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Count Your Blessings

As the holiday season winds down and we all get back to "reality" in the new year, I pause to reflect on the simple ways God has blessed us. It is always good to take the advice of the old song and "count your blessings." Remembering God's goodness sustains us in the trials to come -- and there will be trials to come. Many pains exist in the cursed earth. There can be pains in our bodies, pain in the "pocketbook," and pain in the heart for loved ones who can't seem to conquer their sins or find wisdom. They all hurt, but when God's love fills our heart we can serve Him through them all.

This holiday season was unlike most for our family as we were dealing with medical issues. Of course, the support of so many brothers and sisters in the Lord we felt in hundreds of ways -- prayers, cards, meals, little gifts, errands, caroling, sitting, working, cleaning, helping (even a little private concert in our living room!) -- all that Christ's people should be to each other we experienced directly. Our hearts overflowed with such kindness, and Laura often had tears of joy from so much love. We were also glad to be the first experiment with the wonderful "care calendar" and look forward to seeing that idea bless many others in the church in the future.

We saw other things that blessed us this season. A woman who lost everything and was recently living in a tent volunteered her time to serve at the Acton Rehab for our Christmas dinner outreach. She had only attended AFBC for a couple of weeks before she was ready to work in a ministry effort. At our Christmas Eve service, a man who doesn't attend our church gave me an envelope and said, "For your building project." It contained a check for $500. That warmed my heart because giving is down overall and it has caused some discouragement. For me it was the Lord saying, "I have Me." And so I will.

A church is made up of the weak and the strong, the poor and the well off, the struggling and the stable -- and all sorts of combinations of these things. But we all have our parts to play in the great drama of life God has ordained for us. Each of us is given a gift by the Spirit to honor the Lord in service to others. Be His instrument. Reach out a hand of friendship and blessing. You are needed.

Tim Challies created a prayer for 2014 and posted it online. This paragraph would be a good one for us to embrace as our own prayer.

Help us to be both wise and aggressive in taking advantage of the opportunities we have to do good to all, especially our own dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Harness our gifts and abilities -- along with all our human faculties -- and employ them for Your glory. Empower us to work harder, serve more faithfully, labor more diligently, and still press on -- even when the trials and distractions of this life seem to offer compelling motives to turn away from the needs of others. Energize us by Your Spirit and keep us faithful to our calling.

I am looking forward, by God's good pleasure, to serving Him with you in 2014.

Yours in Christ,


Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in The AFBC Pony Express. Vol. VII, No. 1, July 2013.


“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3