Seventh-Day Adventist Church

Adventist Youth in the United Kingdom and Ireland


Spirit of the Flame - 70 days following the Olympic Torch
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DAY 66

Carbohydrate and "special blessings".
I am resisting the ponder about the Olympic Torch route and day 66, and end up with some linked thoughts about the famous US Route 66.  But there it is, I've mentioned it anyway!

My ponderings today do have an Olympic link.  My wife and son went into London today for a seminar day on adolescent diabetes.  As mentioned before, my son is insulin dependant, and is my hero.  The amount he has had to bare since diagnosis at 17 months is a lot.  I am so proud of him.  

Their trip exposed them to a flavour of the Olympics, with signs and banners everywhere.  They came back with comments about what they saw.  They also came back with an amazing book about carbohydrate counting.  

The basic relevance of this in Luke's case is he has to have a measured amount of insulin according to his carbohydrate intake.  This book has pages of pictures with different portions of foods, so you can look in the book, estimate your portion, and total the carbohydrate in your meal.  It saves weighing out food when you are a guest at someone's house, or out for a meal!  This book may not mean much to you, but to us it is like a scientists book of formulas, a cheat sheet for students.

Counting carbohydrate is important for Luke.  It's a matter of healthy living, pretty much life or death.  With this book, he can count his carbohydrate, and we can count our blessings.

And now for one of my irritations.  I hope that was a smooth enough transition for you from the Olympic Torch route to the subject of blessings!

Maybe one day I will write about this some more, but for now I will give you the short version.  I get so mad when people us the word, bless, or blessings, or they ask God in a prayer to bless this, that, and the other, or worse still, ask God to bestow a "special blessing" on something.  What do they mean?

Do these people think about what they are saying?  For me, it's like tossing "blessings" around.  Like a modern artist flicking a paint laden brush towards an already splattered canvas.  The blessing paintbrush adding another layer of paint blessing at the canvas of life.  Both this kind of use of the word blessing, and that kind of modern art make little sense to me.  

To temper my rant, let me just ask, what does it mean when we ask God to "bless" someone or something?  Does God know what we are talking about?  Do we know what we are talking about?

Like an insulin dependant diabetic needs to count their carbohydrate intake, we need to count the blessings we receive, and those we ask for, and name them one by one.  Yes, that does sound like a song I used to sing as a child.  But why is it that somewhere between childhood and adulthood we loose the detail of the blessing?  

We have misled ourselves by sitting with a plate of food in front of us, and asking God to "bless" our food.  This is not Biblical!  Open your eyes.  Sniff in the aroma.  You have the blessing in front of you already!  

Jesus did the Hebraic thing when He fed the large crowds.  He took the food they had, gave thanks (properly translated in modern translations, and not in the old English translation), and performed a miracle of multiplication so everyone ate and was satisfied.  Jesus gave thanks for the blessing.

My appeal to you is not to use the word "bless" or "blessing" without specific reference.  If you want God to bless someone, explain how!  I pray with my kids in the evening and ask for a blessing, but I name the blessing.  I ask for the blessing of a restful night.  In the morning I pray our family will have a blessing that day, of peace, of tolerance, of whatever I feel relevant for that day.

Counting is important.  Not just diabetics counting carbohydrate, but us counting named blessings.  Ask for blessings by name, and give thanks for blessings by name too.

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.

-Pr Nathan Stickland



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