From the lips of children and infants
you have ordained praise
because of your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
Psalm 8:2 (NIV)

It’s been more than two weeks since my last blog. Sometimes life has a way of refocusing us. While writing my blog is incredibly important to me, over the past couple of weeks challenging priorities have sprung up in all other areas of my life. Blog writing had to take a back seat. Finally this morning, however, I was able to sit and write. What a joy for me. Before posting that blog, however, I thought it appropriate to step back into the ring, so to speak, with thanksgiving and praise. Thankfulness has helped keep the dark clouds away over the past few weeks. When I was tempted to slide into depression or be overtaken by the waves of overwhelming circumstances, thankfulness grounded me. Speaking out the things that I was thankful for (not just remembering them in my mind) returned order to my life in the midst of chaos.

Notice what it says in Psalm 8:2 – that praise silences the foe and the avenger. As I thanked God for His tremendous goodness, it was a form of praising Him for who He is and what He’s done, and it silenced my emotional foes and defeated my enemy. An interesting tidbit before I include my praises here: The word translated “praise” in the NIV also means boldness, power and strength. Praise gives us courage to be bold. It gives us power to do the right thing, and it gives us strength when our strength is depleted. I found thankfulness to be a reliable friend over the past couple of weeks.

Here are just some of the things I am thankful for (listed in no particular order). I hope the list reminds you of things you can praise God for today – in the midst of whatever you might be facing.

  • Opportunities to serve God.
  • Lots of customers with checkbooks to pay for their needs.
  • The ability to work.
  • Family who cares about me and my family.
  • Friends who help hold me together.
  • A wonderful dog who blessed our lives for many years.
  • A husband who walks (runs and tumbles) through life with me.
  • Blog readers who encourage me.
  • Taxes – because they pay for the government that protects me from things I couldn’t protect myself from.
  • Taxes – because they mean that I have had income this year.
  • Beautiful blue skies and white puffy clouds.
  • Rainy, overcast days in which to hibernate with a cup of tea and a fun puzzle.
  • A father in heaven and a Father in heaven.
  • A mother on earth who continues to teach me how to live.
  • Growing in grace.
  • God’s mercy.
  • The ability to travel – to see and experience more of God’s creation.
  • The ability to study God’s Word – alone and with others.
  • Fun.

Here’s my challenge to you: Create your own list being careful to keep entry short. As I wrote the list, I was tempted to add caveats at the end of each line.

For example, my list says “opportunities to serve God.” What I was tempted to write was “opportunities to serve God even when it’s inconvenient or adds stress to my busy schedule.”

Resist this urge to caveat your praise. Lord, I am thankful – I praise You, Lord – for opportunities to serve you. Period. The caveat reminds me of my stress and expresses just a touch of dissatisfaction with the praise. Don’t do it! Let’s just praise Him. He knows the caveats. He knows the stress He’s allowing me to experience and enabling me to withstand.

So go on – make your own list. It will keep you from being pulled under by waves of overwhelming circumstances and will give you strength to pursue God in the midst. You can count on it!

Comment on this post (below or on Facebook) telling us the top three things you’re thankful for. Trust me…telling others what you’re thankful for increases the strength of your thanksgiving – “speaking” it to the world makes it more real in your mind, strengthens those around you, and gives greater glory to God.

Be blessed, friends.

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