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We are priests: 1 Pet. 2:5 You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 9. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
Check out the OT for what priests are to do –
The charge to priests: 2 Chron. 29:11 My sons, be not now negligent: for the LORD has chosen you to stand before him, to serve him, and that you should minister unto him, and burn incense. The priests first ministered to God, then to those around them. This is a great pattern for us to follow.
Bless God through praise and worship and we are blessed in return: Ps 147:1 Praise the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
We are called to bless others: 1 Pet 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing. Did you realize this was in the Bible - we are actually called to bless others!
God is our ultimate example! Gal. 3.10-14 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Eph. 1.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, God has every right in the world to curse us due to our breaking His Law and Word. Yet He does not. He chose, instead, to lay the curse on Jesus on the cross so He could bless us. How much more should we?!?!
What is the definition? To speak a salute, praise, kneel down, congratulate, make happy, fare well, prosper, consecration, favor, good. The thesaurus adds sanctify, approve, exult.
How are we to do it?: Num. 6:23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24. The LORD bless you, and keep you: 25. The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: 26. The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 27. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.
It is amazing how much the Bible talks about this little discussed topic! It is mentioned 526 times in the word, God blessing man, man blessing God and man blessing man. Look at some of the examples of blessing…
God blessed Adam and Eve, Gen. 1.22, 28 - Again, God is our example.
He blessed the Sabbath, Gen. 2.3
God blessed Noah, Gen. 9.1 and in verse 23, Noah offers the first blessing back to God.
God blesses Abram 5 times, Gen. 12.1-3, 14.18 (via Melchizedek, chapter 15, both Abraham and Sarah chapter 17, 22.18
The Angel of the Lord (Jesus) blessed Hagar & Ishmael, Gen. 16.11
Gen. 24.60 Rebekah's family blessed her
Gen. 26.2-4, and again in verse 24 God blessed Isaac
Isaac blessed Jacob, Gen. 27.27-29 and again in 28.3-4 (This incident shows how powerful a blessing is.)
God blessed Jacob in Gen. 28.14 and 35.9
Gen. 31.55 Laban blessed his daughters
Jacob blessed Pharaoh, Gen. 47.7, 10
Jacob blessed Joseph's sons Ephraim and Manasseh, Gen 48.15-16
Gen. 49, Jacob blesses all of his sons
Moses blessed the workers on the Tabernacle, Ex. 39.23
Moses and Aaron blessed the people and the glory of the Lord appeared, Lev. 9.22-23
Blessing and cursing are so potent that Balak was willing to pay Balaam a healthy sum (whatever he wanted!) to bless Moab and Midian and curse Israel, but God stopped him each time! Num. 22-25
Moses blessed all the tribes of Israel, Dt..33
Joshua blessed Caleb, Jos. 14.13
Joshua blessed the tribe of Rueben and Manasseh, Jos. 22
Ruth 3.10 Boaz blessed Ruth
David blessed Abigail, 1 Sam. 25.32-33
And on and on to the New Testament…
Mt. 16.17 Jesus blessed Simon with a new name, Peter
Jesus laid hands on and blessed the little children, Mk. 10.14.16
Jesus taught His disciples to do bless with peace, Lk. 10.5-6 (peace, shalom, means unity, rest, quietness; tranquility, harmony, concord, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous, salvation, heaven)
Paul opened every letter he wrote and closed many with a blessing. The other apostles did likewise.
Blessing is so important, that God lists it twice in Heb. 11 as acts of faith 11.20-21
Proverbs is full of wisdom about our mouths. 6.2 You are snared by the words of your mouth; you are taken by the words of your mouth. 10.20-21 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of wisdom. 11.9, 11The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. 12.6, 18 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” but the mouth of the upright will deliver them. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. 15.4, 23, 28 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is! The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. 16.24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 16.28 A perverse man sows strife and a whisperer separates the best of friends.18.21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." 26.18-19, 22 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, “I was only joking!” The words of a talebearer (to roll to pieces; to murmur, whisper, slander, backbiter) are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body. What we say will either kill or impart life. Let's choose to be blessers! Our words can either be Weapons of Mass Destruction or Do the Masters Work. Look at the bolded words above. What would others say of our words when we weren't listening?!?!
5.21-26 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not
murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ But I say to
you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger
of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of
the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your
brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and
go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your
gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him,
lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the
officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no
means get out of there till you have paid the last penny. Our words are like a
gun or knife. They can kill or save life. What's your choice?
Mt. 12.35-37 A good man out of the good treasure £of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
This is probably one of the most convicting passages in scripture for me. How about you? It is so against our nature… Lk. 6.27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Bottom line: be a blesser, in heart, word, and deed.
Acts 20:35 I have shown you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Eph. 4.29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who he
Phil. 2.14-15 Do all things without complaining (grudging, murmuring, muttering, a secret debate, a secret displeasure not openly avowed) and disputing (reasoning, imagination, doubting, the thinking of a man deliberating with himself, a thought, inward reasoning, a deliberating, questioning about what is true, hesitation, arguing), 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
Phil. 4.8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. If we're only to think on these things, then we can only say and do these things, because we can't say and do what we aren't thinking!
