Make a life-changing choice

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Yesterday around 10 am my office phone brought a call from a pastor I knew 40 years ago.  “Jerry, I just wanted to thank you.” His appreciation for ministry that I do was authentic and heart-felt. It was encouraging. Among the voices of the critics, hearing one of with affirming words is a blessing! “Thanks-living” has the capability of transforming another’s bad day into a good one, changing a miserable situation into one that is tolerable.

Do you realize that offering sincere praise to God opens our hearts to the inflow of the Holy Spirit? “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. … Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (Psalm 100:2,4, NIV) You can break the grip of discouragement with a genuine offering of worshipful praise. Go beyond the trite – “Thank you, God, for beautiful flowers.”  Thank Him for grace, for faithful friends, for forgiveness, for strength, for promise and purpose.

Praising Him is sometimes easy, almost spontaneous!  “Thank you, Lord! Praise God!” bursts from my lips.  There are days when we offer what the Bible calls a ‘sacrifice of praise.’  A choice is made to look past the problems, to thank God for His goodness, that He is indeed Lord of life, in spite of situations that defy understanding.  Avoid the error of implying that God is the author of terrible things like war, disease, or sinful oppression by thanking Him for those things. He allows us great freedom – to create good and to do evil. And, in the middle of the messes that the sinful of humanity (ours and others) create, He invites us thank Him for His faithfulness, for His love, for His goodness.

 When we are filled with worshipful praise of God, there is a shift in our human relationships. We more readily offer genuine thanks!  When you hear yourself slipping into criticism, pause. Find a word of appreciation. Watch the tone of the conversation change. It will amaze you. And you’ll feel so much better, so much more encouraged, at the end of the conversation.

Take these simple thoughts to heart today and make it a day for “thanks-living.” Why not start right now with 5 minutes of praise prayer? Don’t ask God for anything, just thank Him – profusely for people who bless you, for His plan in situations that challenge you, and for His love for you! Then, as you go through the day, look for opportunities to drop a word of affirmation and thanks into the lives of people.

Here is a word from the Word. Read it slowly, pausing to let the truth sink in.

“I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are discouraged take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:1-3, NLT)

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who trust in him!
Let the Lord’s people show him reverence,
for those who honor him will have all they need.” (Psalm 34:8-9, NLT)

One last thought- Thank you for sharing life with me through this daily blog called CoffeeBreak with the Word!

________

O worship the King all glorious above,
and gratefully sing his power and his love:
our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days,
pavilioned in splendor and girded with praise.

 Your bountiful care, what tongue can recite?
It breathes in the air, it shines in the light;
it streams from the hills, it descends to the plain,
and sweetly distils in the dew and the rain.

 Frail children of dust and feeble as frail –
In you do we trust, nor find You to fail;
your mercies, how tender, how firm to the end!
our maker, defender, redeemer, and friend.

 O measureless Might, unchangeable Love,
whom angels delight to worship above!
our ransomed creation, with glory ablaze,
in true adoration shall sing to your praise!

Robert Grant, public domain

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