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When we read God’s word we find that there are channels of blessing, routes through which God pours out His lovingkindness upon us. We might not recognise it, but the environment is a channel of God’s blessing, though few seem to be concerned. Think about it, air to breath, food to eat water to drink, these are the fundamental requirements for us to exist and God has provided them, they are a means, a channel of blessing to us. We might then look at government and leadership, God’s word declares that He establishes domains and Kingdoms. Even when we don’t like a particular style or approach, or may want to argue over rules and decisions, the fact is that God blesses us with law and order (Good government) to keep us safe from harm (that is the biblical plan at any rate). However for many Christians it may seem as though God’s blessings are only in answers to specific prayers, or spiritual encounters, or when we experience significant increase and attribute it to God’s goodness. What I notice when I read the bible is that there are many channels through which God chooses to bless us. We might then say that the measure of how blessed a person may feel depends upon how much they take time to notice the channels of God’s blessings in all their forms.

Having good neighbours, or a decent employer, having good friends are all ways through which God can bring His blessing to bear upon our lives. The list of what is a blessing is endless, but I do believe that when we speak about God blessing someone it has far more to do with the tangible. Things we can see or touch, it is something that is demonstratable, so we might say ‘look what the Lord has done!’ I accept that for some the idea of physical sensations in a church gathering, the sense of euphoria etc. can also be referred to as a blessing. Amongst the old Pentecostals there was talk of ‘when the blessing came down’, referencing the sense that God had drawn near by the sensation of the Holy Spirit’s presence. It is right to say that being able to recognise God’s nearness is a blessing also, another channel of blessing. The more we look, the more we find that God has blessed us abundantly in both practical terms and experiences. The greatest channel of blessing was opened for us on calvary (the place of crucifixion). Jesus not only provided a way for mankind to see God but also for us to know peace and relationship with Him. If you don’t know God (the Son, Jesus Christ) died to open a way to God then you haven’t discovered God’s greatest gift, His greatest blessing. Jesus Christ is the greatest blessing God could ever provide for us and through Him all other blessings flow. We are so richly blessed, let’s not focus on simply one aspect of life and tell ourselves we have no blessing from God, let’s look at the abundant channels of God’s blessing and rejoice in Him.

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Jesus friend of sinners, how grateful we should be, that Jesus looks upon us with kindness and mercy. Jesus shows us God’s love, demonstrates His deep care and concern for our well being, by choosing to be our friend. He chooses to show us friendship and mercy even when we actually behave like His enemies. If somehow we might think that we are better or in some way more deserving then the Bible tells us “there is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3v10) “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3v23). t might sound like a monumental religious put down, but the Bible tells us just how far from God we are so that it might also highlight just how far Jesus came to reach across the divide between man and God so we could know Him. Jesus makes Himself our friend, even choosing to give His life (to die on a cross) so that we might be able to connect with God. (John 15v13). This is the reason believes (Christians) ought to be grateful, once we accept what God has done for us, we should appreciate that we have escaped from God’s wrath because of our Friend Jesus. The writers in the New Testament (2nd half of the Bible) constantly wrote “thanks be to God”, it is a frequent expression because they understood, they acknowledged what God has done for them and for us.

If Jesus is the friend of sinners does that mean that we should be too? Well, yes, we should be friends to the lost, showing the same love care and compassion that Jesus has shown us. If we have any love towards our fellow human beings then shouldn’t we want them to find the same hope, love and friendship that we have received? However being a friend to sinners is not the same as joining in with sinners in acts of sin. After all we are ‘in the world’ but not ‘of the world’. Paul wrote in Romans 6v1,2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

So we see this marvellous truth that Jesus Christ came to be our friend, to show mankind that God is reaching out to us in our sin that He might rescue us from our sin. Sadly, because there is so much sensual please tied up in sinful acts, lost men and women struggle at the thought of giving up their sinful deeds. We live in an age where humanity are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. It is a matter for much concern and prayer, as countless lives live only for a temporary moment of earthly pleasure only to be blotted out by an eternity of torment and destruction. God’s solution was to demonstrate His love, showing mankind a way to escape. After all a good friend would tell us if we were heading for disaster and help us avoid it if they knew how. That is why Jesus is a friend of sinners and we must also be the same.

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Children of God, fellow heirs with Christ, recipients of His eternal reward. What a magnificent thought, if we are ‘in Christ’ then we are no longer considered as strangers, aliens and foreigners to God. We enter into a new relationship, one of family and of belonging. We have become to God not just like (facsimile) but children (family), adopted and included. Once we were far removed from God and strangers to His ways but having found and been found by Christ we are now included into His family, accepted in the beloved. Christ then the first amongst many brothers and sisters (Romans 8v29). For those who feel alone Jesus is God’s message of company, nearness, companionship. To those who never quite seem to fit in, always the last in the line, the socially excluded, He is the demonstration of God’s acceptance, His message “I choose you.” The ones that life has rejected, not pretty enough, tough enough, sporty, funny, charming enough, God has accepted, His message “I want you!” ‘God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’ (1Corinthians 1v27) All these that God accepts, He includes, because they accepted His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, He give the right to be called children of God. (John 1v12). It would be enough to be accepted, to be included, to be a part of God’s family but it just keeps getting better. As we discover this new found status as children of God’s household we are also given thee same rights and privileges as all God’s children we become fellow heirs with Christ. (Romans 8v17). That means that we have both God’s blessings and promises here and now and also so much more in the eternal realm where we find that we shall be like Him and live with Him forever. When Jesus Christ’s kingdom is revealed we also will be revealed, as fellow heirs we will reign with Him (2Timothy 2v12). So we become a recipient of God’s favour, fellow custodians of the family business. The family business of course, Glory to God in the highest and the sharing of His message of peace and salvation to all those who have not heard, we spread the good news. We now find in this new relationship, this sonship (& daughterhood) that we have access to our Heavenly Father, He hears us and answers our petitions (prayers). All this is of course not of our doing, it is God’s free gift, it is given by grace. Our inheritance far greater than silver and gold, is joy and peace, comfort and satisfaction. The world for all it’s wealth and possessions is never satisfied, and with much wealth joy and peace becomes harder to possess. The lie is to believe that such things are needed to know happiness and peace but in Christ we may have joy and peace and a hope that endures because the One who promised is faithful. Have a blessed week child of God.

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