Saturday, July 13, 2013

Weekly Impressions - Bless the Lord

I began this journaling discipline as a way to train myself to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Everything is a pretty all-encompassing concept.  There are still things that I am not thankful for, except perhaps in the general sense that God is using it somehow for someone.  I think, though, that part of my goal is to make my thankfulness more personal with God.  When I am thankful, I praise Him and I am more aware of His workings in my life.  Those workings are exciting to watch.

One of those workings that I observed took place this past week.  I was struggling with a bit of disappointment, as well as some anxiety and self-imposed stress.  I was not thankful.  I was actually a little angry.  His working was the prodding in knowing that my anger was not well-founded (not to mention the depression in my disappointment and anxiety over something that I couldn’t control), and that it was a result of my self focus.  One of the best tools that God has given me to take my focus off of myself is to practice - to exercise, if you will - thankfulness.

Simply being thankful is pointless without God in the mix.  To focus on the gift is to remain in the world with things that don’t fulfill.  To focus on the Giver - God - is to live in light of eternity and to experience His joy.  I used my Bible to make it a bit easier to focus on the Giver rather than the gift.  If you ever need something to point you back to God, the Bible is one of the best tools on this earth.

I turned to Psalms and started with Psalm 100.  Praise and thankfulness for God’s Love.  Praise and thankfulness that He made us, and took His children as the sheep of His pasture.  He cares for us and is ever faithful.  I continued reading the psalms, and Psalm 101 talks about ways to guard against a wrong perspective, such as what I watch and the people that I hang out with.  I think I read through Psalm 103 several times.  My prayer echoed “Bless the Lord, oh my soul!”     

As I read the words, I lifted them up to God, using them as my own to praise and thank Him.  I felt myself relax as I just rested in the knowledge that God - the God who loves and cares for me, the God who performed miracles to bring Israel out of Egypt, the God who gives me His Word to lean on - is sovereign (rules) over everything... all-encompassing.

He knows every detail of my life, and deals with me accordingly.  He has saved me from the consequences of my sin, provided all that I need, and shepherds me in the joy of His everlasting life.

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name[!]”  Psalm 103:1

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