Blessed

One of my wife’s and my favorite Bible passages is commonly known as the “Aaronic Blessing,” “Aaronic Benediction,” or “Priestly Blessing.” If you have a religious heritage based in Judaism or a liturgical Christian denomination, such as Methodist or Episcopalian, you have certainly heard it pronounced over the congregation by the rabbi or pastor, usually at the end of the service:

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:
‘The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you;

The Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.’

So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” Numbers 6:22-27

I feel led of the Holy Spirit to unpack this passage and others to explore just what it means to be blessed by God.
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Racism

For those of you who haven’t read my bio here at Miscellaneous Ramblings, I was born in El Paso, Texas, in addition to my mother, her sister, and my half-sister. I spent my childhood and tween years there departing for Northern California with my parents as an early teenager. I later returned as an adult after I was honorably discharged from the US Army in 1975, spending the next 4 years there before heading back west to Norcal.

Just prior to my leaving El Paso that final time, I lived in the Cielo Vista Apartments complex immediately next door to Cielo Vista Mall where the recent mass shooting took place. I’ve lost count of the hours I’ve spent in that mall, especially at a location of the now-defunct Farrell’s ice cream parlor chain.

I think it safe to say my roots run deep in the the Pass of the North, so this recent mass shooting there hit really close to home for me.
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Freed From Shame!

I’ve touched on this topic in passing in several articles here at Miscellaneous Ramblings, but I felt this needed a more thorough treatment to establish the Scriptural foundation for my teachings on this. We’ll start with a quote from Romans:

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. Romans 8:1-13

This passage has been misinterpreted for years to abuse and shame believers, to make things all about their own performance, rather than them looking to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

Actually, Romans 8 is nowhere speaking about carnal Christians. People who teach otherwise have a lamentable tendency to blow right past verse 9 as if it wasn’t there:

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. Romans 8:9

As you can see, those being referred to as “in the flesh” are the unsaved, not believers.
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