“What? For me? I couldn’t…I mean, you don’t have to do this. Really. (mouth opened in shock) Wow. Thank you so much.”
Early in the first year of my responsibilities as Senior Pastor of Powell Valley it was no secret that I wasn’t making a lot of money, especially with the size of our family (4-children). A congregant, a board member, well aware of our financial situation shook my hand after a Sunday service with a few $20 bills in hand. As the firm handshake, equipped with with provision, gripped my heart, my heart nor my mind couldn’t quite grasp one question as I experienced this unexpected blessing. The question, “why?”
Why is he blessing me? Why is he blessing my family? Why now? Why here? Why is God doing this now? I wasn’t complaining. I was humbly wondering why God would bless me this way. It was unexpected. I had just finished preaching a message and my mind was focused on connecting with people over coffee and then, right out of the blue, bam! A blessing.
Why does God do that? Why does He bless us? Now I could write for months on God’s timing, but I’m not going to do that. Let’s just settle the timing issue in one sentence so we can move on with the rest of this blog. Here goes: God’s timing is always perfect.
Period. That being said, I know that I’m not alone in that sometimes I feel greatly blessed and at other times I don’t feel very blessed at all. Are you with me on that? I knew I felt that way, but something inside of me told me that just wasn’t right. It couldn’t be. I mean, could it be that as a fully devoted follower of Jesus that I am not always and constantly blessed? Certainly not. So am I or aren’t I? And so the search ensued. As I studied the Scriptures, I discovered that circumstances were never completely full of happiness and contentment. I also discovered that God was always with people in their trials and their successes. God is always there-He never leaves us. That’s comforting. But what about blessings. If He’s always there, shouldn’t I always experience His blessings? If so, why don’t I?
Great questions if I do say so myself. 🙂 Sometimes blessings come and go. For example, God could unexpectedly provide for you financially this month, but the same blessing is not there next month. God could provide healing for your medical condition today, but you could eventually get sick again and not be healed. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11), but Lazarus did die again. These blessings are wonderful and amazing, but they aren’t permanently experienced. So how do you experience God’s blessings constantly? These temporary blessings are not the source for that kind of experience, but God has gifted His followers with permanent blessings.
Permanent blessings? You mean there are permanent blessings that never go away? Yes. God has given us permanent blessings that not only permanent here on earth, but are eternal. You only need to look at these three blessings to be reminded that you are indeed blessed all the time. And as my former Campus Pastor, Scott, at Lifechurch.tv always said, God is good-all the time, and all the time, God is good. So what are these three eternal blessings you can experience every moment of every day?
1. The Forgiveness: The forgiveness of your sins was paid in full on the cross by Jesus. He paid the penalty for all you’ve done wrong in the past, what you’re doing wrong today and what you’ll do wrong in the future-the debt is paid and you are free. One day, at the end of all time, when all will arrive at the Great White Throne of Judgment (sounds scary doesn’t it?), you won’t face the judgement you actually deserve. Why? Because Jesus paid your debt for your sins. What Jesus did on that cross is permanent and can not be erased by you, a politician, a judge or any sin. There is no power greater than the power that permanently paid for your sin on that cross-the power of God’s love for you. You are forgiven for eternity!
In Acts 2:38, Peter is giving a sermon and tells the people that after they repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins, God will bless them with a second permanent blessing, the Holy Spirit.
2. The Seal:The Holy Spirit is a gift. In other words, you didn’t purchase Him, pay for Him or deserve His presence in your life. He’s a gift, and a powerful One at that. In 2 Corinthians 1:22 Paul says that it is God who establishes you with Christ, and has anointed you and who has also put His seal on you and given you His Spirit in your heart as a guarantee. Your soul, when you surrendered your life to Jesus, was sealed permanent and you were guaranteed by God to live eternally with Him in paradise. No man, no demon, no force can remove that seal nor void that guarantee. And God would not void His own guarantee because revoking it would mean He refused to keep His Word. You are sealed for eternity!
3. The Inheritance: The third permanent blessing is a blessing that is not yet here, but is to come. This blessing gives us hope. It’s the blessing of our inheritance. As sure of a blessing as the first two are, so this blessing is. When your life is over on earth, it’s just beginning in heaven. When you’re done here on earth, you’re just beginning in heaven. And all you’ve done for God on earth will be rewarded in heaven. You’ll not only be ushered into the eternal Kingdom of God, but you receive rewards. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” You mean man’s imagination can not even fathom what God has in store for you? That’s right. You are an heir in eternity!
Because you are forgiven, you can experience freedom.
Because you are sealed, you can experience assurance.
Because you are an heir, you can experience hope.
Because you are permanently forgiven, because you are permanently sealed, you are permanently an heir to God’s Kingdom and life eternal. Now that is a set of blessings I can experience and enjoy every single day of my life. And so can you.