Counting our Blessings

As the world continues to fight a global pandemic, it is possible to be filled with sorrow and anxiety but I encourage you to join me in reflecting on the many blessings in our life for this will give you peace.

Prayer should not only be focused on petitioning God for what is missing; we must also take time to rejoice and give thanks to God in a prayer of thanksgiving that gives God the gratitude and praise He so deserves.

Let us try to put this into practice right now.

Pause for a moment to consider that this opportunity for us to connect is enabled by technology. Let us give thanks for the opportunity that technology affords for communication, sharing, learning, entertainment, friendship and growth, be it personal or professional. Hundreds of years ago it would not have been possible for us to connect like this, so let’s thank God for the innovation that technology allows for.

I know that God is at the center of all that is beautiful and good and that He is the source of every blessing.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

If you believe that God is the source of all that is good, then know that there is an opportunity for each of us to see His divine fingerprints everywhere if we choose to look for them!

In many places in our world, God is renewing the landscapes. Spring is a time of rebirth where all that was withered by the cold of winter comes alive again in God’s seasonal cycle of regeneration. I rejoice in nature and in its many different and wonderful manifestations. Chirping birds and animals of many different kinds surround my home. There is often a family of deer crossing my garden. I like to have a staring contest with them. They look at me as though they are wondering ‘why are you here’; my answer ‘because I live here’. At night I often hear the howling of coyotes and wolves in the forest surrounding our house.  Our neighbour has placed motion-activated cameras in the woods, so I know we have a large bear back there too.  I have seen the photos and I would be so grateful Lord that he does not come too close to our house!

I am of the opinion that an “attitude of gratitude” needs to be cultivated. For most of us it doesn’t come naturally. It literally needs to be sparked by a persistent focus on the many blessings in our life. If we choose to focus on “what’s missing” in our life, we will be insufficiently grateful for “what’s present” that is enriching our life in some way right now.  Let us pause throughout the day to say little prayers of thanks to Jesus and watch how these prayers spark joy and peace in our hearts.

A number of years ago I introduced a prayer before our family meals, i.e., “The Prayer called Grace”. We always stop now before we eat to say thank you to God for our meal, our health, God’s love etc. Our prayer reflects whatever we are experiencing in that day and we try to remember to pray for those in need.

I believe true gratitude always motivates charity. If we are really grateful we will give back as a sign of our gratitude. For example as we give thanks for not being hungry, we should consider helping charities that offer assistance to the poor and needy, especially now with food security being threatened by the pandemic.

“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” Proverbs 28:27

The Bible is a great source of joy to me. Learning and reflecting on God’s Holy Word is at the heart of my life. I am grateful that the Bible was translated into my native tongue, English. There were many people who fought for the translation of the Bible. I am grateful for their advocacy that gave us the opportunity to savour God’s Word as a light that leads us onto holy paths.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  Psalm 119:105

I have had the privilege to sponsor some children in the developing world.  We pay for their school fees so they can go to school. I recall so many times as my own children were growing up that they would chant “we don’t want to go to school!” but my sponsor children always write to me about how grateful and how very, very happy they are to be able to learn and go to school. Now with so many schools shuttered we can give thanks that our children still have opportunities to learn online.

Why is it that gratitude emerges so easily when we find something or someone we love is missing in our life?  We say “oh how grateful I would be to have them back!”  Suddenly we are so aware of a vacant space in our heart, a hole that longs to be filled. In my case, I so miss my little grandchild. I see him via the video application on my phone, but I miss giving him hugs and kisses. I am so grateful to be a grandmother. Four years ago my husband bought me a garden ornament I really liked. It was a statue of a little boy reading a book. I remember looking at the statue saying “God I really want a baby!” Only a few months later my daughter announced she was expecting her first child. A little boy came into my life. I am so grateful for him and my family.

As I was praying for God’s inspiration to help me with this reflection, I felt God saying to my heart that what’s most important is not so much “what to be thankful for”; the most important thing is to learn “how to be thankful”. If we learn “how” to be thankful we will begin to notice that “what to be thankful for” is all around us!

It is God’s grace and Holy Spirit that teaches us to see the blessings in our life.  I believe that spiritual transformation is enabled by many moments of gratitude that illumine our hearts and minds with a realization and an appreciation of God’s presence and providence. A life devoid of gratitude is like food without spices; that life is bland and tasteless. The Spirit of God is like a gently breeze, it is discerned by some and not felt by others. That’s a mystery.

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit of Gratitude, a Spirit that will awaken us to being truly thankful for the things and people and opportunities that enrich our life–all holy blessings from God.

I am so very grateful for the gift of faith. I am deeply aware of God’s presence day-by-day, moment-by- moment. The love of Jesus is the most important thing in my life. I am grateful for His mercy, His forgiveness and His holy love and presence guiding me day-by-day, moment-by-moment.

Let us be grateful for this time we have on earth for it is an opportunity to show God how much we love Him. Let us not take anything for granted. Let’s give thanks for everything: the food that graces our tables, our shelter, our clothing, our water, our jobs, our health, our healthcare and so many natural remedies, the music and artistic expression that adds beauty to our world.  Let’s give thanks for our freedom to live in countries without threats of war, for peace in our home life, for the friends and family that help us to grow in love. Let’s rejoice in the simple things—a moment to laugh, to smile, to learn, to pray, to give, to share, to forgive, to be forgiven, to love and to live in God’s presence, for Him, with Him and in Him.

I don’t take our freedom, peace and security for granted. At the moment many of us are living under quarantine to halt the spread of contagion. Let’s be grateful for all the freedom and peace we have enjoyed in our life and pray that God will end this pandemic soon so we can be free to move about without restrictions and to be close to one another without threat of infection.

Let us pray:

Thank You for Your love Jesus! Thank You for never giving up on me. Thank You for being willing to die for us! Thank You for guiding me and teaching me and being willing to live in an intimate relationship with me. I savour this time with You as a foretaste of the heaven we will have forever. Please guide us to do Your Holy Will and to treat all the gifts around us as treasures of Your love.

I will stop every day Lord @ the Time you died for us, 3pm, to remember Your Passion and to pray for all souls, that all people will come to know You and love You.  This daily moment of thanksgiving fills my heart with holy desire to please You Jesus!  You are my heart’s desire.  Without You I am nothing!

Please join me friends of Jesus in a daily prayer for the peace and health of our world @ the time Jesus died for us, 3pm (each of us in our local time zones).

God will restore the health of our world. Let us be mindful of His promise of healing and of the things God wants us to do:

God promised: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Let us then do as God asked. Let us be humble and trust in the saving grace of Our Saviour Jesus Christ. Let us pray for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit for it is only through the Spirit of God that we will be truly grateful to Jesus for dying for us and for filling us with His love. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we will be convinced of our sins and have the grace to turn from our wicked ways.

Learn more about the peace movement, uniting Christians in the Holy Name of Jesus and in remembrance of His Passion here.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

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