lessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.
Here, the anonymous writer (Max Lucado says perhaps King Hezekiah) writes that if you allow God to head your home, he will bless your family life.
For thousands of years the family has been the root of a society, and never more so than at the time this is written. This Psalm was often sung at weddings – It’s the toast at a wedding – “And may you have many rugrats”
Genesis 1:22, 28; 2:3; 5:2 – In the beginning when God created is says He blessed them – Genesis 1:22 and 28- God blesses them and says – He created them male and female and said to them: Be fruitful and multiply. Genesis 2:3 – God blessed the seventh day.
God does a lot of blessing. Sometimes we recognize it. Most times we don’t.
Who is blessed? Those who fear the Lord and walks in his ways.
In my study this week I was pointed to Matthew 7
Sometimes I like to inform and remind you all where I am coming from as far as church and a relationship with Jesus. I was a part time church goer for 15 years, who probably went half the time and a times a little more – definitely not weekly. I did not want to tithe, even as I understood what it was. I believed I needed the money more than the church did. And I certainly never thought of it as giving to the Lord God whom in reality, it all belongs. I believe the 10% tithe that was the command in the Old Testament carries over into the NT, because the NT command is basically give it all if it means that much to you. I did not read the Bible. And I was certainly not trying to live a holy life. I still do not live a holy life, but I try. I did not fear the Lord and walk in His ways.
I did not honor God with my money, with my time, or with my life, and yet, I believed back then, that if I died, I would have gone to heaven because I was basically a good person. As I read Matthew 7, verses 21-23, see if you think I would have been making this argument to God, and if that is why He would have turned me away – Read the Scripture from Matthew 7:21-23.
Do you see what I am saying? I never claimed I had a “relationship” with the God of Creation and with Jesus Christ. I never mistakenly thought I had the Holy Spirit within me and was doing marvelous things in Jesus’ Name. Who is it standing before God in Matthew 7:21-23? It’s church people. It’s people who go on mission trips. It’s people who pack food for thought, work the food pantry, and buy Christmas presents for kids through the shoebox program and for local kids at the schools.
it is church people who do good things. And it is people who are not necessarily fearing the Lord, but are claiming heaven through their own goodness.
I was claiming heaven through my own goodness, these people are claiming heaven through their good works in Jesus Name! –
John Wesley put it this way:
A man may attend the supper of the Lord (Holy Communion), may hear abundance of excellent sermons, and omit no opportunity of partaking all the other ordinances of God. I may do good to my neighbour, deal my bread to the hungry, and cover the naked with a garment. I may be so zealous of good works as even to “give all my goods to feed the poor.” Yea, and I may do all this with a desire to please God, and a real belief that I do please him thereby; (which is undeniably the case of those our Lord introduces, saying unto him, “Lord, Lord;”) and still I may have no part in the glory which shall be revealed.
Wesley Continues – If any man marvels at this, let him acknowledge he is a stranger to the whole religion of Jesus Christ”
Psalm 128 says Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.
That was not me. I thought I was blessed, but any storms in my life would prove otherwise.
If you do not have a relationship with Jesus and do not walk in His ways, your definition of blessing is fickle. The definition of blessing changes. It changes based upon age. It changes based on circumstances. Just as we say beauty is in the eye of the beholder – so is blessing. The more difficult things are, the bigger the small blessings become. For example – A blessing for a parent who has had a son or daughter in the military is to get to facetime with them for a few moments – a phone call where they get to see them.
Dave and Theresa – Family in Switzerland – facetime calls bring such joy.
As we carry on in Matthew 7:24-28, we are reminded that the greatest blessing is to be affixed to the firm foundation.
The only thing that reveals the flaw in the idea that “We are Blessed without having the fear and obedience to God” is the storm.
It is not a problem with the house that has been built – it is a foundation problem. Those are the words you do not want to hear on those popular home remodel shows so popular today – there is a foundation problem.
This week, I was led to one of my blog posts from 5 years ago.
10/27/2015 – There is a husband and wife country music duo named Joey and Rory. I’d honestly never heard of them until I read that the female part of the couple, Joey, had cancer and the treatments weren’t working and they had decided to discontinue treatments. And they have decided to go home and live life and pray for a miracle. They believe God can even if God doesn’t. And they’re not angry. They’re disappointed. And they’re grateful.
