Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

According to Plan

by Richard Griffiths

Blessed are You, O Lord! Teach me Your statutes.
Psalm 119:12, NKJV

At first it isn’t obvious, is it, why the psalmist connects God being blessed with Him teaching him His statutes. I’ll explain.

I’ve just finished making new shelves for our garage. Members of our family had given me enough money for my birthday, so that I could buy all the timber I needed. I carefully measured the space available and some of the larger things that would need to be stored on or under the shelves. Then I drew a plan. I went down to the timber-merchant with my measurements and watched while they used their amazing big saw to cut the timber exactly to size. Back at home I spent a couple of days putting it all together, measuring and marking out exactly where each bit had to go. I felt so pleased when everything fitted just as I had planned: every shelf horizontal and every supporting post vertical. Good job well done!

God has a plan, a blueprint, for our lives: His ‘statutes’. It can mean ‘boundaries’, God’s prescribed limits. My plans showed exactly the size and design of each part of my shelves. Go beyond the limits drawn on my plans, and nothing would fit – they would wobble, and even if they didn’t, things wouldn’t fit into the spaces where they were meant to go. I would have looked at the finished product and would have felt pretty disappointed.

When we live according to God’s laws, He looks at us and is blessed by what He sees – rather like me looking at my shelves and feeling so pleased that everything had gone to plan. You see, blessing God isn’t just a matter of singing worship songs; it’s more a matter of living according to His plan. As Samuel said to Saul, ‘To obey is better than sacrifice’ (1 Samuel 15:22). I may seek to bless God with a ‘sacrifice of praise’ (Hebrews 13:15), but what really blesses Him is a life submitted to His will.

And that only comes when we allow Him, by His Spirit, to teach us His statutes. We may learn a lot from listening to good teaching, reading books and studying the Bible. But it is only Holy Spirit who brings that deep inner conviction of the truth that enables us to live the kind of life that blesses our Heavenly Father.

What’s more, we can bless and thank God for giving us His statutes, because, in keeping them, we walk a path of blessing.

Prayer: Father, thank You so much that You have a plan for my life. I’m really sorry for the times when I’ve thought I knew better than You and have gone my own way. I’m telling You now that I want to bless You, not just by what I say but by how I live. So, I’m asking You, by Your Spirit, to show me Your way of blessing today. Amen.

Richard Griffiths When Richard retired from full-time Anglican ministry in Chichester in 2009, he and his wife, Sue, moved to Northumberland. He joined the ministry team at Ellel Grange in 2011, where he and Sue regularly ministered at healing retreats. They are now helping on the "Explore" team. They greatly enjoy walking their Golden Retriever dog in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and along the coast. Richard loves seeing God bringing people into a strong personal relationship with Him as their Father and the healing that comes with it.

 

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