Throwing The Blessing Out With The Bath Water

A few years back a big ol’ wave of trendy teaching swept through Christian culture.

Books and billions were made from the “Name It,  Claim It!” Era.

The Prosperity Gospel took us all by storm and I will be the first to admit I got my Uggs all tangled in it s net.  The wave went big about the time I really started to grow as a Christian.  I was a teaching sponge and honestly, I liked what this movement offered. By God’s amazing grace, I am a pretty positive person and this teaching fit quite nicely with my positive personality.

Fewer people’s faces are more enthusiastic than those who represent this teaching. And fewer smiles as white as the ones reflected on these Top Selling Books.

But as we all know, this teaching was not and is not completely sound or theologically in alignment with God’s Word.  Becoming a Believer doesn’t make life easier.  Christians aren’t given free passes to pass GO, permission to collect $200 or guaranteed the front parking spot of Costco.  Jesus is not our Genie in a bottle or a magic weight loss pill.

In true New Year’s fashion, let’s compare the Christian walk to weight loss.  Signing up at Weight Watchers doesn’t result in skinny.  There is work to do.  Principles to learn.  It takes discipline to exercise.  And its an exercise to be disciplined. Sweat might pour. Tears will shed and heavy baggage must be dropped.

Jesus came to make a way.  And show us the way. And be the Way. Not give us our way. He equips us and gives us everything we need for life and godliness.  That doesn’t always translate to comfort or ease.

{Well.  That turned into a soap box.}

But as I look ahead to 2013, I prayerfully consider my life with sober judgement.  I examine myself and ask God, “What needs to change?” Call me weird, but I actually enjoy looking back on my shortcomings. They excite the fire out of me, actually, because it is in my weakness that God’s power can shine.

At the beginning of a New Year, I ask for words.  I pray for words.  Words that speak about the year to come.  I listen and when God has given me these one-word-wonders, I research Scripture that supports what He has given me.  Words concerning marriage.  My children. My blog. My ministry. My health. Our money. Over our lives, in general.

I ask God for words.

I love words.

Image 12

Last year He impressed one word so clearly on my heart that I studied and prayed everything in Scripture I could possibly find on this seven letter bundle.  And this word had little business in my life.  It was a bit out of left field.  It was nothing we were seeking.  But God fulfilled this Word, as He fulfills all of His Words, to the fullest.  Immeasurably so.

So back to the smiley people on the front of those books.

Once that rush of teaching swept through, I feel Christians got scared.  I did.  I saw a move away from praying for God’s blessing for fear of being confused with bad teaching.  Is it possible that we have thrown the blessing out with the bath water?  Do we pray for God’s blessing like the Bible encourages us to do?  Or are we afraid of stereotypes?

Well, guess what?  As I flip through pages of scripture and wear my knees thin asking for God to speak His 2013 words to me, He takes me to four passages.  And they have a central theme:

BLESSING

God’s people fervently prayed for His blessing.  And they weren’t prosperity people. They were smart people.

They wanted blessing and they knew who to ask. They sought protection and they knew where to hide.  They needed food and they knew where to get it.

From above. Every good and perfect gift comes from there.

Moses speaks a blessing over Aaron in Numbers 6

May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

David prays…

“Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.” Psalm 119:135

And my favorite.  Psalm 144:12-15

May our sons in their youth be like full-grown plants; Our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of a palace; may our granaries be full, providing all kinds of produce; may our sheep bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our fields; may our cattle be heavy with young, suffering no mishap or failure in bearing; may there be no cry of distress in our streets! Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!  Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord! 

I know hardship awaits me in 2013.  I will fail the Lord.  Today, I am sure, if I haven’t already.  People might hurt me.  Money may be tight. My kids will disobey.  Sickness has and will continue to knock our door down, but I am asking the Lord for His BLESSING.  Not because I want my way, but because I WANT MORE OF HIM.

More than anything, I want the Holy Spirit to lavish Himself on us.  And for His face to shine upon our children. Our marriage. Our ministry. Our home.  Bless our granaries, LORD!  And all of our sheep!  OK, I don’t have sheep.

I entreat your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. Psalm 119:58

In my journal I have a list of requests for the month of January.  And I begin each request with these words from King David…

“Lord, I entreat your favor with all of my heart for….”

Where do you need God’s favor today?

Don’t worry.  You aren’t out of line or seeking your own way.  God wants to lavish you with blessing.

According to His promises, where do you need His favor today?

Let us not throw out the blessing with the bath water.   Go ahead.  Ask him to bless your daughters and sons.  Your produce and streets.  Pray for your cattle, too.

Don’t forget the cattle.

Respond and Reflect:

Take a few minutes and write down David’s prayer in Psalm 119.  “I entreat your favor with all of my heart…”  What do you entreat the Lord for this morning?

Do you see yourself as one who shys away from praying for the Lord’s blessing?  If so, why?

Power Verse:

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

Photo by the gifted Jen Dalton

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5 thoughts on “Throwing The Blessing Out With The Bath Water

  1. Great Becky!! I just love you! Happy New Year friend! And Amen! I love, “Ok, I don’t have sheep.” : ) I am praying blessings over our black and white cows (ya know what I mean!) BTW, Chris got through step 1!!! I think we have 3-4 more steps to go!

  2. Thank you so much. This post is encouraging. I want to walk in the path of the Lord, so that His blessings will rain down. I want them not only for myself but also for those around me…so that they will see and taste the goodness – the extravagant love – of God!

    “God be merciful to us and bless us…that your way may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations…God, our own God, shall bless us…And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.” Psalm 67:1,2, 6, 7

    “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…” James 1:17

    May 2012 be a year blessed with Christ’s love, presence, peace and joy as you gaze on Him and seek after Him!

  3. Love this!! I want this more than anything too:

    “I want the Holy Spirit to lavish Himself on us.  And for His face to shine upon our children. Our marriage. Our ministry. Our home.  Bless our granaries, LORD!  And all of our sheep!  OK, I don’t have sheep.”

    And I don’t have sheep either…

    Love!

I means so much to hear from you!

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