Certain phrases or expressions immediately set a context for us. “Once upon a time …” “On August 12th, 1984 …” “Mix one cup of milk into three cups of flour …” Yet, how proficient are we when reading biblical metaphors for conquest and blessing? Continue reading “Biblical language for conquest and blessing: do we recognize it?”
What thoughts do unexpected blessings trigger? Perhaps our human nature gravitates toward wondering what unanticipated blessings might come our way.
Jesus, however, flipped our desires around when he taught it is more blessed to give than to receive. Our lives should be like a street through which God’s blessings pass, not dead end cul-de-sacs. So how might God’s people help others in unexpected ways? Continue reading “Conduits of unexpected blessing”
Jacob’s life was nearing its end. Like his father before him, it was time to give the family blessing before he died. “Jacob called for his sons and said, ‘Gather together so I can tell you what will happen to you in the future. Assemble and listen, you sons of Jacob; listen to Israel, your father.’” (Genesis 49:1-2 NET). Although it was his blessing to his sons, like Isaac’s blessing there contained an element of the prophetic about it – he would be stating what would happen in their future. Continue reading “Who got what?”
Normally throughout history, when it came to inheritance, the eldest son was the one who received the greatest part. He usually received the birthright, which under the Mosaic Law meant that he got a double portion due to his being the oldest. He was the one who would also receive the greatest blessing. Continue reading “Blessings and birthrights”
Anthony and Stacey were furious with each other. Ralph, their fawn Pug, tried to stay out of harm’s way in his box, hoping the yelling would stop soon.
Anthony was in the garage hammering furiously on his projects as dusk fell. Stacey was stuffing clothes in the dryer before slamming the door. Both were seething about their fight earlier about whether to purchase a new kitchen table and chairs.
Stacey paced in the hallway before grabbing her cell phone to call and whine to her best friend, Jennifer. She nearly dropped her phone. Recovering it, she glanced at the screen and realized she had called her friend, Jacqueline, by mistake.
Stacey frowned as she contemplated hanging up but knew that would be embarrassing. She had not talked to Jacqueline in months, so she might as well continue.
“Hi, Jacque. It’s Stacey.”
“Hello, Stacey. It’s great to hear from you!”
As they exchanged chit-chat, Stacey felt something was wrong. Her friend sounded somewhat feeble. When there was a chance, Stacey asked about her friend’s voice.
“Well, I’ve been sick a lot lately. Lung problems. Benny has been working two jobs so we can survive, since I lost my job. I don’t feel like doing much lately.”
“Jacque, I am so sorry to hear that! You were always so strong.”
“I know. Well, reality has come to visit. I’m not superwoman anymore.” She laughed and coughed. Stacey winced.
She discovered that Benny’s two jobs were barely getting them by with her medical bills and their mortgage. As Stacey listened, her anger with Anthony was replaced with empathy for her friend.
Stacey promised to visit later in the month and they ended on a cordial note. As she hung up, Stacey dropped into a chair by the garden window, lost in thought.
Hearing the door and Anthony’s heavy steps, she rose to meet him. He stepped back, wary, at her presence. She went to him with tears in her eyes and they embraced. Anthony was stiff, unsure what was going on. Finally, he relented and drew her closer.
Reaching up to kiss her man, she said, “Honey, I’m sorry. Let’s talk.”
“Umm, sure. Are you OK?”
“Yes. Well, no. I don’t know. I’m just seeing things from a new perspective, that’s all.”
“Me too, sweetheart. That’s what I was coming inside to do. Talk to you. I love you passionately and I don’t want to ever fight with you.”
“Me, neither. Let’s talk after you kiss me again.”
Anthony laughed. “I like that plan.”
They talked about the kitchen table situation and decided that what they had was fine. Stacey turned the conversation to what they could do for their friends, Jacqueline and Benny.
“Stacey, on Saturday, let’s go over there and see what we can do to help. We need some people at the plant. Maybe we can give Benny some extra work to help them out.”
“That would be wonderful, honey. You know, we can easily lose perspective on how blessed we truly are.”
Anthony embraced his wife. “You’re right about that.”
“Anthony, I guess we need to spend some time in Bible study and prayer. We were fighting over something that didn’t matter. We were going to waste money when we could put it to better use for our friends.”
“Stacey, I remember Hebrews 13:16, ‘But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.'”
Stacey snuggled closer to the man she adored and admired, smiling contentedly. “Amen.”
The staff of Forthright Magazine ask God’s blessing upon you in all the ways that matter.
We desire above all that you and those close to you may comprehend the love of God and respond to that love in daily faith and unquestioning obedience.
May you who are God’s children travel each day with the confidence of your salvation, the hope of the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ and the joy of the Spirit’s presence.
May you who have yet to seek the Lord’s face do so without delay.
For all, we pray you may latch upon the riches of the living Word, the treasures from the windows of heaven and the inexpressible intimacy of fellowship with the Creator of all living things.
His quiet streams of peace are deep,
We’ve yet to drink our fill, by half;
And we, the Master’s trusting sheep,
Find comfort in his guiding staff.