Today, I’d like to talk about blessings.  To make it a little easier to understand, let’s picture it like a cake.  And while we’re at it, let’s make it a real nice, fancy one with lots of frosting.  Of course, each of us has a favorite kind.  Yours may be carrot cake, or pineapple upside down cake.  Mine happens to be chocolate. At this point, let’s not worry whether it’s fattening or not.  Just picture your favorite cake.  I can see it right now in my mind’s eye.  In fact, so clearly I’m ready to go find a cold glass of milk.

    But hey, has someone’s been eating our cake?  Looks like there are some pieces missing!  Wouldn’t you know it?  Once we get a vision of what we really want, someone comes along and helps themselves to what belongs to us.  Next thing you know, we start grumbling and griping, feeling sorry for ourselves.  Or maybe we start the blame game.  And eventually, we might even blame God.

    I think you know where I’m going with this.  Blessings are like a cake, and we are desiring, hoping for, and hungering for the whole cake, not just some crumbs that are left over after everyone else has their helping.  And of course, we know who that “everyone else” is, that’s the devil and his crew.  We know, because our Lord Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief cometh not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, but I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” 

    Day in and day out I get prayer requests from people asking me to pray for God’s blessings to be upon them.   Well, it’s the same thing every day, God is the giver of blessings, and the devil is the thief of them.  And they never trade roles. If you have something nice, the devil wants to steal it from you.  If you’re happily married, the devil wants to destroy your marriage.  If you have money, pal, hand it over, he’s going to make sure something breaks and you have to spend it.  If you’re healthy, he wants you sick.  If you have a nice car, he will do his best to put a destroyer in your path to ruin it.  Whatever it is you enjoy, he is out to ruin it.  He’s a thief, y’know?  So what do we do?

    Well, we can look at the cake and see which piece is missing.  It is written in Psalm 103:2-7, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases, who redeemeth thy life from destruction, who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things: so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.”  So we see, there are “benefitS”, plural, several pieces in the cake, in fact very many that I haven’t even mentioned.

    Perhaps the piece that’s missing from your cake is healing, we’ll say.  Well, to be sure, God didn’t sneak in and take any of your blessings away from you.  No, He is in the business of GIVING you blessings, not taking them away.  Or maybe, the piece you have missing is that job or you’ve been wrongly treated.  How did we get blessings in the first place, or get them back if they are missing?  I’d say the first course of action is to make sure you put the blame where it really belongs, and that’s on the devil. 

    Too many people murmur and complain against God when things start going wrong.  Big mistake, for you have just mis-identified your enemy.  God is FOR you, not AGAINST you.  Remember how God led the Israelites out of Egypt with an abundance of gold?  The Israelites would have been real happy just to have left their slavery with nothing but the clothes on their backs, but God blessed them with the gold of Egypt for their wages for 400 years of slavery.  He went way above and beyond in blessing them.  But Israel griped and complained against God when they were in the wilderness forty years, and by the way, they were there forty years BECAUSE they were complaining.  Their complaining threw the door wide open for the destroyer to come and destroy them.  And what happened?  Not a one of their generation entered into the Promised Land.  Sound familiar?

    Take a good look at your life right now.  Do you see some pieces missing from your cake?  Be honest now, have you been complaining against God?  Have you been blaming Him for what the devil has been doing to you?  Maybe you haven’t come right out and said so, but in your heart you’ve at least thought about it?   One of the slickest tricks Satan and his cohorts use against us is to try to get us to believe God is holding out on us.  He did that in the Garden of Eden to Eve, and it worked on her, and it works on us.  The devil is always at work trying to cast doubt on the integrity of the word of God.  It’s the same old tricks he has used for thousands of years, and guess what?  He’s still using them today!  And we fall for them!

    Instead of griping and complaining when the thief comes visiting, why not rather start blessing the source of your blessings, flooding Him with thanksgiving and praise?  You may be saying right now, “I have things going on in my life that I’m not very happy about, and certainly not thankful for.” Hey, you’re not alone….we all have issues we’re dealing with.  But didn’t the Apostle Paul tell us by the Holy Ghost in Ephesians 5:17-20″, Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is, and be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit: speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…..” 

    You might be saying right now, Brother Jerry, you aren’t going through what I’m going through.  You just don’t know what I’m dealing with.  Maybe I don’t, but I take my share of hits, too, and I know from experience the only way to come out victorious through the hard times is through thanksgiving and singing praises and worship.  I truly believe you can praise your way out of any bad situation.  I know Paul and Silas did in Acts 16:22-34. 

    Oh, I know in the beginning you won’t feel like praising God.  You don’t feel like praising God when you can’t pay your bills, or when your marriage isn’t working, or when the kids are sick or when you’ve lost your job.  I remember all too well how much pain I was in with liver cancer back in 1993.  I didn’t feel like praising God at all.  In fact, I’d spend hours reading God’s word, and then couldn’t even tell you five minutes later what I’d been reading, I hurt so bad.  But I made myself praise and worship and be thankful unto God.  And the more I praised, the more I loved Him.  And the more I loved Him, the more I praised Him.  Until the impossible happened.  I was healed and made whole and had no treatments but God’s word.  And I’ve never been sick again in over 14 years! Certainly I could have griped and complained about my pain, and the bad hand I’d been dealt in life.  But I didn’t.  Instead, I praised God.  Why?  Because He loves me!  When bad things happen to me, it isn’t my God doing it to me, it’s the devil.  Why?  Because he’s an equal opportunity destroyer, and besides, I love God.  Satan knows he can’t hurt God, so he goes after us, God’s children.  But what does the Bible say?  “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

    We all know full well, or at least we should,  that all the gifts of God, and therefore, the benefits, work by love; His love and OUR love.  So if we are complaining about our “missing pieces of cake”, we’re not being thankful and showing our love unto the Lord.  Why does God bless us in the first place?  Because He loves us!  So think about this the next time you’re looking at where your cake once stood and all you’re seeing is crumbs…..the cake thief just visited your house.  Maybe you left the door open.  He’s a thief, remember?  But not to despair!  If you’ve been complaining, STOP IT!  Tell the Lord you’re sorry, and start being thankful instead.  Start praising and loving on God and watch Him bake you an even bigger and better cake and give it to you and say, Here my child, I made this whole cake just for YOU!  And I’m going to stand right here and make sure nobody takes it away from you.

    With an attitude of gratitude, being  blessed is a piece of cake!