Expanding the Ideas:
Below extends the ideas above in the form of sermon notes. This post is is not written eloquently. But I hope it still blesses you.
When we enter into Jesus, we have a new destiny that is assured. In this new paradigm, suffering is the start point of Redemption, which begins the wheels of Restoration in due time. Your story now becomes an integral part to serve His purpose to show His glory and redeem the world. But, in the process, you will not be lost in the shuffle. He is a loving Father. Upon His shoulders, His purpose for the world and also for you come to pass. In the process, Grace and Mercy starts to create the redemption and restoration for you.
unpacking REDEMPTION: if the world isn’t giving you a chance, you could be more favored than you know. Because Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving same (Gen 50:20).
unpacking God’s type of RESTORATION: its tending towards wholeness in all areas of life: it has 2 stages (Jer 29:11-13).
Stage ONE: Your SPIRIT is changed in substance. Your identity is a Child of God, apart from your character, personality and attributes.
Stage TWO: Spending time as a favored child of God leads to transformation in the four other areas that make up LIFE (sozo), as you attract Grace (Hesed) and Mercy.
- HEART / SOUL
- SOCIAL FAVOR
How do you know your RESTORATION is from God, as opposed to something you worked for by yourself? When the spirit is not transformed enough, the blessings tend to become objects of worship, which creates a vicious cycle with our undeniable sin nature. The blessings then do not lead to complete peace, joy or thankfulness.
You know the restoration is from God:
When the blessings do not lead to sorrow.
When we feel we have more than enough – we are not enslaved to always have more.
When we are generous with every type of blessing that you have.
When God blesses your HEART, you will have natural empathy for others suffering because you see Jesus in them; regardless of their social status or present situation.
When God blesses your MIND, you are generous with knowledge. You will give people what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. You will want to give other children of God “level up” type of advice.
When God blesses your BODY, you can help others with physical tasks.
When God blesses you with SOCIAL favor and acceptance, you want to help other people by lifting them up, invest time with them to help them develop, and connecting them with others as well.
When God blesses your FINANCES, you will be willing to give abundantly. You will sow more for the Kingdom than just for yourself.
At any time, if you find yourself fixated on maintaining and stockpiling these blessings more than seeing Jesus in everything, then you are missing out the biggest blessing that attracts the other blessings. How do you know you have the abundance in the Holy Spirit? When your journey points to Jesus, and to God’s glory, you are part of God’s purpose on earth. On a personal level, when you have vision of all that Jesus represents, submerged in the Gospel, interacting with Grace, Mercy, Wisdom and Favor, the other blessings will flow.
“Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Mark 4:25
Even many bible teachers miss out the deeper meaning of the verse. If you don’t have, how can what you have be taken away? Hence, it is not talking about the blessing. It is the knowledge and experience of grace through the Gospel. When one relies on God’s grace, blessings come. (See Abraham, also see 2 Cor 8 and 9). And when we realize we got a promotion in life due to grace, we fall in love with the Giver even more (Luke 7:47, 1 John 4:19). When one wants to earn their own standing with God through their own self-righteousness, God sees it all as dirty rags (Is 64:6) and we are susceptible to the curse of the world (Math 16:19-24). The more we use our own human effort to horde the blessings, the blessings may very well turn out to be rubbish (Ecc 5:13-17). The more we align our hearts with God by keeping our eyes of Jesus, the more those blessings become true blessings. We see that what could have been blessings are not blessings because of the “thing” itself. For example, controlled fire is a great blessing, but fire can also burn you. Money can do a lot of great things in the world; but it can also turn people against you. Hence, what is the “filter” that makes blessings become blessings, and not curses? It’s Grace through Jesus.
“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.They will come in and go out, and find pasture.” John 10:9
Amazing, isn’t He? Beautiful, isn’t He? This passage was talking about how the devil comes to destroy but Jesus gives Life (zoe). I’ve seen too many people that underestimate the saving power of Jesus. By going through Jesus, we are not going from an area of no pasture to better environment. The Word says that even the dark place you came from, when you go back, it will no longer be dark! Jesus is the filter that can turn any curse into blessing. On the flip side, naturalistic experience has shown me that the world is such that we gravitate to things we think are blessings, only to find out there are very underwhelming.
Suffering is the start point of Redemption, which begins the wheels of Restoration in due time. Only Jesus can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victory. What a wonderful Savior.