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"Bless The Lord
O My Soul!"
You want God to bless you. But what about you blessing God?
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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One frequently occurring expression in the Old Testament Psalms is Bless The Lord. For example, it occurs seven times in Psalm 103.
On a momentous occasion, after the exiles had returned to Jerusalem, and the wall was complete, the Levites declared to the gathered worshippers: "Stand up and bless the Lord your God forever and ever! Blessed be Your glorious name..." (Nehemiah 9:5).
Repentant adulation and praise to God then followed. You can read this uplifting piece of Scripture in Nehemiah 9:5-38. It was a declaration of the people’s intent and commitment to obey God. They blessed God that day, and He accepted them for it.
What about you? Is blessing a one way street? Do you merely want God to bless you, but forget that He has been waiting for you to bless Him?
A Reminder To You From God
On 8th October, as I was praying in the morning, God spoke to me. (For those who are not familiar with the fact that God will communicate through His Spirit if you make a home for Him within you, please read the MM publication Listening To God.) What He put in my spirit was a series of exhortations to pass on to others.
This is the outline of what He said:
Let us be:
Do you realise that you can either please God or displease Him?
A lot of Christians just don’t think about it. They carry on in their lives, so engrossed in the daily cares that they don’t care about the fact that God cares.
0He cares for you! Greatly! (1 Pet 5:7; Jn 3:16.) God has so much love for people, and such a yearning for them – for righteousness, for them to be holy – that most people simply have little concept of it!
Because He cares so much, you can hurt His feelings. You can grieve Him (Ps 95:10; Eph 4:30; Is 63:9-10). OR you can please Him. That’s your choice and decision – every day.
1) For those who are unaware of this, just read Hebrews 11:6, where there is a statement about one of the ways you can either displease Him or please Him. If you want union with God, or if you need anything from God (and who doesn’t?!), faith is the only avenue to receive. Lack of faith is one way to grieve Him.
If you read The Missing Dimension in Christian Living you will see there why many grieve Him. Humility is the foundation for your faith in Him to grow.
So, as the God-given list opposite reminds us, faith is the starting point for your contact with Him that will please Him immensely when you act upon it.
Read Faith: Raising Our Level Of Expectation and Keys To Answered Prayer in Why Pray? and challenge yourself to press the boundary of your faith. As you go deeper with Him, He will take you higher.
2) What is your service like? Do you live to love, or do you live for yourself?
We may not need reminding that love (true care for others) is the centrepiece of God’s nature, but we may need reminding of our failure to be that way (Rom 13:8-10; 1 Tim 1:5; 3 Jn 1-6).
3) What about your fervency in spirit?
Paul reminded Timothy to stir up the gift that God had given him (2 Tim 1:6). Do you live for yourself or "for Him who died for you and rose again?" (2 Cor 5:15.) Have you gone to sleep and let your giftings become of little worth? Have you left your First Love (Rev 2:4) or drifted into a complacent malaise? (Rev 3:15.) Do you please, or grieve, Him with your spirit?
4) What about your submission? Is there any area of your life that you still refuse to submit to Him? Do you want to hold onto something that He wants you to let go of? What areas of personal pride or ambition still hold you?
When you are willing to give up everything, if need be, to love Him, He will hold you.
For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’ (Is 41:13).
What more could you want than that?
5) How single-minded are you?
The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye [outlook] is good [clear or healthy], your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad [evil or unhealthy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt 6:22, 23).
Jesus used the metaphor of darkness above to illustrate deception. It is something that you don’t see, of course. You can’t see in the dark. Nor can many believers see the evil in their own hearts that compromises their loyalty to God, nor the deception that always follows in its wake.
The Church in its broadest context is riddled with error, misunderstanding, and false concepts because of this failing of the human heart to want to serve God in purity and truth.
No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Matt 6:24).
Mammon includes physical things, or anything in which you put your trust. Too many trust in a substitute rather than the real thing. They are not single-minded. They care about themselves more than God.
When the Romanian prophet Dumitru Duduman was moved to smuggle Bibles into Russia during the dark days of Communist repression, he didn’t know how to do it. Nothing was working out. His father asked him, "Have you fasted and asked God to show you?"
Dumitru fasted and prayed, and God answered. An angel came to him and told him what to do, where to go, and who to meet at the railway. He went as he was shown, and it was all exactly as the angel said. He was led to the one man whom God had prepared to make this clandestine operation succeed. From that day over the next 15 years, Dumitru smuggled 300,000 Bibles into Russia.
Others could not do it because they were not prepared to pay the price. If caught, a Bible smuggler faced 25 years in a Communist prison (few Christians came out alive!) and the confiscation of all one’s property. To Dumitru, the purpose of God meant more to him than his life. So it must be with you.
6) What about prayer? How much does it mean to you? Does it mean the difference between life and death? Because that’s what it is!
If you don’t pray enough, you will wither and die. Without prayer you have no lifeline to God.
Whatever God births in His spiritual plan is birthed with prayer. He raises up intercessors to pray. God always involves people in what He is doing.
Is He involving you? That’s up to you. Most don’t want it; they are too self-centred.
0My wife is an intercessor. She intercedes in the spirit. Today, as she was cleaning the house, the Spirit came upon her with a burden to pray. She gets a very heavy head, like a headache, when there are battles to be fought in the heavenlies in which she is caught up. As she concentrates her mind and links up to the Spirit the battle ensues. She feels demons leave the people whom she is praying for, and the pressure eases.
God gives various people gifts of tongues. These are invaluable tools in spiritual warfare. But there are two ways you can use such spiritual gifts.
One is to use them for yourself only. The other is to use them for the common good.
I know of people who have tongues, but who haven’t realised yet that God gave them such a gift for others’ benefit as well as their own.
Many people are weak and need help. God helps them by giving them tongues as a gift. (It is often the bottom rung on the ladder of spiritual gifts.) And He also gives them such a gift so they can learn to be more caring and spiritual – to pray for other people. They should link up to the Spirit by using the gift, and let the Spirit harness them as intercessors for the common good.
But I know that many don’t harness the gift as they should. They would rather turn the telly on or seek something else selfishly than spend half an hour or an hour in intercession in tongues for others. But until they lay down their lives, the benefit of the gift God has given will not help them as much as it ought.
Whether you have tongues or not (my wife and I don’t pray in tongues; we have other giftings), pray, pray, and pray, because there is no other way to be in harmony with God.
7) "The grand essentials to happiness in this life are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." It’s true. Without hope you have no hope. If you let hope die, you die.
Jesus endured the cross for the hope that was set before Him (Heb 12:2). Christians will be sifted in the days ahead by how much they will endure in love and hope (Matt 24:13). Without hope you won’t be able to do it. God gives you that hope as you trust in Him.
...we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations... (Rom 5:1-3).
With hope, you can persevere, endure, and even glory in suffering and troubles! You need to hang in there, never giving up doing right, by hoping in Him!
8) You are called out of this world to hate the evil but to love the evildoer who turns from wickedness. So:
...you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save... pulling them out of the fire (Jude 20-23).
In all these 8 ways, you can bless your Father!
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Saviour, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24,25.) Malcolm B Heap, Nov 2005
This article was first published in MM Newsletter 33, Dec 2005
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