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EUCHARISTEO. DOES IT SAVE US? (PSALM 33)

Eucharisteo — a poetic word pregnant with meaning. It represents the gospel, the broken body of Christ — and our response of thankfulness for who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will do.

Eucharisteo.

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I welcome letters, even those that strongly disagree with me, if they are peaceable. (James 3:17) Thoughtful questions make me think, and help me see things I may have been blind to, or show me if I am being unclear. God uses the fellowship of believers to keep us from sin and error. I try, as Dawson Trotman (founder of Navigators) did, to take criticism into my prayer closet and sift it before God, to see what is true and what is not. I recently received a gentle letter from a women’s ministry leader that decided not to have the women in her church do my book, Idol Lies, as a study because I quoted and recommended Ann VosKamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. She felt Ann taught salvation by gratitude. I thought, I pondered, and reread what Ann wrote. Poet Luci Shaw told me once that many theologians are left-brained, and they may struggle with the metaphors and manner of speaking of poets. I think that keeps happening to Ann, a poet for our time, and my heart grieves for her being misunderstood, but also, for those who are missing the beauty and the power of poetry.

I had a conversation with a godly philosophy professor about the importance of interpreting both Scripture and other writings according to their genre. He was talking about the word “literally,” and said it actually means “read according to the literature,” meaning, according to their genre. Don’t read prose like poetry or poetry like prose. When the psalmist tells us we can find refuge “under His wings,” look for the meaning and don’t press it the way you can prose.

Ann speaks of “eucharisteo,” a poetic picture pregnant with power. I want us, with the help of Psalm 33, to ponder and practice eucharisteo.

I believe my kind letter-writer was well-intentioned but misunderstand this poet. We know, and I know Ann knows, that salvation comes through faith alone, faith in the shed blood of Christ. Yet there are at least two ways thanksgiving is important in regard to salvation.

A THANKFUL HEART IS ONE EVIDENCE OF A SAVED SOUL

First, could we not say that a grateful heart is one evidence of a saved soul? David Martyn-Lloyd Jones, when he asked individuals if he or she was a Christian, watched their attitude when they responded. If they were miffed by the question, he knew they thought they had done something to receive it. If instead they were profoundly thankful and said something like, “Yes — isn’t it amazing?” he knew they understood it was a great gift to them. Also, Romans 1 indicates that the wrath of God comes to those who suppress the truth about him, who …did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” It seems that a saved soul is a profoundly thankful soul for what Christ did at the cross on his behalf.

 

cross-of-christTHANKSGIVING HELPS US RECEIVE THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION

Secondly, Ann isn’t talking about salvation from the penalty of sin, but salvation from the power of sin. What she repeatedly says is that “Eucharisteo” (the act of continually remembering His acts, His love, His mercy, and His promises that are manifested in so many ways) “really might be the mystery to the fullest life.” She tracks it through the Scripture and then repeats: “Thanksgiving — giving thanks in everything prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ.” What can rescue us from grumbling? Isn’t is treasuring what He has given us? What can rescue us from the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy? Isn’t it, treasuring the power that the Sword of the Spirit and using it to back that slimy liar into a corner?  And what can rescue us from despair when we see we have failed again? Isn’t it thankfulness in realizing that He loved us so that He did die for us and that He is faithful and just to forgive us again?

One of my favorite parts in One Thousand Gifts is when Ann talks about how Satan hammers nails into us, but as Erasmus said, “One nail can drive out another.” Ann says “my camera is a hammer.” She photographs the glories of the simple life that produce thankfulness in her heart, and that hammer out the nails Satan tries to drive in, and rescues her. And she shows those photographs to us, daily, on her blog. We can do it too — and often use Facebook to share our thanks. I think we have to be careful, however, not to be glorifying ourselves, but to glorify the One who gave us these gifts. I loved how my youngest daughter, Annie, framed this idyllic picture of her husband David (and our blog manager!) and her girls that she put on Facebook. She wrote:

“First time we’ve done a family of 4 bike ride. Miabelle kept wanting to go more and more and pushed out a little over 3 miles on her bike! I know we always post bright, happy pictures on Facebook and Instagram but let’s get real here, I’m a grump, a lot.. but my black twisty heart felt sooo happy and thankful on this bike ride with my little family…”

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Another way we can encourage our hearts to give thanks is to start singing his praises through the day. It is fitting, Psalm 33 tells us, to sing praises. It is not only an evidence of being filled with the Spirit, it completes our joy.

