Count Your Blessings - Even BEFORE they hatch!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Halfway thru this particular work week I am reminded of the importance of focusing on the blessings and bounty of God at all times.

I think His bounties are always showering down all around us, but we only receive those blessings if we are aware enough to pay attention and tap into them. And, as I found out while researching this topic, all the religions seem to repeat this common refrain - "that you must "follow the commandments" in order to partake of God's blessings".

Last night I sat out on the deck, watching the hummingbirds and the sunset, with my two four-legged boys in my lap (Buddy and Gucci) and reading a book. It was very special to me because I felt like I tapped into something that is always there but that I do not always acknowledge - the beauty surrounding me. What a blessing that is - to be able to live where I do really and truly brings extra joy to my life!

Do you pay attention to the blessings around you? If you forget to notice them, how do you steer yourself back? Do you find that you feel "more blessed" when you are actively closer to God and in alignment with what you believe he expects from you?

Please share your thoughts and add some additional quotes from your tradition.

"The essence of charity is for the servant to recount the blessings of his Lord, and to render thanks unto Him at all times and under all conditions." (Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 156)

"And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God." (28.1-2 King James Bible, Deuteronomy)

"He who knows Brahman, which is (i. e. cause, not effect), which is conscious, which is without end, as hidden in the depth (of the heart), in the highest ether, he enjoys all blessings, at one with the omniscient Brahman." (Upanishads vol. 2, Taittiriyaka-Upanishad)

"O ye who believe! celebrate the praises of Allah and do this often; And glorify Him morning and evening. He it is Who sends blessings on you, as do His angels, that He may bring you out from the depths of Darkness into Light: and He is Full of Mercy to the Believers." (The Quran Surah 33 41-43 Yusaf Ali tr.)

"If, O ye mortals, ye mark those commandments which Mazda hath ordained -- of happiness and pain, the long punishment for the follower of the Druj, and blessings for the followers of the Right -- then hereafter shall it be well." (The Zend-Avesta, Avesta - Yasna)

"Forget your own selves, and turn your eyes towards your neighbor. Bend your energies to whatever may foster the education of men. Nothing is, or can ever be, hidden from God. If ye follow in His way, His incalculable and imperishable blessings will be showered upon you. This is the luminous Tablet, whose verses have streamed from the moving Pen of Him Who is the Lord of all worlds. Ponder it in your hearts, and be ye of them that observe its precepts."(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 9)


Anonymous said...

I think I wholeheartily agree with that. I think God is constantly showering down blessings. I think that in our fast food society of bigger, better, faster, that the little things get over looked or become mundane, when really they are the things of which real blessings are made. A sunset, a yellow bird in the sea of grey that You notice on your way to work. A gentle breeze on a summer night, blessings, each day, each moment has something to be happy about and hopefully through new eyes we can find the joy in the simple. That is what I have striven to do. Just as negative thoughts can become a way of thinking when practiced enough, a life filled with blessings can be lived if you train your eyes to really see. It will bless your heart and fill your spirit. Love.

Scott Stephenson said...

I couldn't agree more. We leave our homes each morning into a world filled with blessings and grace. Unfortunately, we typically leave our houses with the blinders of society firmly affixed to our heads. Once those blinders come off, you can be overwhelmed by the blessings you find all around you.
Last Friday, I was making the typical morning drive to Denver. I leave the house about 4:30 in the morning, so the sun is slowly ascending into the sky as I head north. I typically use this time to plot out my day and brace for the icky stuff I know I'll have to deal with. On Friday, I wasn't so concerned about that stuff, so I was just enjoying the beautiful scenery in the very early sunlight. As I came upon the old rest areas in Larkspur, I noticed that I had some company. Standing no more than ten feet off the highway was an elk. Not just any elk. This example of God's perfect creation stood almost six feet at the shoulders and was obviously enjoying a fantastic diet this summer. I swear that the rack of antlers (with velvet still on) were as wide as my car. It was without a doubt the most beautiful animal I have ever laid my eyes on. And he was just standing there with head held high, as if he was surveying kingdom, complete confidence just oozing off him.
If I had my work blinders on that morning as I normally do, I would have missed the blessing. By taking them off and seeing the world around me with clear eyes, I had a moment I will never forget.

"How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we belong to Christ." Ephesians 1:3

Anonymous said...

And, I, my dear friend, am reminded of yet another lesson of simplicity from one of the wisest of bears:
We sat there in the quiet stillness that happens just as the day meets the night. "Listen," Pooh said. "Did you hear that? "I didn't hear a thing," Piglet replied. "Sometimes everything being right
makes a kind of sound." "I wish I'd heard it," Piglet said softly. Then it seemed, just as he stopped trying so hard to listen, he could actually hear it too. ~ A.A. Milne

I believe that if we take the time to stop and listen, we'll get the answers that we seek. Look for good and you'll find good - in the simplist and purest of things (and maybe where you least expect it). And, it's only when you find and acknowledge that good that you can share it with others an be an ambassador of it.

In other words: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)


Justin Johnson said...

First Anonymous - I like that idea of "training your eyes to really see. Nice one.

Scott - I LOVED your story about the Elk. Beautiful and what a true blessing! Many would have seen it and not even recognized it as a blessing.

Kirsten - Nice quote from Psalms! How often do we do that nowadays? Truly be still? I also like that idea in your Pooh quote when Piglet stops trying so hard to hear, is when he finally does hear.

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