Count Your Blessings

 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”


It’s God’s will for us to give thanks in every situation!


I remember growing up & hearing my grandmother sing a song which went something like this… ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done. Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done. I’ve found a version of the song on Youtube if you’re interested in listening to it. :) 

As a youngster there were many times that I wondered if she would ever sing anything else. Today, I miss hearing her sing and the positive vibe she always had about her. Only now do I understand the true meaning and impact those words carried and also why she never seemed to worry much! 

Teeny, Tiny Faith in exchange for the Impossible

Isn’t it interesting that when God does something - it’s always tremendously big, miraculous, jaw-droppingly out-of-this-world. I mean - feeding the 5000 men (not counting the women and children) with two fish and five loaves and 12 baskets to spare? Or goodness, even bigger, creating the universe! That was definitely no small task. 

But when he asks something of us - it virtually comes down to something - well rather small.  

Think about it. The word says that God is pleased only by faith (Hebrews 11:6). That can be pretty daunting especially when you’re facing something big.  But in the book of Matthew Jesus says that your faith only needs to be as small as a mustard seed and if you show just that little bit of faith and apply it to your situation then the miraculous will follow - and NOTHING shall be impossible. In my book, Nothing shall be impossible is pretty miraculous!  (Read: Matthew 17:20)

Another example is the simple ‘Thank You’ from the leper whose faith and gratitude made him whole again. Just by taking the time to show his appreciation for what Jesus did, the leper was not only healed, but made whole again. That action caused his fingers and toes to grow back. His spirit and his mind was renewed & restored. (Read: Luke 17:15-19) Think about that for a moment. In those days, lepers were treated like outcasts and were prohibited from ever coming into contact with other people. We thought lock-down was hard when we were separated from our families and friends for a season, but think about the emotional and psychological impact of being banned from society because of a disease which you have no control over. What would life be like today if that had to happen to you?

I can almost understand why it was easy for the nine lepers to go back into society and forget about the blessing they had just received. Understandably the overwhelm of being healed may have caused them to focus only on the excitement of being able to see, hug and spend time with their loved ones again. I can relate. Someone does something great for you. Our intention is to send a card because you feel it warrants it more than just a quick text. But in the busy-ness of life, we let time pass and never send the card and then are too embarrassed because we’ve left it so long.

What we don't always realise is the ongoing blessing associated with gratitude & thanksgiving.

WHAT IS GRATITUDE?

Simply put - It’s appreciating the good things in your life. And when you add a bit of faith, it’s also saying thank you for everything you are believing God for.  In other words, you’re saying thank you before it’s actually happened or before you’ve actually seen the result of what you’re believing for. (Read Hebrews 11:1).

I know. Some of you will agree that it's easier said than done at times, especially when life is really stressful, the kids are challenging, your car has broken down and you missed an important appointment which you now have to wait another six months for, and finding that golden lining on your dark cloud seems near impossible.    

Learning to live a life of gratitude, throughout all of the chaos that sometimes overwhelms us however, can significantly change your circumstances from dire to great in no time. 

Gratitude is putting your faith in action by using the power of the spoken word which goes hand-in-hand with the spirit of faith. You believe (first) therefore you speak. (Read: 2 Corinthians 4:13)


THE BENEFITS OF EMBRACING GRATEFULNESS AND THANKSGIVING


You only need to google to find the scientific benefits of gratitude and according to www.health.harvard.edu these include a higher level of overall happiness, increased productivity as well as improved well-being.


BUT WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY? 

As a MWOV, we always base what we say and do on the Word of God first and I can’t thank God enough when I find the answers I need just when it’s needed most. Here are some of the direct benefits of showing our gratitude.

  • God is magnified through our thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30)
  • God is glorified when we praise him with thanksgiving (Psalm 50:23)
  • When our prayers of requests are accompanied with thanksgiving - God’s peace will guard our hearts and mind. (Philippians 4:6-7)
  • Thanksgiving increases as grace is experienced so that our faith won’t fail us and so our inner man is renewed daily. (2 Corinthians 4:15-16)
  • God’s love endures forever when we give thanks (Psalm 107:1)
  • Joy and thanksgiving are united (Psalm 28:7)
  • Thankfulness brings both healing and wholeness of our physical bodies, spiritual life and our soul (Luke 17:11-18)
  • We share in God’s victory! (2 Corinthians 2:14-16
  • God’s name is near (Psalm 75:1)
  •  God satisfies our thirst (for the spirit) and fills the hungry with good things (the word) Psalm 107:8-9

WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE

God is all about relationship and there are many scriptures that speak of how we can give Him thanks and praise throughout the Word. We are blessed when we thank Him! Here are a few simple tips for practicing the art of gratitude.

  1. Speak it! The words of our testimony is what helps the temperature of faith to rise around us. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom 10:17) so when we speak of God’s goodness with thanksgiving - this helps others get excited about what God can do in their lives. 
  2. Keep a gratitude journal - There is nothing like going back and reading through a year’s worth of thanksgiving and seeing how far you have come and how God has carried you through it all. 
  3. Spend quality time with those you love and tell them why you love them.Thank them for being in your life.
  4. Send a heartfelt thank you card instead of sending a quick thanks just to tick it off your to-do list
  5. During your coffee time with God, take time to praise and worship.(Psalm 95:1-7) 
  6. Pray and thank God for His goodness, grace and mercy & all His promises which are Yes and Amen! 
  7. Create a space for giving thanks in your home. 
  8. Practice gratefulness with your children.
  9. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognise the blessings God puts in your life daily.
  10.  ‘Count every blessing and name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done’. 

I'll forever be grateful to my gran for singing that song and allowing me to focus on all the goodness of the Father in my life. I now understand that the reason she never seemed to worry much is because she was too busy counting her blessings and giving thanks to God for them. 

Thanks Ouma for teaching me the true meaning of thankfulness. You will always be loved. 

Maria.S.C. 1912-2010 
Forever rejoicing in heaven

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