Illustration results for Blessing
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SO MANY VALUABLE POSSESSIONS
Waylon Prendergast, 37, of Tampa, Florida, committed a spur-of-the-moment robbery while on his way home from a late-night drinking session. A very inebriated Mr. Prendergast forced his way into the house through an open upstairs window, filling a suitcase with cash and valuables before setting the living room on fire to cover his tracks. He then escaped through the back door and made his way home, chuckling all the way. Only as he turned the corner into his own street, however, and discovered three fire engines outside his house, did he realize that in his drunkenness he had, in fact, burgled and ignited his own property. His comment: "I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions."
While we may not do anything quite that stupid (at least nothing that makes the national newspapers), there are times when Christians need to stop and reflect, coming to same conclusion Mr. Prendergast did: "I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions."
From family and friends to material comforts (like electricity and running water), from our basic needs (like food) to luxuries other generations never dreamed of (like the computer you're sitting at right now), from the freedoms we enjoy to the jobs we hold, there is much that we have been blessed with that we take for granted.
Even beyond the physical blessings, there is so much that God has given us through Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote,
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ."
Truly, I had no idea I had so many valuable possessions. "God, forgive me for taking so much of it for granted."
I recently read a peculiar story about a family in Lander, Wyoming that had gone to their local refuse dump to dispose of some unwanted family items that were either busted or greatly abused. As they were emptying there junk into a large dumpster, the man of the home saw something that caught his eye. It was apparently an ornate, antique four-poster bed that had been left there by some other family.
The man called to his wife to have her to look at it as well. After a few moments of discussion they both agreed that it most likely could be stored to its original condition. So, even though it was a bit worn and tattered, they began to inquire about that possibility with the management staff of the refuse center. They found that they there was no problem with taking the grand piece of junk home if they would just pay a small fee of a few dollars.
They proceeded to load the headboard, footboard and the wooden rails into the back of their pickup and pull-along trailer. As they were loading the post, which were separate pieces, they began to question the weight of each one. The husband felt they were quite a bit heavier than he had imagined they would be. But they finally got all the pieces loaded and drove home.
When they got home, the husband backed the truck and trailer into his driveway with the assistance of his wife and eldest son. They then proceeded to unload the bed one piece at a time. To their amazement, as their son picked up one end of the first bed-post, the finial at the top worked loose and slipped out of its socket. Thankfully they were standing in the front yard and a nearby hedge broke the fall, catching the post. But suddenly they heard the weirdest noise.
As they turned to look toward the area of the noise, something caught the glimpse of the fatherís eye. A few silver coin tumbled to the ground near the base of the bush. After picking up the loose coins he looked in the opened end of the bed-post and to his surprise there were more silver coins inside. With the help of his son, he picked up the opposing end and hundreds of silver, brass and gold coins came rolling out onto the lawn. Many of the gold ones dated back into the 1800ís and almost all of the coins were near mint condition. After close inspection of the other three posts, they, too, were completely hollow and contained equal amounts of coinage.
Amazing stuff one can find at a garbage dump! The finest of treasures in the least likely places! To hear stories like that are always a great thrill to hear! Who knows, next time any one of us goes to the refuse dump, hard to tell what we might find. As my dad always said, one man's trash is another man's treasure!
After one of the great battles in the Civil War we were coming down the Tennessee River with a company of wounded men. It was in the spring of the year, and the water was not clear. You know that the cry of a wounded man is, "Water! Water!" especially in a hot country.
I remember taking a glass of the muddy water to one of these men. Although he was very thirsty, he only drank a little. He handed the glass back, and as he did so, he saidó"Oh, for a draught of water from my father's well!"
Are there any thirsty ones here? Come and drink of the fountain opened in Christ! Your longing will be satisfied, and you will never thirst again.
--Anecdotes, Incidents and Illustrations by D. L. Moody
MISSING THE BABY FOR THE CRIB
One night a wife found her husband standing over their infant's crib. As she watched him looking down at their very first baby, she saw on his face a mixture of emotions: ...disbelief, doubt, delight, amazement, enchantment, skepticism.
Touched by this unusual display and the deep emotions it aroused, with eyes glistening she slipped her arm around her husband. "A penny for your thoughts," she said.
"It's amazing!" he replied. "I just can't see how anybody can make a crib like that for only $46.50."
Many times people look upon God's handiwork and only see the outside manifestations, never the miracle that lays within. It works that way with many things, whether it be the mi...
Tennis superstar Arthur Ashe died of AIDS, which he contracted from a blood transfusion during heart surgery. More than a great athlete, Ashe was a gentleman who inspired and encouraged many with his exemplary behavior on and off the court.
Ashe could have become embittered and self-pitying in the face of his disease, but he maintained a grateful attitude. He explained, "If I asked, 'Why me?' about my troubles, I would have to ask, 'Why me?' about my blessings. Why my winning Wimbledon? Why my marrying a beautiful, gifted woman and having a wonderful child?"
Ashe's attitude rebukes those of us who often grumble, "Why me? Why is God allowing this to happen?" Even if we're suffering acutely, we must not forget the mercies God pours into our lives--such things as food, shelter, and friends--blessings that many are deprived of.
And what about spiritual blessings? We can hold the very Word of God in our hands and read it. We have the knowledge of His saving grace, the comfort of His Spirit, and the joyful assurance of life everlasting with Jesus.
