My wife and I are very different when it comes to our personalities. She is extremely patient, I am not. She will face confrontation if need be, I am passive aggressive. She is very systematic and organized, my methods can sometimes be inefficient and messy. What makes us different makes our marriage work, but what I see in my daughter Brooklyn is a mix of both our personalities. Brooklyn is very passive aggressive when she plays with other children, but she likes her toys and books organized and in a certain order. When she smiles I see her mom and her love for music evokes memories of my own childhood growing up and listening to music. Brooklyn has the very nature of her mom and dad. You can easily see it when you spend time with her. GOD’s desire for His children is to emulate His nature in every area of life. Sometimes that’s the hardest when we have been hurt. Jesus knew we would face many different hurts and pains, but through them all He taught that our nature should match that of the children of GOD. In Luke 6:27-35, Jesus is teaching what we now call “The Sermon on the Mount:”
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 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. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise."
“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 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. 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. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."
Did you see what Jesus said at the very end? He said your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. Check out how The Passion Translation puts it:
"You will receive a rich reward and you will be known as true children of the Most High God, having his same nature. For your Father is famous for his kindness to heal even the thankless and cruel. Show mercy and compassion for others, just as your heavenly Father overflows with mercy and compassion for all.”
The Greek word for reward is misthos and the literal definition is “pay for service or wages.” Jesus is saying if you take care of those who curse you, if you are generous without looking for anything in return, GOD will reward you. GOD will make sure that you are taken care of. I know it sounds counterintuitive to how we are feeling in the moment: In the moment we want to lash out, scream, punch, or tell someone how we really feel, but that is not what Jesus is calling us to do. When someone is mistreating us, or hurting us, our first thought is how can I get payback or justice, but Jesus blows those thoughts up. He says, “You go be generous to them. You find a way to bless them.” Maybe it’s a parent or a spouse who has caused deep pain and the thought of doing something nice can’t make it past the unforgiveness still locked in your heart. Maybe its a friend or sibling who left you when you needed them most and now they need a friend. Its your chance to reach out and be there for them when they weren’t there for you, but the memory and hurt is too fresh. We can either let that pain and hurt keep us locked in or we can step out and show others what true children of GOD look like. The characteristic of GOD is unconditional love and forgiveness and that same nature lives in each one of us. We have the ability to show others that even through our pain, disappointment, and grief we can still display the awesome love of GOD. The same hands that reached down to comfort us can now reach out to those who hurt us and comfort them. Our prayer is that GOD’s children will be so full of the goodness, love, and the favor of GOD that others around us will not be able to deny that we are the true children of GOD.
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My usual routine when I come home from work involves going to an outside window of our house, knocking on the window, and waiting for my daughter, Brooklyn, to show up at the window and get excited about seeing daddy. For about the next 2-3 minutes she tells me everything she has done for the day and then points to the front door for me to come in. A few weeks ago I had a different experience and it brought to mind many of the same situations that we are all in today. It was the same routine as usual: park the car, go to window, knock, wait for Brooklyn, talk through window, and then go to front door, except this time, Brooklyn wouldn’t let me in the door. I had a key and was able to unlock the door, but she had sat down right in front of the door and her body weight was blocking my entry into the house. Now, Brooklyn is only 35 pounds, but some how she had situated her body perfectly where the combination of body weight and leverage kept the door from opening. I could unlock the door, but I could not get it to open to come inside. I could hear her laughing through the door and I smiled at her playfulness. I stepped back from the door and remembered that there was another door in the garage to get into the house. I opened the garage, took the same key, opened the door inside the garage, and easily walked into the house still hearing the laughter of my daughter. When I got into the kitchen, GOD spoke to me and said, “Many of my children face the same difficulty when inheriting the promises I have given them. They don’t realize there’s more than one door.”
