Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Praise the LORD, O My Soul

Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
                              Psalm 103:1-5  NIV 

     Praise God! Bārak, the Hebrew word used here for praise, shows action such as to bless, pronounce blessings, give praise, give thanks or extol. Our modern thesaurus uses commend, compliment, acclaim, approve, pay tribute, laud or extol. In this Psalm, David exhorts us to glorify—sing the praises of Jehovah God Almighty. 

     David had much to complain about, but he chose instead to praise God. In these verses, he gives us a list of reasons with which to begin our praise: 

1.   He forgives our sins
2.   He heals our diseases
3.   He redeems our life from the pit
4.   He crowns us with love and compassion
5.   He satisfies our desires with good things 

     We have done nothing to deserve any of these. Unlike the modern television offers of free gifts, that always cost shipping and handling, God’s gifts are truly free.  

     I am reminded of Erma Bombeck’s book, If life is a bowl of cherries—what am I doing in the pits? In one section she makes this statement, “The bad times I can handle. It’s the good times that drive me crazy. When is the next shoe going to drop?”  

     If that is you, stop and praise God! No matter what your day may hold, take five minutes to stop and praise God! If you are in a pit of despair today, stop and praise God! If your health problems give you legitimate reasons to worry about your future, stop and praise God! If life is good and all is well, stop and praise God!

     If you can think of nothing for which to praise God, remember the words of the Apostle Paul when writing to the Ephesians. (Ephesians 2:8) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”  

          You may already have a time set aside in your day to praise God. If not, today would be a great day to begin that daily routine. When I practice the “Praise the LORD, O my soul” attitude, I find it colors and shapes my day with light rather than darkness, with positive rather than negative, and with hope rather than hopelessness. So today, I determine to open the lens of life to a slow shutter speed and let the light in. Five minutes of praise can change the direction of your day! Together let us “Praise the LORD, O my soul.”

© Joyce Powell

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