The Gift of BlessingBy Dan Vis
November 23, 2020
I've posted this week's memo before, but it seemed appropriate to share it again--as many of us will be spending time with family this week for Thanksgiving, either in person or by video. And especially after such a divisive election filled with so much harsh, unchristlike rhetoric. While it primarily focuses on parenting, extending the gift of blessing to everyone we can, may just help bring a small bit of healing to our hurting world...
Every Christian parent wants to see their children grow up to become strong, committed believers. And there is a raging debate about what type of discipline will best contribute to that outcome. But I believe there is an even more fundamental principle, and that is the power of blessing.
The very first thing God did to Adam and Eve was to bless them (Genesis 1:28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.). Similarly, the first thing God did after the flood was to bless Noah and his sons (Genesis 9:1And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.). He blessed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and each in turn blessed their children. Often these blessings were specific to the characteristics of each child.
Later, through Moses, God gave specific instructions on how to bless the children of Israel, and why it was important:
On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:23-2723 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
In the New Testament, the Father pronounced a special blessing on Jesus at his baptism. And Jesus in turn began His most famous sermon, the sermon on the mount, with a series of blessings. He also made it a regular practice to take up little children in His arms and bless them (Luke 2:28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,, Mark 10:16And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.). In fact, this act was so important to Jesus, that He rebuked His disciples when they tried to interfere.
Clearly, blessings are important!
When we bless someone, we inspire them to live richer, fuller lives. We encourage them with joy, and hope. They are motivated to seek after honor and success. There is tremendous power in our words.
Many children, long to hear words of love and approval from their parents. Some wait their whole lives, and never quite get it. When missing, it's easy to turn to unhealthy practices to fill the void. When present, a deep sense of worth and value fills the hearts, and children are more free to live with confidence and purpose.
How do we bless? Look for little opportunities to affirm your children. Here are some ideas:
Acknowledge an ability or talent:
"You are quite gifted. I could see you becoming a great..."
"You did a great job on that. I really like the way you..."
Express love and affection
"You bring so much joy into my life. Thank you for..."
"You are such a special child. I love the way you..."
Show confidence and commitment
"I believe in you. You are going to do well on..."
"I really want you to succeed. I'm here to help you with..."
Let them know you pray for them
"I prayed for you today. I asked God to..."
"I'll be sure to pray for you while you are..."
"That's quite a step you've taken. I am proud of you for..."
"This is really big. We should celebrate how you..."
There are other ways to bless our children as well. Little gifts. An arm around the shoulder. Spending time doing some activity together, or just listening to them talk. Anything that communicates value, honor, and love can be meaningful. But words of blessing are especially important.
Of course, we must learn to do this consistently. We can't send mixed messages to our children: "Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:10Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.). Even in discipline, we can speak words of affirmation. It can be done in love, and with patience--rather than in anger, out of irritation. We can communicate honor and confidence--rather than insults and shaming words. The law of blessing should govern our words at all times.
According to Proverbs, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof" (Proverbs 18:21Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.). "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health" (Proverbs 12:18There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.). "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.). Because of the close tie between parents and children, our words have more impact on them than anyone else. By learning to bless our children, we can speak life, health, and even salvation into their hearts. Learn to use this incredible gift.
CommentsIn what ways did your parents communicate blessings to you? Share a memorable example. How do you communicate blessings to your children? How do they respond? Share a note in the comments below.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/28/20|
|You are very welcome Dinah. Learning to bless others can make such a difference, esp if our natural tendency is to do the opposite. I wish you all the best as you experiment with this in your family!|
|Posted by JoAnn Moon on 11/23/20|
|Shamillia what a beautiful testimony to the power for blessing! It is such a gift to grow up in a home like that. Thank you for sharing. Words of affirmation and blessing can change lives.|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/18/19|
|This is an area I think we can all grow in Emmanuel. The more we see the potential in people, the more we want to encourage and bless them...|
|Posted by Emmanuel Ajiroghene on 11/18/19|
|I ask for forgiveness from God for all I have done wrong in this regards. I pray for more grace to apply the wonderful blessings this memo revealed tonight.
