---From the Pastors Study November 2019

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2-3 NIV)

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

As we have begun the fall season, the leaves in the trees are beginning to change colors, revealing the beauty of God’s creation. We will soon be celebrating Thanksgiving and offering our thanks to God for the many blessings in our lives. But what do we do with the blessings we have
received? Are they meant just to enrich our lives, or do they have a greater purpose?

As most of you know, Mark Batterson is my favorite author and he has recently released his latest book titled, Double Blessing (How to Get It, How to Give It). Mark discovered something several years ago that began with a simple experiment. Whenever he received a blessing, he would give a similar blessing away. If someone paid him a compliment or gave him a gift or went out of their way to help him, he would return the favor by doing something similar for someone else.

He calls it “flipping the blessing” and states that “we flip the blessing by blessing others the way God has blessed us. That’s how the blessing become a double blessing. It turns giving into a game – one we can’t win because God will always out-give us! It’s an ancient truth found within the
Abrahamic covenant: ‘I will bless you … and you will be a blessing.’” (From the back cover of Double Blessing)

As I have begun reading this book and as I have reflected on the many blessings in my life, I have realized that even when some things are difficult, God is still good and wants to bless us.

There will always be challenges and trials in life. The Apostle Paul certainly faced many difficult situations, including persecutions, shipwreck, even stoning, but he could still write, “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV) We live in the most prosperous nation on earth and have so much for which to be thankful.
We have the choice every day to be thankful or to be critical and bitter. I choose to give thanks in all circumstances!

I have shared before how I was once in a Bible study with a group of men, one of whom was a lawyer. When a need arose for a family who came to the church I was serving at that time, I shared it with the Bible study group. This lawyer reached into his wallet and handed me $200.00 and when I questioned why he was doing this he responded that he had been greatly blessed and it was not his money, it was God’s money. He understood the concept of the double blessing.

As you prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I propose that you conduct this same simple experiment of flipping the blessing. Whenever God blesses you, do something similar for someone else. Keep a thanksgiving journal in which you write down how God has blessed you and what you are doing with those blessings. Discover how you can be double blessed, how you are blessed to be a blessing. Then, come join us in worship each Sunday as we give praise to God together for His many blessings in our lives every day.

Blessed to Be a Blessing!
Pastor John