INTRO.- Blessed is the man. Don’t you want to be blessed in life? Don’t you want to be blessed by God? Psalm 1:1 “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” It is God’s wish to bless mankind and most certainly those who walk in His ways and delight in His Word.
ILL.- I was walking down the hall at the Craighead Nursing Center one day and I said to one of the ladies who works there, “How are you?” She quickly responded, “I’m blessed!” What an unusual response, but also an unusually pleasant response.
People who are not in Christ don’t exactly get the idea of being blessed by God. Some people may use that term without really understanding the meaning of being blessed by God.
ILL.- 49 year old actor Johnny Depp is from Owensboro, KY, and he’s done quite well for himself in Hollywood in making movies. I read that his annual income is $92 million dollars. But from what I read, Johnny Depp had no religious upbringing at all. He is either an agnostic or an atheist. He may think he is blessed merely because of who he is and how well he’s done in the acting arena. More people in Hollywood probably feel the same.
Warren Buffett at $46 billion may feel similarly. He was raised as a Presbyterian but now says he’s an agnostic. He said, “The nice thing about being an agnostic is you don’t think anybody is wrong.” But that doesn’t mean he’s right either. An agnostic just doesn’t know if God exists. To me, however, that’s still denying the existence of God. Buffett probably believes he’s wealthy because he’s a shrewd investor and God doesn’t have anything to do with it. And he’s probably right that God doesn’t have anything to do with it, but the devil might!
Some people may have a lot of money and material things because the devil gave it to them, but the Christian believes that if he or she has anything good, money, etc. then it’s a gift of God, which means we are blessed by God.
Blessed is the person who fears the Lord. How do we fear the Lord? We worship Him daily. We hold Him in great reverence and awe. We never cease to be amazed by His glorious grace. And if we fear Him what will happen? WE WILL BE BLESSED.
PROP.- Blessed is the person who fears the Lord. How blessed?
1- His children will be mighty
2- His life will be blessed with good
3- His spirit will never be shaken
I. HIS CHILDREN WILL BE MIGHTY
2 His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. New Century Version: “Their descendants will be powerful in the land; the children of honest people will be blessed.”
We all know that the way children are raised makes a difference in how they do as adults in life.
ILL.- A mother was talking to her three year-old daughter about animals.
The mother asked, "How does the cow sound?"
The three year old said, "Moo!"
The mother asked, "How does a duck sound?"
The three year old answered,"Quack!"
The mother asked, "How does a frog sound?"
The three year old said, "Bud!!!"
(Bud as in a Budweiser from a 1995 Superbowl commercial.) Too much TV is not always good for our children and especially, certain TV programs. TV can affect a child’s life. Children who will be mighty in the land and blessed will have spiritual-minded parents who are concerned about their child’s education and training.
Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The training of children will consider all aspects and areas of life: home, church, school, society, friendships, etc.
ILL.- When the 10-year-olds in Mrs. Imogene Frost's class at the Brookside, N.J. Community Sunday School expressed their views of "What's wrong with grownups?" they came up with these complaints:
1. Grownups make promises, then they forget all about them, or else they say it wasn't really a promise, just a maybe.
2. Grownups don't do the things they're always telling the children to do--like pick up their things, or be neat, or always tell the truth.
3. Grownups never really listen to what children have to say. They always decide ahead of time what they're going to answer.
4. Grownups make mistakes, but they won't admit them. They always pretend that they weren't mistakes at all--or that somebody else made them.
5. Grownups interrupt children all the time and think nothing of it. If a child interrupts a grownup, he gets a scolding or something worse.
6. Sometimes grownups punish children unfairly. It isn't right if you've done just some little thing wrong and grownups take away something that means an awful lot to you. Other times you can do something really bad and they say they're going to punish you, but they don't.
7. Grownups are always talking about what they did and what they knew when they were 10 years old--but they never try to think what it's like to be 10 years old right now. OH WOW!
It’s not easy to be a good, fair and honest parent, but when we are, our children will be blessed and we will be blessed.
ILL.- Celeste Sibley, one-time columnist for the Atlanta (GA) Constitution, took her three children to a restaurant for breakfast one morning. It was crowded and they had to take separate seats at the counter. Eight-year-old Mary was seated at the far end of the counter and when her food was served she called down to her mother in a loud voice, "Mother, don't people say grace in this place?"
A hush came over the entire diner and before Mrs. Sibley could figure out what to say, the waitress said, "Yes, we do, sister. You say it." All the people at the counter bowed their heads. Mary bowed her head and in a clear voice said, "God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food." Little Mary Sibley was a blessed child and so was her mother. Apparently, her mother taught her right that it’s always right to give thanks to God for your food no matter where you are.
Parents who follow the Lord and take their faith seriously will often have blessed children. And the children may be blessed more “in spite of” rather than “because of” their parents teaching and training. BUT TEACH AND TRAIN, WE MUST! And at the same time, give our the best example of faith that we can.
THANK GOD IF YOU HAVE BLESSED CHILDREN AND ESPECIALLY, BLESSED BY BEING IN CHRIST.
II. HIS LIFE WILL BE BLESSED WITH GOOD
3 Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man. 5 Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.
Wealth and riches are in his house. Who’s house? The blessed man of God and his children. Have you taken an inventory lately of how much you have in your house? Clothes, shoes, TVs, trinkets, toys, furniture, luxuries of all kinds, food in the frig, etc.?????
