Recently, I experienced a situation on the interstate in which I really had to reach for my big girl jeans.
I was stuck in traffic. It was standstill and a tractor trailer had flipped, blocking the entire interstate. On a curve, and on a hill. Cars were creeping slower than Christmas, and it. was. terrible.
We waited for 30 minutes (at min), we had a full car as I was on the way home from school pick-up, and I believe everyone in the car had to use the restroom except those wearing diapers. I was about to sprout some real tears.
I saw the man next to me flip several cigarettes out his window as we waited. I saw him throw up his hands in anger, so high I could probably smell his armpits, then grab his cell phone.
"What a jerk, no patience" I said and thought- and I was soon rebuked by my oldest.
I was inwardly judgmental, but I was honestly just as angry as he was, and replace "Diet Coke" with "Cigarette" and I was doing the same thing as him. :0) Not to mention I had had a spinked drink the night before, which means I was probably overtired and needed caffeine more than I would normally!
Amidst the crazy, I prayed and asked God to give us patience. People were screaming in my car and not in a cheerful, elf-y way. Despite what you might think, I did actually feel patience amidst the humility. I think it is all the fresh air I have been getting recently. I felt God's peace and his blessing.
Asking for peace in the midst of the bustle of this busiest of seasons is a wise move, I think. :)
And it made me wonder.
Who does God bless?
Is it true, the saying, "God helps those who help themselves?"
I think a better and more biblical phrase would be (not that I'm a master of the Bible):
"God blesses the poor in spirit." #humility What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means we are honest about our shortcomings, mistakes, and weaknesses (idols, even). It means we aren't self-righteous even though many- including our leaders- are shockingly arrogant. It means we are seeking God's spirit- his love, joy, peace...
So, in this Advent season, let's take a minute to reflect... God blesses those who:
1. Keep his commandments
We have a way in which to walk. It is found in his commands. And a higher law, the law of love and gospel of peace is found in the Beatitudes. Need a refresher? And here is quite a beautiful Bible for sale!
2. Truly believe
The season is magical only if you truly believe that Jesus is the Son of God, born to man, died on a cross, rose again (truly!) and is coming back. He is the Savior of the world, and he came to set us free from sin.
3. Live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God
Tremendous blessing will come if you surrender your entire life over to his teachings. Gotta problem? The Bible has something to say about it. Start by reading the Psalms and Proverbs every morning or every night before bed.
4. Live generously
People who are truly happy- the happiest- in my book are people who are willing to live their life for others. Give it away... be creative, but share your ideas and gifts with others. This is the joy and magic of the season-- everyone is thinking about what everyone else wants! Right? Right? :)
5. Pray and ask earnestly - and with faith- for blessing
If you're really stuck in a rut and jealousy is the name of your primary game, I think it is good to share that once, I was there. For me, it was wanting to get married in my twenties. I prayed for a husband and I'm not kidding, by the next Spring we were dating steadily. But I had to really believe! I prayed with faith that he would answer that specific prayer! And he did!
6. Are educated in the ways of God
All in all, the Bible is where we start, but we need to understand the deeper meaning to the commandments and never beat it over others' heads. Love is a garden-- have you heard the saying, "Plant kindness, harvest love"? I know my Mom has something in her house hanging somewhere and it says that. I see that fruit in her life and I know it is because she knows and lives it. (and has real faith)
7. God blesses those who love."
He loves us and never shirks our cries for mercy. Believe him and love him, for he will bless you as he longs to do!
And remember that fresh air works wonders.
cross-posting at the ACWB