13 July 2008  (#2002) God’s Little Blessings

The Message

By: Dr. Robert A Schuller

Special Guest

Bill Strickland

Special Music

Hymn
Joyful, Joyful
For the Beauty/Fairest Lord Jesus
Wonderful Peace

Solo/ Anthem
Living for Jesus

The Message

Well you know it’s easy to get weighed down with life’s problems today. You look at society and you look at the states and what’s taking place in our country today and it’s very easy to get discouraged. Foreclosures are looking higher and looming. People are having problems with their homes, the price of fuel, is that enough? People have struggles today; there are problems that we face. There’s abuse; I look around our society and I know that there’s abuse all around Orange County, Southern California across the world. Addictions continue to loom large and long with drug addiction, alcohol addiction. There are people who have lost their hopes and their dreams. Many of us lost loved ones. And so the problems loom large and big and they block out the ability for us to be able to see all the beautiful, wonderful blessings that God has for every single one of us. But the fact is that God is blessing us all the time. 

In fact my text for you this morning is I Timothy 4:4 and if you have a Power for Life Bible that would be on page 1253, one thousand two hundred and fifty three. If you don’t have a Power for Life bible the page numbers won’t match so you’ll have to look up I Timothy 4:4 and here’s what it says: “For everything God created is good and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. Everything God has made for us is good.”

Today I brought some props with me because I think it helps us to communicate things. This got the most interest from everybody that I walked in with this prop. They said what is that? Somebody else said, don’t step in it. And this is what I call; this is my prop for a blob of bad. Just a great big blob of bad. That’s what this is, that’s all this is. That’s my prop so you can say okay there’s our blob of bad. Can you see that? Can the cameras get that? So you can see there’s our blob of bad. Let me put it over and put the camera to work there. Get the cameramen working. Can you still see it there? Is that a good place for it?

Now I brought this with me because this will often get in the way so we can’t see anything. If that’s all you see you don’t see anything else, but the facts are God is blessing us in so many ways and there’s so many little blessings taking place all the time that we can’t even begin to count all of the blessings that God has for us this very moment right now.

So I brought another prop with me. This is my prop of blessings. It is actually a bowl that we gave away a few years ago to our Eagle Club members and so around the top it has Isaiah 40:31 that says: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall walk and not faint.” There’s my prop. And inside I have it filled with sand. I went down to the beach yesterday and filled it up so this is pure 100 percent California sand from the beach. Now how many people here can count how many grains of sand there are? Anyone like to take a chance at this? I can give you a little teaspoon and maybe by tomorrow afternoon you may have counted all the grains of sand. I know quite frankly I don’t wish to count them all; it’s too many. But do you know what? That goes along with the facts of how God is blessing us all the time, in all the different ways. As many grains of sand there are that’s how many blessings God has for us in fact far more.

Case in point. I had a cup of coffee this morning. How many people had a cup of coffee this morning? Okay the rest of you had a cup of tea or a glass of milk. It doesn’t matter what you had, this illustration will work. I had a cup of coffee this morning. How many people do I have to thank for a cup of coffee? Let me start to think. Well first of all I drank it out of a mug and I noticed the mug had a little painting on it. It was a specially designed mug so somebody, somewhere along the line got the idea of this mug. And this individual went and pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and he started drawing this design of this mug. Well I have to begin by thanking the person who designed the mug because I couldn’t drink my coffee without the mug. I can’t exactly hold the coffee in my hand can I? I have to have a mug so I’ve got to thank him. Then I have to thank all the people who made it possible for him to have a piece of paper and a pen. How many people is that? Well there are all the loggers, there are all the people who run the paper mill, there are all the people who packed the paper, all the people who shipped the paper to whatever distributor it is, there are the people who unpack it. There’s the people who sell it to me at the cash register or sold it to him at the cash register. And how many people are we up to? A couple hundred? Three, four, five hundred? Now we get to the pen that he wrote the design with. Then we go to the fax machine because he had to fax that design probably to China where he had this thing manufactured because that’s where most of our mugs are manufactured in China. And then you have the miners who went and got the clay, the people who refined it and the people who made it. You have all of the shippers who shipped it from China here. Now how many people are we up to now a thousand? two thousand? Then you have all the people who unpacked it; you have all of the people on the dock. Then you have the truckers who brought it to the store. You have the people who packed it and put it on the store. I went and bought it. Took it home, now I’ve got a mug. Now we get to the beans. And how many people do I have to thank from Colombia all the way here and all the different people, and then the water. And I didn’t even have sugar or cream in my coffee and already I’m up to thousands of people that I have to thank for one little tiny cup of coffee.

