I read an article about the state of the world this week that went something like this; Oil prices continue its downward spiral, the stock markets plummet and China is near ruins. World leaders tout Iran’s presence as a nuclear power while the average citizen screams at the insanity of such a notion. Wow! What an encouraging outlook! I bring this up only because I truly believe that this year will show an increasing difference between the righteous and the unrighteous; the worldview and the kingdom of God view. If I may so bold as to say it this way; as the hand of God’s blessing is withdrawn from the world scene it will become more evident on those of his kingdom. This shift has already begun as is evident in headlines around the world. What will be less evident will be the blessing shown upon the righteous. But rest assured that those blessings are going to be there. On the personal front those blessings have begun. As I have already mentioned, we are in the process of getting into a home. There has been a second vehicle added to our family. Almost daily things have happened that are showing us evidence of the Father’s blessing. Please do not misunderstand; it isn’t about sitting back in the lap of luxury while multitudes of blessings come piling in. During the early days with his disciples Jesus made it clear that suffering was a staple of their relationship—as it will be with ours. In one place he responds to those who through emotion determine to follow him by saying, we are not staying in the best places, eating the best food. In other words this isn’t about personal pampering but rather about kingdom accomplishment irrespective of personal benefit. It is about self-sacrifice rather than self-help. The challenge is that religion is also about self-sacrifice. The difference is that religion has to always be in charge. It is built on controlling the masses in order to promote the cause. Relationship is built on trusting your life to the one you have surrendered your life too. The godhead is interested in you while religion is always interested in the cause. Religion will say something like pull yourself up by your bootstraps and carry on while relationship will reach out to comfort you in order to help you carry on. One day this past week I left work rather disheartened. I had done all the right things without seeing any results. As I drove away I whispered to the Lord that I needed some encouragement because I was battling being depressed. Within minutes of whispering that prayer—this is one of those blessings I spoke about earlier—my phone rang. It was my co-worker calling to tell me about several pending contracts that were about to be finalized. I began to shed tears of joy at the faithfulness of my Papa. Would that call had come anyway? Perhaps. Do I pawn it off on coincidence or do I count my blessing? I choose to count my blessing. I choose to believe it was my father telling me that I didn’t have to pull myself up by my bootstraps, but rather rest in his trust to take care of me. Last week I also mentioned that my wife was given a full day spa treatment. She did not seem very excited about it that morning as she prepared to leave. I asked her why. She said it wasn’t something that was needed. She then told me that she heard that still small voice of the Holy Spirit tell her to be thankful for the blessings she did not ask for. What a powerful statement. Because the focus of this post is on the shifting of blessing does not mean that the matters of kingdom business are to take a backseat. I also believe that scripture makes it clear that our lives lived in relationship with the godhead will win more for the kingdom rather than our deeds done for the cause.