At this time of year, it’s always a great idea to look back and reflect on all that God has blessed you with throughout this past year. You might even say you can look back and “count” your blessings- wait, is anyone else hearing their mom sing that faithful hymn? “Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings, see what God has done”? Just me? Ok, good to know. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, back to reflecting on all the many things we have to be thankful for at this time of year. I love this practice of looking at what has gone well for me or what has turned out to be for my good. The idea of thinking about what is good in our lives is a great practice, in fact, I dare say this should be not just a yearly reflection but a daily one. Gratitude journals anyone? The antidote to selfishness and greed is to remember all that we already have.
This year I want to challenge you to try something a little different during this season. I’d like you to stop and count your blessings, the ones that have been given to you by others, and to count those whom you bless. What does that even mean- I feel like I can hear you saying? Well, let me explain what I’m thinking. In the Bible, it tells us that the tongue has the power of life and death. (Proverbs 18:21) My house has been a hotbed of inter conflict. Drama, throwing each other under the bus, and he said-she said messiness. Since summer started, I feel like none of our kids are speaking life to each other, we are not using our kind words, and we are showing anger to each other. We call it “flipping our lid” around here and what I have is a bunch of boiling pots that flip their lid and set off a chain reaction with my other simmering pots. We are not looking out for the betterment of each other, in fact we are intentionally setting each other up to be upset. My husband and I have been praying about how to get over this season and into a more peaceful one. James 1:19 is our memory verse right now and it says, “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.” That slow to get angry one is huge right now. Huuggge! (I can’t help it, I’m hearing our national leader in my head right now) We want to be people who speak “life” to each other not death.
If we go looking for the bad in others, we will always find it. (Read that again and let it sink in deep) If we intentionally look for the good in people and call it out in them then they will rise to our expectations. That to me is the blessing. “Wow- what a great job you did on the sweeping, I love how you got under the furniture.” Blessing. “Good grief, you can’t do anything right-not even something as simple as sweeping! Hello, how hard is it anyway? It’s sweeping! Get back in here and do it again.” Cursing. Death, the opposite of life. “What a little gentleman you are, thank you for holding the door open for Mrs. Johnson, that made me so proud of you!” Blessing and life and joy. “I can’t believe how rude you were! What an animal, have you no manners at all? Were you raised by wolves?” Hurt, anger, sadness and death. Again, it is all in the power of the tongue.
We see this reflected in the Bible story about Balaam and his talking donkey. Balak, the king of Moab was afraid of the nation of Israel, because he knew he could not win against them, so he called for the sorcerer, Balaam. Balak wanted Balaam to curse Israel and felt hopeful that he could then have a chance to defeat them. The incredibly amazing and glorious thing is that man, even the king of Moab, cannot curse what God intends to bless. Balaam takes off on his donkey but along the way the donkey leaves the road because she has seen an angel of the Lord. Balaam then proceeds to beat the poor donkey for leaving the road. Then the donkey begins to speak up and ask why she is being beaten. Can you imagine how crazy that would be to have your donkey start speaking to you? Especially after you have treated it so shabbily? While this is pretty amazing it’s not even the most fantastical thing! Paraphrasing this incredible story for time’s sake, we see that Balaam finally sees the angel of the Lord for himself, and he is told that he will not be allowed to curse the people of God. Every time Balaam goes to curse Israel, only words of blessing come out. I love that. God’s desire to bless His people cannot be overcome by man’s weak attempt to curse them. The Bible tells us over and over how much power we have in our tongue, the power to bless and the power to curse, the power to build up or to tear down, the power to give life or the power to bring death. God wants us to use this power for good. Speak out God’s Word, Speak life, and activate blessings in your life today! Happy Thanksgiving and don’t forget to count those Blessings!
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”
Ephesians 4:29 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen”