Count Your Blessings

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count your blessings

It’s late Monday night and all is quiet at the Rhodes home.  Everyone is in bed except me and it’s in these rare quiet times that I get to reflect back on the day.  Let me give you some of the information that is constantly swirling through my head in regards to Abundant Life.

  • We had 590 in church on Sunday including 100 children.
  • We are set to have the largest “Speed The Light” missions giving year of any church in the history of the Illinois district.
  • Our team going to Panama is shaping up to be the largest team I have ever taken.
  • We continue to see new families every week and more and more of them are not Caucasian.  We are tearing down racial barriers in the river bend!
  • Over the past three years we have accomplished approximately $750,000 of renovations and improvements on the two campuses and we have done all of this with cash, remaining debt free.
  • Last week we launched our small group/discipleship emphasis with about twenty different options for our congregation with groups available every day/night of the week in several different communities and a variety of times.
  • We have two rows of youth sitting front and center on Sunday morning worshipping God!
  • We have several of our staff and laity that are at various levels of completion of the Illinois School of Ministry with several taking their last courses and several who have completed all the educational requirements for ordination.
  • My staff are intelligent, hard-working, loyal people of God!
  • Our deacons are 100% behind my leadership.
  • Among our core there is a growing hunger for God and we’re praying it spreads.
  • We have great youth, children, and senior adult ministry.
  • We had a great August financially and we are ahead for the year with the summer behind us.
  • We have awesome worship, technology, and facilities.
  • I am working toward one of my long held goals of earning my doctorate.

Literally this list could go on and on.  Then why am I sitting here tonight feeling down and as if I can’t make any progress?  Why is my heart heavy and my Spirit downcast?  Simply put, because I got a single piece of news this week that was not in this same positive direction.  The news didn’t include any conflict, no one was angry, there was no staff problem or anything like that, it was just one piece in a very big puzzle.

Why then with all of these great pieces of information can I not take my eyes off the single negative piece?  I think there is something wrong with me.  In fact, I think there is something wrong with all of us.  In the midst of the favor and blessing of God we can forget all that He has and is doing for us.  Our fallen nature has an amazing ability to completely captivate our thoughts.  We literally stop seeing the forest for a single tree!  What can we do about this when it happens?  I think a man named Johnson Oatman Jr. had it right when he penned these words in 1897.

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 has done.

Refrain:

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God has done!

Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Those are the words to an old Hymn entitled “Count Your Blessings”

The psalmist David said it this way…

Psalm 103:1–5 (ESV)  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Already just having written these out I feel better!  Let me encourage you to do the same.  When life begins to get you down, remember all that God has done for you.  Rehearse in your mind the blessings that He has poured into your life.  You’ll find friends, family, and opportunities. I bet you’ll find a very long list.  After thinking about these take a moment and reflect on your greatest gift, your salvation.  I suggest that in no time, like me, you’ll feel better!

Well that’s enough for tonight.  It’s almost midnight and there’s more to do tomorrow!

Blessings,

Pastor Roy

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