There’s a scene in “Dances With Wolves” that I always remember. After Lieutenant Dunbar tells the Native American tribe that the buffaloes are moving through and they hunt, Dunbar is invited to their camp for a feast. After dinner, Wind In His Hair wants Dunbar to she a story again, but Dunbar is tired of sharing it. He sees that Wind In His Hair is eyeing his military jacket. He immediately takes it off and offers it to him. Wind In His Hair tries it on and loves it. He then takes off his chest beads and gives them to Dunbar, who puts them on. Wind In His Hair then hits hit chest and reaches across and pats Dunbar’s chest trying to communicate that he wants to trade. Dunbar accepts and says, “Good trade.” It reminds me that even though trades like that aren’t very common anymore, but we still make trades every day.
In Genesis 42, there is a severe famine in Egypt and it’s surrounding areas. Jacob and his sons are deeply affected by it. He hears that there is food in Egypt and sends ten of his eleven sons to get food. He refuses to let Joseph’s younger brother go. When they arrive, Joseph recognizes them, but they don’t recognize him. They ask for food, but he accuses them of being spies and locks them up in jail. He then agrees to let all but one go home until they bring back their other brother. When they tell Jacob.he refuses. He’s now lost two sons and Benjamin is his favorite now. They try to convince him to let them go back, but in verse 38 he says, “My son will not go down with you. His brother Joseph is dead, and he is all I have left. If anything should happen to him on your journey, you would send this grieving, white-haired man to his grave” (NLT). Jacob refused to let go of his son to trade him for food to live. It would take a long time before he let go, thereby delaying the blessing God had for him.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” God offers many trades with us. We give Him our burdens and He gives us rest. We give Him our sin and guilt and He gives eternal life. We give Him our old life and He gives us a new one. What are you still holding onto that God is offering a trade for? Don’t let fear or pride keep you from making a good trade. He takes our worst and gives us His best in exchange. Release it to Him today. By holding onto it you’re denying yourself the blessings He has for you in exchange.
Several years ago I was managing a store. My sales team was doing ok, but not great. I found the person in the district who was making the most money month after month and asked him what his secret was. He told me the mix of products he sells that yielded him double what my team made. I was so excited to share this formula with my team. I wrote it all down and walked them through it. I then said that they would have to trust me for two months before they would see the results. Only one person on my team followed my instructions. Sure enough, two months later his check doubled. After sharing his success, only one other person cared to do the steps necessary even though they knew what it would do for them.
In Daniel 1, the Babylonians had invaded Israel and taken several promising youth captive back to Babylon to serve the king. They devised an eating and learning regime to yield high results in education. The only problem was the eating regime went against the Law God had given them as Jews. Verse 8 says that Daniel made up his mind to follow God’s law over the king’s. This put his life in peril, so he made a deal with the guard to observe him for 10 days. At the end of those days, he looked better than the others who knew God’s laws and chose not to follow them. Then verse 17 says God blessed Daniel by giving him wisdom in literature, philosophy and interpreting visions and dreams.
James 1:25 says, “But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do” (GNT). There are many blessings God holds for believers who don’t just go to church and hear what the Bible says, but apply it in their lives. Unfortunately so many of us miss out on many of God’s blessings because we aren’t following His laws. Just like in Daniel, they often contradict societal norms. When we choose to follow God’s ways over the world’s and live the way He asks, we open up the pathways to His blessings. Don’t just listen to what the Bible says. Put it into practice in your life. God has so much more for you.
Early on God established blessings for His people. It was a means of positive reinforcement. He taught us how to live, and if we lived that way, a series of blessings would be ours. All throughout the Bible, the blessings have been described. Some blessings show we have His favor. Other blessings come with prosperity and success. We each have access to receive them into our life if only we will live according to the ways He set for us. I just as He set the option for blessings in front of the Israelites, He sets it before us today. These blessings don’t mean we won’t experience difficulties. They give us His favor even in those times. You can have a life of blessings that He offers, but like any other promise in the Bible, they come as a result of our obedience first.
Here are some Bible verses on God offering blessings.
1. For to everyone who has [and values his blessings and gifts from God, and has used them wisely], more will be given, and [he will be richly supplied so that] he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [because he has ignored or disregarded his blessings and gifts from God], even what he does have will be taken away.
Matthew 25:29 AMP
2. Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”
John 20:29 MSG
3. Since we are his children, we will possess the blessings he keeps for his people, and we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.
Romans 8:17 GNT
4. Lord, keep pouring out your unfailing love on those who are near you. Release more of your blessings to those who are loyal to you.
Psalms 36:10 TPT
5. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God.
Waco is a small town in Texas. It has always been a place you would only go to if you had a reason to go. It was showing its age until recently when Chip and Joanna Gaines show “Fixer Upper” became a hit. As this Christian couple began to update houses with their unique style, people began to want to visit Waco. Today, it’s a thriving town with people from all over taking vacation there. The city has been transformed by the influx of money coming into it. Buildings have been updated, businesses have moved in and home prices are on the rise. All of this happened because of one family.
The Bible tells us how cities, nations and even the world were impacted by God’s people. Jerusalem was in ruins until Nehemiah built the walls around the city. Wherever Joseph worked as a slave or prisoner, it prospered. Gideon took Israel from being the nation others picked on to being a strong nation. The list goes on and on of people who followed God and changed the culture around them. When you and I do walk in obedience to God’s voice, we can’t help but make an impact on the people around us.
