Saturday, October 16, 2004

We are blessed....

I just wanted to take a few minutes to talk about how blessed we all are.  According to the world's standards and specifications, you cannot be a succesful, happy person without a high-profile career, big house, luxury car, and lots of money in the bank.  Funny.....I don't have ANY of those things, and yet I consider myself to be very happy and successful!  I have two beautiful children, a wonderful family, a terrific church, lots of beautiful friends, a job I love, a place to live, a car to drive.......I have good health, I have food to eat, I have clothes to wear, shoes on my feet......but most of all, I have a Father in Heaven who loves me enough to send His Son to die for my sins so that I can spend eternity in Heaven with Him. 
I just think sometimes we overlook how much we have to be thankful for.  We grumble and complain so much about what we DON'T have, that we fail to take the time to properly give thanks to God for what we DO have.
  • Do you hate to go to work?  Be thankful...there are many unemployed people who would love to have a job.
  • Don't have anything in your kitchen that you really want to eat?  Be thankful....there are people all over the world who go to bed hungry every night because they don't have ANYTHING to eat (they would be thankful to get any of those things that you "really just aren't in the mood for")
  • Think your electric bill is way too expensive?  Be thankful....there are a lot of people who don't even have the comforts of electricity and running water and such.  Think about that the next time you grudgingly start to wash clothes in your electric washer.....some woman somewhere is having to walk to the village creek to wash what few clothes her family has!
  • At the end of the day does your back/feet/head hurt?  Be thankful.....the hospitals are full of people who would love to be in your situation.  Some have terminal illnesses and would gladly trade that for your little headache!
  • Do your children get on your nerves?  Be thankful....there are lots of people who can't have children, and the waiting list for adoptions is so long they may never get to know the joy of being parents.
  • Is your car a few (or several) years old?  Be don't have to walk to work or school or the grocery store.
  • You don't live in a mansion?  Be thankful......there are so many people who sleep in alleys and under bridges at night....they don't have a roof over their head and would give anything to have a soft bed to sleep in!
  • You can't afford expensive clothes?  Be least you have something to cover you....there are still many third-world countries where they can't afford clothes at all....and even right here in America there are many poverty-stricken people who depend on clothes given to them (that are too big, too small, and/or very worn) or they wouldn't have anything to wear at all
  • Are you tired of hearing all of the campaign talk?  Be thankful.....we live in a country where we actually have the right and the power to CHOOSE our leaders.....many people all over the world do not even have the right to vote.
  • Do you get tired of listening to your parents?  Be thankful....when they are gone, you will miss them terribly.
  • Feel like you just don't ever have enough TIME to do everything you need to do?  Be are alive!
  • Have you had your heart broken?  Be one likes to get hurt, but you will learn things that will help you the next time around.  Besides, I would rather have my heart broken a thousand times, than to never know love at all.
  • Bored?  Be thankful.....there are so many people afflicted with different mental diseases and conditions, that they don't even know where they are.  If you are bored it means you are alert and mentally capable of doing and enjoying many things.
  • Never have enough money?  Be thankful....God always provides, doesn't He?  Many times, if we had as much money as we want, it would only get us into trouble.
Stop and think about the celebrities that everyone admires so much.  Sure, they are rich and powerful, and at first glance their lives seem perfect compared to ours.  But think about this:  If all that money and fame really made them happy, then why do so many of them kill themselves?  Many are in and out of rehab clinics for drug and alcohol problems.  The majority of them marry and divorce then marry again so many times you can't even keep track.  Tons of them have major legal problems (and I'm not talking about traffic tickets, either!  Think Michael Jackson and R. Kelly just to name a few).  But yet we see them interviewed on TV or in the magazines and they tell how HAPPY they are.  Hmmmmm....I don't know about you, but to me that doesn't seem possible.
Now go to the other extreme:  think about the people all over the world who don't have a home, a car, food to eat, or any of the comforts we take for granted.  In the United States alone, approximately 3.5 million people (1.35 million of them being children) are homeless (information obtained from the National Coalition for the Homeless website).  The U.S. Census report states that, in America, there are 35.9 million people living in poverty. 
And I would like to share just a few more statistics with you to give you something to think about:
  • The US Office of Applied Statistics shows that 19.5 million Americans over the age of 12 currently use at least one illegal drug
  • The CDC states that, in 2001, there were 30,622 people in the United States who committed suicide.  And another 509,000 people visited the emergency room for self-inflicted injuries (attempted suicide)
  •  In 2004, roughly 1,368,030 Americans were diagnosed with cancer.  (This reflects NEW cancer cases, not including people who have already been living with cancer)
  • The National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention states that there are approximately 877,275 people diagnosed with AIDS in the United States as of December, 2002.  Of those, approximately 9,300 are children under the age of 13.
  • Nearly one-third of American women (31 percent) report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives, according to a 1998 Commonwealth Fund survey.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there were 1,400 children who died in 2002 due to child abuse or neglect.
  • In a study conducted by B. Grant as published in Alcohol Health and Research World Magazine, nearly 14 million Americans meet diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorders. (this means that they are possibly alcoholics)
  • In any given year, between 13 million and 14 million people will experience a depressive disorder as reported in statistics from the CDC.
The world we live in is a sad, sad place.  But when you take time to look at all the things going on around you, it helps you to realize just how blessed we really are.  Think about the information you just read.  Your life doesn't seem so bad now, does it?  God is still on the throne and still in the miracle-making business.  Whatever you are going through, God will work it out according to His will, if you will just trust in Him.  All the money in the world couldn't buy that kind of protection!
Until next time, be blessed....

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