November/December 2017, Volume 99, Number 6
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Counting Our Blessings This issue was inspired by the hymn, “Count Your Blessings,” written by Johnson Oatman. It encourages us, amidst the trials of our lives, to bring our troubles to the Lord in prayer, and to remember that God is over all. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3 NASB). He “comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4 NASB). In this issue, several personal testimonies recount special trials and how God gave brethren strength to deal with them.
“Thanksgiving” recounts the history of the American Thanksgiving Day, celebrated since 1863, and its spiritual application to us. “Giving Thanks or Murmuring?” highlights some of the blessings given to the nation of Israel as a special people set aside by God. Examining that nation’s journey from slavery in Egypt to the arrival in the Promised Land, it is clear the people did not appreciate the special position they held in the eyes of God. Instead of offering prayers of thanks for what they received, the nation constantly murmured.
“Rejoicing with Unbearable Sorrow” is the first of several testimonies given in this issue. It follows the extreme trial of a young sister and her family as they endured the loss of their six-year-old son, Chase, in a farming accident. From the darkness that overcame the family on that day came a light shining from God. The testimony is shared in the hope that it will help those who may go through a similar experience.
Many brethren go through physical trials. “My Grace is Sufficient For Thee” is a testimony from a sister who has endured chronic physical problems through much of her young life and how she has learned to lean on God for strength. It is offered to encourage those going through similar experiences to remember the promise given to Paul regarding his lifelong affliction.
“Blest Be the Tie That Binds” draws inspiration from the hymn of the same name written by John Fawcett. A pastor at a small,
poor church, Fawcett was offered a position in a wealthy church. However, his congregation’s tender devotion and the tie that bound them compelled him to sacrifice his ambition and remain. Likewise, we are called upon to sacrifice earthly hopes and ambitions in favor of serving the Lord’s people.
“Count Your Blessings,” the final testimony, tells how a family coped with the trials that came after the wife and mother suffered an Acquired Brain Injury. The lesson from that experience is shared to encourage others to cope in times of
trial by counting their blessings “one by one.” We pray for a blessed Thanksgiving to all.