Overly Thankful

13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14

The Lord did provide for Abraham. Even though the text doesn’t say it, Abraham was probably praying from the time the Lord told him what to do until the angel of the Lord halted him. Relieved, he then eagerly sacrificed the ram. As he had done several times in the past, he burnt the sacrifice to the Lord.

There are thanksgiving offerings, and there are thanksgiving offerings. It probably wasn’t difficult to know what to say when he sacrificed the ram.

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re overly grateful as Abraham probably was? In those times, thankfulness comes easy. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, we can only say, “Praise the Lord for his goodness.”

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Oh So Fitting

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
    it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Psalm 33:1

To continue yesterday’s theme, King David exhorts us to sing joyfully. It’s not quite enough just to sing. When you are just singing to get through the song, there’s not feeling, no passion. However, when you sing joyfully, you are thinking about the object of your song. You are no longer mindlessly repeating something you read or something you’ve memorized.

What does it take to go from singing to singing joyfully? It’s a question each of us has to answer. Why? Well, as the Scripture says, it’s fitting.

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At the Right Time

I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
    but have set my feet in a spacious place. Psalm 31:7-8

Only the Lord truly knows the anguish of your soul. While we certainly experience that anguish, only He knows why and how to cure it. It’s a fairly liberating thought if you think about it.

Occasionally you can tell when other people are in anguish. When we pray that God would prepare someone’s heart, this is often the answer to that prayer though we don’t always recognize it as such.

Look for these opportunities to minister. No need to “preach” because the spirit is already moving, but a kind word at just the right time will go a long way (Proverbs 15:23).

I think we would take advantage of these times if we recognized them in time.

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Choices At the Table

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever. Psalm 23:5-6

Picture this: you’re invited to a party and the host motions for you to come to the front. On the way you pass your enemies. They glare at you as you pass them. Your host smiles and ushers you to a seat near the front, lavishes you with gifts and food. You glance around and your enemies are fuming. That the picture I have of this verse.

But it doesn’t end there.

After you’ve eaten the food and opened the presents, you realize that you can be feasting like this in the presence of your host every day of your life. When you fall your host will be by your side to pick you up. When you weep, your host will weep with you. While your days may be stressful and busy, you can always go to the head of the room day in and day out. And your enemies, they’ll watch and fume as you walk past them.

The truth is, this is the life we can choose to live if we wanted. No, not all our days will be cheery and stress free. Not all our days will end in praise to God. But those days are there if we choose.

You see, we can choose to be bitter or we can choose to let it go. We can choose to walk with Christ moment by moment or we choose not to (or anywhere in between). We can choose to dwell in the house of the Lord or we can choose to stand outside the house and hope someone notices us.

While I know the answer to this question should be obvious, maybe it’s not: which pathway do you choose?

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About the Sheep

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1

It’s considered one of the most comforting of the psalms and is one most Sunday School children know by heart. If you haven’t memorized it yet, I encourage you to do so. It too will be a comfort to you.

Before that, though, let me ask a few questions:

Do sheep worry about where they’ll be grazing next?
Do sheep worry about where they’ll sleep tonight?
Do sheep know the way to go all the time?
Do sheep get only roam in herds and never stray?
Do sheep know when they’re in trouble?

It’s fairly easy to see why King David indirectly refers to himself as a sheep. We need a shepherd. Desperately.

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