Discovering the real blessing

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When we see babies more fascinated by the wrapping or the box than the gift itself, we laugh because we think it’s cute that they don’t understand what the real gift is or its value. But how often do I think/act in the same way? How often do I get more fascinated with and attached to the vehicle of the blessing than the blessing itself? It’s so easy to miss the contents for the packaging!

I’ve often associated the word ‘blessing’ with ‘reward’ or God giving me something I’ve really desired. For e.g., financial or material provision for something I really want to do or get; everything going well – success – with a project/program; connections with people that I’ve been hoping for; healing from an illness or injury; relationships that are going well etc.

I’m discovering more that the real blessing is God meeting the deepest desires of my heart, through the vehicle of these gifts. But I only recognise this, when I take the time to pause, reflect on this purpose of God in the gift and connect with Him in relationship, allowing Him to fulfill his purpose in the gift.

This kind of contemplation/pondering becomes all the more important to get perspective, when the blessing comes to me, wrapped in a package of suffering. If I’m only focused on the ‘packaging’ it’s easy to misunderstand God’s heart for me and miss the blessing in the process. But I’m finding that as I take time to connect with God in the midst of the difficult situation/relationship, I discover how He wants to use even these times of suffering, to touch and fill the desires of my heart, in ways I hadn’t imagined; or indeed wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. And in these places, I find deep joy.

Lord, open the eyes & ears of my heart, so that I can recognise your presence with me, and hear your song of love over me and receive your blessing in every situation that life brings me. Remind me to keep coming to you – the source of every good gift & blessing – and connecting with you in relationship, so that I can receive the blessing of your filling every desire of my heart in this new year!

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Becoming honest in prayer

Very often when we talk of prayer, we think of polite conversation with God – saying the right words, the right formulas, in a certain tone of voice and so on. But prayer in the Bible is anything, but that. Just read the Book of Psalms for example, which is full of raw emotion expressed to God as prayer. This is because an important aspect of engaging with God from the heart in prayer, is learning to be honest with what’s coming up in our hearts. In today’s Bible reading, we find another example of honesty in prayer and hear how it’s also the place where we can find intimacy with God.

The longings of our heart

We’re all aware from time to time, of the deep longings of our heart – for love, significance, recognition, a sense of worth, belonging, freedom and so on. But what many of us are not aware of, are the ways in which the Bible speaks about this area. And how it’s such a crucial area of our hearts to which we need to pay attention, if we want to develop an intimate relationship with God.

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