No, giving thanks doesn’t save us. But it is one evidence of a saved soul. And we can experience the fullness of salvation from the power of sin by continually giving thanks. Psalms 33 and next week’s Psalm 34 help us to do just that. Because of our “natural curvature of the soul,” we have a tendency to forget the greatness of God and His unfailing mercy — and when we do, we become depressed, irritable, and self-focused. Indeed, giving thanks can rescue us.

SUNDAY ICEBREAKER

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?

3. Watch this and comment:

MONDAY/WEDNESDAY: Psalm 33: A PURE PSALM OF PRAISE TO HELP US GIVE THANKS

Derek Kidner says Isaiah 40 is the best commentary on Psalm 33 — so we will look at some cross-references to help us understand this psalm better, and in so doing, pray it better. The psalm begins with the fact that it is fitting for us to give thanks. Why? Our iniquity has been pardoned. Isaiah 40 begins with “Comfort my people…her iniquity has been pardoned.”

To prepare your heart, listen to this from the Messiah, straight from Isaiah 40 — it has a wonderful little commentary at the beginning. As you listen, remember, this promise from Isaiah is for us, His children, and allow yourself to be comforted.

4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?

5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.

 

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HE GATHERS THE WATERS OF THE SEA AS A HEAP;

HE PUTS THE DEEP IN STOREHOUSES.

This world is full of evil, and evil leaders. I’ve been reading Unbroken and learned that Hitler used the Olympics in Germany to increase his power before he began the holocaust. We said it would never happen again, but isn’t that what we are seeing with Vladimir Putin right now? Where is hope? God’s Word promises that God is in control, that one day, as Isaiah 40 says, the warfare will cease. We can pray and thankfully trust God has a plan.

6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.

 

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   7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.

 

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8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. Weforget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.

 

387018_429723300397208_1858781759_nPrepare your heart for the closing section with this:

 

9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.

 

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My friend Linda Strom is with me now, and she quotes Max Lucado who says waiting is not passive. We wait, but we wait prayerfully, thankfully, expectantly.

10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)

Thursday-Friday:

This is under five minutes.

 

I am so enthusiastic about One Thousand Gifts that even if you have read it, I think you will also be blessed by hearing it — because Ann is a poet, and poetry (including the psalms) is to be read aloud. So if time permits, listen to her first chapter, and comment. (And if you are left-brained and want a week off, you may take it with grace!)

11. Comment on the above.

Saturday:

12. What is your take-a-way and why?

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277 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Eucharisteo. Yes! Even just saying the word brings my soul to gratitude. One nail driving out another. Breaking the power of sin in my life, releasing me from bonds that I am only vaguely aware are (still) there. Eucharisteo.
     
    2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them? The upright are those who are clothed by Him and His righteousness. Praise befits them because they are thankful for the gift of that which makes them righteous (and they realize it is the only thing that can).
     
    3. Watch this and comment: Wow. How very sad. There was even a sense of desperation in some that said, “Party it up!” Almost as if they were running as fast as they could away from the truth in hopes that it wouldn’t catch up to them. I was touched by the second to last girl, but then she indicated that she could only live for God if she quit smoking – like it was a barrier to Him.
    But the litte girl, confidence and clarity. Oh, God that I may have the faith of that little girl and live life as such!

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The topic, Eucharisteo:  It makes me happy!  And so perfect after lamenting, a relief. Much easier for me than lamenting. It’s almost hard NOT to be thankful, knowing who God is and all He does. (Editing already. I just noticed the phrase “will do” in the first sentence. That one isn’t is automatic for me. I sometimes forget what God WILL DO)
     
    The images also stand out.  I was very curious about the type of flower in the first pic.  The image of the cross was so powerful, both on my cell phone and here.
     
