Simplicity.

My mornings begin similarly each day. Make coffee and oatmeal. Walk my dog Bella. Read.

I don’t read much. I might read a little Scripture. I might read a few paragraphs from a book I’m working through. I don’t read novels. I read in the morning to set my thoughts and heart on God.

This morning, I read like I always do. I love James Bryan Smith. After reading his trilogy of sorts: The Good and Beautiful God, The Good and Beautiful Life, and The Good and Beautiful Community, I was hungry for more.

I found Embracing the Love of God, which, like his previous books, are about replacing the narratives we naturally repeat to ourselves with God’s narratives. As Joyce Meyer would say, we have a lot of “stinkin’ thinkin'” going on, and we need to reverse that trend by renewing our minds with God’s Word, His truth, and His promises.

To be frank, I didn’t get very far in my reading. After skimming a couple of pages, I read the header: “The Secret of a Blessed Life.” 99 out of 100 people will read on to find out this “secret”, and being in that group, I read on. I didn’t have to read very far.

“God with us. This is the secret of the blessed life.”

I stopped there. Wow. Simplicity has its beauty… and so does truth.

Smith goes onto to say that this is what David the psalmist meant in Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

In other words, I have God with me and I don’t need anything else. He provides. He protects. He is wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, and He is right here with me. Better yet, He is inside me! As I get out of the way and yield to Him, He makes Himself more and more known, evident, and eventually, obvious in my life… both to me and to those around me. He makes Jesus known through me. He is all I need.

Blessings come in many forms, but the essence (and source) of blessing is God Himself. Immanuel. God with us.

Blessed indeed.

I am WITH YOU and will watch over you wherever you go (Genesis 28:15a)

And surely I am WITH YOU always, to the very end of the age. (Matthew 28:20b)

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