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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?

The Amplified Bible gives this reading of 1 Thessalonians 5:181 Thessalonians 5:18
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

18 in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.

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– “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 7:13-14Matthew 7:13-14
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

13 Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby. 14 For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.

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; Romans 6:23Romans 6:23
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

23 For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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).  But God loves us so much that He gave His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16John 3:16
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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; 1 Peter 2:241 Peter 2:24
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

24 who his own self bare our sins in his body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.

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).  Those who accept His offer of salvation through their trusting obedience are placed “in Christ” where all spiritual blessings are enjoyed (Ephesians 1:3Ephesians 1:3
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

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) – 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 16:30-31Acts 16:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 and brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.

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), turns from his sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31Acts 17:30-31
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

30 The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent: 31 inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

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), confesses Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10Romans 10:9-10
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: 10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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), and is baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38Acts 2:38
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

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; Galatians 3:27Galatians 3:27
English: American Standard Version (1901) - ASV

27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.

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).

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