~Psalm 40:4 Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Like the Sermon on the Mount where Christ gave us the Beatitudes, this verse begins with “Blessed is.” Whenever I see these words, I pay attention. I want God’s blessings, don’t you? Today’s verse encourages us to trust in the Lord. Furthermore, in so doing we shall be blessed.

I realize that this is easier said than done – especially when a believer is going through an extremely difficult trial. However, when we trust the Lord during our trials, we are not busy worrying. Trusting God is an action of the heart. We acknowledge that the trial is beyond our control and not one ounce of effort on our part is going to change things. Once we relinquish our worries and leave the unknown to God, peace follows.

God promises to direct us no matter how complicated or impossible our trial seems to be. With this, He provides this wonderful peace that goes beyond comprehension. The believer no longer has to struggle with life but has the Creator at His side directing him along the way. The Master fulfills the well-known Proverb and provides His child with comfort and peace.

No matter how difficult life gets, and it will get harder, we know that our God walks alongside us. As the wonderful piece “Footprints” points out, there are even times when He carries us due to our weariness. We must build on this trust after each trial. We must look back at the previous trials and see God’s hand at work in our lives. When we do this, we can see just what He brought us through. This reflection will build our trust in Him.

To the young believer, I encourage you to make these two verses your life’s verse. As daily problems and trials come your way, apply these verses. Repeat them and ask the Lord to guide you. Pour out your heart to Him and tell Him that you don’t understand and you don’t know what to do. God will provide peace in the midst of the storm. The more the young believer applies these verses to his life, the more he will turn to the Lord immediately with all his burdens and trials!

~Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

~Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. 

David knew how to thank His God! He was able to recognize when he was discouraged or depressed. The world recognizes in their 12-step programs the need to admit one’s addiction. However, their 12-step programs are only temporary. I speak from experience – I witnessed my father remain sober for almost 30 years, but the feeling of being alone drove him to drink again. The 12-step program did not have a lasting effect on my father. But this is not so with born-again believers! Praise God that we have One whose help can be eternal, if we allow Him to work in our lives.

We, as believers, need to recognize our state of discouragement and depression and go to the Source of healing and encouragement. We have the precious Word of God, in our King James Bible, which contains all the solutions on overcoming discouragement. Let’s learn from David.

~Psalm 42:1  Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. 

David knew that his discouraged soul would find health. But David had to take that first step – David had to hope in God and His solutions as well as praise God. What does a discouraged soul have to praise God about? Counting your blessings is a great place to start. Everyone has blessings in their lives – everyone! Are you a born-again child of the King? Have you been spared from an eternity of burning in hell? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food on your table (even if it is just peanut butter)? Do you have fairly good health where you can still get around? Do you have loved ones? Do you have a good church family? List these blessings on a post-it note and place it where you can see it several times a day. After reading these blessings over and over, you will be able to say with David that you can praise God.

Now that you are praising God, the next step is to magnify Him with thanksgiving. I love looking up words from King James’ era when our beloved King James Bible was translated. The words from that time period have so much more punch and meaning than if using modern-day English.

Noah Webster’s definition of magnify is:

2. To make great in representation; to extol; to exalt in description or praise. The embassador magnified the king and queen.
3. To extol; to exalt; to elevate; to raise in estimation. Thee that day Thy thunders
magnified. The Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly. 1 Chr 29.

So my brother and sister in Christ, extol and exalt the precious Name of Jesus to yourself and anyone who will listen! Share with others God’s blessings and compassion for you! Doing this is a sure-fire way of taking your eyes off your circumstances and discouragement and focusing on the “good” things that the Lord has blessed you with. Do you have the gift of writing? Let others know what God has done for you. Do you have the gift of speaking? Use your gift and magnify the Lord and His goodness toward you. Do you have a gift of ministering to others? Find yourself a dear Senior Saint and share God’s blessings with them. I dare say, these dear Saints are in desperate need of a kind and uplifting word. As you read the words to Mr. Oatman’s song, Count Your Blessings, you can surely appreciate the fact that he had been through a few bouts of discouragement. He learned from David what he had to do to be encouraged.

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.
Refrain
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

~Johnson Oatman, Jr.

Ezekiel 34:26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.

What a beautiful song Daniel Whittle penned! The words bring hope and encourage the Christian to seek after God.

