A Benediction

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Yesterday, Father’s Day, my children sent me words of appreciation, thanks for ‘being Dad.’ Their words are precious gifts!  They are a reminder of who am I and what I mean to my family… and others. Words are amazingly powerful, aren’t they? A caustic comment can burn a hole in my heart for days. An encouraging note can turn a hard day into a hopeful one. Are there any more beautiful words in the world than “I love you” spoken tenderly?

Moses taught the priests of Israel to speak this blessing over the people of the LORD.
The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26, NIV)

The passage ends with this, “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Numbers 6:27, NIV)  God said that by speaking those words of blessing, the people would be stamped with His identity, reminded of who they were, and thus enjoy His Presence and provisions!

Disciple, you can speak priestly blessings. That privilege is not reserved for religious professionals or ordained ministers. In Christ, we are all called to holy service, to pray for our friends, family, and neighbors; and to represent God before our world, bearing His Name and Word on us. Peter says this: “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you.”  (1 Peter 2:9)

I would not suggest that you stand in front of your office today, arms outstretched, pronouncing the benediction as your pastor may at the end of a worship gathering. They will likely assume you have lost your mind. But, you can, speak affirming words, offer hopeful words, use your words to connect the Lord of Glory to the people among whom you live.  Your life can, and should, be a source of godly blessing. Words that are dark – filled with defeat, criticism, offense, pride, jealousy, and unbelief – are abundant. We all fall into the trap of speaking those kinds of words like a curse over others.

Let’s pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit to change us, inside out, so that we pour out sincere words that bring the light and life of Christ Jesus to others.  We can, we should, we will! This Monday ask God to make you His priest, putting His Name on others, teaching them to know Him richly.

Our word from the Word is a caution from James, followed by an affirmation of the Psalm. May you know the wisdom of God and live in it this day. Amen

“The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it?” (James 3:7-8, The Message)

I will praise the Lord, and everyone on earth will bless his holy name forever and forever. (Psalm 145:21, NLT)

________

Abba, You have gifted me with Your love, with rich grace.
Teach me this day to gift my world with words of blessing.
Secure my heart in You so that the overflow of my heart
will be true praise, honorable thoughts;
that reflect my true identity that is found in You.

Jesus, thank you for the privilege of representing You,
as a holy priest.  Equip me that I will do it well, for the glory of God. Amen

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