Tag Archives: blessing

Blessed to be a blessing

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Sometimes when a thing is over used it becomes less significant.
Sometimes when a saying is repeated too often it becomes pithy.

I have thought the latter about the saying above.  There was a time when it was reiterated so often that it lost its punch.  ”you are blessed to be a blessing.”  I didn’t resent it, but it did become diluted to the point of it meaning less.

The reality of it is still true.  When Continue reading

B90X- A couple of thoughts on Ruth

Ruth gleaningThere are some denominations or folks who do church, where at some point in the worship service, the leader says, “Peace be with you” and those in attendance together say, “And also with you.”  When one is not of a denomination that does this weekly, such as myself, it is a really cool blessing to speak over folks.  However, I have heard from some who grew up with this greeting and it had lost it meaning and punch.

Church history and tradition is a fascinating thing.  Personally, the knowledge of where something started and why, is intriguing to me.  Where did this “Peace” greeting originate?  The answer may be from Ruth.

In Ruth chapter two the landowner Boaz arrived at one of his fields in Bethlehem (or Beit-Lechem in the CJB). Bo ‘az  says to his reapers, “Adonai be with you”; and they answered him, “Adonai bless you.”

It may go way back to Numbers 6:24-27 (CJB):

May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai make his face shine on you and show you his favor.
May Adonai lift up his face toward you and give you peace.
“In this way they are to put my name on the people of Isra ‘el, so that I will bless them.”

Let’s use our words to bless folks.  It may have been Jesus who encouraged something like that. ;)

B90X2012 “Loud and clear”

Just because I can, does that mean I should?  In the good ol’ US&A, we have this thing called Free Speech.  Our founding fathers thought it best that ideas and opinions ought not be censored.

I think I understand the ideas and arguments to free speech,  when it is OK to yell “Fire” and when not to.

The prudence of when to speak and what to say when doing so requires wisdom. As we journey through the Bible in rapid form, today we hit a preponderance of scriptures in Proverbs dealing with words, speech, our tongue, cursing, lying, and  the like.  We are drilled with the differing types of uses of both the good and the bad.

The author of proverbs does bring a plethora of sayings about the words which fill our airwaves, however, the sayings are not about words which come out of vacuousness.  Solomon is reaching beyond the airwaves and into the viscera. Past our esophageal airway and into our heart.  Words are really nothing in and of themselves.  They have an origin.   That origin is the wellspring of life, our splangkna, our guts, our heart.  The Hebrews often equate the emotions of our guts with the kidney.

“A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction” (Prov 16:23, NIV).

“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction” (Prov 16:21, NIV).

Without being majorly redundant, the source and style of words a person uses is rooted in the heart. How perfunctory of us when we quote Jesus when he said, “But the things that come out of a person’s heart come from his heart” (Matt 15:18, NIV).  It seems so oft quoted, it kind of has become trite.

Bottom line, what are the intentions of my heart?  Rather than just read the words of the proverbial sayings mechanically, every time I read a verse pertaining to speech and words, I thought about intentions.  These sayings ought to inspire us to examine the intentions of our hearts.

We should take those occasions when we are inclined to speak harshly as opportunities to reflect on our motives for speaking and to ask whose interests we have at heart.  We may find that our motives are more complicated than we imagined, that we want what is right but all too often seek what benefits us at the expense of others.  A heart that weighs its answers will also remember that little with love is better than meat with hatred (Prov 15:17, 28).

B90X2012 Jan 19 “Burning Bush and Favor”

It happened again.  Just going through material read so many times before and boom- something new.

Last year when we did B90X, I had an ambivalent reaction to Moses’ death at the end of Deuteronomy.   The man worked really hard for God.  I know he was called specifically for his work, but think about what he had before he left Egypt for his second 40 years of life to be a shepherd in the wilderness he would eventually wander in.  He put up with a ton of carp from a whole pile of rebellious people.  He even talked the Lord out of killing the whole lot of them one time (Num 14).

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My Grandfather, Richard L. Williams, spoke to CRBC today.

I never had the privilege of meeting my grandfather, he passed away before I was born.  Based on family stories, it is my loss that this meeting never happened.  He was an Aussie who moved his family to the States.  He pastored churches in Mason City, IA and El Paso, TX. The portrait taken on the left was from the family home in Iowa in 1948.

Some of my greatest treasures are his books which have been passed on to me. To this day, I can open one of them and find an old bookmark, old postcard, note, scribble, bits of trash, flattened leaves, even old sermons. One day several years ago, a decent sized sheet of paper fell out of one his books. I have no idea when the document was written. The yellow paper carries ink from an old fountain pen. You know the type, when the ink runs dry the sharp tip digs into the paper. Of the 427 words handwritten on the note there is only one scribble, if it can even be called that, and one misspelled word. We just don’t possess these kinds of handwriting skills today.  Albeit blurry, this picture shows how cool and special this treasure is.
What is more important to the person who wrote it, the possible date of writing, and the difficulty in reading the scrawl, is the nature of the note.  It was written at the end of a calendar year for a meeting of some sort to remember the past and think about the future.  It is a New Years Prayer.   The language is King Jamesian, vocabulary is persuasive, and the structure poetic.

My sermon was all finished for today.  Handout was done.  Powerpoint presentation all locked up. Everything was all done, I was praying, and just chillin’ before time to leave the house.   It has to be the Holy Spirit because I don’t recall things like this.  Since the first Sunday of 2012 is the first of January, it seemed appropriate to find this prayer, refamiliarize myself with it, and see how pertinent it is to us today.

It is as if the words were written for Castle Rock Bible Church personally and specifically.    From the portals of heaven, a significant member of the great cloud of witnesses spoke to us today.  His prayer and blessing is indefatigable and irresistible.  Here it is:

Everlasting God, as we pause on the threshold of time we are reminded of thy abiding presence and guiding hand throughout the year that is drawing to a close.  In all our ways, in times of prosperity and adversity, in days of gladness and sorrow, in the hour of loss and partings, of abundance and in need, thou hast been a well proven help and a garrison of strength.  As we look into the future, let no fears assail us.  Help us to be as confident that thou wilt be with us in the future as we know thou hast been in the past.  Thou canst equip us for the tasks and the duties that are ours, that we may do our utmost and quit ourselves like new.

May we who are pilgrims, conscious of life’s varying scenes, learn by faith, our Father, to obey thee.

We know that thou wilt lead us on through all the tomorrows as thou hast lead us through the yesterdays.

We know that thou wilt not let us go, even when we in willful neglect and indulgence, try to meander from thy way.

As we set our faces toward the New Year, we know full well that it will bring many changes.  The old must give place to the new.  Time does not stand still, nor will the world cease from turning.  Wilt thou give to us the courage and fortitude of mature men and women that will enable us to stand upon our faith, as the spirit of the living Lord will give us strength.

May the convictions that we hold be the strongholds of our lives and in the time of trouble and stress demonstrate that we can be more than conquerors through Him who has loved us.  Indeed may the days of the future teach us above everything else that neither death, nor life, nor things present nor things future, nor powers, nor any exalted thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We long for thy guidance for this congregation as it faces the new year under new leadership.  God direct and indwell every effort that will be made to glorify and establish the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We thank thee for the ongoing witness that has been shared in thy name and for the promise of the master.

Lo I am with you always-  Proper the cause of righteousness that thy name may be known among all nations.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Thank you for blessing us today Gramps!  I can’t wait to meet you.