Monday, January 14, 2013

Why We Should Rejoice When God Blesses Others

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:1

Why is it so hard to rejoice when God blesses others?

We think Why didn’t he bless me like that? Why didn’t he give me a nice a house? Why did he answer their prayers and not mine?
Cain winced when God blessed Abel.  Saul ground his teeth when the people shouted, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”  When the Pharisees heard the people praise Jesus, they seethed.  Contrast with John the Baptist.  When crowds thronged to Jesus and John’s followers dwindled, said, “He must increase and I must decrease.”

It should be the most natural thing for us to rejoice when God blesses others because he’s crowned us spiritual billionaires. We’re joint-heirs with Christ. He’s our great treasure and all his riches are ours. God himself dwells in us, guides, protects, cares for us. An eternity of joy in his presence looms before us.

When we don’t rejoice when God blesses others it shows we don’t appreciate all he’s has done for us. 

It shows we treasure material and temporal things more than our great salvation and treasure, Jesus. We’ve taken our eyes off the one who blesses and forgotten how generous he’s been with us. We’re self-centered and aren’t looking to the interests of others.

In heaven we’ll be glad to see God bless others.

We’ll even rejoice when God honors others above us, for there’s no envy in heaven. There’s no sin in heaven, only love.  In heaven we’ll rejoice to see others rewarded, even when they get more rewards than we do, because we’ll be filled with love for Jesus and others.

When we rejoice with those who are blessed it shows we consider God to be gracious and generous.  

In the parable of the laborers in the vineyard the master paid those he hired last the same as soon as those he hired first. When those he hired first grumbled he said, “I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.  Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:14-15).  If those who had been hired first had thought about it, they could have expected the master to be generous to them in the future.

A friend shared a story about two couples in his church who were best friends. One couple had prayed for years to have children but had never been able to. When their friends decided to try to have children they conceived immediately and nine months later had a beautiful baby. My friend said he was blown away when he saw the wife who had not been able to have children rejoice with all her heart with her best friend when she first saw her baby.

Let’s ask Jesus for grace to rejoice when he blesses others. Let’s do now what we’ll do forever in heaven.

Originally posted by Mark Altrogge on November 12, 2012, on The Blazing Center blog.

Monday, January 7, 2013

No Resolutions, Just Prayers

By Becky A.

2012 is gone. Past. Over.

2013 is staring me in the face. All 365 days of it.

The new year usually finds me writing down my list of "resolutions" or "goals." This year, however, I am writing down prayers instead, asking God to do things in my life and heart.

But there's something weird about this year. I am being less specific. My requests are more general. I find myself leaving the specifics to Him - for He alone knows exactly what I need. He knows me better than I know myself. He is the Giver of good gifts. He is my Abba Father. He desires to give me His best.

He WILL give me His best.

And I can never imagine how He will bring those gifts to me.

The last year and a half have been some of the most difficult months of my life, but I can look at the circumstances that made them difficult and see how they were "answers" to some specific prayers in my life. They just didn't come wrapped up like a beautiful gift ready to be opened. Some of them felt like a hand grenade.

But they were still answers to my specific prayers. And I find myself saying "thank you" to a heavenly Father who really does know, hear, care, and answer.

So as I think through what I think I see in my heart that needs to change, I am just going to ask God to do a few things. A few general things. I'll let Him decide what specifically needs to happen.

Lord, would You:

  • Grow my faith. (Mark 9:24)
  • Increase my hope in You. (Ps. 146:5, Psalm 147:11)
  • Make my heart more quickly convicted of sin. (Ps. 34:18, Ps. 51:17, Is. 66:2)
  • Show me how to love You more and love others more selflessly. (Matt. 22:37-40)
  • Remind me often that though I can't always see You working, You are always doing thousands of things in my life and in the lives of those around me. (Piper)
  • Open my eyes to see You in the difficult times by looking into Your Word often. (Ps. 119:18)
  • May I experience and exhibit Your joy each and every day, no matter what I am facing. (Phil. 4:4)
  • Make me forever grateful. (Eph. 5:20, I Thess. 5:18)
  • Make me zealous to do my part in edifying the body of Christ, especially in my home church body. (Eph. 4:12-16)

Lord, bring into my life whomever You wish. May I see each one as a gift from You.

Purify my heart and life. Be gentle but thorough.

I trust You. Help me when I fail to trust You.

Thank You that YOU are the reason I can anticipate a new year with great joy and excitement. May You do a mighty work in, through, and around me.

Help me to honor You.