21–27 July 2019.
Psalm 111 begins with a call to “Praise the Lord!”. This isn’t a suggestion or a recommendation, it’s a strong command to all of us.
The rest of the psalm then gives us a list of many reasons why the writer personally wants to praise God so much. The writer praises God for the great things God has made (v. 2), for his unending righteousness (v. 3) and grace and mercy (v. 4). God should be praised because God is a dependable provider who cares for us (v. 5). He is a powerful God (v. 6) who is good and just and wise (v. 7). And in his faithfulness and integrity, God loves us and saves us (vv. 8–9). These are all wonderful reasons to praise God.
It’s so important for us to remember to be thankful, and especially to always keep praising God. In all the stresses of everyday life it’s easy for us to get focussed only on the negatives. We get overwhelmed by stress and troubles, and this easily drains the joy out of our life. Always looking at the negatives harms our faith life too. We end up approaching God always with an attitude of neediness or self-centredness, always placing ourselves and our own expectations in the centre and seeking to make use of God for our own purposes. When that happens, it becomes difficult to truly worship God and praise him for who he is.
A great habit we can get into is to practice thinking of at least three things each day that we can thank God for. This teaches us to be grateful to God, reminds us to praise him, and encourages us to focus again on the many ways that God blesses, guides, and cares for our world and our own needs. It also helps us to approach each new day with positivity and confidence, knowing that God watches over us and is leading us forward to good things.
Every day I’m thankful to God for my amazing wife, for our great kids, and for the good news that love and goodness really are winning in this world. What things are you most thankful for? And what aspects of God make you want to praise him most?
Pastor Stephen Lakkis