Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Shepastor: "Shaping Our Perspective Through Thanks and Praise..."
136 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
Life happens. With its many ups and downs it’s easy to get caught up in current moments…be they good or bad. The people in ancient Israel understood this principle as they faced many tumultuous times. Scholars suggest that Psalm 136 was a responsive reading read at Temple services to remind God’s people of God’s consistent love and mercy in every season, situation and circumstance.
The first portion of this psalm reminds readers that God is all powerful… “God of gods, Lord of lords.” This is the God who alone does GREAT wonders and is the creator of the world and all therein. After a litany of the many awesome wonders of God’s creation, the Psalmist moves into enumerating the names of kings and lands that were defeated before them. They are reminded of the miracles that were performed on their behalf when it appeared that all hope was lost. Finally, the Psalmist reminds the readers that God remembered them in their “low estate,” and that God has always and will continue to supply their needs.
As we reflect upon these movements from category to category, we too can create our own litany of thanksgiving and praise. As “life happens” to us we can choose, like the Psalmist and the children of Israel to shape our outlook of situations and circumstances by remembering God’s faithfulness to love and be merciful to us.
When difficulties seem to overwhelm us, we can remind ourselves that our God is God and that He alone can do great wonders…that God is King of kings and Lord of Lords and that this all powerful God is on our side.
We can remind ourselves of all the “enemies” (human, spiritual and even within) that the Lord has defeated in our past and we can trust the Lord to make us more than conquerors day by day. We can remind ourselves of the miracles, the mountains, the seemingly impossible struggles that the Lord made us victorious over before. We can rest assure that God will continue to do the same today, tomorrow and always. We can remind ourselves that God “sees” us in our “low estate,” in our feelings of helplessness, in our situations of powerlessness, in our struggles with self-esteem, in our circumstances of weakness. God sees us and runs to our aid.
Finally, we can trust that just as God provided for our needs in the past, God will continue to provide what we need moving forward.
Yes, thanking and praising God can help change our perspective. Instead of succumbing to defeat we can remind ourselves of God’s unfailing love, steadfast faithfulness, grace and mercy. Certainly, we are not as those who have no hope!
Oh give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endureth forever!
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,