Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Recognizing Your Blessings

As we approach Thanksgiving, it is appropriate that we examine "blessings".
Definition of blessing: 1. A gift from God
and/ or 2. a sense of well being generated by the gift(s)

Last week we discussed Giving Thanks for your Blessings.

Today: Recognizing your blessings.
Question: What have you got to be thankful for?????
(the list is too long so we'll look at categories and types of blessings.


#1. ...... Material Possessions. (money, job, home, cars, clothes, etc.)
We know: A. we're blessed. (according to statistics - we are in the top 10% of the wealthiest people in the world.)
and, B. that's OK. Gen. 24:35 Job 42:12 There is nothing WRONG with wealth.

Remember, on one hand, you may have worked, planned, saved, etc. to acquire your wealth.
However, those blessings would NOT be possible without God's grace.
Deut. 8:17-18 (a)
Job 1:9-10 - "blessed the WORK of his hands" - common phrase

#2. .... Material non-possessions. ie: yours to enjoy but not to own!!
examples: sunset, fall day, ocean surf, smell of honeysuckle, great view, warm sunshine, soft rain, full moon, whippoorwill's call, etc.

#3....Spiritual blessings. Eph. 1:3 - He has already blessed us with.
text means election, redemption, forgiveness, adoption in the family. But could also add: regeneration (chosen), reconciliation (brought back to the Father), sanctification (set apart), security!!
Note: Eph. 1:6-8 The generosity and Eph. 1:3 - the source - "in Christ".
Therefore, get in and give thanks.

#4...... Relational blessings. ie: people - special people. spouse, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, extended family, friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters, etc.
Next to spiritual blessings, these are the most valuable and can be eternal, because people are eternal.
Demonstrated by: 1. the cross - for people
2. the greatest commandment - "love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself"
3. landscape of heaven - only thing going there from here is people

#5..... former blessings. Blessings of past that still bless today!! ie: lost spouse? distant childhood? former health? former youth?
Former blessings have the ability to generate new blessings everyday!! When we're in the pit of despair, there is much to be gained from looking back at former blessings.

#6..... future blessings.
A. future temporal - another fall, Christmas, vacation, etc.
B. future eternal - example: Rev. 21:4
For the Christian, what He's done is good! What He's gonna do is BETTER!!!

#7.... opportunity blessings
#8.... Ability blessings
ie: blessed with the opportunity and ability to achieve, acquire, enjoy, share....
I Chron. 29:14,16

#9.... Inherited blessings. blessings others worked for and you received. Example: your freedoms!! Few of us sacrificed, paid for these.
You've inherited political freedoms, sound economy, high standard of living, prosperous nation, extensive borders, constitutional rights, etc.

#10.... Proximity blessings. ie: blessings you receive simply because you are in the presence of blessed people!!
Gen. 30:27 Gen. 39:5
The text refers to material, monetary. The application is much broader!!
We should thank God for blessings received because we're IN a Christian marriage, home, family, good church, good community!!!
example: our Community Thanksgiving service last year had 400 - 450 people present. That's roughly 1/3 of the entire population of this area.
If you had a similar event in OK. City and drew that percentage of the population, you'd have over 300,000 in attendance. We are extremely blessed to be living in this area.

In the list above, we haven't even mentioned...

#11. Common blessings - breath, heartbeat, eyesight, taste buds, 2 arms, 2 legs, 10 fingers/toes, hair on your head, rain on crops, sun in the sky, mind that thinks, body that heals, love, laughter, good night's sleep... If you can appreciate these when they're gone, shouldn't we be thankful while they are still here???

#12...... Life blessings. - ie: the blessing of life!!
Why? were you even born? Why? here? Why? have life? why do you have choice? opportunity? individuality? eternity????

Answer: because God has chosen you, selected you, graced you, blessed you!!!
And you ought, therefore, to give Him thanks!!

Summary verse: John 1:16

One note: The lengthy list of blessings does not ignore, deny, eliminate the problems, pain, struggles in your life.
Blessings alone do not remove/negate... loneliness, grief, pain, suffering, confusion.
so, know this: the same God we go to with thanksgiving, is the One you go to with complaints, problems, heartaches, tears)

And, that's OK, too. He is your Father! You can thank Him for loving you even when you have doubts and complaints, etc.

An appropriate response to your many blessings???
1. Be grateful
2. Give thanks
3. Give SELF!!!

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