March 22, 2012

Psalm 9:1, 2
I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart. I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You. I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

We are in the middle of the season of Lent and Easter is just a few weeks away. Did you give up something for Lent? I know a lot of religions don’t practice Lent but a lot do and for that reason I wanted to practice right along with them. I am glad that I did but I am afraid I am not good at it. I not only wanted to give something up but I wanted to add something good. I wanted to give up chocolate and spend more time thanking God. You know what? Giving up chocolate is the easier of the two!

Now you may be thinking how someone who is in Seminary and writes an on line devotional have a hard time thanking God so I will tell you. Easy! I am a complainer and a worrier and the two of them are sins and interfere with my thankfulness. This is my sin confession. I get so wrapped up in the here and now that I forget what it is I have to be thankful for and who to thank. This morning I decided to make an effort to be thankful and I got to 7pm before I stopped. What set me off doesn’t even matter. What does matter is that I am trying to be thankful and joyful and I am failing at that miserably.

Tonight I opened up one of my older Bibles. Next to these verses I wrote: Praise requires focus on God only. No other thoughts or distractions. This is my ‘aha’ moment. This is what I am failing to understand each time I try to be more thankful and joyful. I am focusing not on God but on what I am thanking Him for, does this make sense to you? What I mean is that in order for us to praise God we have to be focused on God. The pervasive thought in our mind is God and only God. Once you have God in your thought just let Him fill you with His Spirit and feel the diving presence of God and just take a deep breath in and be still and know that God is there with you. Then praise Him, then let your entire being lift up and rejoice in who is now in you and before you. Let the praise rise up and spill out and like a fountain overflow. Then tell God what you are thankful for. I bet when you get that far your first thanks will be for His presence.

Praise is wonderful and thanking God and being joyful for all we have or have not can be hard. Harder then giving up chocolate in my case but only hard because we focus on all the wrong stuff. Focus on God and when you do the praise comes out of you. Remove all the distractions and don’t worry if it is not something you really do want to thank God for today. At 7pm I really didn’t want to thank God but by 8:14 I was praising Him and writing this devotional. This is how powerful praising God can be. Let us pray.

I will praise You O Lord, with my whole heart, I will tell of all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You. I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High, through Jesus Christ our King. Amen

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