Jam. 3.8-12 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
An email I received illustrates this principle of blessing perfectly:
The Blessing (italics, mine)
Once there was a young boy who lived with his father in a cottage deep in the forest. His father worked him hard from sunrise to sunset and still almost every evening he would hear his father say the same thing: "Poor me! Poor me! I will die a sad old man because you are a fool and will never amount to anything."
But the boy was not a fool, in fact, he showed a lot of wisdom for his age, and he had a generous heart besides. One day, after helping an old widow stack some wood, he was about to go home when she stopped him and placing her hand on his head spoke these words: "You are a reflection of the face of God. The world is brighter for the joy you have given me this day. I bless you my child!"
The boy stepped back, amazed: "What was that?"
"Why, it was a blessing my child! Haven't you ever received a blessing before?"
Back at home he asked his father: "Papa? Why do you curse me? Why do you not bless me?"
"What a ridiculous question! Because it is against my nature to bless and I will not do what feels so unnatural to me. What a ridiculous question. Poor me! Poor me! I will die a sad old man because you are a fool and will never amount to anything." (He chose to curse instead of bless!)
"Oh." said the boy, and he felt sorry for his father, but that night he decided that no matter how uncomfortable it felt, he would become the kind of person who blessed others. And so he did. (In spite of circumstances, pain or discomfort, the boy chose to bless.)
The boy grew to be a man, left the forest and built a home for himself out in the meadowlands. In time had a family of his own. He was still haunted by the curses of his father, and it would make him sad for days at a time, but he had decided to bless, so even though he felt sad, almost every evening, he would call one of his children to himself, lay his hand upon their head and speak these words: "You are a reflection of the face of God. The world is brighter for the joy you give me this day. I bless you my child."
One night he had a dream in which he saw his father and heard him saying over and over: "Poor me! Poor me! I will die a sad old man because you are a fool and will never amount to anything."
And it upset him so much he woke up, got out of bed, and went out into the backyard. He stood there by the trees in the moonlight and was so angry his hands became fists as he spoke out loud to the wind: "What's the point in being someone who blesses? I'm still so haunted by these curses of my father! Well, maybe I should curse as well!"
And he kicked the ground as hard as he could which shook loose a stone. He picked it up to throw and just then the wind became very strong and he thought he heard a voice: "Do not discard your father's heart!"
He looked at the trees and then at the rock in his hands. The voice called again: "Do not discard your father's heart!"
"Who are you?"
"I am the Father of every son and daughter and I tell you, the stone you hold in your hand is like the condition of your father's heart!"
He looked at the rock. He could tell it was badly misshapen, that it had broken off from a larger rock and had many cracks and flaws within.
And then again the voice: "You can try to change this rock. You can press it until your fingers bleed, but you will not succeed in changing the rock! Neither will you succeed in changing the heart of your father by force or manipulation. Hold your father's heart gently within your own and pray for him. You have no idea what forces shaped this rock. Neither do you know the forces that shaped the heart of your father. Hold your father's heart gently within your own and pray for him." (We can't know all that makes a person do what they do, but we can pray and bless them!)
"When did his heart become like this?"
"When he chose to curse instead of bless. But do not become proud...Your heart would look just like this, if I had not blessed you as a child."
"I only remember the old woman."
"The voice was hers, but the words were mine." (What a powerful statement! It can be said of us as well!)
"Then why didn't you bless my father when he was a child?"
"I bless every one of my children. But I never force them to bless in return. In eternity you will have no questions. For now, it is enough that you decide to bless and not curse. Hold your father's heart gently within your own, and pray for him"
"Father of every son and daughter, bless my father."
And as soon as he spoke these words, the wind died down and everything became peaceful in the countryside and in the heart of the young man. He went back inside, put the rock in a safe place, laid down and went right to sleep. He had the best night sleep he'd had for a long time. And from then on whenever he recalled one of the curses of his father, he genuinely prayed a blessing on his father, and in time began to experience true healing and a strong peace within.
One evening there was a knock on the front door and as he had raised his children to do, they welcomed in a blind beggar, sat him down at the kitchen table, and gave him some food to eat. The young man walked in and immediately recognized it was his own father. But he didn't reveal his own identity. He listened to the old man speak. And the old man talked about how his son had abandoned him, how he had lost his eyesight, and how he'd been forced to beg in a world where life was hard. Just then his son spoke up: "Grandfather! You're welcome to stay here with us!"
"But I have no money to pay you."
"Oh, we don't need any money; all we ask is that as long as you stay with us, you speak only blessings. -- What's the matter?"
"It...it's against my nature to bless!"
"Grandfather, I can tell by your hands that you have worked your whole life. So, begging must be against your nature as well, but see, it has brought you here to us!" (The choice is always ours.)
The old man couldn't argue this point, so he agreed to stay, but it was weeks before he spoke a word - it was so against his nature to bless. When he finally did, you could hardly hear him: "What's that Grandfather?"
