Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Eight years ago my brother gave me a Bible. It had been my mom’s personal study Bible. It had been given to him as one of the personal items we divided up after mom died. He handed it to me and said that he would like me to have it and use it. I accepted and said that I would.
The next morning I opened the Bible and was immediately taken to Psalm 145.
Psalm 145:1 I will praise you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
At this verse my mom had written some extensive notes on praise. There was an old outline of the chapter written in the margins of her Bible, and there were notes on paper expanding on the outline. The notes in the Bible were old. I can tell from the quality of the paper notes that they were made not long before her death, probably after she had been diagnosed with her terminal cancer. That’s what makes them so meaningful. The notes are entitled “Reasons to Praise.”
I was overwhelmed that my mom’s focus during her dying days was on praising God. I think I’m going to cry for a few minutes, so excuse me. They are tears of loss and they are tears of shame. I miss my mom, but I also am embarrassed that I don’t praise God more, especially when I believe things are going wrong.
Most of us are the same in that regard. We have an opinion about the circumstances of our lives, and that’s all it is – an opinion. From God’s perspective there is nothing wrong, there is only the expression of His grace as He trains us to have more faith and to be more faithful. We can choose to let our opinions cause us grief,
So here’s the challenge. Read Psalm 145 today. I’ve included it below. Use my mom’s outline as a tool to let the Lord teach you how and why to praise God. It is also printed below. When you are done, consider these things:
- How bad do things have to get before we let go of our need to complain and start praising our God?
- How long before we act like we believe God is in control of all things and making them work out for His glory and our good?
My goal is this – to praise His holy name for ever and ever!
Thanks for modeling that to me, Mom, even when in my opinion everything was going wrong.
I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. 2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. 3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable. 4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness. 7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. 8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. 10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you! 11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, 12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.] 14 The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. 15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. 16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. 20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy. 21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
Here’s my mom’s study guide:
Reasons for Praise (by Ruth A. van Gorkom)
- God’s Greatness – vs. 1-3
- God’s Majesty – vs. 4-6
- God’s Mercy – vs. 7-9
- God’s Kingdom – vs. 10-13
- God’s Grace – vs. 14-16
- God’s Holiness – vs. 17-20
- God’s Name (His Character) – vs. 21
Last month I visited my brother-in-law in Olivet Michigan. Ken had a brain tumor – the most aggressive for, of cancer which was untreatable. Later that month I had the honor of returning to Olivet and being present as Ken was promoted to Glory. During both visits, as I watched Ken suffer and decline, I was reminded of Job. Not only did Ken never turn his back on the Lord, buft Ken was totally focused on God. Several times a day Ken would ask us to pray with him. These three themes were present in those prayers: 1. Whether through healing or death that God receive the glory, 2. That Ken’s grand children would walk with the Lord and be faithful all their lives, 3. That through Ken’s challenges, many would come to a saving faith in Christ. About an hour or two before his death, although he lacked any strength and was no longer verbal, Ken sat upright in his bed anew declared with a loud voice, “Father God, I stand with you. God, I stand with you!” – I pray that I I will have the sem strong faith and focus as I approach the end of my life.
AMEN! May I be filled with praise in every breath, including my last one.
Beautiful Post. Be blessed!