Tuesday, April 5, 2022

          The first word in the book of Psalms is blessed (1:1).  The last word in Psalms is LORD (found in Psalm 150:6).  The reality is we are blessed.  We are blessed people.  We are blessed by the LORD.  Blessed is a word that figures prominently in the Bible and in many places besides Psalms.  We find this word in both the Old and New Testaments.  Throughout the Bible, we learn the ways we are blessed and the means by which God blesses His people.  We often recognize some of the obvious blessings that God provides to us (food to eat, a home where we live, family, friendships we can trust, healing, forgiveness, salvation).  But we can easily overlook or simply miss many of the ways God blesses His people.  Our busyness and humanity often get in the way of clearly seeing all that God is doing in and for His people.
            I read a story recently about an older gentleman well into his nineties who had developed a practice about seventy years earlier in his life.  He simply writes down at least three blessings every day that God has given to Him.  As you might imagine, he has filled quite a few notebooks through the decades naming what God has given to Him.  But this gentleman is on to something important.  We want to be able to name, identify and acknowledge what God has done and how amazingly blessed most of us can say that we are.  Living with an awareness of our blessings and in a state of gratitude is a healthy choice for us emotionally, mentally and physically. 
            Paul commanded us in I Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks in ALL circumstances.  While circumstances can and do change for all of us, and often quickly so, there is one constant linear thread that does not have to change.  We can maintain a state of gratitude and an awareness of the ways we are blessed.  Indeed, we might be better at handling some of the circumstances we face if we began with an awareness of our blessings and gifts.
            A goal for all believers is spiritual maturity or, put another way, growing up in Christ.  Recognizing how we are blessed is one step on that continuous journey and process known as maturity.  Looking for the ways we are blessed is a rewarding exercise in discernment or sharpening our spiritual vision and eyesight.  In 2 Timothy 4, Paul gave some valuable life instructions to his beloved spiritual son.  In 4:15, Paul wrote about how to handle or live out these instructions.  Paul wrote, “be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.”  Many things in faith require diligence and devotion.  Recognizing our blessedness is one such thing.  Human nature often tends toward envy, jealousy and pettiness.  We can be captured by small, trivial things yet miss the huge matters that God has for us to see or to learn.  Be diligent in seeing, naming and acknowledging the way God has blessed you.  Perhaps a running list of daily blessings is the discipline you need to sharpen your vision and discernment. 
            Perhaps you establish an agreement with a good friend that you will mutually text each other three blessings you have experienced each day.  You could hold each other accountable in doing that.  After about forty days, that practice will likely become part of your life and you will be experiencing the joys and maturity that it brings to you.  Blessed!  The word alone brings a sense of peace and contentment.  Perhaps even a smile begins to form on your face.  Remember today that you are blessed.  And that the LORD is the author and maker of all blessings.  Have a great Tuesday!  Remember to share and enjoy our worship at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.       

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