"I said, bless you for taking an old man in from the cold. I wish my son had turned out like you, but he was a fool and..."
"Ah! Grandfather, only blessings!"
"Well, I wish my son had turned out like you! Bless you!"
Wasn't bad for a first blessing! And a week later he spoke another one and it was a little smoother. And the next day he spoke two - and they were a lot smoother. Then he began to bless every day -- many times in a day. He really got into it! You could say that blessing became... second nature to him.
And the more he blessed, the more he smiled. And the more he smiled the more his face softened. And the more his face softened, the more his heart softened and the more his heart softened, the more joy he began to experience; a different kind of joy than he had known before.
They lived happily for years until one winter the old man fell ill and was near death. As his breathing grew labored, his son sat on the bedside and asked: "Grandfather, is there anything I can get for you?"
"No one can bring me what I most need at this hour."
"Please Grandfather, anything! What would you like?"
"I should like to see my own son once more to give him my blessing. As he was growing I gave only curses. I told him it was against my nature to bless. And, as you can see, I have learned to bless too late..."
Then his son leaned closer and whispered: "Papa! Papa it's me, your own son... I am here! It is not too late! God has seen fit to bring us together these last years...It's not too late! I'm here... I'm here!"
And they embraced. A moment later the old man straightened up, stretched out a trembling hand, laid it upon his son's head, and spoke these words: "You are a reflection of the face of God. Though I cannot see you with my eyes, I see you with my heart and the mercy you have shown me these past years is like a brilliant light, dispelling all shadow as I pass from time into eternity. I will die a happy, happy old man, because I have learned to bless and so...my son... I... bless you." (How many have never heard words like these from parents or spouses, etc. But we can change all that by being blessers!)
And with these words, his hand fell back down to his chest and he died with this beautiful smile on his face. Later that night the young man took the stone out of the place he had put it years before and he sat at the kitchen table by candlelight. Turning it over and over in his hands, a single tear fell onto the rock and it split in two. Inside was a priceless stone; smooth to the touch and sparkling in beauty. Just then the wind became very strong outside and he got up to close the shutter, but then again he heard the ancient voice: "Eternity shines brighter for the joy you bring me this day. And I bless you my child."
Then the wind died down and everything became peaceful in the countryside and in the heart of the young man.
- Author Unknown
At the risk of over doing it, I am going to include one more email:
Subject: Class Assignment
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.
That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments.
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.
Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature. The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.
As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."
After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it." Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times.
The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him. "Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."
All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around.
Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list Its in the top drawer of my desk at home."
Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."
"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."
Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times, " Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."
That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again. The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late... and one way to accomplish this is: give this assignment in a class or group you are involved in. This could be your extended family, a team or group at work or play, and within your church. Do it even if you're not the teacher or leader.
You can also share this idea with all your friends and family. The more people that you share this with, the better you'll be at reaching out to those you care about. Remember, you reap what you sow, what you put into the lives of others comes back into your own.
OK, here it is. I was at a meeting recently where the speaker said that if we were complaining about our church, we were in fact, cursing it. He said that we should instead be blessing it, making declarations over it and prophesying over it. I was nailed, convicted. I knew better. Shoot, I had taught the same thing.
Right then and there I began compiling some blessings/declarations/prophesies over my church. I send this out to encourage you to join me in becoming Ezekiels over our churches (see Ezekiel 36 & 37). As he prophesied over the valley of the dry bones, let us do the same. God has a plan. So does the enemy. It is largely up to us. Whose side will we agree with and line up on?
Remember, one person + God = a majority.
Let’s rise up and speak these out! If your church is perfect, then join me in speaking these out over mine)…
· WARRIOR MENTALITY
· THE WORD OF GOD BROUGHT FORTH IN POWER AND CLARITY
· SIGNS AND WONDERS
· LEARN TO WAIT ON GOD AND ENJOY HIS PRESENCE
· USE DIVINE PROTOCOL WITH THE PRESENCE OF GOD
· EXTENDED TIMES OF HIGH PRAISE AND WORSHIP
· TANGIBLE ANOINTING
· DISCERN GOD’S WILL AND FOLLOW IT IN EVERY WAY
· EXPECTING, SEEKING AND OPENNESS TO ALL OF GOD’S SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONS AND GIFTS
· CONSUMING PASSION FOR GOD
· INCREASE OF HUNGER, THIRST AND DESPARATION FOR THE THINGS OF GOD
The bottom line of all this can be summed up in the title of a booklet a fellow missionary wrote, "Living to Give". Whether it is the look on our faces, the words on our tongues, the things we do, we should want to receive back a 100-fold return. That's not double, folks, that is 100 times what we gave out. The word of God promises us a return on what we plant, 30, 60, 100 times each act. What are you reaping? What do you want to reap?
Body Ministry, Despise Not Prophecy, Faith - What It Is...,
God's Love for Us & Our Relationship Together, Impartation,
Natural vs. Supernatural, Promises From the Word Of God, True Humility