GOD has given each and every one of us specific promises that pertain to our life. Those might be personal promises or promises found throughout the Word of GOD, but we all have promises that have been spoken over our lives. Many times we give up on what GOD has said because the way we think it should be doesn’t work out. Essentially the door we want to go through is locked and just like my daughter was laughing at me on the other side, the enemy is laughing at you standing on the front porch, but Jesus addressed this very issue in Matthew 7: 7-11:
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
I like the New Living Translation version because it uses the word, “keep.” This little four letter word carries big meaning when we apply it to our life and the promises of GOD. According to the online dictionary that comes with an Apple iPad the definition of keep is: persist, carry on, do something constantly or consistently, carry on. Many times, I have found, that GOD doesn’t answer prayers and give blessings the way I think it should be done. The whole reason Valerie and I started the podcast series “ Embrace the Delay” for Anchor Movement was because in our own marriage and family we were waiting on GOD to fulfill His promises, but we were in a delay. (To listen to our most recent podcast, click here). Delays are not fun and it’s in the delay that many times we get off course. The enemy likes to persuade us that GOD has forgotten about us or that His promises are for someone else more qualified and spiritual, but that is totally not true. It’s in the delays that we learn to lean on the faithfulness of GOD and remember His goodness. That’s why in Matthew 7 Jesus addressed the delay directly when he said, “keep.” Don’t stop asking. Don’t stop seeking. Don’t stop knocking. Keep on keeping on! GOD has good gifts stored up for you in His perfect timing. I love how the Psalmist puts it:
“Lord, how wonderful you are! You have stored up so many good things for us, like a treasure chest heaped up and spilling over with blessings— all for those who honor and worship you! Everybody knows what you can do for those who turn and hide themselves in you.” Psalms 31:19 TPT
GOD has more than one way to bless you and accomplish his promises in your life. Even if you have missed it because of sin or disobedience, GOD is still faithful to what He has said. Our job is to embrace these moments of delay and keep on seeking Him and remembering His goodness. We have the key and GOD will point us to the door that we should open in his timing. Don’t let anyone stop you from inheriting what GOD has for you. Remember what the Psalmist said, “You have stored up so many good things for us, like a treasure chest heaped up and spilling over with blessing!” Treasure chests aren’t something that lays out in the open. Most of the time you have to follow a map and diligently seek the treasure outlined on the map. Our treasure from GOD is found the same way, by diligently seeking Him and following His map. Don’t give up, Keep on going!
-Drew & Valerie Blackston
I remember sitting at this tiny desk in a small dorm room on the 2nd floor my freshman year of college. The computer screen flickered in front of me while my roommate talked about this new website where we could connect with other college students. I scanned the screen at what was then “The Facebook,” but what we know now as “Facebook.” Little did we know what “The Facebook” had in store for us and the world. I’m not sure Mark Zuckerberg even knew exactly what Facebook would turn into. The world has become totally connected through the developments of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and many other social networking sites. Pictures, comments, achievements, all being uploaded for the world to see in the blink of an eye. What used to take hours, days, or months to circulate the globe, now just takes the push of a button. If you don’t understand what “going viral” means you can easily look it up in every major dictionary, paper and online! Wow, how the world has changed since that day in 2004. The ways in which technology has improved our lives, I see where it has impeded our daily interactions. Now don’t get me wrong, without technology, Anchor Movement doesn’t get to impact people all over the globe. Without technology, our podcasts and YouTube videos don’t make it any farther than our bedroom windows. We love technology here at Anchor Movement and we believe that it can be a tool for reaching this world with the message of Jesus Christ. For example, an article was featured online last week that talked about a new Christian radio station that was going to be able to beam the gospel message into North Korea from the South Korean border. Isn’t that incredible?! Christianity in Iran is growing faster than in any other country thanks to new satellite TV channels being watched on traditional TV and mobile devices. Technology is a wonderful tool that is bringing the gospel to the nations, but what about here at home in our own social media and technology world. How about our personal instagram feed or story? Who gets the glory on your instagram or facebook account? The apostle Paul in 1 and 2 Corinthians outlines what our life should look like even in our social media obsessed world:
“Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:31 NLT
“As the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:17 NLT
Now listen, we are not against posting a selfie or a picture with friends or even the awesome dinner at that cool new restaurant we ate at last night, but we must look at our purpose even when it comes to the silliest of posts. Are we bringing honor to GOD or are we bringing honor to us? Every comment, post, or like doesn’t need to be something super spiritual, but take a look at what you are saying, wearing, and doing and ask yourself, “Does this bring glory to GOD or does this bring glory to me?” GOD gave you great friends, post away! GOD blessed you with beautiful children, brag like there’s no tomorrow! That wonderful man you wake up next to every morning (Valerie is rolling her eyes), he is an answer to your deepest prayers, post! post! post!
We will all stand before GOD and give account for our actions and this includes our social media accounts. Looking through the lens of GOD’s Word has totally transformed every moment we spend on social media. It’s changed from, ‘how can we make our life look good’ to ‘how can we encourage someone else with our story?’ We all have a unique opportunity today to not only be the physical hands and feet of Jesus, but to be the thumbs too. It might seem silly that you posting about your food can bring honor to GOD but who provided money for that dinner? A simple post about your best friends birthday might seem small, but who led you to that friend when you two were in high school? Valerie likes to post pictures of our two dogs and we can tell you story after story of how GOD has used those two mutts to bless our lives in more ways than we can count. If someone you didn’t know was to scroll through your old Instagram post, what could that person ascertain about you? Where would they see you pointing?
Before your next social media post/comment, consider if your words or pictures are going to be building others up or leading others to envy a false reality? It’s hard not to be self seeking in a “selfie” world, but are we building others up with our comments and photos (in turn pointing back to GOD) or dragging them down? That saying “a picture is with a thousand words” is true. There’s so much more not seen or said when we quickly upload and post- can the story behind it encourage someone else ? We all don’t want to share our lives on social media, which is fine, but think about what you do share as being influential to those around you. You may not think you’re an “influencer”, but even with one follower you are impacting the world around you!
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