"Count your blessings, name them one by one...
and it will surprise you what the Lord has done!"
These words are from an old hymn and they still have great meaning.
My wife and I grew up just 30 miles apart in Oklahoma but did not meet, until God's timing was right! In 1948 when La Moyne was 15 yrs. of age, her family moved from Hobart, Oklahoma to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Following my graduation from the University of Oklahoma in 1950, I was drafted during the Korean War and sent to Ft. Carson Army Base near Colorado Springs. We met in church in Colorado Springs in 1951 and were married two years later in her home church there.
At that time, I was teaching and coaching in Southwest Oklahoma, near the area where I grew up. The land is very rich, but the area lacks 'scenic beauty' some might say. It was night time when we got to our new little home, located next door to Southside School where I was teaching and coaching.
The next morning I watched my bride (who was used to seeing majestic Pikes Peak from her home every day) as she walked to our front door. I saw her shoulders 'slump' as she looked out the window at the flat plains, only to see one lonely mesquite tree between her and the horizon! But her attitude and spirit stayed strong as we began our married life there and I knew that she really DID love me and that she felt 'called' to be by my side no matter 'where' God led us.
Now, almost 52 yrs. later, she has been a rock and a joy! There might have been times when she could have become 'bored' with her life as a teacher/coach's wife....then later as a preacher's wife, but no! She has 'bloomed wherever God has planted us' and is the light of my life, second only to Jesus!
My three brothers and I never said to our folks, "I'm bored!" for we knew what would happen...they would find some work for us to do! Of course, being raised on a cotton farm and dairy, there was always plenty to keep us busy, plus we played a lot of sports which also kept us occupied.
Today, 'boredom' is an unhealthy disease in America.
Many years ago here in Norman, Oklahoma where we live, I saw on a white-washed building wall, the name 'Boren' (he was running for U.S. Senate at the time and is now the Pres. of Oklahoma University). Someone had made a 'd' out of the 'n' in the name Boren, making it read, 'Bored'. Sometime later, someone had written 'Still' in front of the word 'Bored'....'Still Bored'.
Another time, I saw a sign on West Lindsay Street near Bethel Baptist Church where I pastored, which said, "Bored? Buy a new car!"
In the book entitled "How Never To Be Tired", Marie Baynon Ray lists 'Boredom' as enemy #1:
Children with a roomful of toys, saying, "I don't have anything to do"...
Or teens who are never still....always doing/going or trying a new fad (or worse, alcohol, drugs, etc.)
Adults do not escape either, for housewives can be bored with monotony....
or husbands can be on a mad search for 'pleasure', etc. etc.
A life worth living and free of boredom, means the following:
1) A SELF WORTHY TO LIVE WITH -
Edgar Guest said: "I have to live with myself...so I want to be 'fit' for myself to know." He further stated, "We are all different, so please do not fold, staple, or zerox me, for I am NOT a carbon copy. I am REAL, I am an original. God does not deal in duplicates.......so to thine own-self, be true!" (Psalm 139:13-14)
2) A WORK WORTHY TO LIVE FOR -
The greatest work in the world, is the Will of God whether in church-related work
....or life-related work. The Will of God is the greatest discovery in the world....
and to do it, is the greatest achievement! (See Romans 12)
3) A FAITH WORTHY TO LIVE BY -
Is your faith your own...or an old inherited antique?
Life CAN be exciting, if it is a spiritual quest, journey and pilgrimage!
The little girl was repeating, "Now I lay me down to sleep....If I should die before I live" (instead of 'wake')
God forbid that we die before we wake to a life of faith!
So are you bored or blessed? If bored, why? Let me share some reasons:
1) NO GOD - knowing only ABOUT God, but not really KNOWING Him.
God has no favorites, but He does have Intimates.
Sometimes it seems that we have 'time on our hands', instead of 'our times in His hands'.
The hymn, 'Marching to Zion' says, "Let those refuse to sing, who never knew our God". The Pharisees in Jesus' day (and some Christians today) have 'eye trouble'. With no eye on God....a good eye on self.....and a bad eye on others!
2) NO GOALS - Aim at nothing and you will hit it! In the New Testament, the Greek word for sin, is 'hamartia' which means, 'missing the mark'. God has set a target for you - knowing Christ and serving Him. Please don't miss the target!!
3) NO GUIDANCE - We are like kites....to be flown by God's Grace, Love and Spirit. Are you controlled by God? Do you feel His tug at your mind/heart/will? We also are like a train.....as long as we are on track, we function and fulfill our reason for being. Get 'off track' (God's Word interpreted by the Holy Spirit) and we become bored and not blessed! The kite needs the wind (the Greek word for 'wind' is 'pneuma'...see John 3:8), so we must have the wind of God's spirit. The train needs the fuel (see Ephesians 5:14-21).
We need the fuel of God's Spirit - my favorite is I John 4:4 "greater is the power within you than any power in the world".
Some of the worst boredom (probably in God's eyes) may be found in our churches. This ought not to be! Some often blame it on 'others', 'the preacher', 'the songs', etc. but ANYONE will be bored if he does not come to worship in prayer, yearning and ready to BE a blessing...before RECEIVING blessings!
A person who could neither speak nor hear, was asked, "Why do you attend worship services regularly?"
His reply was, "So the world will know which side I am on!"
As two men were seated around a bonfire, one man said that he had stopped going to church as he was no longer 'interested' ....and wondered aloud, why should he go? The other man took a poker and separated a live coal from the other coals in the fire. The men watched the warmth and light of that coal go out. So it is with the fire in our lives, if we neglect private and public worship.
My preacher brother Keith, says,
"Some Christians' faces are so long, they could eat oatmeal out of a gas tank".
I've said, "If you are a Christian, tell your face about it: you may not see your face for awhile, but others will."
If you have 'faith value', you should have 'face value'!
We can approach life at it's best, that can lead us out of boredom, into blessings.
But be genuine!
Some say 'abundant life'?
Forget it....or fake it....or force it (try harder...strain/stress)....or fear it.
I say, "face it....free it....faith it.....and forever follow Jesus!"
George Mathison was engaged to be married, but when he became blind, his fiance' decided not marry him.
In the sorrow of that time, he wrote, "Oh Love, that wilt not let me go....I rest my weary soul in Thee. I give Thee back the life I owe, that in Thine ocean depths, it's flow may richer, fuller be."
Here was a blind man who could have been 'bored', but he was blessed by God....and in turn, blessed others!
Go thou and do likewise!
Count your blessings...Name them one by one.
Count your blessings...See what God has done.
Count your blessings...Name them one by one.
Count your many blessings...See what God has done
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 has done
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every 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.
Count your blessings...name them one by one
Count your blessings...see what God has done
Count your blessings...name them one by one
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
(Words by Johnson Oatman, 1897)
If you are 'bored' or seem to have few blessings in your life, do a study of Philippians....written from prison by the apostle Paul who was facing death.
He was not bored.....he felt blessed by God.
The theme of Philippians is JOY! Amen and Amen!
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Amen! I count it such a blessing to know the Lord, and from there the blessings continue to flow. I count it a blessing to be able to read your articles and feel the love of His Spirit flow through your words, as we have been called to bless one another.