Count Your Blessings

There is a hymn in our church hymnal that is titled: "Count Your Blessings." Words and music by Johnson Oatman, Jr, 1856 - 1922 and Edwin O. Excell, 1851 - 1921. I am sure we are all familiar with this song and have sung it.

Count Your Blessings is an important theme every day of our lives and especially at Thanksgiving time. It is important to think and meditate on what God has done for us and to give Him thanks in appreciation for those things that He has given us.

Letís look at this song and see what we can glean from it.

Verse 1, "When upon lifeís 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."

We are all faced with trials and tests, and with the problems of every day life. It might be minor as the car might need a set of tires, or an oil change, or it might be major such as an employment problem or a health problem. So we get somewhat down and discouraged.

So what can we do, "Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise what the Lord hath done." Sometimes in our state of depression we may not want to think positively about what good blessings God has done for us, but we want to blame Him for our problems. But letís stay positive and get out of our state of depression and force ourselves to Count Our Blessings.

Verse 2 says, "Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by."

Letís look at a passage in the apostle Peter's life where he was burdened with a load of care and his cross seemed very heavy for him to bear.

Acts 12 and verse 1, "Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. {2} Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. {3} And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. {4} So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover."

Peter was in prison for being a disciple of Jesus and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. His friend James had been killed and I am sure Peter was thinking he was also going to be put to the sword and killed.

Verse 5, "Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. {6} And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. {7} Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands. {8} Then the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and tie on your sandals"; and so he did. And he said to him, "Put on your garment and follow me." {9} So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. {10} When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. {11} And when Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people."

What do you think? Did Peter Count his many blessings, and name them one by one, and did it surprise him in what the Lord had done? The last part of verse 2 says, "And you will be singing as the days go by." Do you think Peter was singing for joy and praising God for his deliverance from jail and death?

Verse 3, "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 journeyís end."

In applying this verse to the passage we just read about Peter, notice that "God is over all" and "angels will attend."

Letís notice a passage in Hebrews that tells us that Jesus Christ, our High Priest, will help us in time of need: Hebrews 4 verse 14, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. {15} For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

When we are discourage and feel that all is lost, letís realize that God and Jesus Christ will help in time of need.

Psalms 50 and verse 14 says: ""Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High." {15} Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me"

Letís praise, glorify and give thanks to God every day for His blessings.

In Conclusion: "Count your many blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise what the Lord hath done."

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