Looking Back at My Present Blessings
Written June 2017
In looking over my life I can honestly say that I am thankful for the many wonderful blessings that God has given me. I have a wonderful wife and child, a marvelous church family, a profession the Lord has called me into, friends which encourage me and help me along life’s pathway. I have a faith which helps sustain me in difficult times and a marriage that is built upon Christ.
As I look back upon these many amazing blessings I cannot help but think how large a role the church played in all of these things in my life. To be true, it was the Lord that blessed and allowed me to enjoy what is presently in my life, but one of the main instruments the Lord used in guiding me along the way was His church and the body of believers that taught, influenced,
and trained me up to be the person I am today. In pondering the present state of my life I know that I am here today because God worked through the church and without it being part of my life there is no telling where I would be today.
Take for instances some of the biggest aspects of my life.
My Salvation. It was in church that I heard the Gospel preached. It was in church that I heard about sin and the penalty of sin. It was in church that I heard about Jesus and the amazing work that was done on the cross and how I could ask for forgiveness and be saved. Though I know there were other influences around me in my life that were pointing to Jesus, it was in church was where the clearest message was heard that Jesus saves and I needed Jesus. In fact each Sunday morning that is what I heard from our choir. They would come in and begin the service by singing “Jesus Saves! Jesus Saves! Spread the news across the land, Jesus died and rose again! And He saves, yes He saves, Jesus Saves!” It was a chorus they sang every Sunday and I know God used that to teach and educate me on my need for Jesus in my life.
My Marriage. It was in church that I learned that marriage was an institution created by God between one man and one woman that was meant to be for a lifetime. In church I learned that a husband should love his wife like Christ loved the church. It was at church the foundation of devotion and an understanding of just what “til death do us part” really meant. God used the church to establish those principles that are so important. I know that the good things I enjoy in my marriage today is direct result of things I learned while in church as a teenager. I would not have the marriage I have today without the sound teaching I heard in church.
My Faith. When I think back to when my faith was in its infancy I can’t help but think back to sitting in church with my Bible in hand trying to find the passages that the preacher had announced and following along with him as he read. It was in church that I found where to place my trust, in God.
It was also in church where I found how to live my faith out each day. Whether by witnessing or prayer or in how I handle stress, my faith was nurtured in church. It was there I found faith in action when crisis came and when life went through difficult times. I saw faith in my youth minister when he had cancer and when others in the church went through surgeries. It was because of these influences I was able to begin to live out my faith and had the courage to do so in high school where it was not the most popular thing to do. Church was where my faith was strengthened.
My Values and Commitment. In life, we value a lot of things. For me as I look at what I value, my relationship with Christ, my family, my church, my friendships, my knowledge, my ministry. I see that so much of those things were molded by the influence of the church. In church I found the value of forgiving and letting go of offenses done and reconciling with others. I found the value of family and how your family is a gift from God. In church I was also able to catch a glimpse of some of the priceless treasures of life. Of friendships and marriages that lasted 60 years. This was shown through the simple teaching of the Bible and the example of others. I was able to see the value of a life being changed by the power of Jesus Christ. I saw the power of forgiveness and the joy that it brings. There are so many things in this world that I could value but I am so thankful for the church showing me the treasures of Christ and valuing them in my life.
My Choices. Life is made up of choices. On average I would guess that the most crucial choices are made towards the end of high school and for the couple of years after high school because that is where so much direction in our lives come from. In looking back, those were the most important years of my life when it came to what I would become. It was there I surrendered to the call to ministry, I found my wife, I chose the college I would attend and what direction I would go in ministry. I made choices that influenced my morality. During that I time I remember the many lessons in my Sunday school classroom about searching for the will of God. Without those lessons there is no telling where I would have ended up. The church was an instrument in the hand of God that helped me make the right choices in life.
My Friends. You can never underestimate the power of friendship. I was blessed to have a lot of people I could call my friend in high school. It wasn’t that I was hugely popular, I guess it was just the fact that I was nice and kind to everyone and that made me friendly. Here’s the thing, I had a lot of friends but I knew the difference between a friend that was a good influence and one that would drag me down. That was a lesson I learned at church. I learned that there was a pathway towards righteousness and one towards destruction. In church I was taught and learned the difference between the two.
As I look back I cannot help be thankful for my present blessings because of the wonderful foundation laid by my church. It was in church I learned the Bible and was encouraged to study it. It was in church I learned to pray and seek the very face of God. God used the church in my life to put me on a pathway to serve Him and to honor Him with all my life. For that I am truly thankful.
How about you? When you look back, do you see the blessings that God poured into your life through the men and women at church. Do you see the possible pathways your life could have taken? Have you seized the opportunity to thank God for His provision and to thank those that made all this possible.
Thank God for His amazing provision of salvation, grace, and mercy, and for the institution of the church that helps us grow and mature in Christ that we might have lives which glorify Him!