Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and faded away; he flees like a shadow and does not continue (Job 14:1, 2).
These words spoken by Job centuries ago come tumbling down to us in cataclysmic proportions. The leader of the avalanche is the pandemic caused by the Corona Virus. As of this day, January 10, 2021, 377,000 people have died from the virus in the USA. I have had family members, brethren, friends, and acquaintances die from the virus. I’m thankful vaccines are being distributed and additional treatments are helping combat this enemy to health, the economy, and life. In deed we are living in “troublesome times.”
To speak on a sad note, I am deeply aware and concerned about the attitudes and actions some have toward wearing masks, social distancing, and limited gatherings. Even among some Christians there is a disregard for these guidelines; some have created division and spread of the virus to others or caused quarantines. One of the popular remarks made by the rejecters of guidelines is, “The government will not tell me what to do. If I choose not to wear a mask it’s my business not theirs.”
Talk about inconsistent! These same rejecters let the government tell them what to do about paying taxes, obeying traffic laws, taking oaths, sending children to school, etc. Then there are the Scriptures that tell us to pay our taxes, pray for rulers, obey the law, not to curse those in power, love our enemies, do good to all men, etc.
I think, at least for me, the relevant question relates to God. Is God interested in our health? Does He care about what happens to His children—you and me—health wise? My answer is YES. It is yes based of Scripture.
BASIC SCRIPTURES ABOUT GOD AND HEALTH
I don’t have the time and space to go into a deep and detailed presentation relative to what God has said about what we can classify as health concerns. Hopefully, what follows will be a door opener to a more in-depth study.
Here are 10, what I call, bedrock truths to base what will follow on:
JESUS’ CONCERN FOR HEALTH ISSUES
The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus healing and performing miracles. Each one should be studied in its context; however, for my purposes I simply want to call our attention to the fact that Jesus was concerned with the health problems of people; reinforcing the point that our heavenly Father is concerned too. Affirming we should be concerned too.
While these healings and miracles were designed to prove Jesus was the Son of God, they point to the fact that He was concerned about the life and health of others. We cannot heal or perform miracles but we can, and should, be concerned about the life and health of others. It’s the “Christ-like thing to do.
EXAMPLES OF HEALTH CONCERNS UNDER NEW COVENANT
Several times after the establishment of the church we see examples of health issues, concerns, and healings:
OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES ON HEALTH
Romans 15:4: For WHATEVER things were WRITTEN before were written for OUR learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the SCRIPTURES have HOPE.
Paul affirmed that we can learn by studying the Old Testament Scriptures. Thus, it is relevant and essential that we take a few minutes and read what God has said about health and related issues. The following are randomly selected passages that reveal God’s attitude toward our health, etc. (Please take time to read the Scriptures).
These things were written for our learning, not in order to “bind them as conditions of salvation”, but to educate us relative to what God has said about sickness, diseases, procedures, healing, death, etc. Therefore, I conclude that God is interested in our health. This is why as a steward of my body I will do everything in my power to protect my health and the health of those I am around.
Remember God’s desire for us under the New Covenant is: Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in ALL THINGS and be in HEALTH, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2).
Caesar is trying to help us be in “good health” by giving these rules:
Think about this. What if you had the virus, won’t wear a mask or observe social distancing and infected someone else and that person died, how would you feel?
As James commanded, we need to pray for wisdom (James 1:1-6).
As Paul commanded, we need to obey Caesar (Romans 13:1-7).
As Jesus affirmed, “by this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another” (John 13:34, 35). YES! God cares about our health. Do I?
A. Passages from:
1. Proverbs 14:29; 15:1, 18; 16:32; 29:20.
2. James 1:19, 20.
3. Ephesians 4:26-31, 5:1 (20 Observations.)
4. Psalm 7:11; 78:48 (God’s anger).
5. Genesis 4:5, Cain killed his brother.
1. Passive Aggressive (indirect, subtle insults, insinuations).
2. Explosive Outburst (Sudden loss of control, “hot tempered”).
3. Harden Anger (Stuck in quicksand, chip on shoulder, can’t forgive).
4. Vengeful anger (Get back at person, even after years).
5. Chronic Anger (Will not let go, continual episodes, DSM mental illness, 2 month or more).
6. Incidental Anger (Not all negative, God allows emotional, motivated to deal with.)
7. Empathic Anger (On behalf of a wrong committed against another, arouses sense of caring).
8. God approved: “Be angry and sin not, don’t let sun go down on wrath.”
1. Starts with an event: (Anger Thermometer).
(a) May be a mental trigger of a memory….Thought fixation.
