Tag Archives: Blessing

Thankful for Small Blessings

Okay, this is going to be a strange little post about something that happened to me last week. I was going to post it last Friday since it is somewhat food related, but I was traveling and just didn’t have time.

On Wednesday of last week I left work early to go home and change so I could get to Shepherd’s Door in time for my church’s service project there. We were going to be making my Texas Skillet Dinner for 40 women and children, and I was in charge of bringing the avocados and the spices. My list of things to do before I hit the road for Shepherd’s Door was pretty short: change clothes, mix spices in a zip lock bag, and stop at Safeway for a latte and avocados.

Somehow, in spite of the brevity of my to-do list, I managed to forget the spices. I realized it about halfway to the shelter. It was too late to turn back to home and still be on time, but you really can’t make Texas Skillet without the southwest spices.

I decided to stop somewhere on N.E. Halsey Street, towards the end of my trip, to pick up the essentials, even though I had no idea what stores I would pass. I found a Fred Meyer, parked my car, and went in. I headed straight to the spice aisle. There I found the chili powder, marjoram, and oregano that I needed, but no chipotle pepper.

Then, to my delight, I spied a spice I love and have been unable to find at any of the stores near me in months: Spice Islands Rosemary Garlic that comes in a grinder bottle. I love this spice mix on so many things, especially chicken on the Traeger. I had tried just putting rosemary in an empty grinder bottle but it wasn’t the same. I was so excited I bought three bottles right then and there.

So you might be asking: “What is the point of this story? What lesson did I learn?” Well, here is what I took away from this experience.

Sometimes, when we take the time to care about others, such as by wanting them to have the right spices in the dinner we are making them, God chooses to bless us in ways we never thought of.

When I realized that I had forgotten the spices, I could have simply decided to use whatever they had available for spices at Shepherd’s Door, which may not have included chili powder (the most essential spice for this dish). Instead, I went out of my way in an unfamiliar neighborhood to get the right spices. It never occurred to me that I might find this other spice that I’ve been searching for these past 6 months. But God chose to bless me by bringing me right to it.

I suppose I could just attribute this to coincidence, and many people do attribute such blessings to coincidence. I choose to thank God for this small but wonderful blessing.

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The Blessing of Family

One of the most wonderful blessings God has given us is family. The cool thing about family is that there is a connection between family members that defies logic and reason. There is a love for family that transcends understanding.

I’ve experienced a couple of examples of that this week.

First, my husband, son, and I had dinner on Friday night with my cousin’s son. I had never met him before and had only just met his dad (my cousin) for the first time last summer. But we had such a wonderful time visiting at dinner, talking about our shared experiences being related to some of the same people. Even though from a logical standpoint, he was a complete stranger to me, our immediate response when we saw each other was to give each other a hug. As we talked, I realized just how much like both my father and my son he is. I learned that he wears the same show size as both of them – which he referred to as “the Rowland curse.” I also learned that he really likes to talk to people, even strangers, which is another trait both my dad and my son share. As we ended our time together, we talked about the next time he might be in town and that we would get together again. I am already looking forward to that time and getting to know him even better.

Second, I talked on the phone with one of my sisters who is not doing very well right now, though I don’t want to go into detail here as to the struggles she is facing for privacy reasons. Not too long ago I did something that upset her, and so when I called her to tell her about the aforementioned visit that I had planned with our cousin I wasn’t sure she would want to talk to me. But there is something about family such that disagreements like ours become irrelevant when one family member is in need. As we talked on the phone, I just wanted to reach through the phone and give her a hug, to make things all better. I really wished I had a Star Trek transporter so I could be with her instead of just talking on the phone. Even though hearing about her struggles was upsetting, I wouldn’t give up the sadness I feel because of what she is going through for anything if it meant not having her as my sister.

Third, I talked to my other sister on the phone as well. Even though we haven’t talked on the phone in a long time, there was no awkwardness in the call. We share a closeness as sisters that doesn’t require that we talk on the phone or see each other every day or even every week. We can go months without talking and pick up right where we left off the last time we talked.

I know that sometimes the blessing and connection of family does breakdown and family members become so estranged and hateful towards one another that there seems to be no hope of reconciliation. Logic and reasoning step in to keep family members separated to prevent further hurt and pain. I am thankful that in my family that is the exception rather than the rule.

Our Christian family has a similar connection as our biological family. We can meet someone who is a complete stranger but who is also a believer and feel a connection that defies logic. There are similarly the exceptions to that rule. My prayer is that in both biological and Christian families the exceptions would be few and far between and that we would always cherish and appreciate the blessing of family.

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Children – A Poem

My son is one of the greatest blessings I have ever known. I often hear parents complain about how terrible their teenagers are, but I really can’t relate because my son is the most generous, kind, and loving person I know. He does sometimes annoy and frustrate me, and raising him poses its challenges, but I love him no matter what. And I know that God loves him even more than I do. I decided to write a poem about the blessing of children for my Thankful Thursday poem.

Children

Children are a blessing
A gift from God above
Children of the One true King
They deserve our care and love

Children are not a burden
A curse from God above
To hold back men and women
From knowing fun and love

Children are our future
Given in trust from God above
Our duty is to help them mature
They need our faith and love

“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:15-16 (NIV).

