It Starts with the Heart – Blessed

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During the weekend service, Lead Pastor Ben Snyder stepped into our new series titled, Blessed. We could all use some blessings in 2021, and he believes that God wants to bless our lives. After an unusually difficult 2020, the idiom “hindsight is 20/20” now seems like an oxymoron!

Jeremiah 17:7
But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

This is the theme verse for the Blessed series. The challenge for us is knowing what blessed really means. We all have different ideas and images of its significance—money, success, health, beauty, friends, family, etc. The dictionary defines blessed as “made holy; given divine protection; bring pleasure or relief.” In the Bible, Jeremiah gives us this wonderful illustration.

Jeremiah 17:8
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

No matter what happens in 2021, be it drought or prosperity, God wants us to experience a blessed life, and we can experience his blessings no matter the circumstance. Over the next few weeks of this new series, Pastor Ben will be sharing how that’s possible. This weekend, we started the conversation with a principle that comes from Jesus.

Luke 6:37-38
37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.” 38 Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

Verse 37 sounds like karma, or you reap (receive/gather) what you sow (give/plant), and verse 38’s subject matter has often been mistaken for money. These verses go much deeper—the principle Jesus is discussing is our hearts. Whatever your heart is full of, it gives, and what you give, you will receive. If your heart is judging others, you will be judged. If your heart is condemning others, you will be condemned. If your heart is full of forgiveness, you will be forgiven. If your heart is full of blessings, you will be blessed.

This brings us to our Bottom Line: A blessed life STARTS with the HEART.

So, how do we develop a blessed heart? That is exactly what Ben shared with us this weekend and what we will be looking at for the next four days in the LivingItOut. As we start this new year, take a look at your heart and see what it is full of, what it is giving, and what steps you need to take to develop a blessed heart.

What does blessed mean to you? Does it involve physical looks, success, material things, or quality time with family and friends?

What fills your heart? Judgement? Condemnation? Forgiveness? Giving?

Next Steps:
Reread Luke 6:37-38, and apply these verses to your own heart. Consider  the principle of sowing and reaping—expect whatever fills your heart back in return. What are you sowing in your marriage … with your children … at your job? Take steps to remove the negativity from your heart so that you can begin experiencing a blessed life.

21 Days of Prayer:
Day 1 Focus – To Come Close to God (James 4:8)

Dear God, you have promised if I draw near to you, you will draw near to me. I need more of your presence today. I am drawing near to you through prayer, worship, and your Word. I open my heart to you and ask you to be near to me, growing me to be more like you.

This post was written by Jennifer Macke. Jenn has a son, daughter, granddaughter, and grandson, and she thanks God every day for them. She is enjoying retirement and feels blessed to be writing for LivingItOut. She was raised in an Evangelical Church, but her spiritual life awakened when she started attending CedarCreek.

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3 replies
  1. Julie Estep
    Julie Estep says:

    Thanks for writing today Jen. I wish blessing for so many people in my life and my family. I want to spend time being a blessing. I appreciate the description of a blessing.

  2. Andy Rectenwald
    Andy Rectenwald says:

    Thanks for this, Jenn!
    “What are you sowing in your marriage … with your children … at your job?”
    I should be asking myself this question daily! I also want to ask it in my spiritual life: “What am I sowing in my relationship with God?”
    Your prayer you wrote is a great way to start asking that question.

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