Monthly Archives: August 2014

Blessings and Benefits

For the past several years my friend has navigated the deep waters of grief. I listen whenever she speaks because I admire her faith and her courage. Really, I am hoping to find out how one losses an only son in a tragic car accident and then does not drown in despair. Quite the opposite, from her, I have learned to laugh out loud because she refuses to forget all the gifts of God.  All God’s benefits and blessings!

I never met her son personally, but I caught a glimpse of him when I was invited to attend the annual golf tournament hosted by a handful of his many friends. While there I was told that one of his friends flies in from Shanghai every year and another from Florida, these men obviously want to remember and honor their friend. Moreover, no one wants to forget the many benefits of friendship with this man who was also a husband and father of 6 children. So family, friends and even friends of friends gather to play golf and auction off items to raise money that will bless and benefit my friend’s six grandchildren.

Can you and I laugh out loud?  Do we remember God in ways that bless and benefit others?

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and
forget not all his benefits,
(Psalm 103:1-2 ESV)

I invite you to take time and meditate on Psalm 103 and all the benefits of God. Which one  will your soul not forget?


Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Enter is a word of invitation. In Psalm 100, worshipers are invited into God’s gates and courts or more specifically into the Holy of Holies, where His presence dwells. But perhaps the Psalmist is also inviting us to enter into a deeper understanding of thanksgiving and praise, which are similar.  Praise includes gratefully acknowledging God for who he is, and thanksgiving is about appreciating God for what he has done.

Yesterday, I spent the day intentionally entering into each new physical space or relational situation with thanksgiving. At the end of the day, there was a deeper sense of praise in my soul.  Moreover, I noticed how within my ordinary comings and goings, I had the ability to welcome others into God’s presence simply by being thankful for them.

I encourage you to try this little spiritual exercise with me. In the days ahead, each time you enter a new door or enter into a conversation with someone, give thanks for God’s goodness, love and faithfulness. Then take time to notice what difference it made in your life.*  Ultimately, may our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and praise as we enter into each new day.

*I would love to hear what this spiritual experience of entering with thanksgiving was like for you. Please take a moment and write a comment!

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The Lord Reigns

In Psalms 93, 96, 97 and 99, the writer makes the same declaration, “the Lord reigns.” Psalm 97 reveals that both people and nature respond to God’s reign with rejoicing and gladness.

The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
The mountains melt like wax before the Lord,
before the Lord of all the earth.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!
Zion hears and is glad,
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O Lord.
For you, O Lord, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
O you who love the Lord, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!

More importantly, you and I are invited to respond by giving thanks to God. For when we worship with joy and gladness, gratitude for God’s glory spills over into all aspects of our lives.  Consider these words by Melody Beattie:

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough and more.
It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast,
a house into a home,
a stranger into a friend.
It is in essence Love.

May you and I experience the freedom and the fullness of life lived under the reign of the One who first loved us.


Rainbow of Chaos

God is King, robed and ruling,

God is robed and surging with strength.
And yes, the world is firm, immovable,

Your throne ever firm—you’re Eternal!

Sea storms are up, God,
Sea storms wild and roaring,

Sea storms with thunderous breakers.
Stronger than wild sea storms,

Mightier than sea-storm breakers,
Mighty God rules from High Heaven.

What you say goes—it always has.

“Beauty” and “Holy” mark your palace rule,
God, to the very end of time.
~the Message, Psalm 93

At first glance, it might seem that Psalm 93 is about God reigning for eternity over all the earth. However, I cannot help but wonder if the point of Psalm 93 isn’t really about chaos. After all, you and I face the challenges and stresses of parenting, dying, moving, financial ruin, illness, aging and leadership more often than we want to admit. Let’s be honest, it requires firm faith and kingly courage to face the unexpected realities of life.

But, it is also true that in the midst of chaos you and I are likely to see more vividly not just the Lord’s strength, but the “beauty” and “holy” of God’s might. In the most challenging of circumstances, the glory of God’s covenant character is revealed. French painter Paul Cezanne once said, “We live in a rainbow of chaos.”

By grace you and I have been invited to the Lord’s majestic coronation. Therefore, we don’t live in daily chaos, but in a rainbow of chaos until the end of time. May all the promises of God find their “yes” in Christ…and may we say amen to the glory of God (2 Corinthians 1:20)!


How Great!

With thanksgiving
May I enter the day…
A morning offering
of deep gladness,
How great, O Lord
Your steadfast love.

With thanksgiving
May I retreat from the day…
An evening song
of joyful praise,
How great, O Lord
Your forever faithfulness.
Amen and amen.

based on Psalm 92

This week I have wondered how God might be inviting me to begin and end my days with thanksgiving. I encourage you to wonder as well by reading Psalm 92. May you and I be inspired anew…for truly, how great are your works, O Lord!