Ten Thousand and One…and Still Counting
I am continually impressed with the need to count—and re-count—the blessings we enjoy every day. Have you tried it? If you have, you are like me… still counting.
Think about the most common blessings—the water we drink, the air we breathe, and flowers and trees all around us as they take on new foliage, bud and blossom. Watch the fresh fruit and vegetables that spring up so quickly from the small seeds we put in the soil. All these are the miraculous work of our Mighty God, to supply us with the nutrients we need from the soil, water and sunshine, and at no cost to us. How unthankful we are if we do not show our gratitude for all He has done for us! The only way we can build a barricade against this awful blight of ingratitude is to pray and thank God daily, remembering, as the poet said:
Back of the bread is the snowy flour, / And back of the flour, the mill, / And back of the mill is the field of wheat, /The rain, and the Father’s will.
The Bible, God’s written Word, is the only link connecting us with the Divine mind today, and we are assured that it will abide forever (1 Pet. 1:23).
God, the author of this Word, has given us so many blessings now in this life and we have the promise of greater blessings in store if we observe and faithfully follow the instructions in His Word. We need to constantly remind ourselves that everything we have comes from His hand, and that at any moment, should He choose to do so, He could turn off our supply line, and we would soon cease to exist.
But He has even greater blessings in store for those who faithfully keep the instructions written in this book, for those who seek Him and elevate their ways and thoughts to His. As His prophet Isaiah wrote, “’Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55: 6-9).
We can get a good lesson from the story of Naaman’s leprosy, found in 2 Kings 5. The greatest difference between Naaman’s leprosy and ours is that he was acutely aware of his dreadful disease. His leprosy was visible. Naaman needed no divine knowledge to teach him that he was a leper. Day and night, in the council chamber and in the battlefield, eating and drinking, waking and sleeping, he was constantly haunted by the sickening thought: He was a leper.
Our leprosy is more subtle. We may be sick from head to foot with leprous sores, so that there is no soundness in our flesh (Ps. 38), and yet be so self-deceived that we think we are clean and sound. Beware! This self-deception is very dangerous, because it lulls us into complacency. A wise man once said, “The deadliest sin of all is to be conscious of no sin.” When our sin is naked and obvious to all, our condition is comparatively safe. But if we have allowed our consciences to be seared over by self-justification so that we have become insensitive to the touch of sin and no longer feel it as we should, our condition is worse than was Naaman’s. We can often, to our peril, make ourselves believe almost anything, even to the point that we call evil good and good evil.
Listen to these words of counsel from our former pastor Maud Hembree. She said: “We need to get ourselves wide awake so that we realize we must cease to do evil and learn to do well, not sin and confess, sin and confess and then keep right on sinning. These are life giving words. If you will let them sink into your very heart, they will bring you that ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’” Then she commented: “That is what the prophet Isaiah (1:16-17) was talking about. I think it is wonderful. I like to read it myself. I need to stir myself up individually, and then we all need it.”
We would go to sleep by the way if the God of heaven had not sent His warning words again and again through His apostles, prophets and Jesus.”
We read and study the Bible, we talk of the wonderful lessons from our teachers, but do we take them to heart, and use them to the purifying of our character? Let us keep reminded of the shortness of the time, to finish the work of purifying our character, because the coming of the Lord is very near? Remember these key points:
- No sin is too big to acknowledge, or too small to be concerned about.
- Faith is more than belief. Faith and obedience go together.
- As committed believers, we are not free to do as we please.
- Every one of us must have faith, belief and
We are often given short contemplative thoughts like these to ponder, and go forward, grateful for all the Lord has provided for us. Let us be determined to make the very most of the time we are given, to prove ourselves faithful in the work of bringing our ways and thoughts to the standard set for us in the life of Jesus Christ, our Lord and coming King .— DRM
“I can never count my blessings, /They are numberless to me,/ I can never know the measure/Of His love so full and free;/ Yet my tongue cannot be silent/ When His mercies I recall,/ Though they never can be numbered/ I will praise Him for them all.”