Listen To Most Current
Grace Notes Archive
June 2019 (3)
May 2019 (4)
April 2019 (4)
March 2019 (4)
February 2019 (6)
January 2019 (4)
December 2018 (4)
November 2018 (5)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (4)
August 2018 (4)
July 2018 (3)
June 2018 (4)
May 2018 (4)
April 2018 (4)
March 2018 (4)
February 2018 (5)
January 2018 (4)
December 2017 (4)
November 2017 (5)
October 2017 (4)
September 2017 (5)
August 2017 (4)
July 2017 (4)
June 2017 (5)
May 2017 (4)
April 2017 (5)
March 2017 (3)
February 2017 (4)
January 2017 (3)
December 2016 (5)
November 2016 (4)
October 2016 (4)
September 2016 (5)
August 2016 (3)
July 2016 (4)
June 2016 (5)
May 2016 (4)
April 2016 (5)
March 2016 (4)
February 2016 (4)
January 2016 (5)
December 2015 (4)
November 2015 (4)
October 2015 (3)
September 2015 (4)
August 2015 (5)
July 2015 (5)
June 2015 (4)
May 2015 (5)
April 2015 (2)
March 2015 (4)
February 2015 (4)
January 2015 (5)
December 2014 (4)
November 2014 (5)
October 2014 (4)
September 2014 (4)
August 2014 (4)
July 2014 (5)
June 2014 (4)
May 2014 (5)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (4)
February 2014 (4)
January 2014 (5)
December 2013 (4)
November 2013 (5)
October 2013 (4)
September 2013 (4)
August 2013 (5)
July 2013 (4)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (5)
April 2013 (4)
March 2013 (4)
February 2013 (5)
January 2013 (4)
December 2012 (4)
November 2012 (5)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (4)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (4)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (4)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (4)
January 2012 (4)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (4)
October 2011 (4)
September 2011 (5)
August 2011 (4)
July 2011 (4)
June 2011 (5)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (5)
March 2011 (4)
February 2011 (4)
January 2011 (5)
December 2010 (4)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (6)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (4)
March 2010 (5)
February 2010 (4)
January 2010 (5)
December 2009 (5)
November 2009 (3)
October 2009 (6)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (5)
July 2009 (4)
June 2009 (4)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (4)
January 2009 (5)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (5)
October 2008 (4)
September 2008 (5)
August 2008 (4)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (4)
March 2008 (5)
February 2008 (1)
Grace Notes

Current Articles | Categories | Search | Syndication

UNRECOGNIZED BLESSINGS
by Philip Owen

            Unwittingly, many of us carry about a misconception (or at least an incomplete understanding) of what it means to be the recipients of the blessing of God.  We rightly acknowledge and thank the Lord when we experience health or healing after illness, when we land a good job or receive a promotion, when we get to take a vacation or enjoy a relaxing day off from work, or when our family is near us and we enjoy their company.  It is good and proper that we should thank the Lord for blessings that grace bestows because He alone is the giver of good gifts. In such circumstances, we are right to acknowledge that those things are the blessing of the Lord; in so doing, we affirm the truth of James 1:17:  “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”  But when we have recognized and thanked the Lord for those wonderful benefits, we have appreciated, probably, the lesser part of God’s work of blessing in our lives.

              Many of the things that we are rightly inclined to recognize as blessings from God are merely temporal.  They make our lives easier or more pleasant here, but nothing more.  The nice home, the new car, and the luxurious vacation, which the Lord is pleased to allow us, are all passing.  In virtually every case, the only aspect of those blessings which will have any eternal value will involve our response to them.   If we recognize that what we have received is not something we have earned or otherwise merited but that God has bestowed wholly by grace, and if we express genuine thankfulness for it, then God will be honored and we will reap eternal reward.  If not, then the blessing is entirely ephemeral. 

Doubtless, the greater part of God’s blessing on our lives involves trials.  Though our flesh wishes to shun them, dreads them, and sometimes fears them, and though their unpleasantness may tempt us to question God’s goodness, doubt His faithfulness, or wonder about His love, trials are of infinite value.   James trumpets this truth right at the opening of his epistle:  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials” (1:2).  Note that James anticipates that a believer’s life will be fraught with trials, yet rather than feeling burdened, we should be joyful that God’s gracious hand is active in our lives.  The “light afflictions” believers may be called on to suffer should be counted joyful blessings because believers know “that the testing of . . . [our] faith produces endurance,” and when the trial has “its perfect result,” we will “be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (1: 3, 4).  How could we desire more—and that, for eternity? 

 Everyone has difficulties and problems, but only believers have the assurance that these circumstances are neither situations to be avoided, nor endured only if absolutely necessary and escaped as quickly as possible.  Unbelievers experience the same difficulties as do believers, but their purpose and results differ.  The waters of the Red Sea that brought escape for Israel only drowned the Egyptians.   Again and again the Word promises that the hard things believers may face are truly part of God’s blessed purpose in our lives.  “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (II Cor. 4:17).  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).  “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:10).  “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me” (Matt. 5:11).

            I suspect our perspective is often skewed.   Although some unpleasant circumstances are our fault entirely as God chastens us for sin (yet even chastening results from God’s love for His children), we should recognize that many times the most blessed among believers are those who endure the hardest life here.  Were envy not a sin, perhaps we should envy the poor, the chronically ill, the otherwise burdened of God’s children as especially blessed of the Lord rather than the prominent, the successful, and the seemingly carefree.  A rich reward awaits the faithful who joyfully endure those blessings of God.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink

Previous Page | Next Page

Grace Bible Church :-: (217) 372-8692 :-: 3900 N Willow Rd Urbana, P.O. Box 303, IL 61803 :-: pastor (at) gbcurbana.com