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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 111

Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
   in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
   studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
   and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
   the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
   he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
   in giving them the heritage of the nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just;
   all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established forever and ever,
   to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
He sent redemption to his people;
   he has commanded his covenant forever.
   Holy and awesome is his name.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
   all those who practice it have a good understanding.
   His praise endures forever. (NRSV)

The message in Psalm 111 can be summed up in the first sentence: “Praise the Lord.” But why do we praise the Lord?

My praise to the Lord does not change God. It changes me, and in a variety of ways.

When I am down, angry, or confused, prayers of praise change my perspective. By concentrating on all that God is and does, I am pulled out of the doldrums and can shake off the malaise.

I am forcefully reminded of God’s presence in my life over the decades and absolutely must affirm that God is with me in the gloom as well. God does not live in the gloom, so neither can I.

When my life is going well it is even more important for me to praise the Lord. If I do otherwise I run the risk of thinking that I am the author of my happiness, and that is most assuredly the wrong road.

When I share my praise with others, I am sharing the most authentic witness I can muster. In praise I affirm what it means to have God in my life.

How about you? What do you get out of praising the Lord?

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20–21, NIV)

Reflection written by Blake Anderson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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