Amazing Grace Hymns

November 23

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1856–1922

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. (Ephesians 1:3)

For the Christian, gratitude should be a life attitude.

“Count Your Blessings” was written by one of the prolific gospel song writers of the past century, a Methodist lay preacher named Johnson Oatman. In addition to his preaching and the writing of more than 5,000 hymn texts, Oatman was also a successful business man, engaged in a shipping business and in his later years as an administrator for a large insurance company in New Jersey.

It is good for each of us periodically to take time to rediscover the simple but profound truths expressed by Mr. Oatman in the four stanzas of this hymn. In the first two verses he develops the thought that counting our blessings serves as an antidote for life’s discouragements and in turn makes for victorious Christian living. The third stanza of this hymn teaches us that counting our blessings can be a means of placing material possessions in proper perspective when compared to the eternal inheritance awaiting believers. Then as we review our individual blessings, we certainly would have to agree with Mr. Oatman’s fourth verse: The provision of God’s help and comfort to the end of our earthly pilgrimage is one of our choicest blessings.

Each of us could spare ourselves much despair and inner tension if we would only learn to apply the practical teaching of this hymn to our daily living.

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.

Are you ever burdened with a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear? Count your many blessings—ev’ry doubt will fly, and you will be singing as the days go by.

When you look at others with their lands and gold, think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold; count your many blessings—money cannot buy your reward in heaven nor your home on high.

So amid the conflict, whether great or small, do not be discouraged. God is over all; count your many blessings—angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Chorus: Count your blessings—name them one by one; count your blessings—see what God hath done.

For Today: Psalm 28:7; 68:19; 69:30, 31; James 1:17

Make a list of God’s blessings. Share this list with your friends and family.

Osbeck, K. W. 

EZC

  • The Lord is my strength and my shield: mine heart trusted in him, and I was helped: therefore mine heart shall rejoice, and with my song will I praise himPsalm 28:7
  • Praised be the Lord, even the God of our salvation, which ladeth us daily with benefits. SelahPsalm 68:19
  • I will praise the Name of God with a song, and magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than a young bullock that hath horns and hoofsPsalm 69:30-31
  • Every good giving and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17

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Connect The Testaments

November 23: The Games We Play

2 Kings 11:1–12:21; Galatians 3:1–29; Proverbs 7:10–20

We live in the age of online résumés, with pages dedicated to us and our faces. We can broadcast our thoughts in seconds and republish ideas that make us look smart by association. And we do it all in an effort to earn recognition or acceptance. We want to be heard in the midst of the noise—to earn a spot in the spotlight. The works of the law that drove Judaism in the first century AD weren’t much different; they were pitched as a way to obtain God’s favor as well as the favor of others.

Paul responds to the ideals of his age: “Who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as having been crucified? I want only to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal 3:1–2). Paul’s questions are rhetorical. We’re not saved by works, but by the graciousness of God. It is not through works that the Spirit dwells among us, but through God’s goodness shown in sending His Son to earth to die for humanity and then rise again.

We struggle to admit that we’re looking for recognition—both from God and others. We know we can’t earn our way into heaven, but that doesn’t stop us from trying. We still think that if we can be good enough, smart enough, or successful enough, God and others will accept us. It’s a game we play that is for naught—we cannot earn what God offers.

What are you fooling yourself into thinking is important?

