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I am exceedingly, abundantly, blessed, and fully content in all things. Like the Apostle Paul says, “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

Here’s something I want people to understand, one must cultivate and work the field in order to achieve this state of well being that we call, “being blessed.” We need to receive it, bring it in to ourselves. One must tap into the Lord’s abundance rather than indulging in the world’s scarcity. We actually do “indulge” ourselves in pity parties, in feeling lack, envy, abandonment, despair, deprivation. It’s a choice, an indulgence. One problem with indulging in the world’s scarcity and feeling deprived, oppressed, depressed, is that it’s much like eating potato chips. You often can’t just have one.

The first step to changing all that is practicing constant gratitude or as the song goes, “count your blessings one by one.” Kind of corny I know, but it’s really true.

Prepping is huge right now, being ready for disaster, surviving. The number one key to survival is not having enough enough water, rice and beans, or ammo, but actually your attitude of gratitude. If one finds themselves in a tough situation survey your resources and take an inventory of what you have. Another way to say that is, count your blessings one by one. Take note of what you do have, not what you wish you had.

Recently I watched this amusing video, guy trying to warm his tent with tea lights and clay pots. What made it comical was that in the background you could see this fire pit and huge stack of dry wood. Like dude, it’s freezing in there, put the candles down, step out of your tent, and go build a roaring fire!

Now he was just having an adventure, conducting an experiment, and making a video, so we shall cut him some slack. I just thought that video was a good analogy for our own human behavior, how when we don’t count our blessings we become blind to our resources, we can’t even see what we do have, and so we sit there shivering in the cold trying to bring up the temp in a tent that has no insulation, using a tragically small candle.

My circumstances are delightful at the moment, I am in relatively good health, I have a charming family, and I am truly blessed, but there is a great deal of misery all around me, and one of the hardest things for me to accept is that the vast majority of it is actually self inflicted misery. I can’t cure what ails you, I can’t fix it.

Jesus sure can, but only if people are willing to reach for Him.

My sister is currently in jail, and praise the Lord for that blessing, because we’ve just had a cold snap and it’s really dangerous to be a homeless addict out in the weather. The neighbors on both sides of me, relatively young men who have had everything handed to them, are currently showing signs of what looks like congestive heart failure likely caused by meth and heroin use. It’s heartbreaking to bear witness to and to be powerless to do anything about it. Many people I know are grieving right now, dealing with death and loss, a great deal of it caused by addiction and assorted pharmaceuticals. It really is grievous and sad.

Something else I’ve learned, grief can also be a form of worship, an expression of gratitude. We don’t feel sad when we lose things (or people) who had no value to us. I grieve my sister’s situation because I know the worth and value of a sibling relationship, the joy God wrote right into sisterhood that has now been stolen from us. I grieve those young men on my street currently destroying themselves because I know they have such potential, such genuine worth and value, and that life can be really beautiful.

Or not. A great deal of that is actually our choice, the decision to reach out and seize a bit of, “life and life abundant” really rests with us.

I snagged this little cartoon off of Twitter because I found it amusing and true, joyous even, because it really captures the meaning of Christmas. It seems a little bratty, a little pompous, but doggone it’s the truth. To be a Christian means to be forgiven, accepted, acquitted, exonerated. It’s quite scandalous or as one of my favorite pastors use to say, just audacious.