(b) May be something you see….media, home, neighborhood.
(c) May be a perceived violation of your “rights” (Traffic).
(d) May be a continual occurrence: home, work, school, etc.
2. Recognizing triggers:
(a) Know from past experience…button will trigger.
(b) Face starts getting warm.
(c) Heart rate increases.
(d) Sweaty palms, face, body.
(e) Raising of voice, cursing, yelling.
(f) Start throwing things, threating.
(g) Rush, stomp out, and kick stuff.
3. Start by admitting your worse anger issue:
(a) Confess it to God and to persons it affects.
(b) Study and meditate on Scriptures.
(c) Develop a plan to stay cool…count to 10, 100, etc.
(d) Do all you can to AVOID situation—eyes always open.
Today has been set aside to honor our mothers. We realize that every day is the day to honor mother but, thankfully, today our nation pauses to hold hands and honor that special lady every person has—we all have a mother. Today during the pandemic crisis we are faced with a new set of challenges relative to honoring mom, especially related to physical presence. However we are blessed with numerous media tools we can use to send special messages and gifts to honor our mothers.
Mother’s Day is …
I. REMINDERS FROM SCRIPTURE:
A. Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long upon the land
Which the Lord your God is giving you.
B. Proverbs 23:22: Listen to your father who begot you, and do not hate your mother when
she is old.
C. Proverbs 19:26, 27: He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother is a son
who causes shame and brings reproach. Cease listening to instruct, my son, and you
will stray from the words of knowledge.
II. SOME ‘THANK YOU’ WORDS FOR MOTHER:
In EVERYTHING give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess. 5:18).
MOTHER THANK YOU …
Thank you for enduring 9 months of a parasite invading your body bringing all those changes and pain so you could give me life.
Thank you for nurturing, helping, changing, clothing and keeping me safe in my infant and helpless years.
Thank you for teaching me, guiding me, standing up for me, and loving me unconditionally.
Thank you for sacrificing and doing without all those years so I could have.
Thank you for disciplining me and being strict when I needed it the most.
Thank you for being patient with me when I acted-up and was defiant.
Thank you for loving me with all my faults and negative behaviors.
Thank you for helping me have an awareness of a loving and saving God.
Thank you for saying no when I insisted on having my way.
Thank you for never giving up on me when I seemed hopeless.
Thank you for being a moral and ethical example of right and wrong.
Thank you for modeling the virtues I want to see in the mother of my children.
Thank you for having eyes in the back of your head it prevented me from trying to get by with
stuff or think I was getting by with something.
Thank you for modeling what character and integrity look like when practiced.
Thank you for holding my hand in the early years and my heart in later years.
Thank you for knowing each one of your children are different.
Thank you for accepting most of my faults and lovingly warning me about others.
Thank you for admitting you were not perfect, even though I thought you were most of the
Thank you for all the memories that cause you to live every day in my mind, heart and soul.
Thank you for being a mother to those who were “motherless” and neglected.
And above all, thank you for being my mother, a gift from God.
III. MOTHER I STILL SEE YOU
Mother, even though you’ve gone to heaven I “still see you” in so many things, memories of you:
Mother, you were so alive, so in love with God and His creation; taught me to see beyond the obvious and see life as real and full of gifts and surprises. As I look into the heavens I see your loving and smiling face offering an extended hand to me. Yes, I’m a mama’s boy—your boy. I’ll join you when God calls me. Until then I’ll keep seeing you.
Let’s pray every day for all our mothers.
In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them … lest Satan should get an advantage over us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2:11).
