Friday, January 10, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Blessings

Unblocking Your Blessings
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” 
– James 1:17 (NKJV)

A few decades ago, my wife and I were preparing dinner for a holiday feast at our house. The garbage disposal stopped working and the kitchen sink would not drain.

I opened our phone book, searching for the number of a plumber. I called several, but it was a holiday. We had several hours before guests would arrive, but we also had a lot more work to do.

As desperation set in I prayed for a solution. I was impressed to look at the pipes under the sink. I did. It looked simple enough to tinker with. So, I used a bucket to empty the sink. We located and turned off the breaker to the garbage disposal and began to loosen the screws that attached the lower pipe to the garbage disposal.

I kept the bucket nearby. Once the pipe was free, I was surprised to see that rice and grease had congealed and created a clog. Once the pipe was cleared and reattached the water from the sink could, once again, flow freely.

The lesson in that experience is that some table scraps should not be put in the garbage disposal. Similarly, there is detritus in our lives that congeal and block our blessings.

Wounds from our past, procrastination, overwhelming stress, lethargy, poor financial habits, bad choices and unsavory input, are chief among the things that block the flow of blessings into our lives. Because we are spiritual conduits, a corollary effect of being blocked is that the blessings that might have flowed through us to others does not happen.

When our portals of divine flow are blocked, our reservoirs can become putrid. Our peace becomes irritable. Our perspectives become narrow, personally myopic and defensively offensive to others. Our generosity becomes burdensome. Our bodies ache, inexplicably. We may gain weight. High blood pressure and pre-diabetes become realities. Physical movement becomes tedious.

The corrosive and corroding effects of stress create an internal stagnation that becomes evident externally, often through a depressed affect and profane or aggressive speech.

Many scriptural stories share the reality that biblical heroes often experienced blockage in their lives. Joseph’s dreams required betrayal and adversity in order to mature. Daniel often experienced delay and frustration as he sought to understand the visions that God had given to him. Jeremiah was confirmed in his calling yet he was often depressed because he was not accepted among his peer prophets. Gideon was afraid to follow his calling because it would incite conflict. He would never have seen freedom, if he had not acted on his inspiration.

So, how do you unblock your life so that you can experience the blessed flowing of divine communion and purposed filled living? I offer to you the steps that I practice. Let me iterate that I practice them often because I have not perfected the perpetuation of flow. I still get blocked.

When I recognize that I am spiritually clogged, I resort to the following list:

1. Assess your primary relationships (Peter 3:5-7)

2. Pray for focused guidance (Daniel 2:17-19)

3. Stop wasting time (1 Peter 4:1-7)

4. Exercise your body in fresh air (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

5. Exercise your mind by reading something wholesome instead of watching TV (Romans 12:2)

6. Play because play incites motion and creativity (Zechariah 8:1-5)

7. Execute optimism (Luke 17:5-6)

8. Fix your finances (Romans 13:8 and Philippians 4:19)

9. Pick one major thing that you want to do and pursue it (Psalm 37:4)

10. Do something good for someone else (Hebrews 13:16)

Perhaps in my writing devotionals for this blog later on this year, I will expound on each of the 10 steps above. But for now, take this list, assess your position and implement the process. In my experience, you will begin to break the clog.

Mark this date on your calendar. When you realize that you have regained connection with the source from which all blessings flow and you are flowing again, mark that date as well.

Then share your success story. Your testimony will encourage others to follow your example. Imagine how the world could change if your success influenced five other people to do what you did and each of them influenced five more people!

It would create a ripple effect that is endless and blessings would abound!

Don’t delay, practice these principles today and ask God to help you unblock your blessings.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md. 

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

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