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With Open Arms
Theme of the Week: Fueled by God's Blessings
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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Key Bible Verses: "I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one." (John 17:20-21)

Dig Deeper: John 17

The last episode of the Gospel of Luke first plunged me into the quest to uncover the deep meaning of blessing in the Bible. I kept feeling that though I had read it many times before, I had never truly seen it:

"Then [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God" (Luke 24:50-53, ESV).

I love this image of the risen Jesus raising his hands over his disciples. Just a few weeks earlier, his loving arms had been stretched wide in agony on the cross. Now he lifted them freely in a gesture of full, hearty [blessing]. He opened his palms toward them. The nail prints were still there. But no deathly power now bound him. Jesus gave them a final, full-bodied message of assurance before returning to heaven. The moment would linger in their memories. It would energize their mission for him through the years. They would live from Jesus's blessing as they brought the news of his gospel to the ends of the world.

—Gerrit Dawson in The Blessing Life

My Response: When was a time I experienced the assurance and blessing of Christ in a life-changing way?

Thought to Apply: We are never nearer [to] Christ than when we find ourselves lost in a holy amazement at his unspeakable love.—John Owen(British theologian, pastor, administrator)

Adapted from The Blessing Life by Gerrit Dawson (IVP, 2013) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Lord, please help me not to be distracted by false definitions of blessing, but instead, to live fully in the reality that true blessing is found in a deepening relationship with you.

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