VIDEO COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Nov 26, 2008
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS by GEORGE BEVERLY SHEA with lyrics

This is a classic Christian Song sang by a long-time Christian Artist who just celebrated his centennial birthday, George B. Shea. There are too many blessings to count in life indeed and definitely not sheep. So count all the things that God has done for you and see the blessings. You may not get from God all that you ever wanted but you are not deprived of the essential things in life. By the way, viewing this is already a blessing, for one, you got internet connection. Right!

When Temptation Knocks

What makes a person successful at resisting temptation? I believe the best way to discover how to overcome temptation is to look at the One who dealt with every temptation successfully and consistently. The writer of Hebrews wrote of Christ:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15).

Since Jesus successfully overcame temptation, we would do well to study his strategy for dealing with it. Unfortunately, we have only one clear passage of Scripture describing Christ’s encounter with temptation. We know from the Hebrews passage cited above that He was tempted more often than this, but the Holy Spirit chose not to include these in the Gospels.

Strangely enough, Jesus’ approach is so straightforward and simple that many believers tend to overlook it entirely. Others, after hearing it, make the most ridiculous excuses as to why they can not follow His example.

What was His strategy? After 40 days of fasting in the desert, Jesus used Scripture, and only Scripture, to resist Satan’s temptation (Matt. 4:1-11). This is hard for me to comprehend. The Son of God—the One who knows all things and has the power to do all things, the One whose words we study, memorize, and meditate on—never made an original comment during the entire interaction.

He never drew on his own wit. He never even relied on His own power. He simply responded with the truth of God’s Word. That’s all it took. Nothing fancy. Just the plain truth directed at the deception behind each of Satan’s requests. Jesus verbally confronted Satan with the truth, and eventually Satan gave up and left.

There are four primary reasons why a well-chosen passage or verse of Scripture is so effective against temptation.

First of all, God’s Word exposes the sinfulness of what you are being tempted to do. One of Satan’s subtle snares is to convince you that sin is really not so bad after all. God’s Word allows you to see things for what they really are.

A second reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you gain God’s viewpoint through it. Since many temptations carry a strong emotional punch, you tend to get caught up in your feelings. Once you identify with the feelings temptation evokes, it becomes increasingly difficult to respond correctly. The truth of Scripture allows you to separate yourself just far enough mentally to deal with it successfully.

Another reason for turning to God’s Word in times of temptation is what one pastor calls the principle of displacement.1 This principle is based on the premise that it is impossible not to think about a seductive topic unless you turn your attention elsewhere. When you turn your thoughts to the Word of God during temptation, you do just that (Phil. 4:8).

If you don’t shift your attention away from the temptation, you may begin some form of mental dialogue: I really shouldn’t. But I haven’t done this in a long time. I am really going to hate myself later. Why not? I’ve already blown it. I’ll do it just this once, and tomorrow I’ll start over. When you allow these little discussions to begin, you’re sunk. The longer you talk, the more time the temptation has to settle into your emotions and will.

The fourth reason the Word of God is so effective against temptation is that you are expressing faith when you turn your attention to His Word. You are saying, “I believe God is able to get me through this; I believe He is mightier than the power of sin, my flesh, and Satan himself.” Nothing moves God like the active faith of His people.

To effectively combat the onslaughts of the enemy, you need an arsenal of verses on the tip of your tongue. Verses so familiar that they come to mind without any conscious effort on your part. If you have to dig them up from the caverns of your memory, they will do you no good. There isn’t time for that in the midst of temptation.

Begin memorizing scriptures that address the area that troubles you the most. Quote them audibly when you are tempted. When you speak the truth out loud, it’s as if you have taken a stand with God against the enemy. When I do this, I often feel a sense of courage and conviction sweeping over me. Remember, if the perfect, sinless, sovereign Son of God relied on Scripture to pull Him through, what hope do you have without it?

1. Bud Palmberg, “Private Sins of Public Ministry,” Leadership magazine (Winter 1988)
By Charles F. Stanley. Adapted from “Winning the War Within: Facing Trials, Temptations and Inner Struggles” by Charles F. Stanley, 1988.

http://intouch.org/you/article-archive/content/topic/When_Temptation_Knocks_Article

God Waiting

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9

During the Christmas season we wait. We wait in traffic. We wait in checkout lines to purchase gifts. We wait for family to arrive. We wait to gather around a table filled with our favorite foods. We wait to open presents lovingly chosen.

All of this waiting can be a reminder to Christians that Christmas is a celebration of waiting for something much more important than holiday traditions. Like the ancient Israelites, we too are waiting for Jesus. Although He already came as the long-awaited Messiah, He has not yet come as ruler over all the earth. So today we wait for Christ’s second coming.

Christmas reminds us that God also waits . . . He waits for people to see His glory, to admit that they are lost without Him, to say yes to His love, to receive His forgiveness, to turn away from sin. While we wait for His second coming, He waits for repentance. What seems to us like God’s slowness in coming is instead His patience in waiting (2 Peter 3:9).

The Lord is waiting to have a relationship with those He loves. He made the first move when He came as baby Jesus and the sacrificial Lamb. Now He waits for us to welcome Him into our lives as Savior and Lord.

God patiently keeps His promises.

by Julie Ackerman Link

Proofs of the Pudding

“If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” (1 John 2:29)

The little book of 1 John provides a treasure trove of “proofs” that demonstrate the reality of the invisible spiritual change brought about by the new birth.

There are two emphases: proofs based on personal experience and proofs based on intellectual awareness.

Here is a short list of proofs we experience:

Obedience to God’s commandments (1 John 2:2-5)
Experience of God in our lives (1 John 2:13-14)
Obvious “antichrists” in the world (1 John 2:18)
Worldly ignorance of Christianity (1 John 3:1)
Sinners’ ignorance of righteousness (1 John 3:6)
Our love for fellow Christians (1 John 3:16-18)
The indwelling Holy Spirit (1 John 4:13)
Our love for godly behavior (1 John 5:2)

Here are proofs we have intellectual confidence in:

The Holy Spirit’s anointing (1 John 2:20)
The holiness of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:29)
The Father’s love for us (1 John 3:1)
Our eternal bodies to be like Christ (1 John 3:2)
Hating a brother is like murder (1 John 3:15)
Scripture’s message of eternal life (1 John 5:13)
Assurance that we belong to God (1 John 5:19)
Assurance that Christ has come (1 John 5:20)

These evidences are primarily for the believer—that is, they are intended to assure the believer’s heart and mind of his security in Christ. John’s list is not intended to be complete but only to focus our thoughts on the obvious. When you count your blessings, remember these. HMM III

The rest includes victory

“There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9.) The rest includes victory, “And the Lord gave them, rest round about;… the Lord delivered all their enemies into their hand.” (Joshua 21:44.) “He will beautify the meek with victory.” (Psalm 149:4.) (Rotherham, margin.)

AN eminent Christian worker tells of his mother who was a very anxious and troubled Christian. He would talk with her by the hour trying to convince her of the sinfulness of fretting, but to no avail. She was like the old lady who once said she had suffered so much, especially from the troubles that never came.

But one morning the mother came down to breakfast wreathed in smiles. He asked her what had happened, and she told him that in the night she had a dream.

She was walking along a highway with a great crowd of people who seemed so tired and burdened. They were nearly all carrying little black bundles, and she noticed that there were numerous repulsive looking beings which she thought were demons dropping these black bundles for the people to pick up and carry.

Like the rest, she too had her needless load, and was weighed down with the devil’s bundles. Looking up, after a while, she saw a Man with a bright and loving face, passing hither and thither through the crowd, and comforting the people.

At last He came near her, and she saw that it was her Saviour. She looked up and told Him how tired she was, and He smiled sadly and said:

“My dear child, I did not give you these loads; you have no need of them. They are the devil’s burdens and they are wearing out your life. Just drop them; refuse to touch them with one of your fingers and you will find the path easy and you will be as if borne on eagle’s wings.”

He touched her hand, and lo, peace and joy thrilled her frame and, flinging down her burden, she was about to throw herself at His feet in joyful thanksgiving, when suddenly she awoke and found that all her cares were gone. From that day to the close of her life she was the most cheerful and happy member of the household.

And the night shall be filled with music,
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
—Longfellow.

O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness

“O that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men.” Psalm 107:8

If we complained less, and praised more, we should be happier, and God would be more glorified. Let us daily praise God for common mercies—common as we frequently call them, and yet so priceless, that when deprived of them we are ready to perish. Let us bless God for the eyes with which we behold the sun, for the health and strength to walk abroad, for the bread we eat, for the raiment we wear. Let us praise Him that we are not cast out among the hopeless, or confined amongst the guilty; let us thank Him for liberty, for friends, for family associations and comforts; let us praise Him, in fact, for everything which we receive from His bounteous hand, for we deserve little, and yet are most plenteously endowed. But, beloved, the sweetest and the loudest note in our songs of praise should be of redeeming love. God’s redeeming acts towards His chosen are for ever the favourite themes of their praise.

If we know what redemption means, let us not withhold our sonnets of thanksgiving. We have been redeemed from the power of our corruptions, uplifted from the depth of sin in which we were naturally plunged. We have been led to the cross of Christ—our shackles of guilt have been broken off; we are no longer slaves, but children of the living God, and can antedate the period when we shall be presented before the throne without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Even now by faith we wave the palm-branch and wrap ourselves about with the fair linen which is to be our everlasting array, and shall we not unceasingly give thanks to the Lord our Redeemer? Child of God, canst thou be silent? Awake, awake, ye heritors of glory, and lead your captivity captive, as ye cry with David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name.” Let the new month begin with new songs.

Thou hast made summer and winter

“Thou hast made summer and winter.” Psalm 74:17

My soul begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that He keeps His covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that He will also keep that glorious covenant which He has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world, will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with His own well-beloved Son.

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: He casteth forth His ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, He is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord’s sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

How we prize the fire just now! how pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of His promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.