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The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Num. 3-16; Ps. 22, 23, 27 and 90; Acts 25-28; and Mark 1-3.

Ever notice how we sometimes get bent out of shape when people need us during our time off? Yet it’s in these times of crisis that we most need to bestow blessing on others and endear ourselves to them and to the Lord. In this week’s reading, Numbers 6 includes this powerful passage on endearment and blessing, amid all the book’s duties and laws: 

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: 
“The Lord bless you and keep you; 
The Lord make His face shine upon you, 
And be gracious to you; 
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, 
And give you peace” ‘ ” (vv. 22-26, NKJV). 

Reflecting on the depth of God’s intent, I had a flashback to Christmas 2012, which proved to be eventful for the Orewiler household. We had planned—had purchased airfare and rearranged schedules—that the family would gather from across the U.S. in Maine. My 86-year-old widowed mother-in-law boarded an airplane on the West Coast and headed north. She arrived in one piece, but sick. No problem—we know the Healer. Next, the Texas group arrived. Our home was filled with Orewilers ages 1 to 86, great joy, contagious energy and lots of noise.

Then, it happened: A church member suddenly died. Two days later, another church member unexpectedly died. I did what pastors do. We delegate what we can and then move into the capable mode—the “improvise, adapt and overcome” mode. The entire time, nearly overwhelmed and a little resentful, I resolved to do my best and get through it.

About the third day in, between funerals, my son texted me. How RU?

Crazy, I replied, and then vented some.

Sympathetic to my venting, he replied, I can imagine, then added: You have to choose to see it as endearing need. Not as work. You never have a chance to do it again with a different frame of mind.

A Holy Spirit-, grace- and mercy-filled moment followed. Because I was, simply, working. The term “endearing need” made me think. I knew “endearing” to mean “warm affection,” and I did truly care for the families, including mine. But “endearing” also means “manifesting or evoking affection, having qualities that tend to make one loved.” That sounds like the heart and passion of God toward His people, endearing.

What did the priestly blessing mean when spoken over the Israelites? I believe it was identifying, affirming and evoking God’s passionate love for them. 

In Mark 1 is the account of Jesus’ baptism. Mark records: “Immediately, coming up from the water, Jesus saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.  Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’ ” (vv. 10-11). What did it mean for Jesus to hear His Father say, “My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”? Again, I believe it was identifying, affirming and evoking God’s passionate love for His Son. I wonder how many times Jesus would remember His Father’s blessing in the wilderness days ahead? 

What about us? What impact does the Father’s love and blessing have on us? Do those around us need to hear His blessing spoken to and over them? In the midst of our duties and many valuable responsibilities, it helps to remember that the words we speak while performing such duties are sometimes invaluable.

Now that the responsibility of writing this devotional draws to an end, knowing that I will never have a chance to do “it” again with a different frame of mind, I choose to speak this blessing over you:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.


By: Teri Orewiler, senior pastor of Calvary (Gardiner Foursquare Church) in Gardiner, Maine

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is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Orlando, Fla.