#blessed

I really enjoy Bruno Mars’ music.  It’s like if Barry White and Bobby Brown could have a kid, it would be him. It’s fun, fresh, and easily danceable. 24K is one of my favorite songs of his, and I find one of his lines so interesting:

“Got to blame it on Jesus, hashtag blessed.”

I think he captures something many perceive, that when it’s good, when life seems to be on this trajectory upward, where health, wealth and prosperity seem to be clicking on all cylinders, we are blessed and it’s directly from God. I tend to agree too, that those are good things, they really are blessings to have good health, to be prosperous in pursues and not be in poverty.

I have even joked about it on social media, whether it is an extra nugget in my Chick-Fil-A box or no line at a store. But I think we’ve taken the true idea of blessings of God and manipulated them for our own definition and benefit. Then we point them back to God as privileged or better because of that blessing.

But the blessings He bestows on those who believe in Him? Well those are a bit more lasting, eternal than just good health or a pay raise. They are spiritual blessings which move beyond the things of this world and what are defined by this world. Spiritual blessings bring us deeper into relationship with Him, often taking us through a time of pruning and growing, they unify us as believers, and bring Him praise for His compassion and goodness.

Those spiritual blessings He gives us aren’t always what we define as wanting, but He knows it is what we need to be blessed with-encouragement, relief of a burden, wisdom, reliance. It isn’t so much about what we get out of His blessing, but that He gives it willingly to those of us who love Him and call Him Lord. And it goes beyond earthly blessings, to those where He is seated in the throne room. It goes beyond defining them in the way we do in our context of culture or earth.

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)

Mind Games

It has been said, on more than one occasion, that you can read my thoughts on my face. I have been that way for as long as I can remember. I have shown the face of consternation, elation and diabolical scheming. It has been immensely helpful to my mother and teachers over the years, but has also gotten me into quite the trouble a time or fifty.

Most of the time it’s just a flicker and then it’s gone, because frankly I don’t meditate on too much. However as I get older I am finding what I choose to meditate on to be of value and focus. The reason being is my thought life, well, it shapes where I go and what attitude I carry with me.

I find when I dwell on a thought it leads to action-as it does for the majority of people. Even more confirming is the knowledge that dwelling on the wrong things, on the negatives, will only perpetuate the negative thought life and attitude. It is not as if it slithers in, unawares, but it’s a conscious choice.

Recently I heard someone teach on Psalm 1, which led to the point of what we allow ourselves to be available to leads to something we choose to be near and ultimately sit among in our thought life especially. If you look at verse 1, you see that the blessed man doesn’t walk with scoffers, doesn’t stand in the way of sinners, and doesn’t sit in the seat of scoffing.

Oooof.

That one stung. Deep.

Why? Because ultimately I make the decision on where my thoughts go, what attitude I have when I dwell in them and how I respond to those thoughts. Many times I don’t take them captive as I should.

What if I did though?

What if I started taking captive thoughts, replacing them with the indwelling truth of God’s Word? What if I started being more aware, more conscious of the gate of my mind and when it should be opened and when it should stay firmly locked? If my mind isn’t careful what it meditates on-even the deceptively good things-it can lead to a disobedient heart with questionable choices and a heart with hollow roots.

 

Instead of rolling the dice, wondering what I dwell in and on, I get to boldly and assertively choose which things my mind goes to, stays in and even sits among. The privilege of leading the junk, the really amazing yet deceptive thoughts, tied up to Christ’s feet? That’s like getting straight cherries on the slot machine.