Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Blessing Of A Thankful Heart

From "The Pastor's Pen" in the November 2006 Voice of the Valley, the monthly newsletter of Valley Bible Church, by the Reverend Frank C. Emrich. Re-posted here with permission.

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I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair at this story:

Once in an old city, a man went to his rabbi and complained, "Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?" The wise old rabbi replied, "Bring your goat into the room with you." The man was skeptical, but the rabbi insisted. "Do it and come back in one week."

So one week later, the man went back to the rabbi even more troubled. "We cannot stand it, and the goat is just filthy." His elderly rabbi answered, "Good, now go home and let the goat out. Then come back again in a week."

The third time the man went to his rabbi, he smiled and exclaimed, "Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it. Now there's no stinky, dirty goat in our room - it's just the nine of us."

Now, no one in their right mind has a goat running around their house, but how often do we pause to thank God for everything He has done? I love Thanksgiving and look forward to our family gathering together, and because we have been so blessed there is much to be thankful for.

May I suggest that you take the time this year to stop and remember all the blessings God has given your family? Perhaps you can be thankful for good health, or good jobs, or even for a roof over your head. Perhaps you can be thankful that you still live in a country that allows you to worship our wonderful LORD [especially since that probably won't be the case for very much longer - Ed.]. You may want to write out a list and read them aloud. YOu will be amazed at how many blessings appear.

Here are a few thinks for which I am thankful:

1) The LORD Jesus dying on the cross to pay for my sins.

2) I have an eternal home forever in heavan with Jesus Christ.

3) God's mecries are new every morning.

4) My wonderful wife, precious children and grandchildren....

5) The opportunities that God has given me to grow spiritually (even the difficult times).

6) My wonderful church family that continues to grow in the grace and knowledge of the LORD and those who joyfully serve Him.

7) The Word of God, miraculously preserved for thousands of years so that we can read and learn from it.

8) The godly leaders that serve with me at Valley Bible Church.

9) Answered prayer.

10) Our growing AWANA club.

I could go on and on, but maybe I should stop so you can write a list of your own.

Beloved, I believe that God delights in hearing our prayers of thanksgiving and listening to us count our blessings. I think it must make God smile knowing that we are learning to trust Him and what He has planned for us. So why don't you take some time this Thanksgiving with your family and write down a few blessings. Read them, meditate on them, let them brighten your day, and may you never forget all He has given your family. After all, it's better than having a goat running loose all over your house.

And while you are at it, why not sing this precious old hymn around the dinner table this year. It's called Count Your Blessings:

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 has done.

Count your blessings,
Name them one by one;
Count your blessings,
See what God hath done.
Count your blessings,
Name them one by one;
Count your many blessings,
See what God hath done.