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Single Out Your Blessings

Mountain landscape with colorful vivid sunset on the cloudy sk
by Brother Carl Birt

Fall is my favorite time of year. The temperatures and humidity of the summer have decreased making it more comfortable. The days are shorter. There is a crispness in the air, and we break out our favorite flannels.

Fall is harvest time, and in this issue we have a harvest of old and new. As our children and young people return to the classrooms, we have articles targeted for them. Who cannot identify with the feelings of apprehension upon entering new surroundings? The children’s article on “Back To School” has that covered. Young people face a different world than what we faced when we were in their place. The article about courage should help equip them. We have highlighted a message preached last spring at the Phoenix campmeeting by Brother Dale Raynes titled, “He Should Have Remained.” This speaks of the City of Refuge and the necessity of getting in and staying in the city. From our archives we also have the article on “Respect, The Lost Virtue.” 

And to help us cultivate our thankfulness, we have the following thoughts to kick things off and channel our thoughts in a positive direction. 

We live in a world surrounded by negativity. News sells on negativity, wars, scandals, etc. It is everywhere. Topics of discussion on social media and around the water cooler at work too often have a bent to them. 

All of this makes it easier than ever to pick up a bad attitude. It can affect us if we allow it. We may recognize a tendency in ourselves towards wrong thinking. Wrong thinking is the bane of this world. The world has help in thinking wrong. They are being fed a steady diet of this poison. 

As saints, we have the benefit of having the Spirit of God check us. David got to thinking wrong until he went to the sanctuary. Then he gained the understanding he needed. Thank God for the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Thank God for the man of God and the message. It helps us think right.

Thinking right is our battle today. This is why we need to assemble together every time the doors are open. Our church attendance will make or break us spiritually. Faithfulness goes a long way. This is where the battle is won or lost.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

To everything there are two sides. There is a positive side and a negative side. Which side do you tend to notice more? Which way does your needle swing? Are you positive in your outlook? Or do you tend more towards doom and gloom? Do you tend to look for the bright side? Are you optimistic? Or do you tend to fret and worry? Part of the battle is owning up to how we are wired. You may be more towards the negative, but God can help you rewire how you think.

I would like to offer an exercise for the way we think. I call it, “Singling Out Your Blessings.” Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching. As saints, we are thankful all year long, not just one day out of the year. However, I am sure you would agree that our national holiday of Thanksgiving is a good holiday.

Some people are determined to be negative. When the trees turn all these beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow and begin to fall, we are enraptured by the beauty of it all. However, a negative person can only think of the work involved in raking leaves or that soon it will be snowing. We can be surrounded by beauty and blessings, but the negative person will only see the negative. They fail to appreciate the present to the fullest.

By singling out your blessings, you must choose to ignore the negative. This does not mean you ignore bad things and do not believe the reality of their presence; rather, we keep these things in their proper place. We must not allow them to wholly consume our minds where we cannot enjoy the good.

To single out one thing is nothing new. This process is used in industry to aid in spotting process problems and finding solutions to solve them. It may go by other names such as “Drilling Down,” “Deep Dive,” or the “Five Whys.” 

I am glad God singled me out one day. John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yes, God so loved the world—that is the 30,000-foot view. But it is for whosoever. That brings it down to the individual. That is me, and that is you. God is omnipresent: He is everywhere. He can hear the prayers of the multitudes all at the same time. But He hears my prayer. He is a one-on-one God. 

Sometimes we can pass too quickly and too lightly over our thanksgiving. But have you ever stopped as the blessings pass by and singled one of them out? 

1 Samuel 10:19-23, “And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.”

Here, the prophet Samuel was going through the process of singling out Saul as the new king of Israel. Saul had hidden in the stuff and needed to be discovered. Samuel began this process of discovery. This is a way we can think about our blessings. At first, he had all of Israel pass by. As an example, we might say something like, “I am thankful for my health.” That statement is very shallow. 

Perhaps your health is not as good as it used to be. Yet, if you allow it, this exercise can help you uncover new areas to be thankful for. Instead of focusing on what you have lost, you can learn to appreciate what you still have.

Israel passed by, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken. “I am thankful for my _______.” You fill in the blank. You might say, “My senses,” or “My mobility.” 

Next, he caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, and the family of Matri was taken. “I am thankful for my sight” or “I am thankful for my sense of taste.” Next, Saul’s father, Kish, was taken and then Saul himself. But he could not be found. He had hidden himself among the stuff. Blessings lie all around us, hidden in the stuff. They are hidden in the stuff of everyday life. Stuff that we take for granted every day.

Try this exercise. You may discover a lot. Truly, we are swimming in blessings. Psalm 139:14, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”