Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Count Your Blessings

            Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, an annual day set apart by George Washington for Americans to count their blessings and to offer up their thanks and gratitude for them. It is wonderful that we have a government that recognizes our need to show gratitude. With all the problems in the world, Americans have much for which to be grateful.

            Thomas Gallatin gives several reminders of why Americans should offer thanksgiving in his article titled “Many Reasons to Give Thanks.” 

Across the nation – and in fact the entire world – poverty is on the decline. Over the past 25 years, the percentage of people in the world living in extreme poverty has fallen from 36% to 10%. And in the U.S. the number of people living in poverty has fallen for three straight years, down to 12.3%.

The economy is booming as more Americans are working and the unemployment rate is at a 50-year low…. 80% of American households received a tax cut this year….

… Americans are safer than ever. Violent crime has dropped 75% since its peak in the early 1990s and remains at its lowest levels since the 1970s….

… Americans have proven themselves to be the most generous people on the planet, giving over $410 billion in charity last year alone, while 77 million Americans have given their time volunteering to help those in need….

The freedom … to speak our minds and express our voice at the ballot box is still alive and well…. We can truly be thankful for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the constitutional protections to Liberty they established….

Finally, we can be most thankful – like the pilgrims of old – for the many abundant blessings we receive daily from God’s hand. 

            Americans can be grateful that our nation, leaders, and military have regained the respect of the world. Even though immigrants entering our nation illegally cause extensive problems, we can be grateful that we live in such a wonderful place that people from all over the world are willing to do almost anything to get here.

            I was reared with the idea of counting my blessings. In fact, one of my favorite hymns is titled “Count Your Blessings” (text by Johnson Oatman Jr. and music by Edwin O. Excell) and counsels us to count our blessings even when carrying heavy loads. The first verse is as follows.  

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings; name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

            The following verses tell us to count our blessings when “burdened with a load of care,” when we see “others with their lands and gold,” or even “amid the conflict.” We should rejoice and not be discouraged because God is aware of our struggles and will reward us according to His knowledge of our goodness. He even promises to send angels to attend us.

            I put this counsel to count my blessings into my daily practices in my daily prayers as well as listing three blessings in each journal entry. I find that it is extremely easy to get caught up in the struggles and/or fears of the day and forget that there are more blessings than problems. So I encourage you to “count your blessings” and “see what God has done” for you.

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