for all they do.” Isaiah 32:8 NLT.

Give with the quality and quantity you would welcome in return.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the generous life.”

The Bible establishes an inexplicable occurrence: the more genuinely you give, the more extravagantly you are given. Read Jesus’ words thoughtfully. “Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. Stop criticizing others, or it will all come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 NLT. Both good and ill will are reciprocal.

By your benevolence, or lack thereof, you choose the measure of generosity with which God gives back to you through others. That being true, when you knowingly withhold what you are capable of supplying, your soul is a bit more impoverished. Solomon wrote, “The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” Proverbs 11:24-25 MSG.

The Scriptural and spiritual principle is simple. Give with the quality and quantity you desire to be receive; similarly, do not give a lesser quality or quantity than you would welcome in return. The principles of multiplication and reciprocation are inevitable and unvarying. Generosity rewards generosity; miserliness repays miserliness.

Reading Jesus’ words, you might first assume His reference to be only about money. In reality, Jesus’ words addressed the widest range of mutual interactions, much broader than financial giving or receiving. “A generous man devises generous things, and by generosity he shall stand.” Isaiah 32:8. Among the assortment of charitable expressions, money may be the lesser gift. When I think of people who have shown me generosity, I think of less tangible gifts like affirmation, appreciation, assistance, gratitude, kindness, encouragement, support, companionship, and so much more.

(1) Choose to give liberally because of how much you have been given. “He who did not spare His Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not, with Him, also freely give us all things . . Give as freely as you have received.” Romans 8:32 NIV/Matthew 10:8 NLT.

(2) Give without regard for return because it is the right thing to do. “Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.” Psalm 112:5 NIV. I remember my Dad saying, God will be no man’s debtor. “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV.

Today, I pray that your life will be blessed and you will be a blessing to others.

EDL pix graphic 2 generosity

 

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Tired of Being Tired

July 11th, 2014

“Come unto Me all who are weary . . and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 NIV.

Life is exhausting when you do not know when or where you will find true rest.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “tired of being tired.”

Vince Lombardi, famed coach of the Green Bay Packers said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Fatigue affects everything you feel and do, both your attitudes and actions. Everyone knows what it means to feel tired – tired of working, tired of responsibilities, tired of bills, tired of problems, or tired of conflict. You are never at your best physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually, when weary. Weariness makes everything harder, only adding further to your tiredness; even things you would find easy are more taxing when already tired. Life is exhausting when you do not know when or where you will find true rest. Eventually, you just feel tired of being tired.

I think that even things you want to do can be tiring, and the worst tiredness is not just physical. There is a weariness of soul that is worse. “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for you will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Galatians 6:9. Keep your goals and objectives clearly in focus, remembering why you are doing what you are doing and with expectation that reward and satisfaction will follow proper completion.

You were created to be fruitful and productive but also, God wisely built into your emotional and spiritual DNA the requirement for rest, “Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; in plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.” Exodus 34:21. Planting and harvest would seem the least likely times to seek the luxury of down time. But God says that, both when preparing the soil for planting and when finally reaping the harvest from your efforts, you need to observe the Sabbath principle of rest. The Sabbath principle is not optional; God commanded, ”Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8. Ignore that at your own peril.

When truly tired, you will be more negative about situations, more prone to see problems rather than solutions. When tired, motivation is difficult, and hopefulness is elusive. You will be less patient with yourself and others, poor company for those around you. Distinguish things that unnecessarily weary you. Worry, unmet needs, unfinished work, personal conflict, unforgiveness, sinfulness (See Isaiah 57:20-21 NKJV), discouragement, or unrelenting busyness will always deplete your personal, inner resources, unless you choose to live by God’s counsel. Bring them all to Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath. “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” St Augustine, 4th Century.

Are you finally tired of being tired? Rest is found, not in a place, but in a Person. “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened . . and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30 NIV. The Bible says, “Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you . . Those who wait upon God get fresh strength; they run and don’t get tired; they walk and don’t lag behind.” Psalm 116:7 NKJV/Isaiah 40:31 MSG.

Today, my prayer for you is that you know when and where to find true rest for your soul.

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Bless This Mess

June 27th, 2014

Blessed is the man . . [who is] like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Psalm 1:3 NKJV.

Blessing doesn’t mean having more; blessing means enjoying more what you have.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “bless this mess.”

