"Being the hands, feet and voice of Christ in downtown Toledo."

Pastor's Weekly Thoughts- Richly Blessed

Aug 26, 2019

To be richly blessed...  I had some time over the past couple of months to reflect on the multiple ways I am richly blessed.  I was ill for a couple of months with a debilitating cough.  Who would have thought that something as simple as a cough could do such damage!  

I learned blessings aren't necessarily about what we have, they are a gift that celebrates those truths we treasure, those experiences we could never place a price tag on, and those moments when we encounter the Spirit.  For instance, the material items we have: our homes, cars, clothing, and food are all blessings, but those who are economically struggling, may not have the same attitude about materials items.  I am amazed and humbled by the community I serve with how many blessings expressed have more to do with having a relationship with God, then the ways God has blessed someone.

Our community expresses its blessing in this way:  "I am richly blessed because I woke up this morning." or " I am blessed because I have been sober for four days."  These are true statements that we hear at the Marketplace.

So, in my time away, I began to look around at my home, and all the items within it.  I began to reflect upon the portrait of my family, and would look at my husband, and begin to count my blessings, not by what I had, but by how God could be seen within the life I have been blessed with.

We can get swallowed up in the hardships of life, and forget that life itself is a gift.  Our experiences stretch us, strengthen us, and at time tear us a part.  The blessing comes when we recognize God's presence in our life experiences,  and seek Jesus in those times when we are in need of comfort.  Every time we take a breath and breathe in the love and grace of the Holy Spirit, there is blessing!

Paul wrote the the church in Philippi these words (I'm using the Message):  " I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect.  Instead of being squelched, the Message had actually prospered."  Prison could not keep Paul dissuade him from his faith or his mission.  We can learn from his trust and on going faithfulness.  He admits he wasn't perfect, and humbles himself throughout his letters.  Paul grows from those times when he is imprisoned.  His faith was tested, and he struggled.  Seeing blessing in the midst of hardship is an extraordinarily difficult request.  I've learned, the greatest blessing in those moments may just be the peace of mind knowing I'm not alone in my struggles.  That may be the greatest blessing of all.  Jesus knows our hardships and struggles.  He certainly understood sacrifice.  

Daily we should count our blessings, this isn't a new thought but how?  Minute by minute how will we remain aware of the ways God is working throughout our day?  Can we be mindful of the multiple ways the Spirit moves from one moment to the next, and breath in the fresh, beautiful blessing of love that is being offered?  God blessed us with five senses so that we might see, hear, taste, touch, and smell our blessings.  Being thankful is recognizing and responding to all God has generously given.  Maybe we never fully know the insurmountable ways God gives to us.  Giving thanks may not seem like enough, but it is a start!  

Take moments throughout, take time to give thanks, even for the little ways you recognize God's blessing.  In doing so, you may soon discover how extravagantly generous God truly is!  

These are my thoughts.  Consider starting your own blog, or journal  to share yours.  Writing is another from of prayer.  My prayer for those reading this, is that we ceaslessly pray to God.  Praying may be giving thanks for all the blessings we experience throughout our day.  

In Christ's service and love,

Pastor Mary

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