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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Blessing

What does being blessed by someone mean to you?

How do you know you have received "the blessing"?

According to the Free Online Dictionary, blessing means: 
the act of invoking divine protection or aid, the words or ceremony used for this, a short prayer of thanksgiving before or after a meal; grace, approval; good wishes, the bestowal of a divine gift or favour, or a happy event or state of affairs.

Protection, approval, grace, happiness.  Aren't those things we all desire in our lives?

According to John Trent, PH.D. and Gary Smalley in their revised and updated book The Blessing:  Giving The Gift Of Unconditional Love And Acceptance, there are five essential components to the biblical concept of blessing:
  • Meaningful Touch
  • A Spoken Message
  • Attaching High Value
  • Picturing a Special Future
  • An Active Commitment
Hear Trent and Smalley's heart regarding the importance of imparting the blessing to those closets to us from chapter one:
"A number of Christian books and messages today call young (and old) believers to a 'sold out' life of faith.  For example, in reading books such as Crazy Love and Radical, you find a much needed call to pursue a Great Commission lifestyle as a real-life goal.  But adopting a Great Commission or 'missional' lifestyle doesn't mean leaving your important relationships in the dust  as you seek to win others for Christ.  In fact, if you are not living out a crazy, radical faith and love for Christ with your family and own children first, you have missed a huge first step!"
Drawing primarily from Genesis 27 in the first part of the book (which has four parts), Trent and Smalley seek to help the reader understand the Old Testament concept of blessing while emphasizing the relationship elements of this blessing that are applicable to us today.  Through a close look at Deuteronomy 30:19:
"I call heaven and earth as witness against you today, that I have set before you life or death, the blessing and the curse.  So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants."
they help us to understand that we have the most important choice of either blessing those around us or cursing them.  They point out two ideas contained in the Hebrew word for bless:
  • bowing the knee
  • adding weight or value
The other choice we have is to curse those around us and we do that by subtracting the things that add life to them.

In the second part of the book, Trent and Smalley look at each element of the blessing in detail.  This section is a very practical approach to helping the reader understand the elements of blessing.  The authors share stories from their counseling experiences and their own personal lives to give the reader a clear picture of each element.  I particularly enjoyed this section of the book, because it was not filled with "psychological speak", but a sound and biblical look at blessing others and what it should look like in "real life".

The third part of The Blessing takes a look at when the blessing doesn't happen.  The section was filled with hope and encouragement for the reader that might not have received the blessing in their home.  Trent and Smalley take the reader through five different scenarios where the blessing is withheld and then considers those situations where only half a blessing is given.  I was pleased to see Trent and Smalley give so much attention to "reversing the curse" by showing the reader a clear picture of Christ and grace that is available in Him.

In the final section of the book, the authors give a very clear picture of the "blessing challenge" and show readers step by step how to live out the five elements.  Again, I was impressed with the way Trent and Smalley gave five pictures from scripture to showcase biblically the elements of the blessing.  

At different points in the book, the reader is encouraged to visit the website for The Blessing to view video segments recorded by John Trent.  You can visit the website and avail yourself of numerous resources to further your understanding of the blessing.  You can find it at theblessing.comYou can also find The Blessing Challenge blog by going HERE.  

If you want to truly know how to bless your loved ones, grab your Bible and a copy of The Blessing and prepare yourself to give the greatest gift you will ever share.

Thomas Nelson publishers provided me a copy of The Blessing for the purpose of review.  You can get a copy by following the link provided below:

Blessings to you and your family,