Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)

Australia Ministry Trip (Sept 26-November 10, 2017)
From September 26 to November 10, 2017, my husband, daughter and I will be on a ministry trip in Australia and New Zealand. The places we will be visiting are shown on the map above - along with the dates in which we'll be in these places (and what we'll be doing while there). Please keep this ministry trip and all of us in your prayers! Blogs will appear daily throughout this time, as I have written them and scheduled them in advance. I welcome your comments - and enjoy them! Just know I will not have Internet access for much of this time. So, I will look forward to reading your responses upon my return. Thank you for your understanding! And please keep reading to complete the "Reading the Bible in a Year" challenge and blessing! I am very grateful to Claire for her faithful blog comments (please everyone - join her in sharing each day as a discussion blesses everyone so much more!) And I am thankful that Claire has graciously agreed to add a bit more into her daily comments during my time of absence. Please direct special comments or questions which require immediate responses to her (on this blog). Blessings as you continue your journey through God's Word this year!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Daily Bible Reading - January 20, 2017

Today's Reading:

Luke 15

Genesis 27:1-45

Psalm 20

Listen to the Bible

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

There is a deep principle of Truth buried in the Bible story of Isaac's blessing, found in Genesis 27. It is a gem of Truth which is so important - life-changing even - and yet it lays dormant, largely unseen by the Christian world today. It is the power of the spoken blessing.

Let's cut through to the chase of the story. Yes, Jacob deceived his father. He pretended to be Esau in order to trick Isaac into giving him the spoken blessing. God had a lot of work to do in Jacob (which means "supplanter"). But today, I'd like to bypass all that and direct our focus on the power of the spoken blessing.

Isaac blessed Jacob with these words:

Genesis 27:28-29 - "Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee." 

There are a couple of results which truly merit our notice in this blessing:

1) The godly blessing came true in Jacob's life.
2) The blessing, once given, was irrevocable - even by the Isaac, who gave it. We know this because when Isaac learned that he had been tricked into blessing Jacob instead of Esau, he said:

Genesis 27:33 "...Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? Yea, and he shall be blessed." 


Among the Biblical patriarchs we find that speaking a blessing over their sons was a common practice. Just as Isaac blessed Jacob before his death, so Jacob blessed his sons. Moses blessed the congregation of the Children of Israel, prior to his death... and so on...

What is perhaps so remarkable about the spoken blessing is that God wants us to do this for one another. In fact, He has promised to bless the recipient of the spoken blessing according to the words verbalized in the blessing! This is why spoken blessings have so much power! Notice what God says in Numbers. This portion of the Scripture is known as The Priestly Blessing:

Numbers 6:22-27 "And the Lord (Yahweh) spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The Lord (Yahweh) bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord (Yahweh) make His Face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord (YAHWEH) lift up His Countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put My Name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them."

Conversely, spoken curses also have great power. Notice in the Genesis 27 account that Jacob was fearful about tricking his father. He was afraid that if Isaac figured out that he was being deceived, Isaac might speak a curse upon Jacob, instead of a blessing.

Genesis 27:12 "My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing."

Our spoken words have tremendous power! More than I think we realize. There’s an old adage that goes like this: Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
This expression couldn't be more wrong! There is no doubt that sticks and stones can do some serious damage but words can be just as harmful. How powerful are our words? Consider Proverbs:

Proverbs 18:21  "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Bill Gothard has written an excellent book on this subject titled, The Power of Spoken Blessings. The following is excerpted from this book:


After fourteen years, their marriage had hit a flat spot.
It wasn’t as though they’d been arguing or fighting or
ignoring one another. They were still a deeply devoted
couple. And yet...after fourteen years, they had expected
and hoped for something more. Where was that higher,
deeper level of spiritual bonding between them? It simply
wasn’t there, and both of them knew it.
So they tried something new.
They began to bless each other—actually speaking
aloud words of blessing to one another—at the beginning
of each day.
That was more than a quarter-century ago. Today, Bill
and Dorothy Jean will tell you that by blessing each other
daily, they’ve developed an extraordinary intimacy of heart,
soul, and mind. Their morning discussions are rich and
inspiring, and God’s power becomes evident to them
throughout each day, based on the blessings they gave and
received at sunrise.
Offering this kind of spoken blessing to someone is
something many of us probably can’t quite picture ourselves
doing. The situation (as we imagine it) would be awkward
at best. Besides, if we decided to try, would we even know
how? Just the thought of coming up with the right words is
enough of a challenge to hold us back.
But what are the consequences of “holding back”? What
might we be missing? What if we could tap into a heavenly
reservoir of power, encouragement, and lasting joy—for our-
selves, our loved ones, and even for our adversaries?
In fact, we can.
At the close of a recent ministry seminar, a teenager came
up and asked to speak with me. Under court supervision,
she’d had several brushes with the law. I counseled and
prayed with her.
Later she wrote me this note: 
“You helped me see my need to give God my will,
but then you also prayed, and in your prayer you
blessed me. That was the first time I had ever been
blessed. That blessing has exhorted me to live up to
what you said. My life has taken a drastic 180-
degree turn! I am amazed by what God actually said
in His Word. I have never had understanding like I
have now when it comes to reading His Word.”
She concluded: “The blessing you gave me started all
this, and I don’t know how to thank you!”
Our ministry offices receive letter after letter with sto-
ries just like this one. Lives, marriages, and whole families
are experiencing deepening relationships and spiritual
encouragement as we continue to teach the importance of
spoken blessings. On an even deeper level, we’ve been
receiving accounts of how spoken blessings have overturned
the tormenting memories and oppression of verbal abuse
from the past.

