If you were raised in church "back in the day", chances are you grew up singing the old hymn Count Your Blessings. Do you recall the chorus? "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!" A few years ago I read a great book by Ann Voskamp entitled One Thousand Gifts, in which she set out to do just that! Count her blessings. I took her up on this challenge and was amazed by how immensely I, too, have been divinely blessed by my Heavenly Father. Consequently, the "blessing" is all founded on what I have in the gift of Jesus, which changes one's perspective in all things.
Even in that old hymn, it begins by mentioning the struggles and calamities of life. "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." As I began counting my own blessings, from the smallest to the largest, I found myself quoting scripture and thinking about the grace of God. I was reminded of small gifts of love and life that I am privileged to experience, even in the midst of life's trials. The unrivaled beauty of grace is that it is underserved and unmerited, but that God in His love for His children blesses us with His Son! In Christ we all have something in which to be thankful!
Often in times of stress and anxiety I find myself quoting one of my favorite scripture passages, Philippians 4:6-7. Paul states, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." In our anxieties we lay it all at the foot of the cross, lift our hearts to the Lord, thank him for who He is and what He has done, and He will change our perspective! Indeed, guarding our hearts and minds IN Christ Jesus! The peace that passes all understanding is a peace that can only come from knowing Christ. My prayer is that this Thanksgiving you recognize that place of peace and joy and be thankful, for in Christ you have been richly blessed. Rest in His love today!
I'm thankful for an awesome community in which to serve and live. I'm also thankful for the church family that I get to serve and love, and that loves me. This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for a warm house and a warm meal. Furthermore, I'm incredibly thankful for an amazing, beautiful wife, and a life-changing little girl who is full of life! As I count my blessings, I'm most thankful for the gift of grace. I'm thankful that I am living life loved by my Heavenly Father. And I'm thankful that God does not just give us grace at salvation, but grace throughout the Christian life! Illuminating grace that helps us understand that we don't just give Jesus our lives, but by the blood of the cross, and through His resurrection, by faith He comes to live in us! The king of the universe, in me! Oh how blessed I am! I'm most thankful for that "mystery that has been hidden for ages, and has now been revealed. Christ in me, the hope of glory!" (Colossians 1:27) Happy Thanksgiving!
Ashley Mofield is a minister at Frist Baptist Church in White House