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(YOU ARE BLESSED) SCRIPTURE - MATT. 5:45b                                            SEPTEMBER, 1996

... FOR HE MAKES HIS SUN TO RISE ON THE EVIL, AND THE GOOD, AND SENDS RAIN ON THE JUST AND THE UNJUST.

SUBJECT - YOU ARE BLESSED !!!

There is an old story, about a man complaining that he had no shoes, until he saw a man, that had no feet. The gist of the story is, that he was so mindful of something that he didn't have, that he was totally unaware of the things that he did have. Does this ring a bell with anyone you know? Perhaps yourself?

How many of us, go through life, day by day, complaining about something that we don't have, or maybe, complaining about what we do have, without realizing, that there are others, that are worse off than us. Our own selfish attitudes, with the 'me, myself and I,' syndrome, blind us to the reality of life, as explained in the subject verse.

Jesus, is telling a crowd of people, in His sermon on the mount, how God allows the sun to rise on everyone of us, good or bad. He also allows rain to come on us too. The significance of the sun, means not only the sun, as the sun in the sky, but also means, good things. The rain, on the other hand, stands not only for rain from the clouds, but, troublesome times. This means, that we all have things that we could cry about, but we also have things to rejoice about. It just depends on how you look at the situation. Someone once said, 'beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.' How true it is. Well, blessing and trouble, are the same way. It depends on how you look at them.

One, for instance, could complain that they don't have steak for dinner. Another could be complaining that they don't have anything for dinner. Some complain about their jobs, while others are destitute, because they can't get a job.

Just about every day, I could go around the plant that I work in, and find a lot of people complaining about the work conditions on their jobs. These people, are making in the neighborhood of $15.00 or more an hour. About once a week, some people are outside in front of the plant, passing out literature, complaining about everything. The plant, the unions, the government, the nation. It appears, that these people can't see any thing good, in anything. These people, may have some things to gripe about, but who doesn't? Let's look at what they should be glad about.

First, they woke up in the morning. If nothing else, that's a big blessing. Next, they woke up in a house, so they have a roof over their heads. They have beds to sleep on. Next, they look pretty healthy, so they must have had something to eat, right? They appear not to be sick, so they have their health. They walk and talk, so they have the use of their limbs. Contrast these simple things, that most of us take for granted, with those that died in their sleep last night. Look at the homeless, that walk the streets, even in the winter. They have no beds, and they have to beg, or rely on others, for a handout for food. You have the blind and the crippled. And the amazing thing is, that when talking to some of these unfortunate individuals, I find that they consider themselves blessed, because they are alive.

As far as jobs go, the same thing holds true. People complain about their jobs, that are making a very good wage, especially being unskilled manual laborers, yet, you can find people working at McDonald's, that are thankful for having a job. They realize, that they could be out on the streets, with no job at all.

And for those that complain about this country. Maybe you need to visit all of those third world countries, that have the type of governments, you want to see the U.S. adopt. The type of government, that oppresses everyone, starves everyone. Kills those that speak out against it. Countries where the life expectancy is about one fourth of what it is here. Then take a look at what you have. You should see things in a different light, unless you are a blithering idiot. And even then you are blessed. In those other countries, you would be locked up, or dead.

The whole point of this message, is that God, allows all of us to experience the ups and downs of life. No one has it good all the time. And no one has it bad all the time. If you look at the very wealthy, you will see that they are not all that happy. Their problems, are a lot bigger than yours. With more money, and power, comes more responsibility and problems. You just don't know how blessed you are. The apostle Paul said it very plain. He said, ' I have learned to be exalted, and to be abased. To achieve gain or suffer loss. Whatever state I am in, to be content (satisfied) [PHIL. 4:11-12].

Most of the problems we have in this world, especially in the U.S., revolve around people coveting what someone else has, and not being content with what they already have. Our wars are a result of this. [JAMES 4:1-3], outlines the root cause of the wars that we have with others, even in our neighborhoods and families. Somebody is always seeing something that someone else has, that they don't, and they get all bent out of shape. They figure out how they can get it. If they can't get it legally, then they may turn to crime. Look at the violence in the drug culture, the carjackings, the killing of our young people for their Nike, Addidas and other brand name gym shoes and jackets. Why? Because of people not looking at the things that they do have as being blessings from God, and being content.

This is not to say, that you shouldn't desire to have better. But, if God sees you are not thankful, for what you already have, then He is not going to give you anything better. How many of you parents, will continue to give an ungrateful child, more and more things that they want? Well, in effect, God does the same thing. The more you complain, the less you will get. But, when you are grateful for the little things, God will bless you with bigger and better things. It's up to you.

However, for the Christian, their biggest blessing, is that they are saved. If they had to go through the rest of their lives, naked, homeless, and disabled, then that would only mean that they have to endure a little inconvenience now, to receive eternal life. (Of course this is not God's way of dealing with His children.) David said, 'I was young, and now I am old, and I've never seen the righteous forsaken, or His seed begging bread." God's plan is for His kids, to be blessed, and we are.

For those of you, that are not saved, you are blessed in this area, too. God, has given you another day, another chance to get saved. If He hadn't, you would be in hell now. You ought to be shoutin', You ought to be stomping your feet. Why? Because God, didn't have to let you see another day, but He did. He didn't have to let you see this message, but He did. How much longer are you going to turn Him down? How much longer do you think He is going to put up with your rejection of His hand on your life?

If you are ready, He is ready. "Behold, I stand at the door (of your heart) and knock. If you hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to you, and sup with you, and you with me." Jesus is saying this to you. Are you ready to open the door? Or will you take the chance on letting Him stay there for another 10 or more years? Or even another day? You claim you can't get blessed. Yet, the blesser, is standing right outside, with the biggest blessing you can ever get, but you won't open the door. Silly you. No! Thou fool.
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