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Hymns – Day 18 – Count Your Blessings

Not much is known about Johnson Oatman, Jr., the author of one of my favorite hymns! Mr. Oatman was born on April 21, 1856, and passed away on September 25, 1922. Did you know that he wrote lyrics for 5,000 hymns? Not only did he pastor local churches but he also worked full time in the retail and insurance industries!

Count Your Blessings
Johnson Oatman, Jr.

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.


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

Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.


When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.


So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


The most important characteristic I found about Mr. Oatman was that he was a grateful man. He must have gone through many trials as a salesman. The life of a salesman is not an easy one. Most salesmen depend on commissions and, therefore, their income fluctuates. I’m certain Mr. Oatman had bounty and I am certain at times he had nothing. Can’t you just see this throughout his lyrics in this blessed hymn?

What do you do when trouble comes knocking on your door?

Prov. 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (5) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (6)

As you can see, there are four verbs in these two verses. The first three verbs are commands to us from God: Trust in the Lord, lean not unto thine own understanding, in ALL thy ways acknowledge him. The fourth verb in verse 5 is a promise that He SHALL direct thy paths! When we pick apart verses and meditate on the meat, we see that the Lord has given us golden nuggets which will help us when we need that help the most! How can you trust someone you don’t know or barely know? You can’t!

Rom 10:17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

As we build our faith by being in the Word, we learn to trust God more and more. You cannot trust if you are only in the Scriptures on occasion. Could you trust a stranger? Could you trust someone you had only spoken to a few times? Why is your walk with the Lord any different?

Do you think Mr. Oatman held those verses close to his heart? I know I do. I have made these my life’s verses. Many times in my Christian walk have I wondered why the Lord was allowing certain circumstances in my life. Each battle He has allowed me to go through has drawn me closer to Him. Each battle has taught me to trust Him more and more. Now when a battle comes, I immediately go to Him – knowing that He will carry me through.

My friend, He will do the same for you if you let Him. Remember

1 Sam. 17:47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hands.

The battle is the Lord’s, my friend! It’s not ours. When God allows a trial into our lives, He does not leave us or abandon us. He provides exactly what we need, when we need it. It is through the battles that we learn that our Commander in Chief is not asleep on the job but is in the front lines winning the war!

My friend, won’t you count your blessings this morning? Write them down – share them with others – name them one by one! Even in the darkest of circumstances one can find a blessing in his life! When you feel as though the world is caving in on you, take your eyes off your circumstances and count your blessings! Start doing something for someone else. It is in doing for others that you will find many a blessing! Before you know it, you will be counting your blessings out of habit and you will no longer have to search for them – they will be all around you!