Counting Blessings

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:1-2 ESV

The Lord is not only my shepherd He is a good shepherd for everyone who comes to Him and He fills our lives with blessings. It may be that having spent a lifetime learning that reality is why “Count Your Blessings” is one of the all time favorites at the Nursing Home meetings I lead every week. You might ask how people sitting in wheel chairs and often without any family or friends can sing about being blessed. It could be that because they are in a place where neither money nor position matter any longer they see more clearly  what is truly a blessing. They have a perspective that includes delighting in different kinds of blessings.  Featured Image -- 18926

Walking into most rooms, you will notice that usually one of the personal items on the nightstand or hung on the wall includes a photograph of their family. Whether it is a faded wedding picture from many years ago or a more recent shot of children and grandchildren it is a reminder of blessings of a lifetime to be thankful for. Then if you stay for a longer  visit some people will begin to show you hand written birthday cards from a grandchild or a box of candy from a friend. Stay a bit longer and they will tell you how much they appreciate you coming by to give them some of your time. Small blessings we pass by in our hurry to go places are instead savored by folks whose life is now lived day by day.

Last of all if you peek into the corner in some rooms you will often see a Bible, a cross or their rosary beads. Today; though the journey has not lead to where they ever imagined they have found that the greatest blessing of all does not lie anywhere here on earth. The blessing that they now value highest of all is the one that is to come when every blessing is found in Christ!

Passing Through the Notch

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me Psalm 23:4 NRSV

Coming home from work I used to drive through a notch

KIMG0848in the hills called Sugar Hollow. The interesting thing about the place was that in late afternoon the angle of the surrounding hills blocked out most of the sun when it was low on the horizon. You would drive out of bright sunshine into a sort of twilight for a few miles. Then after a few long minutes suddenly the shadows lifted and the sun came shone again as you passed through to the other side.

That passing through may be what you are experiencing today. Maybe everything seemed pretty normal in your life till unexpectedly the boss called you into the office or the doctor called about those test results. The bright sunshine of your day in a moment changed to a shadowy path. If you are at all like me it feels at those moments that even the most familiar of lP1020256and-marks seem strangely different in darkness. That is the time to remind ourselves to hang on and keep going. We do not need to panic. Jesus has promised to be with us always. Whatever deep river, hot fire or dark valley that lies ahead is temporary. Just past the shadows of the notch we are passing through, His road will lead us into sunshine and all the way home!