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Blessed 2

'Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial.' James 1:12 NIV

When we think of blessings, we usually think of the good things we have now: family, friends, a job, our financial situation, or just a feeling of everything working out and falling into place. The reality is that blessings occur in our times of pain, suffering, loss, illness, poverty and persecution too. We may, and do, ask: 'Where's the blessing in that?'

In the 'Sermon on the Mount' (in Matthew 5-7), we read the Beatitudes. It's Jesus listing the people deemed blessed - but in a seemingly 'upside down' way. It's the people who are humble, at the end of their rope, facing persecution and under trial, not those who are successful, famous and rich. Here are a couple of the people Jesus mentioned: 'Humble men are very fortunate!" [Jesus] told them, "for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them' (Matthew 5:3 TLB); and 'God blesses those people who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the Kingdom of Heaven' (Matthew 5:10 CEV).

We're blessed, even when we least feel it, because it means we are growing closer to God. The Bible says: 'Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him' (James 1:12 NIV).

So what now? Give thanks to God that you are blessed, even in the messy and tricky times of everyday life. Give thanks that your blessings aren't material things, or even about other people; they're about you and God.

Soulfood: 2 Sam 12 2 Sam 13 2 Sam 14:1-20 John 2:12-25 Ps 89: 1-14 Pro 23:10-14,

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