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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Count Your Blessings

An American preacher told of being on a mission trip to the island of Tobago
where, in a worship service, a woman requested the song, "Count Your
Blessings." She did so by raising a hand without fingers and speaking from
a face with neither nose nor ears. She was a member of the leper colony
where the service was being held.*

Erma Bombeck once wrote: "An estimated 1.5 million people are living today
after bouts with breast cancer. Every time I forget to feel grateful to be
among them, I hear the voice of an eight-year-old named Christina, who had
cancer of the nervous system. When asked what she wanted for her birthday,
she thought long and hard and finally said, 'I don't know. I have two
sticker books and a Cabbage Patch doll. I have everything!' The kid is
right." **

Have you counted your blessings recently? Are you thankful?

In the United States, we're approaching the Thanksgiving Holiday. Yet,
thanksgiving should be something we do every day.

The Amplified Bible gives this reading of 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - "Thank
[God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful
and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ
Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]."

Did you catch that? "No matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful
and give thanks." It can be difficult to follow this instruction,
especially if our circumstances are challenging.

But if a woman with no fingers can sing "Count Your Blessings," can't WE
find the blessings in our own lives? If a little girl suffering with cancer
can find joy in two sticker books and a doll, can't WE rejoice in the
blessings that we have?

"In Christ Jesus," there are countless reasons to be thankful, even in the
midst of the most difficult of circumstances.

The most difficult and deadly "circumstance" is to be lost because of our
sins (Matthew 7:13-14; Romans 6:23). But God loves us so much that He gave
His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; 1 Peter 2:24).
Those who accept His offer of salvation through their trusting obedience are
placed "in Christ" where all spiritual blessings are enjoyed (Ephesians
1:3) - blessings like the forgiveness of sins, the hope of eternal life,
peace that surpasses understanding, and being a part of God's family.

One accepts God's offer of salvation and is placed "in Christ" when he:
places his faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turns from his sin in
repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confesses Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and
is baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38;
Galatians 3:27).

No matter how difficult your current circumstances may be, YOU can have
every reason to be thankful if you accept God's offer of salvation and life
on His terms.

Won't YOU?

David A. Sargent

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