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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving and Praise

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
    and his courts with praise!
    Give thanks to him; bless his name!



Psalm 100:4 is one verse of one of the most famous psalms - it is one that lifts our hearts in praise of our great God.  Especially suitable for this, the season of thanksgiving.


Note that there is a distinction here between thanksgiving and praise.  I don't think it's just semantics - it seems that "thanksgiving" is gratitude for what God has done while "praise" is worship for Who He is.   We are exhorted throughout Scripture to do both but notice the difference in effect...."thanksgiving" admits us into His gates....but "praise" brings us closer - entrance into the courts of His presence.


Praising God for Who He is turns our attention away from ourselves and what we need/want and focuses our hearts on Him.   The next verse describes some of His attributes :
For the Lord is good;
    his steadfast love endures forever,
    and his faithfulness to all generations.



God is good.
This Hebrew adjective means "good, pleasant, beautiful, excellent, delightful, lovely, fruitful, joyful, cheerful, kind, correct, right, virtuous".  Wow - that's a lot packed into "good"!


He loves us relentlessly and unwaveringly.  And forever.
Being able to know His love in the face of changing times and my own unreliable heart is great comfort.  And confidence.


He is trustworthy.  From eternity past to eternity future.
He is certain, dependable, and sure.  Indeed He is worthy of all my trust.


In this season of giving thanks for all He has done for us, let us draw even nearer to His Throne with praise - an acknowledgement of Who He Is.


Hallelujah Amen!





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Words

Recently, I observed a child be wounded by critical words from an adult.  You can imagine the ire I felt inside.  Rather than pulling out my voodoo dolls like I wanted to, I tried to reflect. I prayed that the child would be able to work through it and that the unfounded words would not take root in the child's life.

But I know the odds for that are slim.  The power of life and death are in the tongue.  And the words we hear bring either life or death to us.   Why do we, who should know better, do such things?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Just plain weary

 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted  Hebrews 12:3


Weary.  That's what I have been tempted to be for nearly a year. 


More than tired or even exhausted - "weary" seeps deeper than muscles and bones and saturates the soul.  Depletes it, actually.


It's been a very full year.  On top of previous full years.  Culminations of joys and challenges.  Of demands and disappointments.  Of opportunities and setbacks.  Of blessings and burdens.  Personal heartaches.  Ministry celebrations.  Relational mountaintops and career valleys. Gains.  A severe loss.


I have often felt just myself sliding into a place called weary. 


On several occasions, I wanted to follow the advice of several blog posts and books that are making the rounds lately to "give yourself grace".  Well intentioned I know, to provide support and encouragement during some tough spots. To offer strength for the weary and deplete soul. (What actually worked for me was not the books and the blog posts but rather the overwhelming outpouring of cards and texts and meals and flowers and Tab - and every single one has been deeply needed, appreciated, and treasured - once more let me say thank you and that every single thing nourished my soul!!!)