IT'S Thanksgiving morning and I am reminded of a hymn we used to sing at the church where I grew up. Now at this church we sang a lot of hymns; "On Christ The Solid rock" (my favorite); "A Mighty Fortress"; "Amazing Grace"; and "Blessed Assurance", to name a few. But this hymn I'm thinking of today is "Count Your Blessings" by Johnson Oatman. The last part of the chorus goes, "Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done." I distinctly remember asking myself back then, is this even possible? Could someone count all their blessings that God has done? No way!
FIRST of all we have been blessed in so many spiritual ways that we can't even comprehend this in physical realm. Paul wrote, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." Ephesians 1:3. Now I could name a lot of spiritual blessings I have received, but I could never list "Every spiritual blessing in Christ." But that doesn't mean I shouldn't try.
WE have been blessed with salvation from our sins and the forgiveness of them that accompanies salvation. This means all the bad things I have done (an exhaustive list as well) have been totally washed away, pardoned and forgotten by the Lord. In reality, unbelievable, and yet must be believed to be received. We have also been blessed with God's grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of the Lord (Goodness Received At Christ's Expense). His grace is something that cannot be earned and is never deserved. This is what makes it grace. We also have been blessed with Mercy. While grace IS receiving what we DO NOT deserve, mercy is NOT receiving what we DO deserve. Grace and mercy, two blessings I've been given and I am so thankful for.
GOD has also blessed us with His peace. Jesus said in John 14:7, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." This peace is like a triple blessing because we get the peace and then His peace eases our troubles and alleviates our fears. Paul says in II Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
OBVIOUSLY we can't name all our blessings, but here are a few more. We have been adopted into the family of God. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:5, "He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will." Wow, adopted as God's own kids, and He was happy to do so for anyone who believes. John said, "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12
THIS adoption into God's family means we have many brothers and sisters in Christ. God blessed me with two sisters by blood but no brothers. But now, I have so many more sisters and a whole host of wonderful brothers in the Lord. How rich can one person be?
SERVING the Lord is in itself a great blessing. Because of this my life has purpose that reaches beyond this temporary world into the Heavenly realm. In other words, my life has meaning for this life and for the after life.
Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." It's so beautiful to be able to live a life that matters to God and for others.
WHAT is another blessing about being able to serve God is I don't have to try and do it all by myself. God blesses me with His power to achieve what He is asking of me. This power is through the Holy Spirit, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses..." Acts 1:8
FINALLY, (for the letter, not for the blessings) we have hope. This hope is for the life we are living now and hope for the future. Peter writes, "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." I Peter 1:3. This living hope is the blessing of being resurrected to heaven after I die. The great blessing is that this world is not all there is to life. There is a better one waiting for us. What hope we have, what blessings (impossible to count) we have!