“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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:3-4).
Family, friends, football, and food–just some of the reasons I love Thanksgiving. The holiday is a great time to enjoy a warm fire (preferably not the result of any food preparation) and think about all that we should be grateful for. Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote the hymn “Count Your Blessings” in 1897. The refrain encourages you to Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Suppose none of us were allowed to approach the Thanksgiving table or turn on the football game until we had completed a list of our “Top Ten” blessings. Would you be surprised to see “what God hath done“?
Our family had a wonderful year. Our oldest son was married in June and our youngest son got engaged in April. This year I bought new Christmas stockings–six of them! We moved our ministry office and launched the Denison Forum this summer. The Lord has blessed us with a ministry that allows us to serve him and others. It would be easy to make a top ten list as I look around and count my blessings. But Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is a reminder that not all of God’s blessings can be seen. Ephesians 1:3-4 says that Christians have been chosen by God and have been blessed with every “spiritual blessing.” What is a “spiritual blessing”?
We will probably overeat today rather than go hungry. Most of us will turn up the heat if we are cold and then down when it gets warm. Today our ovens will be well used, our refrigerators and pantries will overflow, and our remote controls will find the games and movies we want to watch. But our spiritual blessings will be found in the “heavenly realms.”
Spiritual blessings cannot be acquired or attained through our efforts–they are those things that only God can create and give. And he chose to give them to Christians. Through Christ, we have been made “holy and blameless” in God’s sight. Our spiritual blessing is the fact that God sees Christians as set apart, separated from other people. Because of Christ, we have been made holy and we are blameless, fit for heaven. If you are a Christian, you are blessed today with spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms. You have been set apart and given eternity in heaven, where you will be forever blessed.
Pause today to “count your blessings and name them one by one.” Don’t forget to count your spiritual blessings, too. “And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.”
All of us at the Denison Forum wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.