[J.J. Turner, Ph.D. © 2020]
An old preacher over a hundred years ago, said this about a popular church hymn, “Men sing it, boys whistle it and woman rock their babies to sleep to it.” The hymn referenced was Count Your Blessings written by Johnson Oatman, Jr. in 1897. The story goes that Johnson father was a local merchant and was known as the best singer in Lumberton, N.J. Young Johnson wasn’t even close to singing as well as his father. During his growing up years, he had a deep desire to make a positive musical contribution of his own. After working in the family business he gave it up to go to Divinity School to study for the ministry. After finishing school and ministering in a church he continued to dream of making an even greater contribution during his life.
During his 36th year, Johnson realized that he had musical talent, not for singing but writing Christian songs for others to sing. It is estimated that every year after making his decision an average of 200 songs flowed from his pen. He eventually authored 5,000 and felt so blessed that his musical compositions he had discovered a way to “preach the Gospel.”
From the catalog of songs Oatman wrote, two were his favorite, “No, Not One” and “Higher Ground.” Yet in reality, people everywhere adopted a song he wrote in 1897 “Count Your Blessings,’ and remains among the most popular hymns today more than 120 years later. John Oatman died in Norman Oklahoma in 1922. Through his songs, he continues to bless and minister to millions. Here is a verse and the chorus:
COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS
When upon life billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.
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.
How many times have you heard the phrase “God bless you” or said it to someone? I venture to say, that on an average, from the clerk to the person passing us through a doorway, we hear is almost daily. Many waiters and waitresses write it on the bill they hand us. There words. God Bless You. Wait a minute! What do these three words mean? What is actually being said and understood by these three words?
If we dash to Webster for a definition we find three basic words, Bless, Blessed, and Blessing with a total of 18 categories of usage. The definitions include, “good wishes or approval; enjoying happiness; bringing comfort and joy; to favor or be endowed; praise or glorify; holy, sacred, dedicated, consecrated; to pronounce, well wishes, etc. Thus, the meanings all seem to be expressions of “good future, happiness, joy, and gifts, etc.” When the word is used by a Christian it is usually related to “gifts and favors from God Himself.” In John 1:16 we read, “Out of the fullness of His grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another” (GNT Version).
Here’s our bottom line question, “How can we give and receive blessings if we don’t understand what they are? More importantly, “How can we count them if we don’t know what they are?”
I once heard a story about an older preacher who had been roughed-up and robbed when walking to his car one night. The next Sunday he preached a sermon titled “The Blessings of Being Robbed.” As you can imagine the building was filled as attendees had come to hear what the old preacher had to say about being robbed. The gist of his sermon was, “I had never been robbed before. He robbed me, I didn’t rob him. He hurt me, I didn’t hurt him. He didn’t get much because I didn’t have much. He is the one who sinned, not me. He stole my Bible but not my message. I forgive him, what he does is between him and God. I learned from this experience what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “It was good for me to be afflicted, that I might learn thy testimonies (Psalm 119:71), and what Paul meant when he wrote, “In everything give thanks” (1 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
ONE STEP BEYOND COUNTING YOUR BLESSINGS
There can be no doubt from a practical and biblical perspective that counting our blessings is sage advice. When we recognize the amazingly positive things—gifts—which come into our lives every day brings a measure of joy and happiness occurs in difficult situations, etc. However, knowing the basic truths about the benefits of blessings doesn’t mean that we deeply appreciate them at the core of our being. The key is related to HOW does the blessing make your life better? We need to remember the sequence used in making a change in life:
FIRST, there must be an AWARENESS. This is the first stage of recognizing the event, thing, person, etc. causing the blessing. “Name them one by one.” This is internalizing the blessing.
SECOND, there must be an UNDERSTANDING of what the blessing means to your body, soul, and spirit. The goodness and benefit you see in the blessings actually touch your being.
THIRD, there must be an intentional asking and answering this question: “What difference will this make in my life? How can I share it with others?
FOURTH, there will be an added blessing (or blessings) as you take time to really pay attention to your blessings (“It will surprise you what the Lord has done.”)
FIFTH, there must be a continual recognition and commitment to practicing acknowledging, counting, and being thankful for your blessings. This will be a physical and spiritual blessing to you and others. Remember, “Even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice” (Luke 11:28, NLT).
What is your total for today? How many blessings have you counted? Name the three that really blessed you:
If you are interested in becoming a more engaged blessing counter, I have just finished a new 24 chapter book, Surprised by So Many Blessings, amazon.com.