Daniel W. Whittle was born on November 22, 1840, and died on March 4, 1901. Whittle served as a Major in the Civil War, where he lost his right arm, and was known thereafter as Major Whittle. It was during the Civil War that he was saved. He was asked to pray with a dying young soldier because he had been seen reading a Bible. He obeyed the request and it was at this young man’s bedside that he asked God for forgiveness. Major Whittle then prayed with the young soldier and the soldier found Christ before passing away. The Lord used this situation to draw Major Whittle and the young dying soldier to Him. What a blessed story this was to read! After the War, Major Whittle became treasurer of a watch company. It was in this company’s quiet vault that he committed his life to the Gospel.

Major Whittle not only wrote this blessed hymn but also wrote two more which you will recognize: The Banner of the Cross and Christ Liveth in Me.

There Shall be Showers of Blessing
Daniel W. Whittle

There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Refrain

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

Refrain

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.

Refrain

Today’s verse and song speak of showers of blessing but yet the photograph at the top is totally the opposite. Without the beautiful benefits of the season of Winter, earth cannot produce the precious seeds and harvest of Spring and Fall. God gave us the four seasons for a purpose and each affects the other three.

The Winter season has many benefits other than the obvious cold weather pass times. The frigid temperatures provide mankind with a natural pest eliminator. Viruses and germs cannot survive in continuously cold weather. Bugs, which damage crops, cannot survive the cold. Molds and mildews die off as well. Winter is God’s natural way to rid the earth of these things.

When I lived in Northern Maine, I not only felt healthier in the Winter time but I had more energy when I spent time outside. Haven’t you ever felt invigorated by the blast of cold air that hits your face the moment you step outside on a cold day? The Winter winds stir up the atmosphere on a greater scale than the Summer winds – they purify the atmosphere. While orbiting the earth on a Winter day, astronauts have said that the atmosphere is clear and clean. As the earth expands and contracts in the Winter time, the soil is pushing the seeds upwards and preparing them for Spring’s showers.

I liken earth’s Winter season to our own spiritual maturity. Are you in the Winter season of your spiritual walk? The Spring time brings salvation and newness of life. 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

During the summer years of our walk, we grow and mature as Christians. 1 Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. As we enter the Fall season of our spiritual growth, we shed old habits and sinful ways like the trees shed their leaves. 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. Then as we walk in the Winter season of our Christian life, we experience trials and tribulations. Each one drawing us closer to the Lord. We eliminate those pestilences that have hindered our walk. It is when we remove the barriers between us and the Lord that the showers of blessings from the Spring time can freely flow into our lives. 1 John 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Our Heavenly Father sends blessings along the way but these blessings flow more freely as we become more like His Son.

What a beautiful comparison this is. There is something to be learned in all of God’s creation, including the Seasons. As I meditated on this today, the Lord blessed me and showed me that the trials and tribulations of the day will produce showers of blessings in the end as I draw nigh to Him. Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. As our hearts are softened, we get closer to God. Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.

Our Heavenly Father loves us no matter what we do. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. But our love for Him is shown when we allow ourselves to be molded into Christ’s image.

2 Timothy 2:19-21, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (19) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. (20) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. (21)

It is at this point in our spiritual walk that we can fully receive the showers of blessings that God wants to shower upon us. When we fully lean on Him and trust Him with all areas of our lives, we receive that peace which passeth all understanding. Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Not much is known about Johnson Oatman, Jr., the author of one of my favorite hymns! Mr. Oatman was born on April 21, 1856, and passed away on September 25, 1922. Did you know that he wrote lyrics for 5,000 gospel songs? Not only did he pastor local churches but he also worked full time in the retail and insurance industries!

Count Your Blessings
Johnson Oatman, Jr.

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.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Refrain

When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Refrain

So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Refrain

The most important characteristic I found about Mr. Oatman was that he was a grateful man. He must have gone through many trials as a salesman. The life of a salesman is not an easy one. Most salesmen depend on commissions and, therefore, their income fluctuates. I’m certain Mr. Oatman had bounty and I am certain at times he had nothing. Can’t you just see this throughout his lyrics in this blessed hymn?

What do you do when trouble comes knocking on your door? Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (5) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (6) There are four verbs in these two verses. The first three verbs are commands to us from God: Trust in the Lord, lean not unto thine own understanding, in ALL thy ways acknowledge him. The fourth verb in verse 5 is a promise that He SHALL direct thy paths! When we pick apart verses and meditate on the meat, we see that the Lord has given us golden nuggets which will help us when we need that help the most! How can you trust someone you don’t know or barely know? You can’t!

Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. As we build our faith by being in the Word, we learn to trust God more and more. You cannot trust if you are only in the Scriptures on occasion. Could you trust a stranger? Could you trust someone you had only spoken to a few times? Why is your walk with the Lord any different?

Do you think Mr. Oatman held those verses close to his heart? I know I do. I have made these my life’s verses. Many times in my Christian walk have I wondered why the Lord was allowing certain circumstances in my life. Each battle He has allowed me to go through has drawn me closer to Him. Each battle has taught me to trust Him more and more. Now when a battle comes, I immediately go to Him – knowing that He will carry me through.

My friend, He will do the same for you if you let Him. Remember 1 Sam. 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands. The battle is the Lord’s, my friend! It’s not ours. When God allows a trial into our lives, He does not leave us or abandon us. He provides exactly what we need, when we need it. It is through the battles that we learn that our Commander in Chief is not asleep on the job but is in the front lines winning the war!

My friend, won’t you count your blessings this morning? Write them down – share them with others – name them one by one! Even in the darkest of circumstances one can find a blessing in his life! When you feel as though the world is caving in on you, take your eyes off your circumstances and count your blessings! Start doing something for someone else. It is in doing for others that you will find many a blessing! Before you know it, you will be counting your blessings out of habit and you will no longer have to search for them – they will be all around you!

Psalm 104:1-30

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: 3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: 4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: 5 Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever. 6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. 7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. 8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. 9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. 10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. 11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. 12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. 13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; 15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart. 16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted; 17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house. 18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies. 19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down. 20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth. 21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. 22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens. 23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening. 24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. 25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. 26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein. 27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. 28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good. 29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. 30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

Our God is amazing! Not only did He create the universe in six days, He created all of it to bless us! Is it any wonder that the Psalmist opens this song, once again, with Bless the Lord? David’s praises are not simply generalities but he specifically praises God for each wonder that he beholds! God doesn’t need our praise because everything belongs to Him.

~Psalms 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

However, praising the Lord is for our benefit, don’t you understand?  We need to praise Him because in praise comes healing.  Are you down today? The Christmas season is suppose to be a joyous one – however, it has the highest suicide rates! Why? The same God who is praised for countless blessings came to earth to take on flesh so He could die for our sins! This same God arose from the dead and is in Heaven awaiting to take us to Him! Without His birth, but more importantly without His resurrection, we cannot claim the gift of salvation!  If you have His Spirit living within you, you have absolutely no reason for being discouraged or depressed.

Some people are more apt to see life through “negative” glasses.  Others have a positive attitude and nothing gets them down.  The pessimistic believer has to work harder at encouraging his spirit.  We are quick to take medicine for whatever ails us. Why are we not so quick to go to God’s Word when the Great Physician can heal our broken spirit? It’s sheer laziness, both of body and of mind, when we neglect so great a remedy!

~2 Corinthians 1:3-6 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.

Haven’t you had a friend who knew exactly what to say at just the right time in your life? The words spoken were as though they were sent directly from God!  That friend knew what to say because that friend had been through a similar trial and shared what God had done!  In the blessed pages of our Bible, the Holy Spirit awaits to comfort us and heal us. Our problems may not go away but our heart is made right and encouraged!

David teaches us to speak back to God all the things we wish to glorify Him! Look around you, Christian! The smell of the crisp clean air ~ the warmth of the sun on your face despite the bitter cold temperatures ~ the coo of a precious baby ~ the beautiful night skies; there are so many things for which we can praise God! It is a self-centered heart that cannot find something to praise Him for.

Look to Jesus and rejoice for all He’s done for you.
Speak of His countless blessings and let joy come shining through!

Do you need help to get started? Take a walk through the woods, or on the beach, and experience nature. It won’t be long before the smell of pine trees or ocean, a glimpse of the sun’s rays through the trees, or the distant sound of a woodpecker, take over your senses and you begin to realize that the Creator did all this for us! Now you can join David and rejoice for each blessing the Lord has bestowed upon us!

Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me bless His Holy Name!

Psalm 89 (1-14)

Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. 1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. 3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, 4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. 5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord? 7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. 8 O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? 9 Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. 10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm. 11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. 12 The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name. 13 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. 14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.