How many blessings do we have constantly taking place in our lives as we experience the reality of God’s blessings? But it’s so hard for us to see all of God’s blessings because we have this blob of bad and it blinds us from being able to see anything else. It holds us back from being able to see all of the beauty and the good and the wonder and the grace that God has for us all the time. So today I want to encourage you to stop and to look and to find all the blessings God has for you. Count your blessings.

My daughter Christina was just a little over a year old when she had a fall. It wasn’t a serious fall and we weren’t too concerned. She fell a couple feet and she cried for a little bit and after she cried we brushed her hair off and said okay go out and keep playing, have fun. And she went outside and that evening when we were putting her to bed we noticed that she had a bump on her head where she had fallen and we still weren’t too concerned until we touched it. And when we touched it, it wasn’t hard. It was like a bubble. And then we became very concerned and we took her to the doctor and the doctor checked it out and x-rayed it and came back and told us she had a skull facture. And so we then had to take her and get a cat scan. Now the cat scans at the time took a long time. Because she’s twenty-two years old now so it was probably twenty-one years ago that we had this CAT scan taken. And it took up to four minutes she would have to remain perfectly still as she laid on this bed and they slid the bed inside this giant donut which would then take all of the different layers, x-rays of her brain compromising and compilating this cat scan. And I thought to myself how in the world am I going to keep a child whose less than two years old still for four minutes? Donna, my wife, was pregnant with Anthony at the time so she wasn’t able to be in the room at all. So it was my responsibility to keep this child still, completely still for four minutes. So I thought about different things like taping her head down, you know if I had enough duct tape I might be able to keep her down there. And I didn’t think that would be very humane so I thought maybe there’s got to be another way. And I go you know when all else fails, what do you do? When all else fails what do you do? You pray right? That’s what you do, that’s the way out. So I go okay if that’s what we do, that’s what we do. So we prayed. I said Christina we’re going to pray. Okay let’s pray. So she had just learned to pray so she folded her hands, she had her bottle, she’s holding her bottle with her teeth, the bottle was laying on her chest, she had her blanket and I said let’s pray and she folded her hands over her blanket and her bottle and we started to pray and after I prayed for a little while I said amen and she immediately got up and they go oh no, no, no you have to hold her still for four minutes. I go okay, okay so I said let’s pray some more. So we started praying and I started praying for every single part of her anatomy that I could think of. Dear God thank You for Christina’s hair and thank You for her right ear and her left ear. And dear God thank You for her right eye and her left eye and her eyelashes and her eyebrows and her nose and her upper lip and her lower lip. And you could go.. there’s a lot of body parts to go through in four minutes. And I couldn’t believe it when finally they said that’s enough and I said and thank You God. Amen.

And when we start thinking about everything that God has given to us and we start beginning to list all of the ways that we can thank God for what He’s done for us it doesn’t take long. And we realize that there are more thank you’s and more things to be thankful for than we could ever possibly imagine. And all these little things add up and they add up as we begin to realize that God is in the state of constantly blessing us but we get sidetracked by a bill that we get in the mail, we get sidetracked when suddenly we pull into the gas station, holy mackerel it costs me thirty dollars more than what it used to. We get side tracked when the doctor says you’ve got an ailment. We get side tracked by all these different things.

And the next time that you get news that isn’t the news you want, I want you to start counting immediately all the blessings that God has given to you. Go out and take a walk and as you take a walk I promise you, you will see things that God will point out to you if you look. Even weeds have flowers. And we have to realize that the flowers bloom some place all the time. And there are ways for us to be able to experience the glory of God and the splendor of God in mighty wonderful ways.

