The Blessings Before Me

Winter is in full display as I walk out my back door and look left or right. Dried, dormant, brown, leafless, desolate. All about the landscape seems paused, awaiting the awakening of spring. It’s when I look straight ahead (westerly in this case) that I see the blessings before me. My heart is quickened, as God pauses me to reflect upon how blessed I am.

It’s December and a nasty cold front arrives soon. There’s much to do ahead of time. My mind works through a mental checklist of things that need to get done. A sense of foreboding attempts to overtake me. I pause as the Spirit calls me to look and see what God has done. Before me is wet ground, glistening with the moisture that sustains life. Springing forth from that ground is lush winter grass. In less than 45 days from planting, it’s ready to be grazed. Grazing that verdant grass is pregnant cattle, all healthy and strong—soon to bring forth a new harvest of calves.

Glancing right, I see the once nearly dried-up pond, once again teaming with life. A turtle raises its head above the water. A heron stands silent watch, awaiting its morning meal. The pond is still several feet below normal, but rather than focusing on what’s not there, God wants me to see all the blessings before me.

I doubt I’m the only one who sometimes views life as half-empty, focusing on my “don’t haves” more than my “I’ve gots”. Sometimes we all need to pause and consider all that God places before us, giving us a reason for praise and thanksgiving.

Do you sometimes focus more on what you don’t have than on what God has blessed you with? #Hope #Blessings #Thanksgiving #RestInGod Click To Tweet

Standing on my back porch, a cup of coffee in hand, I thank God for the many blessings He has brought to mind this morning. Soon my wife will be pain free for the first time in over a year. I survived this horrendous drought to date with much more than many of my fellow ranching and farming friends. I think too of the blessings yet to come, anchored in my faith in God and the hope that He brings. My restored eyesight. A book publishing contract. Many more years together with my bestest friend. Oh, how blessed I am, and how blessed my future is as a child of God.

As I revel in God’s presence this morning, my heart recalls the words of Philippians 4:8-9. Reciting them from memory brings me to praise for another blessing in life. God has given me His Word and the ability to hide it in my heart for times like these.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things
are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate
On these things. The things which you learned and received
and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace
will be with you.”
(Philippians 4:8-9, NKJV)

Thinking about the Scripture above, I wonder if in those words lays the secret to achieving peace in our souls? If, when those negative, pessimistic thoughts invade our mind, should we recall this verse and focus our hearts on what God has provided, not what Satan has stolen? As God smiles and warms my heart, I realize learning and growth in Him has occurred.

As you go through this week, I hope you’ll consider how important it is to rest and reflect when those God thoughts enter your life. In them, we find His wisdom, encouragement, peace, faith, hope, and love.

God’s blessings,

Signature

 

Congratulations to Ms. Katherine Pasour for winning the author-signed copy of Refresh Your Hope: 60 Devotions for Trusting God with All Your Heart, by Mrs. Lori Hatcher. She’ll be shipping that to Ms. Katherine soon. A special thank you to everyone who regularly reads, comments, and shares my blog posts. I am overwhelmed by your kindness and encouragement for my writing.

 

Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

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61 thoughts on “The Blessings Before Me

  1. Dear Mr J.D.,

    Praise the living God for the blessings He delivers to your back door. I’ve seen those things from that perspective and it’s awesome.

    Thank you again for the recollection of the good things in life and how they overcome all the negativity surrounding the majority. May God grant us all the influence to change not only ourselves, but also those around us or those in our circle of influence so we become the majority.

    May Jesus rein here in earth as it is in Heaven!

    1. Right there with you in your prayers sir. And yes, I fondly recall the short time we got to spend with you and Ms. Barb here at the Cross-Dubya. A highlight of our year. Whatever our view is, I pray we can take a moment to see God in it. Blessings sir.

  2. Good lesson on living a happy life. We are in control of our thoughts and when we train our brain, even more so. I love the ‘whatever’ passage. It is a good guideline for building a better way of thinking. Thanks for the post .

  3. J.D.,
    The promise of Spring pales in comparison to the blessed hope that lies within all who believe in the Lord Jesus. When we find that peace within, that produces joy, even in the dry, cold, droughty times we experience.
    Prayers for Miss Diane to be relieved of the pain she has been dealing with for so long.
    Thanks for sharing your message with us each week!

  4. I had no idea that your wife was struggling with pain issues; praying for complete healing for her!
    Thank you for sharing these positive and powerful God-thoughts with us this morning, J. D. I so look forward to your weekly posts, my friend.
    Blessings!

  5. We didn’t have a budget-busting drought to deal with up here in Middle Tennessee, but we had plenty of unexpected challenges in the past year and opportunities to groan and complain. But in spite of them all our hearts join with you. We know what it is to feel the praise well up as we look at His faithful provision in spite of the rough patches. There will be more of them to come in the days ahead, no doubt, but we will not forget what He’s brought us through.
    Your uplifting reference to one of my favorite passages brought to mind another one. In conjunction with Paul’s admonition, Solomon reminded us that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he, and that true on either a positive or negative scale. Our flesh loves to find someone else to blame for all the woes and misery that comes our way, and sometimes others do play a causal role, but God gave us autonomous control over some powerful counteractive forces. He gave us control over what we believe, what we love, and what we think. There’s never going to be a shortage of satanic seduction urging us to hand those powerful areas off to others. Someone else is always going to be available to tell us what to believe, what to love, and what to think. Thank you again, my friend, for being God’s instrument of blessing and for another inspiring testimony of the power God gives us to turn gloom into glory.

    1. How true that is Mr. Ron. It seems this world teaches us that we should always look to others for our happiness or validation. And when they don’t deliver, it’s their fault. The truth is that we must choose for ourselves how we handle the good and the bad that comes in this life. I always try and look at “the man in the mirror” each evening before I sleep. If I don’t like the man I see, then it’s up to me to make it right with God and strive to do better the next day. Like you, I’m so glad our patient Father turns gloom into glory!