What a beautiful Psalm to read first thing in the morning! Starting our day rejoicing and praising our Heavenly Father lays the groundwork for the rest of the day, doesn’t it? I love to sing the song with the words from verse 1. It prepares my heart and puts me in the right frame of mind? When I am singing about God’s mercies, I simply cannot run out of material! His mercy for me is so great! My salvation alone is sufficient to sing about until the Lord’s return. However, He did not stop there! On top of my salvation, my Father has showered me with blessings that are so undeserved!

Creation brings forth countless blessings for the child of God. We only have to look around us and keep our ears open and we will see God’s hand! As I sit writing this, I hear the roaring of the ocean in the distance. I hear the birds singing as the day is breaking. As I make my way from the outside of my house to the inside, I see my beloved, a roof over my head and food in my refrigerator. God’s blessings are all around me. I can only see those blessings if my heart has been prepared with praises as the Psalmist teaches. A thankful heart does not have room for complaining, amen?

The Apostle Paul’s encouraging words in Philippians teach us just what our thoughts should consist of:

~Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

This is a beautiful recipe on keeping our thought life in order! God’s Word is the only thing on this earth that is true, honest, just and pure!  In His Word, we learn from His example in each of these areas.  Aren’t we blessed to have His Word to open every day so we can receive His words for the day?  Many have several Bibles in their home and yet they never open it.

As if the blessings He gives us from His Word aren’t enough, He has given us His lovely creation to enjoy. In every part of creation, we see His hand!  We can start with the beautiful heavens as we gaze into the night sky.  Looking at the variety of shells on the seashore then seeing the countless wildlife in the forest and on the forest floor is mind boggling!  Stepping back from life’s hustle and bustle to look upon God’s handiwork will work on any believer’s heart.

And what good report is not enjoyed by the child of God when he hears of missionaries’ hard work producing fruit! Souls that have been won for the Kingdom are a wonderful report and encourage the believer’s spirit!

Today’s Psalm and verse from Philippians are a sure cure for stinking thinking!  Look around – recognize God’s blessings and rejoice today!

Psalm 103

A Psalm of David.
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways unto Moses, his acts unto the children of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. 10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. 13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. 16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. 17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; 18 To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them. 19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all. 20 Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. 21 Bless ye the Lord, all ye his hosts; ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure. 22 Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul.

Why is the Psalmist blessing the Lord in this Psalm? This beautiful song is filled with encouragement! As I read on, I see the list of blessings which the Lord has given to him. Each of these blessings applies to me as well. I thought it would make a great check list for my readers. I’ve listed the blessings below – just write down your own thoughts next to each one and how the benefit applies to you personally.

  1. Forgave my iniquities
  2. Healed my diseases
  3. Redeemed my life
  4. Crowned me with lovingkindness and tender mercies
  5. Satisfied my mouth with good things
  6. Executes righteousness and judgment
  7. Is merciful and gracious
  8. Is slow to anger
  9. Is plenteous in mercy
  10. He won’t stay angry forever
  11. He has not dealt with me according to my sins
  12. He has not rewarded me according to my sins
  13. His mercy toward me is as high as Heaven
  14. He has removed my sins from me as far as the east is from the west
  15. He pities me
  16. His mercy is everlasting
  17. He has prepared His throne in Heaven and His kingdom rules over all

Is it any wonder that the Psalmist is blessing the Lord? He started the Psalm blessing the Lord and ends it in the same manner! Should I not be doing exactly the same thing after reading all these blessings and how they are applied to me personally? Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

~Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.

One does not need to look far to see the blessings God gives to us every day! Making it a daily habit to recognize these blessings is a good place to start! Looking at nature is a good way to start. There is much of God’s blessings in His creation. He gives us something to look at on a daily basis which should cause our hearts to meditate on His Goodness.

Even though you are stricken with sickness or the storms of life, you are able to say that your Anchor, Jesus Christ, is steady! I found this quote from an unknown source and thought it was so appropriate!

“To realize the worth of the anchor we need to feel the storm.”

I think of our precious Saviour being our anchor. Can you picture this in your mind’s eye? The Lord has given us wonderful “pictures” to describe His character. He holds our salvation — He keeps us stable during the storms of life!

~Hebrews 6:19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Our Anchor is both sure and stedfast! Noah Webster defines stedfast as:

1. Fast fixed; firm; firmly fixed or established; as the stedfast globe of earth.
2. Constant; firm; resolute; not fickle or wavering.

Our Saviour is our Anchor – it is up to Him to keep our salvation. This same Saviour can surely keep us through our storms!!

