The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.
Proverbs 10:22 (NLT)
Sometimes the blessings of the Lord come when we least expect them. And sometimes, when they come in ways that we do not expect, we can miss them entirely. We have just received one of those blessings. Last week Ken and I did a photo shoot for a breeder in Georgia, and we were paid with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy. Now, you need a little background info to understand the depth of blessing this is for me in particular.
We have a dog – a big dog. Her name is Mandy and she is a mix between a Standard Poodle and a Rottweiler, like I said, big dog. We’ve had her for about five years and she is a gem of a dog. But, really, she is the boys’ dog – or I should say, the boys are her people. She, too, was a gift and blessing from the Lord, but that’s another story.
I grew up with small dogs. I love to cuddle and play and have the companionship of a small dog. I was looking for a small dog when we got Mandy. But Mandy was the perfect dog for our family at the time, so what I wanted was put on hold for the time being. That was okay; I know to trust the Lord’s timing and provision as right and perfect. But, every now and again, I would look online or stop by the humane society and just dream and hope for my dog.
Last spring we were walking in town and came across a family who raises Springer Spaniels. One puppy in particular captured my heart. Ken offered to do a trade with this family but it just didn’t work out at the time. I was pretty disappointed, but kept on trusting in Yahweh’s timing and provision. Through this process Ken learned of my desire for a small dog and didn’t forget it. And just a couple of weeks ago, through a mutual friend and fellow photographer, he was contacted by this wonderful breeder, Holly Crumley, in Georgia to see if he would like to do a trade.
Within a week we were in Georgia, had an amazing day of photographing Holly’s dogs and puppies and kennel and some of her husband’s bird dogs, too. Holly and her staff spoiled us while we were there and we had a great time. And as if that were not blessing enough, we also got to meet Granger for the first time in person and bring him home with us. What a treasure this little guy is!
Blessings upon blessings! I have my little puppy (who absolutely everyone loves!), we got to spend time with my family in Atlanta, and we now have some amazing new friends at Cavaliers by Crumley! And they have some amazing photos of their dogs and their facilities. (In case you didn’t know it already, my husband is an amazing photographer and artist. There’s a link to his work here on my blog if you would like to check it out.)
Yahweh delights in giving His children good gifts. He longs to shower us with the things that fill our lives to the brim. And yet, His primary purpose in giving us gifts is to woo us into an intimate relationship with Him. He desires our attention and adoration and love. Even when we reject Him or replace Him with other things and turn attention away from Him, He continues to woo us, to draw us to Himself. Because He knows what is best for us. He is, after all, the One Who created us and designed us for His purposes!
“O Israel,” says the Lord,
“if you wanted to return to me, you could.
You could throw away your detestable idols
and stray away no more.
Then when you swear by my name, saying,
‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness.
Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world,
and all people would come and praise my name.”
This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Plow up the hard ground of your hearts!
Do not waste your good seed among thorns.
O people of Judah and Jerusalem,
surrender your pride and power.
Change your hearts before the Lord,
or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire
because of all your sins.
Jeremiah 4:1-4 (NLT)
I love that verse, “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.” It takes me to the parable Jesus spoke to the people in Matthew 13:3-8, Mark 4:3-20, and Luke 8:5-8. Footpath. Shallow soil with underlying rock. Among thorns. Fertile soil. We can see ourselves in each of these conditions at one time or another. But in Jeremiah, God clearly says we are responsible plow up that hard ground. How do we do that? He tells us that, too. “Surrender your pride and power.” Faith requires surrender. We turn from our own reasoning and abilities and power, and we accept the gift He offers.
There is nothing we can do to earn His love or His salvation. He has provided everything for our salvation through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. The same is true in every area of growth in our walk of faith. It is the dying to our self that empowers us with His life. It is either Him or me. It is not a mix of both. “Surrender your pride and power.” As I surrender, His life flows through me. As you surrender, His life flows through you.
Have you ever wondered what walking in faith and the blessing of Yahweh looks like? I love the way Isaiah describes it. There are rich promises in this passage, I hope you will dig deep and discover them for yourself – and walk in the blessing of Yahweh all the days of your life!
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations.
Foreigners will be your servants.
They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
and tend your vineyards.
You will be called priests of the Lord,
ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
and boast in their riches.
Instead of shame and dishonor,
you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your
land, and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice.
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
the Lord has blessed.”
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
or a bride with her jewels.
The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations
of the world.
Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
with plants springing up everywhere.
Isaiah 61:2-11 (NLT)