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God's Blessings Are Everywhere!

Raj has been a member of Community of Faith UMC since his son entered Tiger Cubs at the age of 7 – he is now 32! He is currently co-chairing the Men's Ministry (UMM) with Rory Maynard and Bill Minto and serving on the Leadership Board. In the past, he's served in a variety of roles including as an adult Sunday School leader, a member and chair of the SPRC, and on the Administrative Council. He is also a member of the Christian Businessmen’s Conference (CBMC) and participating in the C.S. Lewis Institute (CSLI) small group study with a CSL Fellow, Tim Bradley. He met his wife, Naomi, in 1980 at Ursinus College and they were married in 1985. They have two grown children Tejas (32) and Elise (30) and five grandchildren – Logan, Camden, Omara, Kellen, and Reagan. Indeed, Raj has 10,000 reasons to bless the Lord.

by Raj Bartakke on November 05, 2023

“Cheerful givers do not count the cost of what they give.”

 Julian of Norwich

God’s blessings are all around us every day – sometimes in simple ways and sometimes in miraculous ways when we least expect it, but utterly need it.  The amazing news of the gospel is that there is no place we can hide from God’s love. The Psalmist in Psalm 139:8 reminds us, “If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.”   God is as close to us as our very breath even when we turn away or get lost.  We discover joy when we rest in God’s love and realize that his grace is all around us, inviting us to step out in faith and trust.

When have you found joy in God’s blessings in your life?  In today’s vesper reflection, Raj Bartakke shares how God’s blessings revealed themselves to him and to his wife, Naomi, during a trip to Hawaii last year and what a significant impact these blessings had on their lives.  God showed up.  God extended grace and love to each of them in specific ways.  As you listen to his miraculous testimony, consider your own blessings and who has modeled generosity for you so that you have hope even during the darkest, most disorienting times of your life.  Certainly, Raj and Naomi saw God’s grace, love, and abundant blessings through the team of doctors who cared for Naomi in her time of need.  They will be forever grateful that God’s love was channeled through them.

Perhaps God’s blessings are closer than you realize in your own life! 

Psalm 139:1 – 12

Questions to Ponder…

  1. As you reflect on Sunday’s sermon and scripture lesson from 2 Corinthians 9:1 - 5, what is the difference between being an owner and a steward?
  2. How does the culture or ethos of your family or community impact your willingness to share your blessings?
  3. Think of a time when you were part of a generous group vs. part of a group that was less willing to share. How did that impact your actions?
  4. Take time this next week and walk around your home, the church, and community and reflect on how you have been blessed by another. Consider writing a note to express your thankfulness.

Prayer:  Dear God, we thank you for all the ways that you bless us. We ask you to shape our hearts, minds, and spirits to be generous. Help make us ready to offer back to you a generous gift that is given as freely as you give to us. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Bonus Material:  To hear Naomi in her own words, check out this video post.

Tags: stewardship, blessings