Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blessings we take for granted

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I
encourage you to make a list of blessings you may
take for granted. My list for 2014 might help you think of others:

1. Do you have religious freedom? The majority of
the world's population­75 percent­live in areas
with severe religious restrictions. And
Christians in more than 60 countries face
persecution simply because of their belief in
Jesus Christ. About 1.6 billion people in the
world live in repressive societies where they
have no say in how they are governed.

2. Do you make your own decisions? There are 29.8
million people living as slaves today, according
to the Walk Free Foundation. These people live as
forced laborers, forced prostitutes, child
soldiers and child brides in forced marriages.
Walk Free investigated 162 countries and found slaves in every one.

3. Do you have money in a bank? More than 2.5
billion adults around the world are unbanked,
according to data based on Gallup polling in 148
countries. Two-thirds of people without accounts
said they simply don't have enough money to use a bank.

4. Do you own shoes? About 300 million children
around the world don't own a pair of shoes. It is
estimated that two billion people worldwide are
currently plagued with parasitic diseases that
could be prevented simply by wearing proper footwear.

5. Do you drink clean water? About 1.1 billion
people in the world don't have access to clean
drinking water. Because of that, about 9 million
people will die this year because of
water-related illnesses. The next time you open a
bottle of Dasani or drink from your tap, remember
that millions of women around the world spend an
average of four hours daily walking to get water.

6. Did your mother survive when you were born?
Approximately 800 women die every day from
complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
This is equivalent to 33 women an hour. Almost
all these deaths occurred in developing
countries, and most could have been prevented.

7. Did you live past age 5? Some 21,000 children
die every day around the world because of poverty
and preventable diseases. That is equivalent to
one child dying every four seconds. The annual
death toll is 7.6 million children a year.

8. Do you eat three meals a day? The World Health
Organization estimates that one-third of the
world's population is overfed, one-third is
underfed and one-third is starving. Approximately
925 million people in the developing world are chronically undernourished.

9. Do you enjoy reliable electricity? About 1.5
billion people in this world have no access to
electrical power. Do you enjoy that oven in your
kitchen? The next time you prepare a meal,
remember that 2.5 billion people in the world
still use wood or charcoal to cook their food. Do
you enjoy your washing machine? About 5 billion
people in the world still wash their clothes by hand.

10. Do you have a roof over your head? The U.N.
Commission on Human Rights says there are 100
million homeless people in the world. One in
three children in the world live without adequate
shelter. And today there are about 42 million
people who are living as refugees. Most were
displaced by war and live in crude camps.

11. Do you own a car? The United States still has
the highest number of motor vehicles in the
world. Globally, only 1 out of every 8 people has
access to a car. Many of the others either walk,
take crowded buses or public vans or ride on
bicycles, rickshaws or animals. Did you fly
somewhere in the past year? You are blessed. Only
5 to 7 percent of people in the world have ever flown in an airplane.

12. Do you have a flushable toilet? The United
Nations Development Program reports that 2.6
billion people do not have access to any toilet
facilities. India has the largest percentage of
people who lack adequate sanitation. About 638
million Indians must go outdoors.

13. Can you read? Nearly a billion people entered
the 21st century unable to read a book or sign
their names. There are 72 million children who
should be in school but are not enrolled. And if
you have a college degree, you are in a
privileged minority; only 6.7 percent of people
in the world have a college diploma.

14. Can you see? Over 285 million people in the
world are visually impaired. About 39 million of
these are blind and 246 million have moderate to
severe visual impairment. India is home to the
world's largest number of blind people, due to
the country's acute shortage of optometrists.

15. Do you have health care? Here in the United
States, we are debating the pros and cons of
Obamacare­and griping about the reliability of
the government's health care website. But did you
know that 1 billion people in the world have no
access to any form of health systems­and their
children cannot receive childhood immunizations.

King David wrote: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and
forget none of His benefits" (Ps. 103:2, NASB).
Thanksgiving is not an optional virtue. Without
it, our pride swells and our selfishness consumes
us. Thanksgiving is an important exercise because
it adjusts our attitude. It calibrates our hearts
so that we stop complaining and instead remember
how we are blessed and Who deserves the credit
for our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma.
You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His
newest book is The Truth Sets Women Free from
Charisma House. You can learn more about his
ministry, The Mordecai Project, at
Unless otherwise specified, the opinions
expressed are solely the author's and do not
necessarily reflect the views of Charisma Media.

No comments: