Taking a pause to praise

September 4, 2012 — 6 Comments

I don’t know about you but I’m already plunging ahead into fall. The lazy river of summer has turned into a thunderous waterfall of possibilities. I’m making travel plans, considering new projects, renewing old commitments and starting new ones.

But before I let the current sweep me away, I need to stop and take a breath.

Of course in a way I’ve been doing that all summer long. Thanks to the sunny weather and to regular activities suspended while people are on vacation, the season is basically one long rest stop.

Yet I’m not ready to let go of it. I know summer can’t last forever, and I’m looking forward to what is coming ahead. But the summer won’t be complete until I take the time to look back and give thanks to God how He filled the months with His grace and bounty.

I need to do this because without the spiritual discipline of gratitude, I easily forget that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” [James 1:17 ]

The problem of pride
When Moses instructed the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8 to give praise to God, he told them why:

Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied…your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God…
You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”
But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth…

A proud heart is not good for me. If I take all the credit and fail to acknowledge God’s giving, I become disconnected from Him.  Even if I don’t take the credit but simply fail to thank Him, I become blind to His work in my life.

The provision of praise
Although God appreciates it, He’s not dependent on me giving thanks. But I’m not sure that I can live without it. When I remember that God is the giver, I’m motivated to stay by Him because I don’t want to wander away from the spring of Living Water.

And as I remember what He has done, it provides me with hope for the coming months. When my life becomes harried, when things don’t work according to plan, when I go through deep waters, I’ll be able to recall how He was faithful to me and gave me undeserved blessings in the past.

So this week I’m going to fuel up for fall by looking back on the summer:

  • I’ll consider the good gifts God has given this summer
  • write them down so I can remember them in the future
  • and then thank Him for them

Reflection questions for thanksgiving

  • Where was God at work in my life this summer?
  • How did I experience His love, His presence, His power?
  • What part of God’s creation spoke most powerfully to me?
  • Who encouraged me this summer?
  • What experiences and people did I enjoy?
  • How did God provide for me materially?

I hope you can take time to do the same–even if it is while you are driving to work, doing errands, or waiting in the check-out line.

I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for!

Here is one thing that is on my list:

a bounty of French cheese for a memorable meal, celebrating a special anniversary

6 responses to Taking a pause to praise

  1. 

    Terrific reminder! It is so important to praise our Lord for all His wonderful blessings. We have this ritual each day as we drive the 10-15min trip to school. Myself and my 2 daughters have to share 3 things we want to thank God for. It changes everyone’s mood, even if we ran out the door cranky and late, this simple reminder helps us start the day on the right foot, a foot of gratitude and praise! :) He is a wonderful God!!

    • 

      What a wonderful ritual–sounds like a great way to start the day! I like how you do it on the way, after leaving the house but before entering into the rest of the morning. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. 

    This summer began with the news that we’d need to move – and we had a little more than 2 weeks to find a new place to live, pack, move and close on our old house. Those fifteen days were a frenzy of activity and intense emotion.

    God led us to a much better new rental home than we ever could have dreamed. If we had a month or two to find a new place, we never would have discovered this place. This summer’s move emphasized God’s goodness and provision to us.

    Thanks for an encouraging blog post asking us all to reflect on God’s character and work in our lives!

    • 

      And thanks so much for sharing that amazing item of praise here. Another thing that struck me in the Deutoronomy passage is that praising God is not just an individual activity but communal too. It is great to share each other’s joy and I’m rejoicing with you!

  3. 

    Mmmm….cheese!! :) Sorry, I was going to be more reflective but I got totally sidetracked ;)

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