JOHN D. BARRY

EZC

  • then Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah when she saw that her son was dead, she arose, and destroyed all the King’s seed. But Jehosheba the daughter of king Joram, and sister to Ahaziah took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the King’s sons that should be slain, both him and his nurse, keeping them in the bedchamber, and they hid from Athaliah, so that he was not slain. And he was with her hid in the house of the Lord six years, and Athaliah did reign over the land. And the seventh year Jehoiada sent and took the captains over hundreds, with other captains and them of the guard, and caused them to come unto him into the house of the Lord, and make a covenant with them, and took an oath of them in the house of the Lord, and showed them the King’s son. And he commanded them, saying, This is it that ye must do, The third part of you, that cometh on the Sabbath, shall ward toward the King’s house. And anotherthird part in the gate of Sur, and another third part in the gate behind them of the guard: and ye shall keep watch in the house of Massah. And two parts of you, that is, all that go out on the Sabbath day, shall keep the watch of the house of the Lord about the king. And ye shall compass the King round about, every man with his weapon in his hand, and whosoever cometh within the ranges, let him be slain: be you with the King, as he goeth out an din. And the captains of the hundreds did according to allthe Jehoiada the Priest commanded, and they took every man of his men that entered into their chargeon the Sabbath, with them that went out of it on the Sabbath, and came to Jehoiada the Priest. And the Priest gave to the captains of hundreds the spears and the shields that were King David’s, and were in the house of the Lord. And the guard stood, every man with his weapon in his hand, from teh right side of the house to the left side, about the altar and about the house, round about the King. Then he brought out the king’s son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the Testimony, and they made him king: also they anointed him, and clapped their hands, and said, God save the King. And when Athaliah heard the noise of the running of the people, she came into the people in the house of the Lord. And when she looked, behold, teh King stood by a pillar, as the manner was, and the princes and the trumpeters by the King, and all the people of the land rejoiced, and blew with trumpets. Then Athaliah rent her clothes, and cried, Treason, treason. But Jehoiada the Priest commanded the captains of the hundred that had the rule of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth of the ranges, and he that followeth her, let him die by the sword: for the Priest had sad, Let her not be slain in the house of the Lrod. Then they laid hands on her, and she went bby the way, by the which the horses go to the house of the King, and there was sheslain. And Jehoiada made a covenant between the Lord, and the King and the people, that they should be the Lord’s people: likewise between the King and the people. Then all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and destroyed it with his altars, and his image brake they down courageousy, and slew Mattan the Priest of Baal before the altars: and the Priest set a guard over the house of the Lord. Then he took the captains of hundreds, and the other captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land: and they brought the King from the house of the Lord, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the King’s house: and he sat down on the throne of the kings. And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: for they had slain Athaliah with teh sword beside the king’s house. Seven years old was Jehoash when he began to reign2 Kings 11:1–12:21
  • O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye shoud not obey the truth, to whom Jesus Christ before was described in your sight, and among you crucified? This only would I learn of you, Received ye hte Spirit by the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith preached? Are ye so foolish, that after ye have begun in the Spirit, ye would now be made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if so be it be even in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it through the works of the Law, or by the hearing of faith preachedYea rather as Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore, that they watch are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. For the Scripture foreseeing, that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all the Gentiles be blessed. So then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the Law, are under the curse: For it is written, Cursed is every man that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the Law, to do them. And that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God, it is evident: for the just shall live by faith. And the Law is not of faith: but the man that shall do these things, shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law, made a curse for us, (for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on tree.) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak as men do: though it be but a man’s covenant, when it is confirmed, yet no man doth abrogate it, or addeth anything thereto, Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to the seed, as speaking of many: but, And to thy seed, as of one, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed afore of God in respect of Christ, the Law which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make th epromise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the Law, it is no more by the promise, but God gave it freely unto Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveththe Law? It was added because of the transgressions, till the seed came, unto the which the promise was made: and it was ordained by Angels in the hand of a Mediator. Now a Mediator is not a Mediatorof one: but God is one. Is the Law then against the promises of God? God forbid: For if there had been a Law given which could have given life, surely righteousness should have been by the Law. But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by the faith of Jesus Christ should be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the Law, as under a garrison, and shut up unto that faith, which should afterward be revealed. Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be made righteous by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the sons of God by faith, in Christ Jesus. For all ye that are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Grecian: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs by promise. Galatians 3:1–29
  • And behold, there met him a woman with an harlot’s behavior, and subtle in heart, (She is babbling and loud, whose feet cannot abide in her house. Now she is without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner) So she caught him and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings: this day have I paid my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, that I might seek thy face: and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with ornaments, carpets and lace of Egypt. I have decked my bed with ornaments, carpets and laces of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us take our pleasure in dalliance. For mine husband is not at home: he is gone a journey far off. He hath taken with him a bag of silver, and will come home at the day appointed. Thus with her great craft she caused him to yield, and with her flattering lips she enticed him. And he followed her straightway, as a bird hasteth to the snare, not knowing that he is in danger. Hear me now therefore, O children, and hearken to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways: wander thou not in her paths. For she hath caused many to fall down wounded, and the strong men are all slain by her. Her house is the way unto the grave, which goeth down to the chambers of death. Proverbs 7:10–20
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My Utmost For His Highest

November 23rd

Distraction of antipathy

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we are exceedingly filled with contempt. Psalm 123:3

The thing of which we have to beware is not so much damage to our belief in God as damage to our Christian temper. “Therefore take heed to thy spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” The temper of mind is tremendous in its effects, it is the enemy that penetrates right into the soul and distracts the mind from God. There are certain tempers of mind in which we never dare indulge; if we do, we find they have distracted us from faith in God, and until we get back to the quiet mood before God, our faith in Him is nil, and our confidence in the flesh and in human ingenuity is the thing that rules.
Beware of “the cares of this world,” because they are the things that produce a wrong temper of soul. It is extraordinary what an enormous power there is in simple things to distract our attention from God. Refuse to be swamped with the cares of this life.

Another thing that distracts us is the lust of vindication. St. Augustine prayed—‘O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.’ That temper of mind destroys the soul’s faith in God. ‘I must explain myself; I must get people to understand.’ Our Lord never explained anything; He left mistakes to correct themselves.

When we discern that people are not going on spiritually and allow the discernment to turn to criticism, we block our way to God. God never gives us discernment in order that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.

Chambers, O.

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