Christi Gabhart reflects on “blessings” and how God uses his word to prepare our hearts for His blessings, and how that transforms us.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Not so the wicked!
    They are like chaff
    that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Blessed. What comes to mind when you think of the word blessed or think of being blessed? Do you think ‘happy, fortunate, lucky, life is good, God is good’? Eugene Peterson’s book titled Answering God points to the first word of Psalm 1, Blessed, and describes ‘blessed’ in a concept of a “directional antenna, a mind-set for picking up signals we would otherwise miss.”

We are blessed

When we pray for God’s will to be done in our lives, what are we getting into? What should our approach be with the unknown we are seeking and asking for? According to Peterson, “Apprehension will make us cautious, crippled for taking risks, if risks need to be taken. Stoic dutifulness will make us heavy-footed, clumsy in the dance, if a dance is scheduled. The blessed arouses expectation, a readiness for a more that is also a good. We don’t know the contents of the Blessed, or the difficulties, how could we? We are not there yet – but we sense that we are entering a way on which we will become more our true selves, not less, not other. The anticipation of being blessed works changes in us that make us capable of being blessed.”

Wow

Wow

For us personally, we return Blessed from a short time in the states focused on family and friends, and ourselves, to the ministry work God has called us to, with our “directional antennas” up and a mind-set to pick up signals we might otherwise miss. We return Blessed with a readiness to see what God will reveal to us. We certainly feel an expectation to learn the contents of the Blessed and we anticipate the way God will impact our lives to become, step by step, more our true selves.

One story we have enjoyed sharing with the people we were blessed to be around during the past two weeks is about Regis Joseph, nicknamed Felix, who is on the Haitian staff with MH and serves as a security guard on the Many Hands campus.

Felix

Late one Saturday afternoon, Felix was on duty keeping watch over the campus. He heard some commotion and discovered a stray dog had made his way onto the grounds and was attacking a resident goat that was part of the MH goat program. You can imagine the desperate yelps that could be heard as the dog was winning the battle. In the midst of the scuttle Felix had an eye on the dog, reached to pick up a rock from the ground, and with ONE attempt, ’fired’ the rock and successfully hit the target, the dog’s head. With the sound of the last YELP, the ordeal was over. The result… a dead goat AND a dead dog.

Many Hands Goats

Continuing on with Eugene Peterson’s commentary of Psalm 1…Torah, law, God’s Word, a noun derived from a verb, yarah, that means to throw something, let’s say a rock, so that it hits its mark. “Torah is God’s words that hits its mark, hits the target of the human condition.” Can you picture Felix’s rock hitting the mark, the target, the dog that attacked the goat? “God’s word has this aimed, intentional, personal nature. When we are spoken to in this way, piercingly and penetratingly, we are not the same. These words get inside us and work their meaning in us.” Peterson wants to convey this truth, God’s word speaks to us, addresses us. “We learn that all God’s words have this characteristic: they are Torah and we are the target. God’s words, each one creating and saving words, HIT us where we live. These are words we take in, words designed for shaping new life in us. If we murmur and mumble the words, hear and rehear these words as we sound them again, the sounds of the words have the power to sink in to our muscles and bones.”

God show’s Himself everywhere

As we re-enter our particular mission field with a renewed focus on God’s word, using the Psalms as tools for prayer, we are primed to concentrate on the things of God that are real and visible. Ready to be Blessed because of the opportunity for murmuring and hearing God’s words that hit the mark and shape our lives. Let the words from Psalms, the prayer book of the bible, be real to you to touch you, train you, give you directive.

BLESSED!!!

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