    And the definitions.  I didn’t know that “literally” means reading according to the literature.  I always thought that reading literally meant that I had to believe God had feathers and wings, etc — so I thought I probably wan’t reading literally 🙂

    1. Also, LOVE “Comfort Ye my People.”  I’m still wiped out from yesterday, and this is a balm.

  3. 2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright?  those who have been Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb
     
    And why does praise befit them?   I’m speechless, for once… too overwhelmed (in a positive way 😉 ) to answer
     
    3. Watch this and comment:  I think most of the responses are pretty typical (reminded me of college students and new grads).  In some of the people, I could see promises of hope in that there were plenty of conversation starters: I had hope that Jesus’ love might woo them if they were exposed to Him.  As I think back to last week’s lesson, I am very sad by what might happen when they people are desperate.   To whom will they turn?  The video clip increases my desire to share Jesus.  I was curious about whether the interviewer used the words “What is the chief end of man?” asking the question.  

    1. Renee, One of the people (at 1:09) repeated the question before he answered. He said, “The greatest purpose in life is…”

      1. Dawn, Thanks!

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    LOVE IT ALL! Maybe love sweet Annie’s bike ride picture the most–I relate to both being a grump–and how a sweet time with my family just overflows the cup. I’m sure many of us have kept a “gratitude list”, inspired by Ann even. But the timing of this week humbles me because just a few days ago I felt the Lord impress heavily on me (again) to not just express gratitude, but to really let my heart find contentment—to really guard against complaining. The more I love Him, the more I am finding I want to thank Him for everything–even the smallest of things, He is constantly showing me Himself and His protection. I love what Martin Lloyd Jones says, and I agree that gratitude is evidence of a saved soul. The most godly people in my life, are also the most thankful–they see His works, His power and goodness–and that is the heart actively praising, reflecting Him.

    2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
    This reminds me of last week’s sermon, Keller said true prayer always ends in praise. We come broken, messy, dirty, we pray. We confess, we repent. We remember the Cross, we are cleansed—we are, through Christ, the upright. And our prayer, turns to praise—what we were created to do.

    3. Watch this and comment: Have tried a few times & its not working for me—will try a different way and come back to it!

  5. So many beautiful things Dee has posted, I hesitate to add–but this came to mind & I think it will bless, Nichole Nordeman, Gratitude : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PEzM-4VXdg&feature=kp
     

  6. I, too, thought of clothing when I read “Praise befits the upright.”  I am reminded that appropriate clothing enhances the person and her message, while inappropriate clothing detracts.  If we are to be messengers of the gospel, then our praise needs to be genuine and a part of our everyday speech/life.
    Since my days with Campus Crusade, I have been focused on the path of bringing glory to God and enjoying Him daily.  This can be so difficult  for even in churches I find most people are living only for themselves.  For me, I have had to make conscious efforts to confess my pride.  It is not about me, but about how willing I am to let God use me.   Even with my recent decision to retire, I chose to frame it with my need to reconnect spiritually, to enable The Lord to help me out of my desert of neglect of Him.  I am still not sure the members of my church fully understand, but God and I do.  That is most importan!  May each of you be  blessed with God’s comfort as He draws you closer to Him.    

    1.  I am still not sure the members of my church fully understand, but God and I do.  That is most important!  

       
      Sherry,  this says so much to me about the misunderstanding I feel around many members of my church as well.  I need to keep reminding myself of it.  

  7. Good Morning from Montana ~
    Thank you, Dee, for this study on eucharisteo.   I have loved Ann Voskamp’s writings over these past two years.
    Thank you, Elizabeth, for the Nicole Nordeman song 🙂   
    Sherry, your comments made me think of Isaiah 61:3 …..”put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”     

    1. Nila – I can’t help but ask – what part of Montana? That is my home state, though I live very far from it now. Beautiful country!

  8. long time reader…first time commentor… Ann’s book came at such an important time in my life…her words through the working of His Spirit turned my life inside out …thanks giving …turned into thanksliving… And healed my soul from living in the world of the “not enough”. To seeing His aboundant Love  and Grace  everywhere…oh I could go on and on…and I would highly recommend listening to her read the book…it is deeply impactful ! I love listening to you on midday connection…you always bless me and give me a truth to take and ponder!!  

