Count your Blessings

Psalm 119:1-2 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord!
Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!”

I was reminded recently of an old hymn that was sung for years in churches around the world. The hymn, written in 1897 by Johnson Oatman was a reminder of how we must take into account the magnitude of God’s favor, to take the time to count out His many blessings and remember they far exceed the troubles of this life.

Count your Blessings

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

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

2 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.

3 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]

4 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.

When we look at the ways God blesses people, we might be surprised at how creative the ways these blessings arrive.

Walking in Blessing

Look closely with me at the manner in which God blesses His people. Traditionally the idea that blessings come by way of the correct prayer, or attitude is really a petty way of thinking about God. If the Lord was to only sprinkle down blessings when the right mantra was spoken, He would be relegated to nothing more than a vending machine giving out treats for the right price. I wonder how many people have had their faith derailed by preachers who continually give another formula for how to receive God’s blessing?

Look carefully at the scripture, the blessings are there, they are just waiting for God’s people to experience them.

Psalm 119:1 “Blessed are the undefiled in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord!”

  • According to the psalmist, the blessings are found along the way of righteousness. As you go in obedience, the blessings can be found along this path of freedom. The moral law is the guide for this path, it hasn’t been hidden like some treasure from long ago, it is found in the journey and brings delight each step of the way.

Psalm 119:2 “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies,
Who seek Him with the whole heart!”

  • The Lord is continually instructing His people and these instructions come by way of the apostles and prophets who came before us. These men and women were witnesses of God’s divine glory, the glory of the Son who came to redeem mankind from sin. The prophets of old looked forward to Jesus the Messiah, now we have their testimonies by which to live. For all who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, they likewise seek Him with all their heart….it is here where the blessings begin.

Psalm 119:3 “They also do no iniquity;
They walk in His ways.”

  • The path of blessing is also found in purity. Sin diverts us from the path of God and yet we often try to conclude why our lives are so miserable. It is the faithfulness of obedience that leads us on, in the presence of God and consequently into the realm of His blessing. If you’re not experiencing God’s goodness, it’s not for lack of God’s faithfulness. He never changes, we do. Examine your life, recognize the habits of destruction and start changing those patterns.

Types of Blessing

1. A steadfast spirit.

Psalm 119:33 “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.”

You don’t have to walk long with God before you realize the value of having a steadfast spirit. Continuing on in the path you know is true is easier said than done, far too many stumble time and time again, only to grow discouraged from the endless failure. Keeping God’s statutes until the end means you won the race set before you, the final prize being Jesus who waits at the finish line. It is a blessing to remain steadfast, it lessens the shame and discouragement that comes with failure.

2. Understanding.

Psalm 119:34 “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”

The process of walking in the Spirit is an exercise in growth and maturity. It is by being obedient in all the Spirit leads that gives understanding to the faithful believer. It starts with listening, it continues in obedience, and it culminates in a greater understanding of God’s Word and His work in life. Do you want to grow in understanding? Learn to listen and obey.

3. Contentment.

Psalm 119:35-36 “Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.”

Where God has you and by the measure of His supply is how He plans to fulfill His work in you. There is a time and place for everything, if we seek the things above first and allow the Lord to bring about the provision in His own way, we will find the blessing that rests in contentment. It is far too common in western society today to strive for an accelerated model of success. That success is founded in a worldly definition and not in a model of faithfulness that God has founded. Covetousness is the major point in the 10th commandment and leads to all forms of malcontent. Marriages break up because of covetousness, people make rash decisions they pay for in life, and the things that have true value in life are forsaken for the desires of the flesh. Be careful for which you desire, make sure it is in accordance with God’s plan for you.

4. Purity.

Psalm 119:37 “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.”

The pathway of life is found in purity. Purity of the eyes, purity of the mind, and purity of the heart. When these areas are left unprotected by the filth of this world, the weight of sin drags you down into the muck of life’s troubles. It takes a conscious effort to be pure, it doesn’t come naturally. Men in particular have to be determined in their approach to avert their eyes from sin. Accountability is key, not giving any provision for the flesh, knowing where the next step will lead. When purity is practiced, life springs forth anew. There is a reviving of life that was never thought possible for those who have walked under this scourge. It’s never too soon to start.

5. Salvation

Psalm 119:41 “Let Your mercies come also to me, O Lord—
Your salvation according to Your word.”

The greatest blessing of all is our salvation. There is no other gift that has such merit as the free gift of God’s grace, given to those who believe. The mercy of God is a reprieve from the judgement that sin requires. For all who remain outside of God’s mercy, there exists the fateful day of their destruction, the due judgement against the crimes that sin has entailed. Examine your heart, has it really been given to the Savior? Have you been withholding your love by some other means through denial? There can be no greater scrutiny than to determine your position before God, nothing in life carries that magnitude of importance.

Count them Out

The blessings of God are so numerous, I could never do them justice in this short refrain. I encourage you, begin to recognize all the ways God has blessed your life or those around you. Never stop giving Him thanks for the ways He has intervened in your life.

Psalm 119:50 “This is my comfort in my affliction,
For Your word has given me life.”

The more you focus on God’s goodness, the more you will see the patterns of His faithfulness in every aspect of life. It is through this practice you will be able to sing of those many blessings and rejoice, no matter what is happening in the world around you.

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