ILL.- Out of curiosity I decided to count how many pairs of shoes I have in my closet. CARE TO GUESS HOW MANY PAIRS? I have 15 pairs of regular shoes and three pairs of running shoes and I don’t even run anymore. Of course, I can’t run anymore.
How many pairs of shoes do you have in your closet? And do we dare count how much clothing we have in our closets? And how many TV’s in the house? We have four and only watch two of them. How many do you have in your house?
ILL.- Henry Ford’s mansion, “Fairlane,” still stands in Dearborn, Michigan, as a master example of man’s inventiveness. For its location he chose the beauty of a gentle slope overlooking the meandering River Rouge. Fifty-five rooms spread over three floors for a total of 31,000 square feet. Eight fireplaces, one of marble thirteen feet high, stood ready to warm people, while 550 switches provided light at the flick of a finger.
The impression throughout is still that of magnificent design, exquisite taste and perfect workmanship. The house’s cost in 1917, long before the shrinking dollar, was $1,057,000.
Henry Ford’s ingenuity even reached to the power supply. Determined to be independent of public utilities, he built his own power plant at a cost of $200,000, using finely machined turbines to feed electricity to the entire estate with enough extra to sell to the public utilities in an emergency. However, when torrential rains hit the Detroit area in April 1947, the River Rouge went on a rampage. Soon it crept into the furnace under the boilers and smothered the fire, causing steam pressure to fall. The turbines stopped and the electricity failed for the only time in forty years. Ironically, that was the night Henry Ford lay dying in his bedroom. Though surrounded by an engineering marvel, he left the world as he had entered it 87 years earlier—in a cold house lighted by candles.
Henry Ford was a wealthy man and had a huge house/mansion, but don’t we all live in a mansion of sorts? Considering where we came from, don’t we all live pretty good, live in nice homes and have an abundance of possessions??
I think we must never forget how blessed we are and where these blessings come from.
James 1:16-17 “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
I Corinthians 4:7 “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”
CEV 7 "What is so special about you? What do you have that you were not given? And if it was given to you, how can you brag?"
We must never brag as though we did everything for ourselves and made ourselves wealthy or blessed. If we are blessed, it’s by the hand of God. At the same time we must live gracious, compassionate and righteous lives. God blesses those who live that way.
III. HIS SPIRIT WILL NEVER BE SHAKEN
6 Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. 7 He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8 His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
He will never be shaken. Who does this sound like? Job of old. After losing his wealth and all 10 of children here is what Job did and said.
Job 1:20-22 “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”
Job did not sin. Job did not blame God for his loses. When disaster after disaster came into Job’s life he was not shaken. His faith not shaken. Not totally anyway. And the same holds for many other Bible characters. But what about us today?
When trials come our way will our faith be shaken or will we stand firm in the faith, knowing that God will take care of us and provide for us either in this life or the next?
ILL.- I think of quadriplegic, Joni Eareckson, whose devotions I read. She is such a giant in the faith! Joni was born in 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland, the youngest of four daughters. As a teenager, she enjoyed riding horses, hiking, tennis, and swimming. On July 30, 1967, she dove into Chesapeake Bay after misjudging the shallowness of the water. She suffered a fracture between the fourth and fifth cervical levels and became a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. She has lived this way for the last 46 years.
She recently wrote: What do quadriplegics (people whose hands and legs are paralyzed) daydream about? Running a marathon? Ballroom dancing? Climbing a mountain? Many of us have scaled down our fantasies. In my weaker moments, I'm tempted to think life would be great if only I were a paraplegic -- then I could use my hands. I see paraplegics transfer themselves out of their wheelchairs into their own beds, reach for items in the refrigerator, wash dishes at a sink and quickly sort through the mail. Then old feelings of disappointment start to slink back into my heart. I wouldn't be happier if I were a paraplegic rather than a quadriplegic. The fullness of Christ dwells in me, even with my infirmities. Therefore, I will gladly boast as a quadriplegic. After all, you can't improve on "complete."
ILL.- Rod Buchanan is a Methodist preacher friend of mine who lives in Ohio. We got acquainted through the internet site sermoncentral.com. He’s been sending sermons there for many years and I have as well. Rod and I are the same age but our health differs greatly. Rod has Melanoma cancer. He recently had surgery and thought the cancer was gone and he was in remission. Sometime later they found two tumors in his brain. One was removed with surgery and the doctors used Gama Knife radiation to eliminate the others. Again, Rod thought things were going in the right direction. But here is what he wrote.
On Tuesday, May 21st, I had further tests and scans and then met with my Oncologist. I was informed that the Melanoma had spread to four other locations in my body. They outlined several elaborate treatment plans and overwhelmed us with information. When I asked what the bottom line was and what the treatments would be able to do, they said that they might extend my present life span by two to four months, or possibly more. At this point we have decided not to go with the treatment, especially in light of the side effects and limited advantages they present. I believe that Rod that the doctors only give him 2 to 4 months left in this life.
How is Rod doing? How is he taking this? Here is how he is taking it. He printed this scripture on facebook. “I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:19-21). Rod’s faith is not shaken and his hope in Christ is not false.
Romans 8:18 “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Blessed is the man who believes God and is in Christ. His faith shall not be shaken.
10 The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.
Blessed is the man or woman who walks with God, but vexed (distressed, angered, annoyed) is the person who does not acknowledge God nor worship. And not only will that person be vexed but he or she continues in unbelief and disobedience they will gnash their teeth and come to nothing.
Remember the story of the rich man and Lazarus? (Luke 16) One was saved and blessed and the other vexed, lost and damned. There are two kinds of people in this world: lost and saved. And we decide which we shall be.