Tuesday, November 23, 2021

           Words possess power.  And words are one way that we communicate with one another.  God created language and gave us this gift as a way both to bless and serve Him.  We use words as we sing to Him, as we testify about Him, as we speak the gospel and as we thank Him.  Words are the fabric of our worship.  During this week of Thanksgiving, we have the occasion to extol or to bless the Lord as we recite the many ways that He has blessed us in the past year.  David wrote many of the Psalms we have in our Bibles.  And David knew how to praise the Lord and the power of giving thanks.  Psalm 34:1-3 reads, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.  I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice.  Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” God commands His people to bless Him, or to extol Him, with their words.  We are to use the gift of language to confer praise and gratitude to the Lord God. 
            Psalm 34 says we are to extol the Lord “at all times.”  And yes, that would include those occasions where we feel like doing anything but expressing thanks or offering praise to God.  Even in those occasions where life has seemingly gone haywire, we are to bless the Lord.  And frankly, it is in those times where we might make good use of praise as a way to reset our minds and hearts.  The enemy often tries to discourage us by convincing us that things are hopelessly terrible.  He shows us the bleak, the ugly and the gloomy.  Praise allows us to see that God is still on the throne and still alive in the hearts of His people.  Through the fog of the enemy, praise guides us to a clearer vision of the Lord God Almighty.
            This Thanksgiving, we could bemoan and complain about the cost of the meal.  Or we could be grateful that we have the smiling faces of friends and family who will share the meal with us.  We could complain about the cost of gas as we travel.  Or we could thank the Lord that we do have places to go and loved ones we can visit.  We could rant against the news or current events.  Or we could tune out the steady barrage of toxicity that we allow into our lives.  We could act childish when things do not go our way.  Or we could act like children of the King.  We could make life about ourselves or we could decide that life is about knowing and loving the Lord.  Most of the time we have choices we can make.  And this week, above all weeks, we have the occasion to bless the Lord and to thank Him for all He has done for us. 
            A bit later in Psalm 34:8 we read, “taste and see that the Lord is good.”  That is an invitation to come to the Lord.  Trust Him.  If we look at how the Lord has dealt with us, we will easily find that He has been exceedingly good.  Indeed, His grace gives us what we have neither earned nor deserved.  His mercy withholds what we have earned and most definitely do deserve.  He is good—forever good and unfailingly good.  When it seems that things around us have turned bad, we can remember that God is good and that His goodness neither ceases nor fails.
            Oftentimes, professional singers or athletes will warm up before the show or game begins.  They have routines or exercises that they cycle through so they are prepared for the real event when it begins.  Rarely would a Broadway singer or NFL player just start performing without warming up.  We can take today and tomorrow and warm up as we get ready for Thanksgiving.  Spend time today extolling and blessing the Lord so that you are ready to enjoy a meaningful and memorable Thanksgiving on Thursday.  Have a wonderful Tuesday!
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