Think about God's blessings and ask, "Why me?" Then your grumbling will give way to praise.
Reggie McNeal tells the story of one man who decided to bless the baristas at the Starbucks he frequents. When he asked them the question, ďHow can I ask God to bless you?Ē they were somewhat taken aback. Slowly but surely, they warmed up to him and the employees started to come over and talk to him and open up their lives to him. He had such a positive response that his small group realized they frequented every Starbucks within a 13-block radius and so they decided to bless the baristas together.
Then one day when this gentleman was in a Starbucks he didnít normally frequent, he asked the question to the baristas as he was handed his coffee, whereupon she pulled back the coffee and asked, "Are you one of those blessing people?"
Yes! We are a blessing people who seek to bless others in both word and action, planting seeds of the kingdom that we might attain a harvest for the kingdom of God
T. Brent Long
In the first week of July, 2011 reports of a discovery in poverty-filled South India crossed the news wire.
The vaults of the Padmanabhaswamy temple were opened after 130 years. Temple records mention the treasure, and its existence was known to locals. However, no one knew its true size.
The preliminary inventory of the temple treasure may have had King Solomon, the Knights Templar and Indiana Jones rolling their eyes in wonder: over a ton of gold, sacks of diamonds and precious stones; gold necklaces over three meters long and weighing over 2.5 kilograms, gold crowns, thousands of pieces of antique jewelry, idols, and artifacts studded with diamonds and emeralds.
Initial estimates placed the value of the treasure at $22 billion USD, which makes this little known temple the richest place of religion in the world. It easily displaces the Vatican, estimated to own about $15 billion in wealth, its nearest competitor.
Antique collectors' valuation of the find, to be confirmed by the Supreme Court, could be over $100 billion.
This staggering treasure had been basically forgotten.
While children in the region starved to death, this staggering mountain of riches sat gathering dust.
Let me tell you that we have a greater treasure than all the temples in India. Greater than all the treasure in every synagogue, temple, cathedral. Greater than all that sits in any vault on any continent.
If we will remember our God, His riches will be opened to us. If we are:
Hungry, He will feed us.
Naked, He will clothe us.
Without hope, He will rescue us.
Troubled, Peace of mind.
BURIED TREASURE FOR ISAAC
One night, a poor Jewish man named Isaac from Krakel, Poland, in a vivid dream, saw a buried treasure hidden under a particular bridge in the distant city of Prague. For the next two weeks, he dreamed of the particular city, the same bridge, and the buried treasure. The man was determined to walk all the way to Prague to see for himself.
Upon reaching the city for his first time, he recognized it from his dream, found the bridge and went underneath to look for the treasure. And suddenly he was grabbed at the back of his neck by a soldier who dragged him away to prison for interrogation.
The soldier set him on a chair and said, "All right, you Jew, what were you doing prowling around underneath the bridge?" Not knowing what else to say, Isaac blurted out the truth. "I had a dream that there was buried treasure underneath the bridge, and I was looking for it."
Immediately the soldier burst into mocking laughter, and said, "You stupid Jew, donít you know you canít believe what you see in your dreams. Why, for the last two weeks I myself have had a dream every night that far away in the city of Krakel, in the house of some Jew by the name of Isaac son of Yaakob, is a treasure buried under the stove in his kitchen. But wouldnít it be the most idiotic thing in the world if I would go all the way to Krakel to look for some Jew that doesnít exist, ...
We often don't realize how good we have it here in America.
The film, End of Spear, tells the true story of five missionaries--including Jim Elliot and Nathan Saint--who were speared to death by the murderous Waodani tribesman living in the jungles of Ecuador. Amazingly, the wives and children of the men who were murdered stayed put and were eventually able to reach out to Waodani people with the message of Jesus. In time, Steven Saint grew up and befriended Mincayani, the man who killed his father.
Decades later, Steven brought Mincayani to the United States for a visit. He was absolutely amazed by what life is like here. My favorite moment is where Mincayani tries to explain McDonalds to his wife back home. He tells her thereís the houses have windows in them, that you can drive up to. "You tell the woman of the house what you want and she just makes it for you, puts in a bag and hands it out the window. And you donít have to give her anything in return!"
Steven jumps in at that point to correct Mincayani. "Thatís not exactly true, I have to give her this," he says waving his credit card!
Mincayani shakes his finger and say, "No, no, she gives it right back!"
David Stern relates in hid Jewish NT Commentary, pp.115-116 that there are many blessings given by the Hebrew people. There are blessings for wine (Matthew 26.27-29); for bread (14.19); The Talmud (circa 5th century CE) had specific formulas for dozens of blessings that the people would say all day long; these included blessings for fragrant herbs, grasses, or flowers; seeing a rainbow; seeing unusually beautiful people, trees, or fields; seeing strange-looking people or animals; hearing especially beneficial good news;
Perhaps the people in our story blessed God with the sixth blessing of the Amidah (a daily Jewish prayer) -- "Blessed are you, Adonai, who is gracious to forgive abundantly." Or the 8th -- "Blessed are you, Adonai, who heals the sick of his people, Israel." Or, maybe there was a spontaneous blessing: "Blessed are you, Adonai our God, King of the universe who cures the incurable."