Manufactured Blessings

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Have you ever thought about your blessings and where they come from? Some blessings are manufactured and some come from God. Now I know you’re wondering how blessings can be manufactured. Let me share what God has been teaching me. 

So what are those manufactured blessings? Far too often they come in the form of material things and things that we think will bring us happiness. We are a nation of people that has abundance and we have an abundance of activities. We have so much we now build storage facilities to keep our stuff in that we don’t have room for in our homes. I am reminded of this story found in Luke 12:16-19, “Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’ We buy bigger homes and we still have leftovers. We have a lot of stuff. Our lives are full of activities too. We are so busy running here and there and doing this and doing that. In 2014 just two short years ago it was reported Americans were taking the fewest vacations in four decades. We are too busy to go on vacation. Now I am not opposed to material things. I have some myself and I am guilty of being too busy. These are what I call manufactured blessings. Blessings we created through our own doing. 
Now these are not bad things, but if you stop and really think about it we did not do these things on our own. God gives us new breath every day. God allows us to experience life once more when we get up. Now I don’t believe God causes death or brings on bad things, but I do believe He knows how many days we are to live on this earth. “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)  I think each day when we rise we should stop and pause and say thank you to our creator for another day of life. I think we should thank him for surviving in this crazy world another day. I am afraid for too many of us we have the mindset that it’s all about what I accomplish and we don’t give God a second thought. You may not agree with me, but who chose you to be born in the family you were born in or even the country that you were born in? God planted us where he wanted us. We could easily have been born in a country where there is no hot water, luxuries, or opportunities. Instead he placed us where we could have those things, yet often times we never go to church and give Him back a portion or say thank you. 
I am very aware of the blessings God has given me. Every time I get in the shower and the hot water is the perfect temperature and it runs down my body I feel blessed. I think about those who cannot take a hot bath. I have to make an effort to do this. It’s not something that comes natural. I have to make myself aware of the blessings God has given me. If I don’t make myself aware of who has given me those blessings then I won’t ever offer a word of thanks. I can get smug and think it is all about me when in reality it isn’t. 
God has blessed us in so many ways. He has blessed us in giving us his love and grace when so many times we don’t deserve it. He has blessed us with a mind that can work, hands that can function and feet that can carry us to work or wherever. I am afraid we are a nation of people with an overabundance of things and activities and an under of abundance when it comes to acknowledging who God is in our lives and lack of appreciation and gratefulness. 
We are moving into a time when we think about harvesting this month and next month thanksgiving. When it comes to harvesting are you reaping blessings that come from God or are you reaping manufactured blessings? Do you offer thanks for those blessings or do you just carry on each day not giving a thought about those blessings? It takes an effort to think about how blessed we are and where those blessings come from. I challenge you today to make the effort to give thanks and then to make an effort to have a relationship with the one who has blessed you. 
Dear God, I do thank you for each breath I take, each hot shower I am able to have and for the many little blessings that you give me each day that I often take for granted or miss. Thank you for reminding me I can fall into the same trap as the rich man who had to build bigger barns. May I never take blessings for granted and may I remember it is you who sends us showers of blessings. Amen
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