by Lisa McHeard
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3 ESV
When we bless God, we celebrate everything he is and all he's done for us, because he is deserving of endless recognition. Gratitude is at the heart of true worship. We acknowledge his attributes as revealed in Scripture, proclaiming them to one another and the world. We tell of his wonderful acts. We share testimonies of his grace in our lives. Every day is a fresh opportunity to glory in his goodness.
This kind of purposeful praise transforms our thinking. It changes the focus of our attention. Where our natural selves study constantly to be noticed, make a mark, and get ahead; our spiritual selves study our Heavenly Father so we can know him better and raise the testimony of his faithfulness above our own selfish aspirations. His truth and purposes become the life-giving pulse behind our thoughts and ideas. His glory becomes the energy behind our actions.
I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.
Psalm 101:3 ESV
In a world filled with people who try on idols like they try on outfits, we have the privilege of knowing exactly who we worship. Not only that, we are surrounded by others who know it too. If we’re not careful, our corporate time of worship can become a selfish conglomeration of personal taste. We focus too much on styles of music, length of sermons, and tickling the fancies of those we wish to draw in. The most magnetic force we have to attract people is the perfect, awesome, holy, loving character of the one, true God.
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, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5 ESV
My pastor, growing up, had an annoying habit. He would stop us in the vestibule before the evening service began, and he would ask us this question: “What has the Lord been doing in your life this week?” It presented a difficult quandary. If we said nothing, he scolded us and challenged us to pay closer attention in the week ahead. If we shared something, he responded with, “Good, share that during testimony time tonight.” As terrifying as it was, listening to my brothers and sisters in Christ share, and witnessing their nods and smiles as I shared, instilled in me a deep understanding of the power of blessing the Lord. This week when someone asks you how it’s going, take the opportunity to share what God is doing in your life. There’s Gospel power in blessing the Lord!
Lisa McHeard serves as Women’s Ministry Coordinator for the New York State Presbytery of the PCA. She loves writing and is presently completing a devotional on the Gospel of Mark. Lisa is married to Ken McHeard, senior pastor of Duanesburg Reformed Presbyterian Church, where she serves joyfully at his side.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the MARKINC website and listen to the interview “Suicide and Mental Illness: Jonathan's Story" so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Suicide is a broad and deep issue that has many different contexts. Sometimes mental illness plays a role in suicide, but not always. In this transparent conversation, Jonathan’s parents share their son’s story of mental illness that didn’t show itself until he was in college.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.