‘Most blessed of sons is Asher; let him be favoured by his brothers, and let him bathe his feet in oil. The bolts of your gates will be iron and bronze, and your strength will equal your days’ Deuteronomy 33v24-25
I have mentioned this beautiful blessing before: it makes a direct link between favour and blessing, protection and strength. When we revel in the favour and blessing of the Lord, seeing what a necessity it is – like Moses did – that naturally leads to gratitude… or at least it should! Seeing the ‘graces’ Choelo described – all the goodness and gifts around us – is sure to provoke thankfulness and joy, if only we have our eyes open to see them and our hearts softened to respond to the Giver. Perhaps it is designed that way so that the energy we need for life is released as we tell our souls to bless the Lord (Psalm 103v1) – then as we rejoice the rising ‘joy of the Lord is our strength’ (Nehemiah 8v10).
Johnson Oatman, Jr. had it right in 1897 – counting our blessings is a tonic!
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 hath done.
- Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done
The Psalmist knew it too: he put these words into the mouth of the Lord:
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High; Call upon Me in the day of trouble – I shall rescue you, and you will honour Me… He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honours Me and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God.” Psalm 50v14-15;23
Lord, I can see the amazing favour and blessings all over my life, and I want to celebrate, say thank you and honour You for them!
Home and family: You’ll already know about this bit if you have read the my story and my family pages. I have the most wonderful, loving husband, a real gift from God: Martin has made my life possible and filled it with love and happiness. He is still mad about me, great fun to be with, full of life and always has the word of wisdom to hold me in. Thank you, darling; life with you just continues to get better. THANK YOU GOD! We have a wonderful home and abundantly blessed life.
As for our two kids – what mother does not think her children are the best in the world? They were such bright and beautiful little ones – we have so many happy memories (and photographs!) of those days; they bring us so much pride and pleasure now as they grow into adulthood – both so courageous and kind in the face of illness and disappointment. We have been through a lot of pain in recent years, seeking healing for the wounding of the past, but I AM SO GRATEFUL to be coming through that now, into deeper love, respect and understanding of one another: we have become friends.
‘Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him’ Psalm 127v3
Bessie and Burleigh Springs. I have also blogged before about how the Lord told me a couple of years ago that I had better start enjoying myself! Fortunately I’ve managed to learn the importance of that lesson since then… In fact it was when I was lying luxuriating in the heat of the sauna last week that I conceived the idea of writing about favour! Sometimes the sense of blessing just comes up and hits you like the glorious warmth upon walking into that wooden box on a freezing cold day! I would like to live like that all the time – overwhelmed by grace – but I don’t: it’s far too easy to take things for granted. Going to the spa – even the gym routine that precedes it – is now one of my favourite things to do as I have learned to take time for myself, looking after no 21! And Martin kindly bought me my fab retro bike (dubbed Bessie) to get there on when the weather is kind – so I can be even happier and healthier! Favour brings health, refreshment and joy 🙂
Piano and French. I also cycle to my piano lesson… weekly beginners’ piano lessons at the age of 53? It is the Lord’s fault! (I told this story in Love yourself too). But sometimes the answers to our prayers force us into more than we were expecting, don’t they? ‘Aaah! I’m not sure I really wanted this after all!’ I still love my piano, but it has become much harder to play the pieces lately, getting 2 hands to do different things, remembering the sharps and flats – it makes my old brain hurt and my progress is a lot slower – it requires discipline to keep at it! It’s the same with Year 2 French classes: I’m doing it because it is a good thing to do and Martin wants me to improve (see why below!) but I have to force myself out of the house every Thursday evening. It’s always fun when I get there though – the teacher’s great!
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” (1 Chronicles 4v10) was the prayer of Jabez. But when God answered that prayer it must have meant quite a few changes, because enlargement is by definition s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g and requires work. In the same way, je dois travailler très dur et je dois choisir à la pratique – because I need discipline in order that I may grow! Hmmm – it seems part of favour is to bring expansion and challenge.
YAU and MAC. Now I am speaking in tongues! No… these are family pets, and 2 major signs of favour in my life! YAU (as in meiow – looks like a pussy cat – and ciao – Italian chic) is my 4 year old Alfa Romeo, the most amazing present Martin ever gave me; it was a prophetic sign at a key time and a huge affirmation of the travelling I was doing with Out of the Heart in 2007-8. When he unexpectedly bought me a new MacBook Snow Leopard a few months ago to replace my ailing PC, it was another extraordinary affirmation and big marker of a new season in which I am no longer driving but blogging. This kind of favour has meant more than I can express: God and my husband are both VERY GOOD. It is all grace. Favour brings confidence and a stronger sense of identity and calling!
Now I am starting to feel a bit how Paul must have felt: ‘I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me!’ and ‘I must go on boasting, although there is nothing to be gained…’ 2 Corinthians 11v1 & 12v1! But like the apostle, it’s not meant to be showing off about me but about HIM. Look at all the good things THE LORD has done for me! He has filled me with the good things of His house (Psalm 36v8)
Cornwall and Cornuaille. I have to mention my gratitude for 2 special places. I’ve been going to the Isles of Scilly since I was 5 years old and it is always in my heart (see Doors into Narnia). When I go there I am a child again – and I always want to go there; it’s in my blood, so we go as often as we can afford to. Thank You. Lord for a place of refuge, beauty, memories and romance.
Meanwhile the Lord had a secret plan to connect us with a French family in Brittany, where the côte de Cornuaille in southern Finistere has similar white sandy beaches and clear, blue water around it’s granite headlands, along with a perfect holiday house just waiting for us… Ile Tudy is Scilly in France – and a bit cheaper and easier to get to! This is another long story, but it was all His leading and His gift at the right time and our Breton home is a huge blessing to us and those we are able to share it with. His abundant favour brings fulfilment, peace and joy 🙂
Lord, you establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished you have done for us Isaiah 26v12
There are numerous other things and people I could mention, but it is getting embarrassing. The Lord knows and I hope my dear friends also know how much I value them 🙂 As for Open Heaven Church – OH YES! You are a blessing and sign of God’s favour to us as well. All honour and praise to the Father, from Whom come all these good gifts!
I have not written all this to make anyone jealous… would anyone like to swap lives with me, with all the good and bad bits?! No, all this is brought as a deliberate offering to the feet of God, as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. It is true that we overcome by the power of our testimony (Revelation 12v11) so here in the midst of our trouble and trials I am choosing to focus on all that is good…
‘By Your favour, O Lord, You have established me as a strong mountain’ Psalm 30v7. I am blessed and highly favoured among women!