One of the songs I enjoy singing in church is "Count Your Blessings." It was written in the late 1800's by Johnson Oatman, Jr. The first verse speaks of discouragement. What do we always focus on when we are battling the devil? We think of the battle. Some have said that if Satan is not fighting you then you must be doing something wrong.
It is true that as Christians we should see our battles through the lens of a spiritual warfare. The fight we may have with people, things, and circumstances are not fights with people, things, and circumstances. They are part of our spiritual warfare. We grow weary in the fight and become discouraged.
Why do we focus so much on the battle? Scripture leads our focus elsewhere. Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. Psalm 68:19 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Psalm 103:2 What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? Psalm 116:12
We are told not look at our circumstances, we must count our blessings. It is so easy to be discouraged. It is so easy to have the attitude that leads us to sing the song, "Wo is me. Everybody hates me. I think I'll go eat worms."
What did the Psalmist say? He said that we are loaded with benefits. Psalm 68:19 ends with a musical term, "Selah." This word means to think about what you are singing. Remember that the Psalms are songs. When was the last time we thought about the hymns that we sing in church? We are creatures of habit. We tend to sing "Count Your Blessings" while we are thinking about a fight we just had, or while we are thinking about a bill that needs to be paid. Perhaps we are dwelling on a mistake we made. The point is we do not always think about what we are singing.
If the purpose of the song service is to prepare our hearts for the preaching of the Word of God then we must meditate on those words we sing. This would lead us to the doctrinal truth this hymn was written to teach us. That truth is we are so forgetful of the benefits that God has given us. Let us stop what we are doing and just see how good God really is.
My friend, are you dreary, are you heavy hearted? Then, "Count Your Blessings," and just as the song says, "It will surprise you what the Lord hath done."
Thursday, March 6, 2014
I have only been a pastor for a couple of months. I am by no means an expert. There is one lesson that has come to my attention rather quickly. There are battles that we are facing as a family that would not be waged if I was not a pastor. I am not speaking about people problems, counseling issues, etc. These are personal issues. These personal issues make the ministry the most exciting and the most difficult job in the world. Life has been a roller coaster from day one. People have been moved by the preaching. Visitation is making an impact on hearts in the community and in the church. God is working. So is the devil. Allow me to lift one verse from Galatians 6. This is an application of the the verse. It is Galatians 6:2. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. I want to encourage you to help your pastor carry his burden. How can you help your pastor? The first thing that comes to mind is to pray for him. He needs you to lift him up in prayer. The devil has him in his cross hairs. When your pastor came to pastor your church he placed his family on the devil's hit list. He needs to pray for a hedge of protection around him and around his family. He needs to pray for him when he is discouraged. He needs prayer as he prepares messages. He needs prayer before he preaches. He needs prayer as he plans. He needs prayer as he does the job of a pastor. Not only does he need prayer as a man of God, he also needs prayer as a family man. He is a husband and a father. If he looses his family you loose a pastor. He faces the same struggles every family faces. His family is not perfect. He wants to see his children grow up and serve God, but many children do not. Pray for them. So many speak of the pastor. They do not like his preaching, his direction he is leading the church, his people skills, etc. Criticism does not help him. Praying for him is also praying with him. You will be bearing his burdens with him in prayer. Make this a daily issue in your prayer life.