Reading Rory’s blog post from Friday is heartbreaking. Yet, they have the hope that this life is not all there is – that the One who created Joey, is waiting to welcome her into His presence when her life here is over. And as sad as they are over the news from the doctors, Rory writes this, “So, even though we know we’ve reached the end of what medicine can do – and while we prepare for what God has put in front of us… Joey and I will continue to pray for a miracle. We ask for your prayers too. For a miracle. And even more so, for peace with His decision.”
And this is their testimony. In good times and bad times, on the mountaintops and in the valleys… when they were on stage on their tour or when they are sitting on their back porch holding hands and crying… In spite of their circumstances, that God is still gracious, loving, and kind. And God can heal Joey even if He doesn’t. And if He does, they will love Him and praise Him. And if He doesn’t, they will love Him and praise Him. This is the finest hour of their testimony:
Sometimes there just aren’t enough surgeries – or doctors – or chemotherapies – or prayers. And you have to wipe the tears from your cheeks and say the words that you were hoping to never have to say…
Joey had been feeling pretty good overall the last week or two, and was ready to start the next phase of treatment. This whole thing has been very hard on her, but she knows it’s all part of getting better, so she’s been a trooper and has stayed incredibly positive through it all. She’d done everything she was supposed to do. Followed every instruction that she’d been given and has taken every hard-knock that has come her way, and got back up and kept fighting.
Before the next round of chemo was to start on this past Thursday in Atlanta, the doctors scheduled a CT scan to be done the day before. This was her first major scan since before she had the big surgery in July. So the goal was to see how her body has responded, after the removal of the all the cancer and the first five weeks of treatment. To make sure that there were no signs of the cancer still around.
But there was.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you this…” That’s how the conversation began.
Then the doctor explained that the scans revealed that two quarter-sized tumors have already grown back in the same area that they had been blasting daily with chemo and radiation. And that many more smaller tumors were visible all throughout the abdominal region. She said that the cancer was aggressively spreading in spite of all they’ve been doing.
So we did what you do when the medicine isn’t working, and the doctors are at a loss…and when the ‘statistics’‘ say you can do more chemo, but it will only buy you a little time…
We came home.
Not to die. But to live.
To put our hands in each others and sit out on the back porch and watch the sun set as our sweet little baby girl plays on a blanket in front of us. To bask in the glory of the beautiful life He’s blessed us with, and try not to question why we can’t have more of it together. And why He is allowing this to happen.
The doctors gave us an estimate of how much time they believe that Joey has, and we both looked at the calendar that hangs by our kitchen door, then I took the calendar off the wall and threw in the trash can.
So we don’t have forever. We’ve got right now.
And that’s enough.
To say my wife is broken-hearted is an understatement. And to tell you that we’re not scared would be a lie. This is the kind of thing that happens to somebody else, not us. But then I have to remember… we are somebody else to somebody else.
Joey has been mostly sleeping these past few days since we’ve been home. Partly I think because of the medicine, but also because I think she’s trying to process what’s happening and even more so, what’s going to happen. I can’t process any of it. I can’t. All I can do right now is think of her and want to make sure she’s taken care of and knows how much she’s loved be me, and by so many others.
I’m not going to tell you that I’m okay with this because ‘God has a bigger plan’. Or that ‘we’ll understand His bigger purpose somewhere down the line’. That logic doesn’t really work for me right now. I’m not angry at God. I’m not angry with anyone. I’m just disappointed. I hoped that Joey would get to be one of the lucky ones that somehow overcome stage 4 cancer and get to hear words like ‘remission’ or ‘cure’, instead of ‘I’m so sorry’.
It’s hard for me to feel slighted, when I know that the career that Joey and I have had – this amazing last 7 years or so – has only been, because God reached out His powerful hand and chose us. He lifted us up from our little farm. and let us see and do things beyond our wildest dreams. And you can’t be in awe of an amazing road that God leads you down, and then be any less in awe of a corner that He has you turn.
I think in the end… the good and the bad, He just wants us to give it to Him.
And so we do.
One of the mantra’s that I always try to live by is to have incredibly “high hopes, but low expectations”. So, even though we know we’ve reached the end of what medicine can do – and while we prepare for what God has put in front of us… Joey and I will continue to pray for a miracle.
We ask for your prayers too. For a miracle.
And even more so, for peace with His decision.
That is enough.
Joey Feek left this world March 4, 2016, five months after Rory wrote that.
Joey and Rory built their house on the Rock of fear and obedience to Jesus.
Blessed is everyone who fears in the Lord and walks in His ways.
The Psalm points to the blessing of a great family. But the truth is, as concealed in the the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament, the blessing comes from having Jesus.