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God's Blessing

As we read through this week's Bible passages, we see the unique and miraculous ways God blesses His people.

Zechariah and Elizabeth had been faithful to God, and, yet, they had no children -- a sign of favor and blessing from God. How hard that must have been, for anyone, but especially during that era. But our God is a God full of surprises, and His timing isn't always our timing. Sure enough, when this devoted couple thinks they are too old for children, God gives them His blessing.

We also see God pour out His blessing on Mary, the mother of Jesus -- God's son and the Savior of the world. Mary sings, "People will call me blessed because He has done great things."

However, as I reflect on these blessings to both Mary and John the Baptist, I also realize that God's blessing doesn't always mean comfort. Mary gave birth to the Savior of the World in less than ideal conditions. Then she, along with Joseph and baby Jesus, had to run from place to place in order to stay safe. And yet, she was blessed.

John the Baptist lived in the wilderness, isolated and eating locusts! Again, not even close to a five-star hotel. And yet, he was blessed.

If we think God's blessing means a nice house and a comfortable way of living, well, that's just not always true. In fact, it usually isn't true.

Sometimes we find ourselves waiting for a blessing. We wonder why we are going through challenging times, and we grow impatient and maybe even doubtful. But, again, a blessed life isn't always comfortable. It is refreshing to read about Jesus being tempted in the wilderness and knowing that He struggled, too. Like us, Jesus faced challenges and had to wait on God's timing and trust God's plan.

And what got Jesus through those hard times? Remembering God's promises. Recalling and reciting scripture. If we find ourselves waiting for a blessing or an answer from God, we need to do the same.

Sometimes we might feel as though we don't deserve God's blessing. I'm sure the woman from the well at Samaria felt that way. Jesus knew about her scandalous past, and yet He loved her. He offered her the same blessing He offers to us all: a new life and forgiveness if we simply believe in Him.

In John 1:12, we read: "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."

THIS is the greatest blessing, and it is available to each and every one of us. No matter what we long for in this lifetime, there is no greater blessing than a relationship with Jesus. The material blessings we enjoy from day to day are temporary, but the spiritual blessings available to us in Christ last forever.

~ Brie Holtrop

September 23rd Readings
MALACHI 2:10-4:6
JOEL 1:1-3:21

September 24th Readings
MARK 1:1
LUKE 1:1-4
JOHN 1:1-18
MATTHEW 1:1-17
LUKE 3:23-38
LUKE 1:5-38

September 25th Readings
LUKE 1:39-80
MATTHEW 1:18-25
LUKE 2:1-40

September 26th Readings
MATTHEW 2:1-23
LUKE 2:41-52
MARK 1:2-8
MATTHEW 3:1-12
LUKE 3:1-18
MARK 1:9-11
MATTHEW 3:13-17
LUKE 3:21-22

September 27th Readings
MARK 1:12-13
MATTHEW 4:1-11
LUKE 4:1-15
JOHN 1:19-2:25

September 28th Readings
JOHN 3:1-4:45
LUKE 3:19-20

September 29th Readings
MARK 1:14-15
MATTHEW 4:12-17
LUKE 3:23
JOHN 4:46-54
LUKE 4:16-30
MARK 1:16-20
MATTHEW 4:18-22
MARK 1:21-28
LUKE 4:31-37
MARK 1:29-34
MATTHEW 8:14-17
LUKE 4:38-41
MARK 1:35-39
LUKE 4:42-44
MATTHEW 4:23-25