LifeLink Devotions (Click here for Audio Blog)

Monday, February 21, 2022


I woke up one morning at four a.m. with a sermon outline running through my mind. I don’t remember

dreaming about it. It was totally the Spirit of God who wanted to talk to me. I love those times of intimacy with the Lord when He initiates communication. It brings such peace to my heart knowing that I am in the center of His will at that moment. I knew right away He was giving me the outline for a Sunday message. I laid there for over an hour and prayed as the Holy Spirit developed the thoughts and points for me. Since thenI have been thinking about how each of those points needs to apply to my life.

One of my favorite books in the New Testament on the role of the church is Ephesians. It’s practical, it’s

powerful, and it’s precise in telling us who we are in Christ and how we are to live as a result of our salvation. As I started reading it this morning, I was deeply impacted by the emphasis on praise from the very beginning of the book. I know I don’t spend enough time in praise. My life can quickly get out of balance with complaining. I can easily see wrong before I notice right. The demands of the immediate can quench the dreams of the future. Emotional responses overwhelm faith, resulting in excessive energy being expended to seek solutions rather than resting in the arms of a faithful Lord and praising Him for what He is about to accomplish.

In Paul’s opening statement in Ephesians he expounds on God’s plan to save us. Within that context he uses the word praise four times. Each one has significance. For today, I need to focus on just the first one. 

Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

Paul encourages praise based on blessings. In Christ we have received every spiritual blessing available from the realms of heaven. My problem is I tend to count problems rather than blessings. It amazes and confounds me how quickly a problem can wipe my memory bank clean of any good that has happened.

Does that happen to you? Good, I’m not alone. When one thing goes wrong it can destroy all the bliss of previous blessings. I remember the first time I ever went to a professional football game. As I entered the stadium I was overwhelmed with gratitude that someone had given me these tickets, and that I was going to see players I admired up close and in person. I was experiencing a blessing. I was so thankful to be there. That all ended when those same players started making mistakes, and my team started losing. I yelled. I got mad. I lost all concept of thankfulness for being there. I remember thinking what I could have been doing at home had I not wasted my time to watch this stupid game. All the benefits and blessings of being there were lost.

We must train ourselves to think beyond the problems of life and praise God for the blessings that cannot be lost. There is an old hymn we used to sing that really says it well. Let its words minister to your heart today.

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 hath done.

When you look at others with their lands and gold, Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.

Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done! Count your blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

No matter what happens in life, we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Not one of those blessings can be taken away. There is no problem or experience that can diminish the reality of the spiritual blessings of relationship with Jesus. Our attitude is our choice. Today, I choose to count my blessings. How about you?

Pastor John

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