    1. Welcome Ro Elliott, so glad you have posted and to hear how God has used both Ann and Dee to draw you to Him–thanks for sharing

    2. Being on the blog before church this morning helped prepare me for church — and brought up a couple questions.  We sang “we bring the sacrifice of praise… the sacrifices of thanksgiving…”  My first thought was that praise and thanksgiving aren’t that much of a sacrifice.  They often seem effortless.    Soooo… I had to come home and look up sacrifice.  One verse that helps me begin to understand is:

      The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17 ESV)

      The verse Nila posted also sheds light on my question. It does require a choice to “put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

      On the way home from church, I was thinking that the “sacrifice of praise” might go beyond speech & the brain to offering my whole being in praise. I don’t dance like Laura 🙂 but somehow, I’m wondering if praise and thanksgiving might involve ALL OF ME? What I’m thinking is vague — hard to articulate. So, does anyone know what a “sacrifice of praise” is ? (thank you!)

      1. Renee, I suppose you “hit the nail on the head;” a sacrifice of praise would be a giving of something of ourselves to praise Him, right? If you are a poet, then poetry, an artist, then artwork, a dancer then dance, a writer, then writing. But, what if you are a left-brainer? A mathematician? An engineer? I guess you build things for Him? Design things for Him? Deep thinking here….and, actually I thought I would teach you to dance in the next video 🙂 I can’t believe Dee put eagles wings on the blog this week……that is the third piece I thought I would share! Now I have to go practice :))

      2. A couple of thoughts on the ‘sacrifice of praise’. First is that it may refer to the Old Testament sacrifice system. There were various sacrifices including a thank offering. Praise did cost something!
        Next thought, based on Hebrews 13:15. “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise- the fruit of lips that confess his name.” Continually offering praise, not just when we feel like it, but continually does take a sacrifice – and a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. I think of Paul and Silas praising God in jail in Philippi – that was a sacrifice… I’m sure it would have been easier to grumble!
         

        1. Really good clarity here, Kerryn.  I think that’s it.  Praising when we don’t feel it but out of obedience.  That can be costly.  Once again, I fall short.  

    3. Welcome, Ro!  (and sorry I posted it in the wrong place!)

    4. Welcome Ro Elliot!  Nice to have you comment this morning……glad you’re here.

    5. Greetings, Ro!  Glad that you decided to comment…I look forward to conversing with you.  I too was greatly impacted by Ann’s book…”thanksliving”…a good and fitting word…:)

  9. I am looking forward to this study.  I had not heard of Ann VosKamp until I began this blog….(ha!  When I first saw someone on the blog refer to something Ann V.  said, I asked Renee privately, if  our mutual friend, whose name is Ann V. was also on the blog.  🙂  She cleared it up!)  Then, I began to see references to Ann and her book, everywhere.  I can tend to be pretty reclusive and have a whole library of stuff I am still working on reading….so I go years sometimes, without finding a new author.  Sometimes, that is my loss.  So, I will look forward to knowing more of her writing.
     
    I also don’t know the word Eucharisteo and am intrigued by the meaning.  The joy and hope does sound inviting.  I had a hard morning in church.  Still such a huge struggle to be there.  I’m misty eyed as I read and write today.   After church, I was talking with a friend who was overflowing with praise for the sermon.  And my response had been so different.  Maybe it is something about left brained/right brained thinking….and maybe it’s about many other factors….but so often I feel trapped, stifled and boxed in when I am in my church setting and I just don’t fit in the box at all.  I prayed much during the music time before the message for I wanted to have a heart that was open.  And yet, I kept feeling the same things that always tie my stomach in knots. I find such refreshment here with you all and with the teaching and leading that Dee provides because there is so much depth.  Much room for thoughts to flow,  resources to be broadened and grace to be extended.   I’ve written about my struggle at church before so I’m not revisiting the specifics now except to say that the definition of ‘literally’ was an epiphany to me too.  And somehow, I think it is applicable to my struggle with how some things are taught in my church.    
     