Therefore, the more storms you have been through, the more blessings you have to recognize in your life.  The storms reveal our Anchor and, as a result, creates a grateful heart!!

This series has truly blessed me! It amazes me how God has used numbers throughout His Word to further bless us! Today’s especially blessed me. I did a search for the phrase blessed are they and came up with twelve times it was used throughout the Word. Twelve symbolizes:

Family, Mankind/Humanity (6) x (2) = (12) Family; the families and tribes of humanity are represented by their 12 leaders. Jacob’s family had 12 men/leaders/Patriarchs, so did Ishmael’s family, Likewise we the Family of the Church have our 12 Disciple Apostle leaders

How interesting that there would be twelve uses of this phrase to depict people. It’s like God confirms His statements in the Word even further with the use of numbers. Totally mind boggling!!

Let’s look at the twelve types of people who receive God’s blessings:

(1) People who “dwell” in God’s house. (Psa 84:4) Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Notice that this verse does not say “visit” but dwell. This has a connotation of residing at the house of God. The Hebrew word is:

H3427
ישׁב
yâshab
yaw-shab’
A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: – (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.

I love that this Hebrew word is defined as “causatively to settle, to marry”! Praise the Lord! The unsaved cannot “dwell” in God’s house – only the born-again Christian can do so because we are the bride of Christ! We are to be married to Him – hence, dwell with Him!

(2) People who keep judgment and do righteousness at all times. (Psa 106:3) Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times. Ouch! Even the born-again Christian cannot do righteousness at all times. But praise God that He does not see our own righteousness but He sees Christ’s. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. (Rom 10:4) Only the believer can claim this.

(3) People who keep his testimonies and that seek him. (Psa 119:2) Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. Those who obey the Word and seek Christ will be saved, therefore blessed with eternal life! So, again, the believer is the one who can claim this.

(4) People who keep God’s ways. (Pro 8:32) Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Even a moral society enjoys the blessings of God when they do right. However, the wicked receive His judgment. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Mat 5:45) However, the work keep is key here. The world does not keep God’s ways. This is evident all around us. Therefore, only the believer can keep God’s ways because of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. When we fail, however, Christ is our Advocate with the Father.

(5) People who mourn. (Mat 5:4) Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. I am not certain that Christ was referring to people who mourn the loss of a loved one through death. The unsaved mourn and are not comforted. The born-again believer mourns at the loss of an unsaved loved one and we are not comforted because we know they are in torments. Personally, I believe that Christ is referring to those who mourn over their own sin and their own actions with true repentance. I believe these individuals are the ones who are comforted. We receive true comfort at salvation and are given the Holy Spirit, the true Comforter. Praise the Lord!

(6) People who thirst after righteousness. (Mat 5:6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. The Apostle Paul was a great example of this. He desired not to sin and desired to do right. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom 7:24) The unsaved thirst after sin because of their sin nature. We have a new nature which causes us to want to do what is right – thirst after righteousness. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Co 5:17)

(7) People who are persecuted for the cause of Christ. (Mat 5:10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. We are seeing more and more people around the world being persecuted for their beliefs. We are beginning to see it in our own country: Christians attend gay pride rallies and are silently praying are being arrested! Only a believer would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

(8 ) People who hear God’s Word and keep it! (Luk 11:28 ) But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. Only the born-again can fulfill this one. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17) The unsaved can hear the Word of God but they cannot keep it.

(9) People who believe without seeing. (Joh 20:29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Again, the born-again believer is the only one who can fulfill this one. Thomas got to see Christ and had visual proof. The born-again believer has not seen Jesus for himself and is blessed because he has believed without seeing Him in the flesh.

(10) People whose sins are forgiven and covered! (Rom 4:7) Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. The born-again believer’s sin is covered by the Blood of the Lamb! Praise the Lord! Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: (1Co 5:7)

(11) People who attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. (Rev 19:9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. The born-again believer is part of the Bride of Christ. We will be at the marriage supper, bless God!

(12) People who have eternal life will have the right to the tree of life. (Rev 22:14) Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Only the born-again believer can claim this. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 Jo 5:13)

I don’t know about you, but today’s devotional was a true blessing to me (no pun intended). We have twelve blessings given to us from God! How can we not stand up and rejoice!

Showers of Blessing
Fanny Crosby

Here in Thy Name we are gathered,
Come and revive us, O Lord;
“There shal
l be showers of blessing,”
Thou hast declared in Thy Word.