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This Life Is Full of Blessing – A Poem

It’s Thankful Thursday once again (and I continue to be thankful to Ann for the idea!) I’ve been doing acrostic poems for a while, but decided I wanted to do something different this week. Instead of limited the length of my poem by the number of letters in an acrostic word or phrase, I wanted to focus on the idea that this life that God has given me is so full of blessing and just see where it took me. Although I’ve certainly known heartache and struggle in my life, on the whole the Lord has given me a life worth being thankful for.

This Life Is Full of Blessing

This life is full of blessing
You have offered more
I have a lovely dwelling
And family I adore

This life is full of blessing
Delicious foods to eat
Trees and flowers growing
Their beauty is so sweet

This life is full of blessing
More than I really need
Love and peace abounding
It’s time to plant a seed

This life is full of blessing
Enough for me to share
With those who have nothing
To let them know You care

This life is full of blessing
Freedom in Your grace
My soul is ever soaring
I wait to see Your face

This life is full of blessing
To You I give my praise
For the gift of life everlasting
I’ll savor endless days

Eternal life is the best blessing
To dwell with You on high
With all the saints worshipping
As Your feast draws nigh

Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Luke 14:12-15 (NIV).

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Benediction – A Poem

At the end of every service, our pastor gives the benediction. I never thought about what this word meant before, but when I used an online translator and tried to translate the word “blessing” into French, the resulting translation was “bènèdiction.” So I decided that would be a good word for today’s Thankful Thursday acrostic poem.

Benediction

Blessings are offered to you and to me
E
nding each service with peace
N
eeds will be met by our Lord in answer
E
veryone’s worry will decrease
D
ivine intervention exclaimed
I
nterlude
C
hrist’s favor proclaimed from the pulpit
T
raditional blessing bestowed
I
mmanuel sent to guide us
O
n our journey along life’s road
N
o longer must we be ashamed

One of the most commonly heard benedictions, at least in the Lutheran churches I’ve attended, is based on a passage from Numbers. It’s a beautiful blessing that does always give me a measure of peace as I leave the worship service and prepare for the week ahead. Just as God promised to bless the Israelites when Aaron blessed them, I believe God will bless His people when the pastor blesses us.

 The Priestly Blessing

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:

‘May the Lord bless you
      and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you
      and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor
      and give you his peace.’ 

Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”  Numbers 6:22-27 (NLT).

But I don’t believe that the ability to offer a blessing or benediction is limited to official pastors. We are the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9-10), and so I offer a blessing to you, my readers: May the God of grace and mercy fill you with His Holy Spirit as you meet each day steadfast in the knowledge of Christ as your Savior.

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Psalm 6 – Trusting God

I have been very blessed in my life. Though I have experienced trials, right now my life is pretty good. There are people in the world, even in my own country, who are currently experiencing trials beyond what I can imagine.

Still there are days when I feel a bit of melancholy come over me. Sometimes it is because of thinking of those who are worse off than I am. Sometimes it is because I grieve over those who don’t know the Lord. Sometimes it is because I wonder if I am living my life as God wants me to. Am I missing out on something great that He has in store because of my own stubbornness?

On days like that I turn to the Psalms, and I want to share one with you all today.

Psalm 6

For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by an eight-stringed instrument.

 1 O Lord, don’t rebuke me in your anger
      or discipline me in your rage.
 2 Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
      Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
 3 I am sick at heart.
      How long, O Lord, until you restore me?

 4 Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
      Save me because of your unfailing love.
 5 For the dead do not remember you.
      Who can praise you from the grave?

 6 I am worn out from sobbing.
      All night I flood my bed with weeping,
      drenching it with my tears.
 7 My vision is blurred by grief;
      my eyes are worn out because of all my enemies.

 8 Go away, all you who do evil,
      for the Lord has heard my weeping.
 9 The Lord has heard my plea;
      the Lord will answer my prayer.
 10 May all my enemies be disgraced and terrified.
      May they suddenly turn back in shame.

This Psalm talks of enemies, but sometimes I think the worst enemy is within. My own doubt and sinful nature, my own weakness are my worst enemy. Unless I turn them over to God and trust that “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.”

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Psalm 32 Blessing of Forgiveness

Today I don’t really have anything to write, and so decided to share another Psalm. I love the Psalms and I believe they are one of the best sources of prayer we have available to us. This is one of my favorite Psalms because it reminds me of how blessed I am that my sins are forgiven through Jesus.

Psalm 32

Of David. A maskil.

 1 Blessed is he
       whose transgressions are forgiven,
       whose sins are covered.

 2 Blessed is the man
       whose sin the LORD does not count against him
       and in whose spirit is no deceit.

 3 When I kept silent,
       my bones wasted away
       through my groaning all day long.

 4 For day and night
       your hand was heavy upon me;
       my strength was sapped
       as in the heat of summer.
       Selah

 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you
       and did not cover up my iniquity.
       I said, “I will confess
       my transgressions to the LORD “—
       and you forgave
       the guilt of my sin.
       Selah

 6 Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you
       while you may be found;
       surely when the mighty waters rise,
       they will not reach him.

 7 You are my hiding place;
       you will protect me from trouble
       and surround me with songs of deliverance.
       Selah

 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
       I will counsel you and watch over you.

 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
       which have no understanding
       but must be controlled by bit and bridle
       or they will not come to you.

 10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
       but the LORD’s unfailing love
       surrounds the man who trusts in him.

 11 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
       sing, all you who are upright in heart!

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