Friday, September 23, 2011

Counting Your Blessings

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Psalms 40:5

Many, O LORD my God, 
are the wonders you have done. 
The things you planned for us 
no one can recount to you; 
were I to speak and tell of them, 
they would be 
too many to declare.

Did you catch in todays verse where it says..."The things you planned for us no one can recount to you: were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare."  Have you stopped lately to count your blessings. All the undeserved things that happen each and every day in our lives. There are so many things that we take for granted. Yet God has lavished His love upon us in the beauty of the sunset or sunrise.  The wonders of creation. The smile of a friend, a kind word. There are thousands of little ordinary miracles that happen each day. Perhaps you can explain many of them away to natural causes and perhaps they are just little gifts of grace that touch our lives in a million little ways.

Proverbs 17:22  The Message "22 A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
   gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

Amplified Bible 17:2222A happy heart is good medicine and a cheerful mind works healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.'

 Thankfulness is a powerful thing. There have been difficult seasons when I would make a point to wake up and think of things I was thankful for. Thankfulness sets your mind and heart on a different path than a complaining or grumbling heart. We need to stir up the gifts that God has put inside us. We need to stir up our thankfulness. Its easy to get weighed down in depression, discouragement to the point that we wear it around like a wet blanket. We stand there pitiful, wet and cold and wish someone would come join us in our pity party. I don't mean to make light of anyones troubles but often the biggest adjustment that needs made is to our attitude. 
Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.  Which reminds me of this song that I am too tired tonight to try and record. So here is a link to a nice version someone did on you tube. I like the flags at the end.

If you are getting this in your e-mail you will need to click the blue title to get back to the devotional site to view the video.

Some more verses to think about today. Note that "And be thankful." at the end of Colossians 3:15 
Don't just let Christ rule your heart and live at peace. Those things are followed by a very strong "And be thankful" You can start with being thankful that the peace of Christ does rule in your heart.

Colossians 3:15 NIV 1984  "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful."

Philippians 2 reminds us  14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

I like it in The Message starting with 13b Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
 14-16Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't go to all this work for nothing. 

I believe as we go through the ups and the downs of life that people around us are watching. If we can begin to cultivate a lifestyle of thankfulness, and joy not just in good times but in the hard times as well. Our lives become a testimony of the power of God at work in us.  I love the line in the verse above that says That energy is God's energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.  Our God is a gentleman and waits to be invited by us into the situations of our life.  God is doing the work in us, he wants to provide the energy and the will to do the things he desires for us.

What are some things that you are thankful for?

Is there anyone or anything that you have been taking for granted?

Why might it please God for us to come to him with a thankful heart?

Are there things that you are complaining about that you might want to look at from a different vantage point. Maybe ask God what He is using it to work in you?

Dear Lord,
You do so much for us every day. There are so many things that we have grown accustomed to that we over look them or take them for granted. Lord help us remember those things. Help us more and more find reasons to be thankful for all that you do. Even in the midst of the trials we are facing help us to see the fingerprints of your love and mercy. Help us to be doers of the word and not those who just let it go in one ear and out the other. Help us more and more put it into practice in our lives. Help us catch ourselves when we might begin to complain and turn it around and find a reason to thank you.

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