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God Blesses Us

 Here is the devotional for today at http://www.christiandevotions.us/

Visit their site each day for encouragement in your Christian walk.

God Blesses Us

DEVOTION BY POSTED 3/31/2018 12:00:01 AM

God blesses us, that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.  Psalm 67:7 NASB

Photo courtesy of pixabay.“How are you today, Pauline?” my co-worker asked as we passed each other by the copy machine.

“Better than I deserve,” I shot back.

Some think I am weird. Others build up my self-image with phrases like, You deserve good, Pauline. You’re a good person.

But I know better. I understand God found me, Christ died for me, and I live my life in His strength. So when I read of God’s blessings in His Word, I take notice.

In Psalm 67, the writer names how God blesses us: His face shines upon us, He judges uprightly, He guides the nations, and He causes the earth to yield its produce.

If you have ever witnessed the face of a new grandmother staring at her grandchild, you can picture that as God’s face shining on you and me. He guides the nations and is sovereign over the world. Even though it doesn’t seem that way to me, I trust God’s Word and trust Him to guide the nations. And produce? I live on a farm and have tasted the best tomatoes ever. It all comes from His hand. Those are some pretty heavy blessings.

God blesses us to make His way known, so people will praise Him, and so that all the earth may fear Him.

But I wonder if I’m making God’s way known to others, or if I’m too busy with this world and more excited about football than sharing the gospel? Or if I’m living a life of grateful thanksgiving and praise or being like Miriam in the Old Testament who was inflicted with leprosy because she grumbled. I can share the gospel by being clear that we are all sinners and need a savior, or sugarcoat it.

Answering my co-workers in the way I do reminds me of my blessings and my opportunity to bless others.

Make a resolution to meditate on God’s blessings and share them with others. You just might make hanging out at the copy machine more interesting.

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

Pauline Hylton

Pauline Hylton is a freelance writer whose publishing credits include USA TODAY, Chicken Soup, Today’s Christian Woman, The War Cry, and several newspapers. She writes about anything from caregiving to chickens and from farming to family. She especially enjoys writing humor. She loves the Lord, her family, and dark chocolate—not necessarily in that order.

First Fruits

First Fruits
fresh fruits and vegetables
Here is my blog from cbn.com for March 15, 2018–here is the link if you would like to visit the site
http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/first-fruits

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you as a special possession and you have conquered it and settled there, put some of the first produce from each crop you harvest into a basket and bring it to the designated place of worship—the place the Lord your God chooses for his name to be honored. Deuteronomy 26:1-2 (NLT)

Running into the farmhouse I shouted to Tom, “They’re up! They’re up!”

Tom looked alarmed. “What, Pauline, what are up?”

“Our squash seeds, they have green leaves poking out!”

We both ran to the field in front of the farmhouse to examine this miracle.

“Sure enough,” Tom said as he bent over low, eyes moist. “Sure enough.”

That day was our first successful farm day. The first fruits of months of labor in our new life in North Carolina. Even though it was almost five years ago, I can still remember the joy.

When we start tiny seeds in plastic trays under hot lights, we both check morning and night for the first signs of life. We oooh and aaah like gazing at a newborn when the first sign of life appears. After they are planted our anticipation grows and our mouth waters when we think of that first bite of a perfect heirloom tomato. And when our purple and green asparagus launch, it is always cause for a celebration.

So, when today’s Bible reading in Deuteronomy speaks of bringing the first fruits of the harvest to the Lord, both Tom and I can relate.

Let me share how I try to bring the first fruits of my life to the Lord.

The first fruit of my time. My husband and I have marked this year as the year of prayer. Sure, I have a somewhat designated prayer time. I even have prayer cards for people. Knowing God is best through His Word and prayer, most days, I get up, have two cups of real strong coffee, get out my Bible, my prayer cards, and a notebook with 40 days of prayer that I downloaded from the Internet. Since Easter is right around the corner, I desired to really take my time with this sacred season and savor it instead of letting it sneak up on me.

As I give the Lord the first fruits of my day, I tend to bare more fruit during the day. Try it.

The second way Tom and I bring our first fruits is the first fruits of our tithe. We don’t resent giving our money, we are grateful to give. We have found we can never out-give God. He doesn’t need our money, but He does desire our trust.

In America, we tend to view our security in 401K’s, or health insurance, or life insurance. Those things are not bad, they just are not stable.

God owns everything, is all-powerful, all-knowing, and in the end, He wins.

Let’s just say, investing in heaven is a sure bet.