Refrain

Oh, graciously hear us,
Graciously hear us, we pray:
Pour from Thy windows upon us
Showers of blessing today.

Oh! that the showers of blessing,
Now on our souls may descend,
While at the footstool of mercy
Pleading Thy promise we bend!

Refrain

“There shall be showers of blessing,”
Promise that never can fail;
Thou wilt regard our petition;
Surely our faith will prevail.

Refrain

Showers of blessing, we need them,
Showers of blessing from Thee;
Showers of blessing, oh, grant them,
Thine all the glory shall be.

Refrain

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The word blessing appears 64 times in Scriptures. The first time it appears is in Gen. 12:2, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” If I apply the rule of “firsts” here, I see two active parts of the word blessing: (1) God giving the blessings and (2) Believers being a blessing.

I. God is the one who gives these blessings. The tense of this phrase is future and on-going – God will bless us. Gen. 12:2 was given to the nation of Israel but can be applied to us today. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:14)

A. Characteristics of God’s Blessings

1. Birthright – Gen. 27.35 (Esau gave up his birthright for something to eat.)

a. The Christian’s birthright comes by being born again into God’s Kingdom (John 3:3).

i. God blesses us with salvation. Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. (Psa 3:8 )

ii. He gives us showers of blessing because we believe on His Son, Jesus Christ. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. (Eze 34:26)

b. Abraham’s blessing passed on to us – That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Gal 3:14)

c. The Gospel brings a blessing – And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. (Rom 15:29)

2. Fruitfulness – Gen. 28:3 Children are a blessing from God. Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (Psa 127:3)

3. Spills over to others – Gen. 39:5 And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

a. When we walk uprightly, God blesses us. Our families glean from these blessings because of us. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: (Heb 6:7)

4. Sometimes has to be sought after – Gen. 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

5. Blessings can come with curses – Deut. 11:27-28

a. A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: (27) And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known. (28 )
If we obey the Word, we will be blessed. If we don’t obey, we will not be blessed.

b. Both can come out of the same person – Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (Jam 3:10)

6. Curses can be turned into blessings – Deut. 23:5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.

7. Commanded to remember them – Deut. 30:1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,

8. Blessings given to:

a. The pure of heart – He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. (Psa 24:4) He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psa 24:5)

b. Those that live in unity – Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! (Psa 133:1) It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (Psa 133:2) As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psa 133:3)

9. Blessings make us rich spiritually – The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. (Pro 10:22)

10. Blessings come as a result of tithing and love offerings
And the first of all the firstfruits of all things, and every oblation of all, of every sort of your oblations, shall be the priest’s: ye shall also give unto the priest the first of your dough, that he may cause the blessing to rest in thine house. (Eze 44:30)

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Mal 3:10)

11. Blessings come from repentance – And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. (Joe 2:13) Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? (Joe 2:14)

B. We are to bless God – to pronounce Him holy and sanctify Him, His day and all things having to do with Him.

And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luk 24:53)

Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (Rev 5:12)

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. (Rev 5:13)

Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. (Rev 7:12)

II. Because of receiving God’s blessings, God said the recipient shall be a blessing. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it. (Gen 33:11)

Share God’s goodness and your surplus with others. And it shall come to pass, that as ye were a curse among the heathen, O house of Judah, and house of Israel; so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing: fear not, but let your hands be strong. (Zec 8:13)

Because the Lord has saved us, be a blessing and lead others to Him!

A. Recipient gives of the fruit of his blessings – Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee. (Deu 16:17)

B. Blessing others even when they aren’t blessing you – Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1Pe 3:9)

Much is to be said about blessings. I think the most famous verse, however, is:

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Act 20:35)

Make Me A Blessing

Out on the highways and byways of life,
Many are the weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.
Chorus
Make me a blessing, make me a blessing;
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, O Saviour I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
Tell of His pow’r to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
True every moment you live.

Chorus

Give as ’twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.

Chorus
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A great story about being a blessing to someone else and it involves listening to that still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Enjoy 🙂

God Speaks . . . Do You Listen?

A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice. The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?” After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways.

It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, “God..If you still speak to people speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.”

As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, “God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk. The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli.”Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home.

As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, “Turn Down that street.” This is crazy he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street.At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will”.

He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in semi commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed.

Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat. “Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk. If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here.”

He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside. A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep. “What is it?” The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, “Here, I brought this to you.”

The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen.. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money. We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.” His wife in the kitchen yelled out, “I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?”

The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put in the man’s hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers.