Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I'll Count My Blessings

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. Ephesians 1:3-4

We've spent the last several weeks reflecting on the Lenten season and the last days of Jesus' earthly ministry. After Maundy Thursday service and contemplating what Jesus did on the cross for me, I eagerly await Resurrection morning and the celebration of Christ's conquering death and sin once and for all. I am again brought to tears by his free and matchless gift... and I don't ever want to take it for granted. Jesus has bought new life for us. That may be the greatest gift of all, but it's not our only gift from our Lord and Savior. He has blessed us so many ways. I want to take time over the next few days to count my blessings.

I lift my heart today in praise
To Him who loves me so,
Whose mercy crowneth all my days,
And makes my cup o’erflow.
O have I loved Him as I should
For all His blessings free?
Praise God who giveth naught but good,
For He is good to me!

I know that I want to lift my heart in praise to the One who loves me so and crowns all my days with mercy. In one of my (many) favorite Bible passages, Paul tells the church at Ephesus that God is rich in mercy toward us because of His great love for us!

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:1-10

I was dead before Jesus came and rescued me. I was a child of wrath! But God, because of His great love for me, showed His mercy by making me alive together with Christ, even while I was still a sinner!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

God saved me, by His grace and through my faith in Christ and His substitutionary work on my behalf.

Not only did He save me, but He created me in Christ Jesus to do good works. I was made to be His representative and be a light in the darkness.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

That is a blessing! So what is my response?

The hymnwriter asks, have I loved Him as I should for all His blessings free? God instructed His people how to love Him when He gave them the law.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5

You shall therefore love the LORD your God, and always keep His charge, His statutes, His ordinances, and His commandments. Deuteronomy 11:1

And through His word, He repeats His requirements to us in the New Covenant.

We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. I John 4:19-21

If we love God, we show it by loving our brothers.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. I John 5:1-3

And we keep His commandments. That's how we show the world that we love God. This is what God has required of us. I'll be reflecting on this as I think about loving God as I should; with all my heart, mind and strength, by loving my brothers, and by keeping His commandments.

God gives us nothing but good. He is good to me! This is my prayer for you, and for me, as we seek to love Him as we ought, and do the good works that He has prepared for us.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.
II Thessalonians 2:16-17

I'll Count My Blessings
Words by Carrie Breck

I lift my heart today in praise
To Him who loves me so,
Whose mercy crowneth all my days,
And makes my cup overflow.
O have I loved Him as I should
For all His blessings free?
Praise God who giveth naught but good,
For He is good to me!

I’ll count my blessings
Count them o’er and o’er
I’ll tell my Father’s goodness
I will love Him more,
I’ll count my blessings, bountiful and free
Yet I can never count them all
So good is God to me!

I thank Him for unclouded skies
For love beyond my ken
That when my path in shadow lies,
The sunshine comes again.
I thank Him for the hopes fulfilled
For every answered plea,
That though life was not all I willed,
My God is good to me!

I go to meet another year,
With faith no doubt can dim,
God reigneth, and I will not fear,
But trust my way with Him.
Then if that way be bright or dark,
Let peace unshaken be!
And let me, like the soaring lark,
Sing "God is good to me!"

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