Every time Alicia thought about her grandfather, a violent
and painful scene flashed through her mind. Ten years old,
she had been trying to comfort her mother, who had been
severely burned in a house fire. Her grandfather came into
the room and gave Alicia a glare filled with hate and disgust.
He walked over to her, jerked her up from the bed, and
threw her across the room onto a couch.


Still in shock from this assault, Alicia then felt the lash
of his bitter words: “You’ll never be good for anything but
to be a—” They were words a ten-year-old mind couldn’t
comprehend, but there was no mistaking the hatred and
contempt.
Why would a grandfather spew out such deadly venom
toward his ten-year-old granddaughter? Because to him, she
represented the shame his daughter had brought upon the
family by giving birth out of wedlock. On top of that,
Alicia’s father was from another ethnic group—a fact that
was obvious from the young girl’s physical features.
Throughout her childhood and teenage years, Alicia
continued to bear the curses of shame from her mother’s
immorality. Each time she was taunted or ridiculed, her
grandfather’s painful words blared again in her memory.
Tortured with fears of further rejection, anxieties about her
future began to consume every waking thought. When she
finally married, Alicia brought her emotional turmoil into
this new relationship, often finding herself angry and frus-
trated with her husband and children.
Then one day she learned a way to resolve the pain and
rejection of those many past years. It was so simple that she
marveled she hadn’t learned about it sooner. It amazed her
husband, too. He noticed that her tone of voice became
more upbeat, and she was no longer harsh with the children.
What did Alicia do? She gave a verbal blessing to that
grandfather who had wounded her so deeply and to the
others who had “cursed” her over the years. And just that
quickly, the awful pain faded from her heart.
A few days later, Alicia had the opportunity to experi-
ence something similar with someone else—this time her
husband’s father. She and her husband were talking on the
phone with him, seeking counsel over a situation in their
lives. In the course of the conversation, he responded to
their need with unkind words and names, which devastated
her. Alicia’s hands trembled as she hung up the phone. All
the old feelings of hatred and rejection began to well up in
her heart again.
Then she remembered her newfound secret. She lifted
her hand and gave her father-in-law a spoken blessing.
Immediately her trembling stopped, and peace crept back
into her troubled heart.

Besides the positive return for those who speak a blessing,
many also testify of remarkable effects in the lives of those
who receive such words.
A single mother had run out of answers on how to deal
with her rebellious teenage son. He tested her patience
beyond its limits and, in the process, stirred up negative
attitudes in the rest of her children.
She saw no end to the confusion and tension. She tried
to reason with him and asked others to counsel him. She
sent him to camps and conferences. But nothing worked.
When she was reminded afresh of the critical need chil-
dren have to receive praise, she obtained a book that identi-
fies and explains several basic character qualities. Searching
through its pages, she couldn’t find a single quality that she
could honestly say was evident in her son’s life. What she did
see in the book, however, were many qualities that she
believed God wanted to develop within him.
Then she learned about the power of spoken blessings.
One day when her children were battling one another
again, she interrupted them and said to her combative son,
“I want to give you a blessing.” He immediately reacted,
stating, “I don’t want you to bless me.” That did not stop
her. She recalled some of the qualities that she believed God
wanted to cultivate in his life, then said these words in a
spoken blessing: 
“O Father, would You bless my son with wis-
dom and understanding, and with kindness and compassion?
Would You cause him to know Your love and Your peace and
Your joy, in the name of Jesus?”
There was no mockery or sarcastic comeback. The son
only mumbled a response.
At appropriate times, she continued to bless him—and
each of her other children as well. Within a few weeks, her
son’s entire attitude changed—as did the atmosphere in her
home.
10
These remarkable changes in attitude and peace of
mind simply fulfilled the words of the verbal blessing...

So we see that the power of our spoken blessings flows first of all from the abundance of our Creator’s own Blessedness – and from His wise and loving intention to bless His children with whatever is truly our highest good. When we verbalize a blessing upon others, we have the privilege of taking part in channeling God’s Goodness to them and in directing them into the our Father's Will.
 
When we center our lives on Christ and allow His Spirit to control us, we find ourselves wanting to do all we can for those we love most – to give them the highest and best gifts we can. And nothing is higher and better than God’s blessing. What amazing Grace it is that God allows us to be His instruments for directing His Blessing into their lives!


~ Excerpted from The Power of Spoken Blessings by Bill Gothard

In closing today, I would like to bless you, dear Reader. So, I conclude with speaking this blessing over you and over your life (adapted from the Priestly Blessing):

The Lord (Yahweh) bless you, and keep you: The Lord (Yahweh) make His Face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: The Lord (YAHWEH) lift up His Countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Let’s use our words today to bless others!

 

Be sure to add a COMMENT on this blog, sharing with us anything you found meaningful in your reading of today's Scripture passages. We will all love to hear from you (please keep the Comment relevant to today's reading - Thx!)