I don’t even remember how long I have known my friend, Betty; it seems forever. In all those years, her response to my sincere inquiry, “How are you, Betty,” has always been – every single time – “Pastor, I am blessed.” I know for a fact that her life has been far from easy – but rain or shine, tears or smiles – her answer has never varied, “Pastor, I am blessed.” She has discovered a truth that most people rarely find, “The Lord’s blessing is our greatest wealth. All our work adds nothing to it.” Proverbs 10:22 TLB.

Everyone wants to be blessed. People are just confused as to what being blessed looks like. People wrongly presume blessing is evidenced by having stuff – more stuff or better stuff. Blessing does not mean having more of what you enjoy; blessing means enjoying more what you have. As properly used, the word involves an understanding of gracious and generous benevolence that comes to you from vastly more than the fruit of your own efforts. The reality is that everyone experiences blessings far more than what has been earned or deserved. To me, the concept of blessing embraces what is added to your life by both the favor of God and the kindness of others. Why would you be willing to live without either of those?

I saw one of those household plaques that simply read, “Bless this mess!” I smiled because I could envision kitchens and houses – and some marriages, families, and lives – for which those wistful words could be appropriate. The problem is this: God doesn’t bless a mess; He will redeem your mess, if you bring it to Him in sincerity and humility. Blessing is experienced where grace is received. “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” Psalm 34:8 NKJV.

David understood the mercy and grace of God but also learned the requirements. Read Psalm 32:1-5/51:7-13 NKJV. David also learned where blessedness awaits: “Blessed is the man . . [whose] delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-4 NKJV. See Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV.

Moses spoke God’s promise of blessing for Israel with these words, “All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock . . Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.” Read Deuteronomy 28:2-13 NIV.

God’s promises certainly are not less under grace than they were under the Law. Paul could hardly contain his joy and wonder at the thought, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV.

Today, my prayer for you is to know the blessedness of those who serve God with their whole heart.

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Crowned with Goodness

December 30th, 2013

“You crown the year with Your goodness.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV.

In every situation and season of life, you should expect the goodness of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “crowned with goodness.”

I love Christmas, yet I loved it even more when our grandchildren were young. I loved their gifts, inexpensive and wrapped as only a child does, but given with excitement and generosity. In my memory and heart, I can still hear their eager voices, “Poppa, Poppa, open my present.” Children best exemplify Jesus’ teaching, “Remember the words of our Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35b NKJV. Hardly able to wait for your unwrapping, a child brings a gift you receive with joy, not because of the nature of the gift, but because of their delight in giving it. I think this New Year should be received from God like that.

I am expectant of the goodness awaiting me and our family – and you and your family – in the New Year because God is enthusiastic about all He intends to provide. God’s character and intent is confirmed by the Psalmist, “The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11 NKJV. Whatever seemed withheld previously was only out of His kindness, superior wisdom, and sovereign purpose for your greater good. What a great promise in which to give thanks to conclude this year and with which to begin a new one.

The annual change of calendar calls for appropriate reflection and preparation of heart. Too easily, the facts of His blessings and provision of the preceding year may be taken for granted and your faith for the approaching year diminished. James, the brother of Jesus, affirmed, “Whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above, Who . . never changes. In His goodness He chose to make us His own children by giving us His true Word. And we out of all creation became His choice possession.” James 1:17-18 NLT. Tracing every good thing in your life this last year leads to one source alone, God’s goodness.

In the context of an agricultural nation, David sang of Jehovah, “You crown the year with Your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11 NKJV. David declared God’s favor in all the nation’s seasons: planting, growing, and harvesting. His song describes, “The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing.” Read Vs. 9-13. Whatever season you are now in, God is sovereign and faithful, and you can see His goodness there.

In this industrial and technological society, your expectation should be the same as it was for David and Israel. The same timeless and eternal God will crown your year with His goodness. In every situation and season of life, you can and should expect and proclaim the goodness of God over your health, marriage, family, finances, occupation, relationships, and Godly pursuits. See Psalm 27:13 NKJV.

David responds with jubilant praise, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul. And forget not all His benefits . . Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies; Who satisfies your mouth with good things.” Psalm 103:1-5 Psalm 103:1-5NKJV. Four times in Psalm 107, David’s heart overflows, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” Psalm 107:8 NKJV. And I say, “Amen!”

My prayer for you today is that you expect and receive a new season of God’s goodness.

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