Proverbs 11:11 says, “The blessing of favor resting upon the righteous influences a city to lift it higher” (TPT)”. When I read this verse, I can’t help but to be challenged to think if I’m making the impact in my city that I need to be. Each one of us as believers have the favor of God resting on us, but what are we doing with that favor? Are we being selfish with it or are we trying to impact the world around us? The Bible is clear that when we invest that favor in the lives of others, it’s multiplied. The blessings of God have been freely given to you so that you can use them to influence your city. When we leave our scarcity mentality and quit hoarding God’s blessings, we’ll change the culture of our communities, cities, states and nations.
When I was in my early twenties, one of my customers told me, “Chris, you need to get some money together and buy these waterfront lots. They’re only $10,000 each. Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.” Today, there are houses on those lots that cost over a half million dollars. I wish I could say I bought some of those lots, but the idea of $10,000 was insurmountable. I missed that opportunity because I thought the initial cost was out of reach. Opportunity knocks on all of our doors throughout our lives, but too often we don’t answer because of the upfront cost.
I believe different types of opportunities come from God. There are opportunities He gives to bless us, to grow our faith, to share our faith and to do the right thing when no ones watching. Faith is about stepping out when God brings opportunity to our door. It’s about recognizing when opportunities are from Him and seizing them. Yes, there is often an upfront cost associated with opportunities, but the reward on the back end is amazing. It’s time to take a leap of faith and to quit passing up opportunities that God gives us.
Here are some Bible Verses on opportunity.
1. So if you know of an opportunity to do the right thing today, yet you refrain from doing it, you’re guilty of sin.
James 4:17 TPT
2. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.
Colossians 4:5-6 MSG
3. Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are evil days.
Ephesians 5:16 GNT
4. The lazy man does not catch and roast his prey, But the precious possession of a [wise] man is diligence [because he recognizes opportunities and seizes them].
PROVERBS 12:27 AMP
5. Know the importance of the season you’re in and a wise son you will be. But what a waste when an incompetent son sleeps through his day of opportunity!
On my first trip to Haiti, we stopped at an orphanage right after we landed in Port au Prince. As we met these children and heard their stories, our hearts were overwhelmed. We also heard how God had called this lady to rescue these children that were stricken with disease and left for dead. As the kids soaked up our love, many of us began to cry. We were overcome with the goodness of God in that moment. As I prayed over the kids and our team, I said, “Lord, I now know what it means to have my cup overflow.”
We all know that David mentioned his cup overflowing in Psalm 23. I had always wondered what that meant. I believe it is when God pours out His goodness into our lives so much that we cant contain all that He’s doing. God is good at blessing us more than we can handle when we are good at giving of our time, talent and resources. When you experience the overflow of God’s blessings, you may have to pray like I did and ask God for a bigger cup.
Here are some Bible verses on God pouring blessings out.
1. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Psalms 23:5 NLT
2. The threshing places will be full of grain; the pits beside the presses will overflow with wine and olive oil. I will give you back what you lost in the years when swarms of locusts ate your crops. It was I who sent this army against you. Now you will have plenty to eat, and be satisfied. You will praise the Lord your God, who has done wonderful things for you. My people will never be despised again.
Joel 2:24-26 GNT
3. Blessings accrue on a good and honest life, but the mouth of the wicked is a dark cave of abuse.
Proverbs 10:6 MSG
4. I will make them and the area around My hill a blessing: I will send down showers in their season — showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34:26 HCSB
5. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure–pressed down, shaken together, and running over [with no space left for more]. For with the standard of measurement you use [when you do good to others], it will be measured to you in return.
I was speaking to someone recently about the old computer operating system DOS. I remember as a kid learning how to write programs for DOS. We were taught to increase each command line by 10 so if you needed to add a line of programming later, you had the room. Another thing they taught us is the phrase, “If this, then that.” It was a way to tell the computer if the user does this, then I want you to skip to another line and run the program from there. It was all about cause and consequence.
The Bible is full of “if this, then that” type phrases. In John 15:7 Jesus said, “If you abide in me and my words abide in you then you can ask whatever you will.” II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people will humble themselves and pray…, then I will hear from Heaven and heal their land.” These are just a couple of examples. God puts conditions on many promises that require an action on our part first in order to activate them just like in the old DOS programming. If we don’t do the first part, then the next part is skipped.
Another conditional promise is found in II John 1:3. It says, “Grace, mercy and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ – the Son of the Father – will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. (NLT)” If we will continue to live in truth and love we will receive grace, mercy and peace. Grace is God’s unmerited favor which affords joy, delight and pleasure according to the Blue Letter Bible. The favor of God alone is enough, but John added in through his use of the word grace that we would also get joy, delight and pleasure by living in truth and love.
Next, he said we would get mercy. One of the definitions of mercy is to have the providence of God. That means that God will order your steps and guide your future. He won’t just let you wander. Your life will be filled with purpose which leads to the last promise of peace. When we live in love and truth, we will also get peace in our hearts, our minds and our lives. That includes peace with others. We will be someone who gets along with others and doesn’t have to carry the weight of stressful relationships because there’s no peace between you. God wants to give us these three blessings if we will simply live in truth and love.