The last of my first fruits is the first fruit of my worship.

I’m not talking about Sundays and Wednesdays. I am talking about where your heart is. Where your mind is. What you talk about most.

That is what you worship.

For me, worshipping the Lord and Him alone is a daily challenge. But it is so worth it. He is so worth it. The more I meditate on Jesus, His life, death, and resurrection, the sweeter He becomes and the more I desire to worship.

Romans 12:1 (NLT) states, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.”

Think of your first fruits, especially during this sacred season. And bring them to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

You’ll be glad you did. Here is the link if you would like to visit the site…  http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/first-fruits

Copyright © Pauline Hylton 2018, used with permission.

Why Blood

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die? Me, too.

Here is my contribution to CBN.com today:

http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/why-blood

 

The Good News Applied

“The gospel is not the diving board into the pool of Christianity. The pool is the gospel.” The radio pastor went on to say, “When you want the best water, you don’t make the well wider, you go deeper.”

I’ve thought about those words for several days. For a long time, I dug outside and around that Christian well. Debating this doctrine and that. Concentrating on parts of my Christian life like they were fragmented.

Lately, the gospel is where my focus has been and where it will stay. The Good News of Jesus Christ. I love I Corinthians 15:1-4,

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…”

Simple, right? You probably learned it in Sunday School. Colored pictures about it.

But it is profound. Deep, like that well—like that all-encompassing pool.

For instance, when I see a client at work who has been in some trouble, and lost their job, and rub me the wrong way, I can’t think I am better, or smarter. My thoughts line up with the good news. Jesus died for me. I didn’t deserve it, didn’t earn it, didn’t even want it. But Jesus had mercy on me and opened my heart to hear His Spirit. And He saved me.

And when someone doesn’t treat me right, or I am misunderstood, or even mistreated, I think about Jesus, the perfect Son of God Who was mocked, beaten, and crucified. Not only did He never do anything wrong, He never even thought a bad thought, and yet many shouted, “Crucify Him!”

My slights seem insignificant.

And when I face uncertainty, or death of a loved one, or illness, I cannot despair. Because not only did Christ die for my sins, He rose from the grave—paying the penalty for my wrong thoughts and actions and motives—not only providing the payment for my sins, but also eternity with Him.

That is deep, like the cold, clear, water in that well.

It surrounds me, like the refreshing water of that pool.

I don’t ever think I can reach the bottom or explore the depths.

But I’m gonna try. And then I will have eternity to enjoy it.

 

 

A Clean Page

I clapped my hands and jumped with delight while an unsuspecting client and reserved office manager looked on.

“Yay!” They had no idea a new $4.95 desk calendar could make me jump for joy.

It’s like that with organizers, too. In late November, I visited Staples and stared at the assortment of day planners, notebooks, and organizers. Several other women stared with me. I would pick one up, flip through the pages and put it back, mentally calculating how it would or wouldn’t fit in my purse. Or if I had enough space to write everything  down that was important in my life. Or if it had pretty pages that made me smile.

I even struck up conversations with fellow shoppers. One woman was a hair stylist, so she needed a large planner with a month in advance. Another woman refused to speak with me and looked uncomfortable. A soul-mate shared her suggestions and criticisms about each.

Finally, I chose one. Checking out with a smile on my face, I drove quickly home and ran into the house. I grabbed my pencil to mark appropriate birthdays, and holidays only to realize the planner began in July of 2017 and ended in July of 2018. Disheartened, I phoned my daughter and explained my predicament. (She too, is an organizer junkie.)

“I bought mine from Target, and I love it. I think you’d like it, too,” she suggested.

“Could you go to the store right now and pick one up?” I asked hopefully.

She laughed. “I’ll look tomorrow.” And then I pouted.

A few years ago, when I worked at a school, my friend and co-worker and I would search out desk calendars with flowers and various colors on each month that made us happy.

There is something about tearing the sheet off of the old calendar, and flipping over to the new. It is like a new start.

I don’t know about you, but I need new starts.

Philippians 3:13, 14 states:

“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.…”

It is easy to look back. It’s also hard to change. But I am not alone. The God I serve has forgiven me of past, present, and future sins. He gives me both the desire and the strength to become more like Him. And He loves me–just the way I am.

So, tomorrow, I start with my new planner given to me by my daughter. (It even has stickers.) I do not know what 2018 holds. But I know The One Who does.

And He is good.

I’m going to write that in my organizer.

Have a happy and a Blessed New Year, my friend.