Today’s Scrip-Bit   13 March 2022   1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.     ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’

There they go again, the powers that be, stealing an hour of my oh so valuable sleep time! I already don’t get enough, (smile) but they insist on speeding up the clock with this Daylight Savings Time business, which no one seems to want, and they can’t prove to whom it’s useful. On the other hand, it’s been proven that it destroys people’s sleeping patterns and the tenor of their lives in general. But unless, and until, a majority of the populace think it’s worthwhile to rise up in opposition, then we’ll continue with the nonsense back and forth every year. 

And although that situation is a veritable thorn in the side, the positive side of the ledger is more than overflowing. That’s right, we always make more of the fewer negatives in our lives than the many positives, but that just keeps us from truly enjoying the many gifts bestowed upon us by our heavenly Father. And today we are going to open with a song which encourages us to take the latter position, namely: ‘Count Your Blessings!’  

Yes, my fellow believers, we are going into God’s gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise this Lenten Sunday morning, singing this wonderful song written by American businessman, local preacher and prolific hymn writer, Johnson Oatman Jr. (1856-1922). The song so wisely teaches us to concentrate on our blessings rather than our sorrows. 

And I like how the website www.godtube puts it. ‘God truly gives us so many blessings each and every single day. Some may even be so small that we might overlook them. The classic hymn ‘Count Your Blessings’ truly reminds us to stop and give thanks for all God has done in our lives. This is definitely a pause we all need to take. Amen.’ So friends, let’s take that pause right now nuh, let’s stop and give thanks for all we have as we sing ‘Count Your Blessings!’ in a wonderful, up-tempo version, letting all the true thankfulness shine forth from our hearts through the sacrifices of praise that emanate from our mouths. 

As one beautiful and thankful voice: ‘When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done. (Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.) 

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, ev’ry doubt will fly, And you will be singing as the days go by. [Refrain] When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings, money cannot buy Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high. [Refrain] 

So, amid the conflict, whether great or small, Do not be discouraged, God is over all; Count your many blessings, angels will attend, Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end. [Refrain: Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God hath done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.)’ 

Ah mih people, that is the wisest thing we can do in these days of much loss and plenty travail; remember and give thanks for what we have, and not be weighed down by the memory of the things we’ve lost. It’s the only way to live the abundant life that Jesus died for us to have. As one commentator so wisely says: ‘‘If you always find yourself numbering your troubles, you will never find time to count your blessings. There is no use becoming frustrated in your difficulties while you have all the opportunities hiding in them for a turnover.’ 

That’s the gospel truth, for in our difficulties are hidden opportunities for us to improve ourselves and our lives, but we will never see or find them, if we only concentrate on the negative side of the problem. And the fault lies predominantly with us because we don’t take the promises found in God’s word seriously enough. The Good Books talks a whole lot about the blessings to be found in His kingdom. And if you don’t believe me, let’s check out a few. 

Listen to how Bruh David puts it in Psalm 40 – Praise for answered prayer. He confidently declares (yeahhh!!!): ‘Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us ward they cannot be reckoned up (recounted) in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.’ (Ps. 40:5) 

And we all know that Bruh David endured a lot of unfair trouble in his life, as well as the consequences of his own mistakes, but he still could declare (awright!!!) that his blessings and the good thoughts of his God towards him were more plentiful than the negative aspects. And I’m sure if we counted our blessings they would also add up to more than our disasters. 

As Bruh David plainly acknowledges again in that magnificent Psalm 139 – The everlasting presence and power of God – where he recounts how God knows everything about us and the wonderful way in which we were made. In perfect praise and thanksgiving he declares (yess!!!): ‘How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.’ (Ps. 139:17-18)  

And let’s not forget this one from the prophet Jeremiah that we all know and preach, but don’t action enough, where he proclaims on the Lord’s behalf: ‘For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil (calamity), to give you an expected end (a future and a hope) (Jer. 29:11) Now isn’t that a scripture to cling to? Of course it is! 

Meanwhile listen to what Bruh Paul said to the Ephesians: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.’ (Eph. 1:3) Yes friends, our God is worthy of much thanks and praise because He has opened a blessings account for each of us in heaven, through the work of Christ, from which He disperses it to us here on earth as we need it. 

And we certainly can’t forget these marvellous words of Peter. ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively (living) hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.’ (1 Pet. 1:3-4) Now can we ever forget the greatest gift and blessing ever, that of salvation through Christ Jesus! No way…not if we are wise! (smile) 

And we’ll close with these most conclusive verses from Bruh Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, where he advises and admonishes: ‘Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.’ (1 Thess. 5:16-18) Now that’s the epitome, the perfect example of the Christian life; rejoice, pray and give thanks! 

So, in these difficult, turbulent and uncertain times, let’s not forget that our great and wonderful God is still on the throne of heaven and in perfect control of His universe, and all we need to do is immerse ourselves in His word and all the promises found there, because He has NEVER reneged on one promise, and will NEVER do so! Much LOVE!

…remember the good things…forget the bad ones…like God has done… 

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