Counting my blessings

I’m about to preach to myself. In fact, I’m about to preach at myself. Every now and then I need a good talking to, and now is one of those times. Listen if you want. But if you don’t want to hear what I’m going to say to myself, then just stop reading!

I’m not happy. My breathing is uncomfortable. The pain in my chest cuts like a knife… especially when I cough or sneeze. Yawning hurts like crazy. My joints ache, my head hurts, my stomach complains, my skin flakes, my rashes burn, my nose bleeds, my mood changes, my patience runs thin, as does my hair, and yet, I am blessed!

IMG_0947How many people in our world or throughout history have had anything like the medical care that I take for granted? The drugs I’m given are the products of years of research, and millions of dollars of investment, from some of the smartest minds in the world. And they work. They attack the cancer, they shrink the tumours, and they destroy the bad cells. It hurts, and I hate it, but it’s a good thing. And I’m blessed to have such amazing treatment available!

I have specialists and GPs (one very special one!) and nurses who care for me. I have a family who loves me and watches over me. I have friends who call, write, visit, or support in practical ways. There must be so many who suffer alone, without care, without compassion and without hope. I do feel somewhat lonely and sad, but deep down I know that I’m blessed to experience the care and love of so many.

It might not seem like it, and I know that I can so easily forget it, but the reality is that I’m truly blessed. I have a hope that comes, not from anything medicine or people can offer, but from the trustworthy promises of God. In Jesus Christ, God has forgiven my selfish independence and accepted me as his own child. He has started my life over again, and assured me that nothing can separate me from his love. Nothing! As it says in Romans…

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 8:35-39)

This is the reality of my blessing. It’s incomparable. It’s astonishing. It’s undeserved. And it’s available!

As I preach to myself, so I pray…

Heavenly Father,
Let me see things as they truly are.
Let me not be blinded by my selfishness.
Let me hold fast to the Your Word.
Let me count my blessings.
Amen

Macarisms

What are macarisms? And why have I called this blog by that name?

The silly answer is that people call me Macca and these are going to be things that I want  to communicate! But the deeper answer lies in the meaning of the word. It is simply an English version of an ancient Greek word meaning ‘blessing’ or ‘to be blessed’. There are various forms of this word in the New Testament, the most famous being Jesus’ words in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5): Blessed are the the poor in spirit… those who mourn… the merciful… and so on. The specific word ‘macarism’ is found in Romans 4:6-8:

David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness (macarism) of the one whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Blessed are those whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord will never count against them.

My desire for this blog is that people will be blessed as they read and think about life. My hope is to help people to reflect on the good life, to stop and consider what’s really worth having.