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/13/19|
|Glad this was a blessing to you Carla! Stay out of the cold if you can. :)|
|Posted by Carla Phillips on 11/13/19|
|I am going to try to print this out . And hand out. Thank you. Hoping it gets warm here in NC, but cold is here to stay, 30's today :(|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 11/11/19|
|You are absolutely right Valerie, it's not just our children is it? We can learn to bless everyone we interact with. :)|
|Posted by Valerie Wise Burrell on 11/11/19|
This is a very important message. I pray that I can bless my adult children along with my grandchildren with words of affirmation and always love. I hope that I can do that with whomever I communicate.
|Posted by Cathy Albert on 11/11/19|
|Thank you for sharing this information. It is hard to discipline children differently from the way I grew up. I thank the Bible for showing the information about how to raise a child.|
|Posted by Pamela Kendall on 04/08/17|
|I don't have children to bless... except my nieces and nephew which I don't see real often - but I think these principles could be used on others I come in contact with. Everyone can benefit from encouragement - letting them know you believe in them, etc...
I think as a child I mostly just deflected compliments or minimized them because I thought it was proud to just accept them with thanks or that we were supposed to give God the glory and not take it to ourselves. I think sometimes parents think they will foster pride in their children if they affirm them too much. I know I remember hearing that you don't want to let a child know how cute you think their antics are because it will make them proud or make them try to be cute to get attention.
When I first read this post the verses you quoted ( Numbers 6:23-2723 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them. ) complimented a verse I had recently memorized ( Psalms 42:11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. ) or rather more specifically its near cousin ( Psalms 42:5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. ) and started a train of thought that led to a wonderful scripture meditation session with many great connections to other verses - it was hard to stop and go to bed! Thanks for sharing God's word - God's word is blessing!
One question Dan : I'm a little confused on where to find the old/former Monday memos after the new site reorganization... is there an easy way to find them that I have overlooked?
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/28/17|
|Glad this was a blessing Lisa! Always good to hear from you.
Praise God for great Grandma's, Jackie! One of the main reasons I'm a believer today is a praying grandma. :)
|Posted by Lisa West on 03/28/17|
|Dan I really enjoyed this Monday Memo. What a wonderful message for parents both young and old; young because they're starting out and old because it's never too late to change. Blessings!|
|Posted by Deanna Dekle on 03/15/17|
|Dan, I'll look. I copied it down. I believe it came from Education|
|Posted by Dan Vis on 03/15/17|
|So many great testimonies. And for those that had more difficult experiences, it is encouraging to know others stepped in to provide that support we needed. Truly God takes us up when mother and father are not there for us. Psalms 27:10When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up..
I love your post Deanna, about your child saying he felt you saw him as a saint, even though he wasn't quite there yet. So important to see our children through God's eyes, isn't it? And your quote about gentle loving drawing our children, vs harshness chasing them away--so true. Would love the actual quote if anyone stumbles across it.
|Posted by Shanthi Solomon on 03/14/17|
|I knew love through action and word. I was encouraged to develop talents that were discovered, kissed and hugged even when not required and blessed every morning. There was always a sermon (inclusive of bible texts - Proverbs 29:17Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul., Proverbs 3:12For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth., Proverbs 22:6Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it., Proverbs 13:24He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes. etc) that accompanied the few spankings we got. My parents were never too busy to be involved in any project that my Sister and I decided was important as children. I miss them|
|Posted by Marion Coppock on 03/13/17|
|We faithfully kept the Sabbath, even when we were isolated and couldn't go to church, discipline was firm and with love. We worked and played together. There was no doubt in my mind that my parents loved us.|
|Posted by Lionel on 03/13/17|
|My father loved me, I am in no doubt, but I never heard it from his lips. So since birth by children have be reassured not just through the every-day role of parenting, but especially verbally that I love them. Now they are grown this has not ceased. Correspondence to my adult daughter always ends with “I love you, Precious” and I will not end a telephone call or visit with either of my adult sons without the phrase, “I love you, Son”. Of course I know how vital it is to share more than words, and I endeavour to do that too, but although we all know that words can hurt (James 3:5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!), we are inclined to forget that words can heal. Words of affirmation, assurance and genuine praise can be like a blood transfusion to a weak heart. Mark Twain once said, "I could live two months on a good compliment." A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver (Proverbs 25:11A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.). At www.lrhartley.com/selfesteem there are some free resources to help build up the self esteem of our children.
Blessing our children is not the same as being a blessing to them. For example, we can even be a blessing to our children by what we don’t do (Ephesians 6:4And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord., Colossians 3:21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.), but to intentionally pray and pronounce a blessing upon a child is an act of intimacy that can draw a child closer to you as a parent and closer to God (Remember it is God’s blessing that we are both wishing upon them, and as His representatives – knowing how God loves to give good gifts to His children – we are boldly enabled to pronounce or proclaim that blessing. So I prayerfully proclaim not just to my children and grandchildren, but also to my spouse and readers of this comment, “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-2624 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.).
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