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Feb 11, 2012

Why do people shun church?
I know--Everyone has his/her own excuse. How can we change this attitude?

Would Jesus feel comfortable in today's churches?

Someone gave me this article Monday. It first appeared on the Elijah List website. I had to share it, because knowing and practicing the principles Kathi Pelton outlines will help change our worldview, to move our thinking to more in line with Jesus' goals and motivations, to make Him more comfortable in our churches..

Bless Them?
by Kathi Pelton

"Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forevermore." Ps 113:2

We Christians use the word blessing often. We talk about the blessings of our day, our family, our church. We pray blessings upon people we love and ministries that are doing  powerful work. We often call out "God bless you" when we leave someone's presence. Sometimes we stretch our faith and bless our enemies.

Jewish people habitually bless everyone they know and worship with. They use hundreds of blessings. All Hebrew blessings begin with "Blessed art thou." (Birkhotatah). It's often called the Shem umalkhut), which means "The Name and the Sovereignty," recognizing Adonai as King over the entire universe.

The Name and the Sovereignty

A few years ago one of our children began a dating relationship we disagreed with. I went to the Lord, seeking His counsel on how to handle the situation. The Holy Spirit said, "I want you to bless them." I began to rebuke this voice immediately. How could the Lord bless such an unhealthy relationship?

I went back to prayer, and heard it again: "I want you to bless them."

Thoroughly confused, I told my husband what I was hearing and asked him if he sensed anything. He began chastising me! Together we took a firm stand against all aspects of this relationship, but no matter how I tried, I could not hear a different message.

We prayed with our local ministry team. They heard the same message from the Lord that I had. Gradually we realized God didn't want us to stand against what was happening. He wanted us to stand in agreement with His kingship over our lives.

Although this situation went against everything we thought proper and righteous, we began to pray blessings upon our young couple. Along with out prayers we spoke blessing over them. We released the name and sovereignty of God over their lives and relationship. Without realizing it we invited the Holy Spirit to begin moving the way He desired.

The life-changing process for our children continues to this day.

Blessing Those We Don't Agree With
I repeat, we often look at blessing as agreeing with the person to whom we are releasing the blessing. But there is a difference. We are not required to agree with everyone we bless.

How did Jesus define blessing? "But I say to you who are listening, love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, pray for those who are cruel to you. If anyone slaps you on one cheek, offer him the other cheek too. If someone takes your coat, do not stop him from taking your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and when someone takes something you own, do not ask for it back. Do to others what you would want them to do for you." Lk 6:27-31

"If you love only the people who love you, what praise should you get? Even sinners do that! If you lend things to people, always hoping to get, what praise should you receive? Even sinners lend to other sinners so that they can get back the same amount. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without hoping to get anything back. Then you will have great reward, and you will be children of the Most High God, because He is kind even to people who are ungrateful and full of sin. Show mercy, just as your Father shows mercy."   Lk 6:32-26
Knowing this truth makes blessing people we don't agree with far easier for us, and for God. Can we agree with Him and ask His sovereign power to begin moving in our "enemies' lives? We spend spend soooo much time and energy trying to figure out our next move, thinking of strategies to see our "enemies" confounded; on how to get the prodigal children to return home. Perhaps we need to bless them!

I think we spend a lot of time trying to give the Holy Spirit counsel on how He should move and what He should do.

I have personally heard parents pray misery upon their children, to stop their appetite for sin. Why not leave the work and the how-to up to the King of the Universe. He made the children. He knows their every thought!

Let's open the way for blessings and recognize God's name and sovereignty for our straying children, our enemies, our government, our leaders, anyone we don't agree with. Even ourselves, just in case we are the ones in need of His sovereign work in our lives.

[Join us Wednesday, when Kathi Pelton continues her comments on blessing our nation, and concluding the article. You will find Elijah List information and Kathi's contact information.]

There will be a link to another article entitled "Remitting Sins" by Henry Gruver.

Use the Comments to share with me and the reading audience any blessings you habitually pray over the people in your life. (Respectful posts, please.)