This past week my wife and I were enjoying the stars. We got away from the light pollution. Went out a little bit into a desert area and we saw the lights and it’s one of the things we love to do is we love to look at the stars. And if I started thanking God for every star I’d still be out there. There isn’t a single star I’d want to say goodbye to. And so we sit there and we look at the stars, but what we like to do more than that actually than looking at the stars is we like to watch for the satellites. If you’ve never done that it’s a wonderful thing. Go out there, go out and get away from the light pollution where you can see the full host of the sky and just sit there and look for satellites. Looks like star at first, but the difference is it’s moving slowly across. And we’ll go oh I see one it’s moving there, it’s moving from ten to four. Do you see that really bright one right there? It’s right below that really bright star and it’s moving ten to four this way right down there. And then oh there’s another one, it’s coming the other direction. It’s going from five o'clock to one o’clock. And sometimes they’ll be orange and sometimes they’ll be flashing and sometimes they’ll be yellow. And we go out and we count the satellites. How many people do we have to thank for just one of those satellites? And we look and we realize all of the blessings that we have. All around us this very moment, but it’s hard to see the little blessings.

When we go to the beach my wife will typically disappear for a while. And when she disappears I know what she’s doing. She goes and she kneels down in the sand and she’ll sit there for an hour or so and she always comes back with something that nobody else is able to find apparently. She comes back with a handful of little tiny shells. I don’t know if you can see this or not, but this is a complete; I’m going to hold it completely still. Believe it or not this is not a piece of a shell but this is the whole thing. It’s a quarter inch long, it’s white and as you can well imagine it disappears in the sand. So I just walk right over them along with everybody else who goes for walk on the beach and says oh you don’t have any shells in California. Well we do they’re just really small. And this thing isn’t broken, it’s complete, it’s twisting. It’s a gorgeous little white shell, but the blessings are often small. And we have to look for them because God wants us to take appreciation of all that He does. Because as we continue to look at all of the blessings and count them all together we soon find out that you know the blob of bad is really overcome with all of the good that we have.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to weigh this. As you can see I’ve got a little contraption here that represents my scale. I’m going to put this little thing right there, that blob of bad. Now, if we take our.. I’m going to use a different one. How about this? Here’s God’s blessings and let’s weigh God’s blessings against this bad thing we have. The news we have, the problems we face and let’s just see how they weigh. Nothing has the ability to stand up to the beautiful little blessings of God that He has all around you.

And today you’re sitting here surrounded by people who care about you. You may not know the person who is sitting to your right or your left or behind you. In fact I know there’s someone here you’ve never met before. And there’s a reason why you’re here and there’s a reason why you’re sitting next to them. And it’s a way for God to bless each of you because God has given us to each other to express His love and His care for one another.

There was a young man who decided to go to Costa Rica and have a little vacation. He was walking on the beach and as he’s walking on the beach, he saw this fisherman come in and he dragged his boat across the sand and pulled out a couple of big tuna and started dragging them to his car. And the guy saw these tuna and saw this man with his boat and he went up to him and he says do you realize the value of those fish? There’s a huge commodity for those fish in Japan. We could ship them to Japan and we could make a fortune. He said how long did it take you to catch those fish? Oh a couple of hours. So what do you do the rest of the time? Well I just go and see my wife and my kids and hang out with my friends and maybe play a little soccer and that’s about it. So you fish a couple hours a day? He says yes. Well you know what? If we went into business, you have to realize I’m a business grad from Harvard. I know how to do this. We could go into business. We could make millions of dollars. We could get all this money; it would be fabulous. And the guy goes well why do I want to do that? He goes well you could make all this money then you could retire and you could find a nice little community where you could just fish for a couple of hours and hang out with your friends and be with your family.
So often we get sidetracked from all the blessings that God has given to us right where we are.

So today I want you to see all of God’s little blessings, to thank God for every single one and to realize that with God you could never go wrong.

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