Tag Archives: christianity

Bless You and Keep You

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make His face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance on you,
And give you peace.’
So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”
(‭Numbers‬ ‭6‬:‭22-27‬ NASB)

God promised the leaders of His people that if they called upon His name over His people, then He would do these things: He would bless them, protect them, look on them with favor, give them grace, and give them peace.

God desires to bless His people. Otherwise, why would He command the priests to speak this blessing over them and promise to bless them? There is power in His name. This blessing is an invocation of His name upon His people.

He promises He will bless His people.

It’s through Jesus Christ that we can be called by His name, and only through Jesus Christ.

If we are called by His name, the Lord wants to bless us. He desires to protect us, to show us grace, to give us peace, to look on us favorably. We need blessing, protection, grace, peace, favor from Him.
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Proven

In God, whose word I praise,
In the LORD, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Your vows are binding upon me, O God;
I will render thank offerings to You.
For You have delivered my soul from death,
Indeed my feet from stumbling,
So that I may walk before God
In the light of the living.
(‭Psalm‬ ‭56‬:‭10-13‬ NASB)

In God, whose word is worthy of praise, let us put our trust. No one can stand against Him, so we are completely protected. Thank Him because He’s already delivered us from death. He’s already protected us from stumbling. He’s already preserved our lives.

God’s strength is greater than that of man. His word is worthy of praise. He is trustworthy. But we are weak. We must trust Him for everything.

Praise Him. Praise His word. Trust Him. Thank Him. He has already saved us, proving His trustworthiness.

There is every reason to trust Him and no reason not to. When we forget this, we become afraid or we try to take control ourselves.

If nothing else, Jesus is the proof that God has already preserved our lives, protected us, delivered us from the hand of our enemy.

If this truth becomes fully alive in us we will trust God in all things. He’s calling us to trust Him more.

Our Protector

But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my strength, I will sing praises to You;
For God is my stronghold, the God who shows me lovingkindness.
(‭Psalm‬ ‭59‬:‭16-17‬ NASB)

No matter what anyone else does, let us sing of God’s strength and His lovingkindness because He’s always protected us before. Let us praise Him because He is our fortress, our strength, and He has always loved us and been kind to us.

God is strong. He protects His children. He loves us and is kind to us.

We are weak and in need of His protection and strength. We have an enemy from whom we need protection (though not necessarily a physical enemy as the psalmist’s was).

If we are His, God will protect us from our enemy. The psalmist praises God before he is protected, while he is in distress, because He knows who God is.

Even though we know He is strong enough, kind enough, and loves us enough to take care of us, we don’t always trust Him to. We are afraid.

Jesus’ sacrifice was the ultimate act of God’s lovingkindness. Couple that with His resurrection – He is strong enough to overcome death – and there is every reason to trust Him. There is no reason not to.

We need not fear because God is our strength. We need to have the courage that arises from faith. And in that courage we can joyfully sing the praises of God, our protector.

In Desperate Need of Mercy

For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
(‭Romans‬ ‭11‬:‭32-36‬ NASB)

Those still in disobedience are in need of mercy, just like those of us who follow Christ. We have all been equally disobedient. God is wise and knowledgeable beyond our understanding. He is the source of all things and worthy of glory. We can’t know the mind of God. We can’t counsel Him. There’s nothing we can give Him or that He owes us.

We are in desperate need of His mercy.

The beautiful truth is this: He has allowed our disobedience because He wants to show mercy to all who are disobedient.

Let us not be proud in anything but, in humility, through the grace of Christ who shows us mercy, show mercy and love to all.

Love Covers All Transgressions

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.

Proverbs‬ ‭10‬:‭12‬ NASB

We need love, and we need to give love. God has shown us love, and He has shown us how to love through Christ, His Son. He wants us to love as He has loved us.

God doesn’t want us to stir up strife, but to love one another, forgiving sins, preserving peace. Sadly, though we have seen His love for us through the blood of Christ spilled on the cross, we must be reminded to love rather than hate.

When fellow believers sin, we often look for ways to expose their sins, to bring them to justice. (Now, there comes a time when – if a believer refuses to repent – sins must be exposed in the course of biblical church discipline. We have not reached that point – we’re talking here about beginning this process from a place of love.) Instead, let’s ask God to change our desires. Ask for the desire to love them, forgive their transgressions, and keep peace.

Love. Don’t hate.

Forgive. Don’t condemn.

Wisdom of the Foolish

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭1‬:‭18-25‬ NASB

Unless we believe, unless God is at work in us, the Gospel is foolishness to us. The truth is we are the foolish. God is wise beyond measure, so wise that our “wisdom” cannot stand before Him.

God wisely chose to save us, not through ways that seem wise to us, but through a way that looks foolish to us. In fact, God’s plan of salvation is essentially the opposite of what we look for in a way to heaven. But those He calls see His wisdom. We see that we are fools, we are weaklings, in light of His wisdom and strength.

We have to trust God’s wisdom more than that of men. It’s only by His grace that we are called and can receive both salvation and wisdom.

He is infinitely wise, and the only wisdom we have comes from Him. When we forget this truth, pride takes over. We need the wisdom He offers and the humility that arises from knowing that need.

Let’s have the humility to ask for and receive His wisdom, to learn to actually trust God.

Review | Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God | Timothy Keller

I recently finished Pastor Timothy Keller’s latest book, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God, and wow. What a phenomenal work. It’s got a permanent place in my library, now, folks, and I highly recommend it to each of you.

As a Christian, and especially as a worship pastor, I believe prayer is of utmost importance, but I’ve always struggled with it. That’s why 2014 was the year of prayer for me. I pray everyday, but I made it a personal goal to find the prayer life God had for me.

I read two books last year that had an impact on my prayer life:

I’d recommend them both to you without hesitation, but Keller’s book is the one that’s left the most lasting impression on me.

Keller provides the reader with a deeper understanding of what prayer is scripturally and historically, as well as what it is not. And he gives practical tools that focus your prayers on God, rather than your own needs and wants.

In the couple of weeks since I finished the book, I have applied Keller’s wisdom, and I’ve seen the difference. In all honesty, I’ve experienced God in my prayer time in ways that I never have before.

There’s no magic here. Keller simply points us to Scripture as our source for the power of prayer.