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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 75

We give thanks to you, O God;
   we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.

At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.

When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep its pillars steady.

I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
   and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
do not lift up your horn on high,
   or speak with insolent neck.”

For not from the east or from the west
   and not from the wilderness comes lifting up;
but it is God who executes judgment,
   putting down one and lifting up another.
For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
   with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
   and all the wicked of the earth
   shall drain it down to the dregs.
But I will rejoice forever;
   I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.

All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
   but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted. (NRSV)

We give thanks to you, O God! This psalm reminds me to practice gratitude today. There are times in the fall where I feel overwhelmed with the many tasks at hand. There never seems to be enough time in the day. When the season begins there are new TV shows and with them a new wave of advertisements, bombarding us with messages of not being enough. With every season comes a new set of challenges, and yet there is so much to be thankful for.

Do you ever find yourself easily set off into negativity? I can find myself in those moments, and it really takes a reorienting of my mind and soul to move into a place of noticing what I’m thankful for. I also don’t want to discount the very real sources of disappointment, pain, and suffering that are worth feeling and noting. It’s not healthy to brush over our feelings and force a fake positivity.

But the type of gratitude I’m encouraging us to consider is a practice that turns our distraction and self-centeredness back to God. Instead of complaining about little annoyances in our lives, what would happen if we took even five minutes and just lived into a being of gratitude? Think about what you’re thankful for. Notice God’s presence in your life—those moments you experience love, awe, wonder, challenge. Let your soul dance through these thoughts as you open yourself up to an encounter with God, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll feel closer to God today.

Thank you, God, for all the ways you present yourself in our lives! Help us practice gratitude so we are more prepared to follow you and connect with you each day. Amen.

Written by Abbi Heimach-Snipes, Pastoral Resident

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