July 11, 2014
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We have started a prayer ministry at our church. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 to 7:30 in the morning anyone who can come stays for however long they can – praying aloud or silently. We are especially lifting up our nation as well as our church.
As I was praying this morning, a verse – Psalm 68:19 – came to mind: “Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation.” It made me think of the marvelous benefits we have from God in this United States:
• Peace – War rages in so many areas of the world today. There is increasing violence among different sects of Islam in Iraq. There is violence in the Ukraine as the government fights pro-Russian rebels. Syria’s three-year conflict continues with mounting casualties – over 160,000 so far! Israeli and Palestinian tensions are on the rise with escalating violence, …and on and on! Yet we experience peace in this country – with very few incidents of terrorist violence since 9/11/01.
• Prosperity – I heard it said yesterday that even the homeless in the US are rich in comparison with so many people who are suffering extreme poverty in other parts of the world. And whereas in many poor countries, people spend 40 to 60 percent of their income just to provide for daily food, here we spend an average of 6 to 8 percent! I know I have not gone hungry, homeless, unclothed or medically untended for all my life.
• Freedom – “Four Freedoms” were articulated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941 – Freedom of speech, Freedom of worship, Freedom from want, Freedom from fear. These four were made famous in paintings by Norman Rockwell. Just consider the second one, Freedom of worship: The official figure is that there were 3,239 Christian martyrs in 2013. But other estimates put the figure as high as 105,000 a year – the majority from Republic of Congo violence. On March 8, 2009, Pastor Fred Winters was shot and killed while preaching at First Baptist Church, Maryville, Illinois. This made headlines all around the country. Why? Because it was such an unusual event! In the Republic of Congo, he would be “just another Christian martyr.”
• Opportunity – In recent years we have seen people succeed in business beyond their (and our) wildest imaginations. Consider Bill Gates – Mircosoft; Kenny Troutt – Excel Communications; Howard Schultz – Starbucks; Do Wan Chang and Jin Sook – Forever 21 Clothing; Larry Ellison – Oracle; Mark Zuckerburg – Facebook – just to name a few! But so many others have succeeded in their dreams, maybe not as publicly, and not just in business!
We are blessed with benefits in this country – loaded with benefits – as the psalmist puts it. And the first and greatest benefit is then identified in our scripture – “…the God of our salvation.” Where would we be without “…the God of our salvation…”? We might be loaded down with temporal blessings but, as someone said, “I’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul!” Jesus said it this way in Mark 8:36 and 37: “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” In Psalm 49:6 through 8 says:
Those who trust in their wealth and boast in the multitude of their riches,
none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a
ransom for him — for the redemption of their soul is costly….
Where would we be without “…the God of our salvation…”? We would be forever lost in our sins, and headed to suffer eternity in hell! And this fact would stand no matter how comfortable this life might have been!
So have you thanked God for His benefits lately – especially the benefits we experience in this country? And have you thanked and praised Him for providing salvation through the death and resurrection of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ? Your life ought to be lived for God as an on-going thank you for all His benefits He has loaded upon you!
Think about it!