  6. We can never be reminded too often about “positive thinking and gratitude.” Many people use those two principles and they “work.” But how blessed we Christians are that those two choices are based in a good God who knows what is the best “positivity” and that our gratitude is based on His wisdom. That’s a much firmer foundation.

  7. It sometimes feel so good to wallow in the negativity- especially with others who are quick to join me in my grumbling and complaining. But then the realization hits, “what a mess we are!” You’ve given us a good example today to lift our sights and see God’s blessings. Thanks, J.D.

    1. Yes ma’am. There’s a time when all of us want to reside in that pit of despair. I remind myself often that, “when you find yourself at the bottom of the hole, quit digging!” Knowing that there is no place we can be that God isn’t helps me to remember that if I’ll just “look up”, His outstretched hand is there to help me out.

    1. Yes ma’am. We all need to do that from time-to-time I think Ms. Yvonne. I’ve started a “Gratefulness Journal” to help me keep track of the many blessings God gives me each day.

  8. Another wonderful post, J.D. The Lord has taught me that when I’m feeling down, etc., gratitude shifts my perspective in an amazing way. Thanks for the reminder to think on God’s blessings. And I like your term, ‘God thoughts’ . Also, I’m thankful to hear about your restored eyesight and congrats on your book contract! God be praised.

  9. Wonderful, encouraging words, brother JD. Yes, let’s focus on the good things and be thankful for our many blessings. As the song says, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done.” I rejoice with you in yours, dear friend. May this be your most blessed year ever!

  10. You’re not the only one who sometimes sees the half-empty instead of the half-full, unfortunately, but without fail, you remind me of what’s most important. I’m praising God for Diane’s progress, and how did I miss the amazing news about your book contract? I’m excited for you and for all your readers (my hand is raised). Thank you, J.D. God uses you greatly!

    1. Sorry for any confusion ma’am. No book contract yet, but I’m certain one is coming, in God’s time. Ms. Diane is doing so much better. What a terrific praise to start my year off with. Thank you for all your faithful prayers.

  11. J.D., you always have that great way of pointing our hearts to the truth. Honestly, it’s not always easy to realize the blessings in front of us, in front of me. The enemy and the world want us to see the half empty cup instead of the overflowing cup we have in Jesus Christ.

    1. How true Ms. Karen. This world wants to pull us back into it. We have to remind ourselves that we are no longer residents, but sojourners. We may have to wade through this world, but we don’t have to dive headlong into it. 🙂 God’s blessing ma’am, and thank you for your many kind words of encouragement.

  12. I love that Philippians verse. It sure doesn’t allow room for negativity. Eve looked at what was missing in paradise. That didn’t serve any of us well! Thanks for sharing your heart, JD.

    1. Great point Ms. Mary. Too often, we tend to focus on what we don’t have and that discounts/negates all that we do have. Free will includes our thoughts as well my friend. Well said ma’am. Your words made me think of Joshua, “Choose this day… “

  13. “my heart is quickened” so aptly describes what I feel when God pauses me in the manner you describe. Thank you for giving me those words.

    Phil 4:8 is a verse that has helped me through periods of self-doubt and pain. I’m praying 2023 will be a less challenging year for the ranch and for you and Ms. Diane.

    1. Same here Ms. Candyce. I can’t help but think of the words of The Song of Solomon whenever I draw near to God. The same thing happens, to a lesser degree, when Ms. Diane walks by or brushes me with her hand.

  14. I also tend to focus on current needs or concerns for the future and stumble right over the blessings God puts in my path every day. We so need to be intentional about looking for God’s hand at work in our lives. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Yes ma’am! It seems we want to spend more time focusing on the past or the future than on our present. There’s a reason God’s Word tells us not to worry about tomorrow, isn’t there?

  15. Thank you for this message of hope, my friend. When cold weather sets in and everything is brown and muddy, I tend to sink a little in despair. You’ve reminded me that spring will come again. I’m so excited to receive the gift of Lori’s new book. Her words inspire hope, too. I’m looking forward to reading her devotional. Wishing you continued blessings, J.D., Diane, and the Cross-Dubya family.

    1. You betcha Ms. Katherine. Like you, Ms. Lori can stir our souls with her powerful writing that is rooted deeply in God’s word. Hope you enjoy ma’am. Congratulations. And keep watch for this winter doldrums; they’re lurking out there on that well-worn path between the house and the horse barn.

  16. What a good point you bring out, J.D. Why do we so easily overlook what God is giving? How perverse we are! But God is teaching me to be intentional about noticing and thanking Him for His many blessings. Thanks again for your post. I always enjoy reading your musings from the ranch. Blessings to you!

  17. I am blessed as you count your blessings from that wonderful vantage point just outside your back door. My sweet memory of standing there myself gives me great perspective of what you’re looking at.
    Your hope filled message, looking forward to God’s continues goodness, fills me with hope as well. Thank you for this uplifting post.

    1. I remember standing out there with you and Mr. Guy, just beyond the pond, as we fed hay to “the girls”. It seems just yesterday ma’am. Which reminds me, Ms. Diane and I owe you guys a visit to your beautiful cabin home in VA one day.

  18. Oh, we are such an ungrateful brood. We overlook the blessings we have to try to obtain more. Why? Because we think we deserve them! Silly us. We should be glad we don’t get what we really deserve …. Death. Praise God, He gives us life, breath, health, wealth, and more. Let us use His blessings to us to begat blessings to others since that comes full circle to bring blessing back to him. Check out my Ewe R Blessed Ministries FB page, website, and blog.

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