    Scrolling through the assignments and resources gives me renewal even without opening them yet.

    1. Wanda, I’m so sorry for the difficult time you had in church.  What you wrote about “literally” makes sense to me, in vague sort of way!

      When I was sitting in church this morning, I realize how blessed I am (don’t agree with everyone in the church though) and was a little sad to think that what I find whenever I move is likely to be so different.  I also was thinking that it’s crazy to live within walking distance of 4 churches — and drive 20-30 min to get to church!

    2. Wanda, I am so sorry for your struggle in church.  I have known many who struggle in their worship services.  A friend told me that her commitment to church (her particular chosen congregation) was based on her commitment to The Lord.  Just like she sometimes doesn’t understand Him, she doesn’t get her church.  But she stays, because He led her there and she committed to being part of that congregation.  Another told me that he considers worship to be “for God.”  It doesn’t matter if he “gets” anything out of it because he is supposed to be there to praise God.  His comment reminds me of the verses this week about our need to praise God because of who He is.  For me, I keep reminding myself that I belong to God and it is Him leading me in my worship attitude.  I have to admit, sometimes I wish to change churches, but I cannot as my husband is the pastor.  Instead, I need to reconcile my desire with the fact that God has placed me in the congregation I am in because He desires me and my struggles to minister to someone there.  I will pray for you as you struggle through this ministry in church.  I will also pray that you have opportunity to speak with your pastor about your concerns.  Maybe your pastor is also struggling with how to make the service meaninful to all.  God bless you, Wanda, for your openess on this issue.

      1. Thanks, Sherry,
         
        I’ve shared about this in earlier blogs….which is why I’m not going to be specific now.  I have talked to all of our pastors at length over a period of 25 years.  And I’m still there….so I’m not one to change churches easily 😉   I was on staff as Children’s Director for almost 10 years also.  I am very, very weary with the struggle.    Thank you for your concern and prayers.  I so appreciate your kindness.  

  10. Last night, I listened to “What Grace is Mine” — Keith & Kristin Getty. http://youtu.be/yazxxkbSkZE   The lyrics & music met me where I was last night, and as I listen a few more times, I hear a response to my question about the “sacrifice of praise.”  (not sure if I’m on the right track) I love the line “I give my all to gain the hope that never dies…”
     

    What Grace Is Mine Lyrics
     
     
    What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light
    Called through the night to find my distant soul
    And from his scars poured mercy that would plead for me
    That I might live and in his name be known

    So I will go wherever He is calling me
    I lose my life to find my life in Him
    I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
    I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him

    What grace is mine to know His breath alive in me
    Beneath his wings my wakened soul may soar
    All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome
    My Saviour lives and reigns forevermore

    So I will go…Source: <a href=”http://phonelyrics.com”>click here</a>

  11. 2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?

    “clothed in His righteousness alone”…..we then are…..’faultless to stand before the throne’.  (Edward Mote-1834)
     
     
    There is no one righteous.  No not one.  But if we are redeemed and forgiven by our righteous Lord,  we are righteous because He is righteous and we are clothed in His righteousness.  So yes.  Praise and thanksgiving is most befitting.  And I am falling so short of that right now.  I know that He is my righteousness.  Deep in my soul, I am so very grateful.  The praise needs to be more of an ‘automatic’ response than it is.  

    3. Watch this and comment:   The girl who said that living for God was the only way said she should ‘give up this (smoking) so she could live longer’    Good insight.  Made me think about things I neglect or tolerate in my own life that detract from physical health.   Otherwise, I agree that the answers are all very typical for people that age.  Although, the older lady who was venting about her kids bothered me.   🙁   I guess that was her answer to ‘what is NOT the purpose of life’ borne out of her frustration, sadly. 

  12. More of what stands out to me: 
    A gem I found when I re-read the introduction:

     What can rescue us from grumbling? Isn’t it treasuring what He has given us?
     
     
     

    In reading this, I feel both convicted of my grumbling about our church service this morning and also I feel hopeful because this is such a good strategy to  counteract negative reactions.
     
    And also, when Ann V. says that her camera is a hammer…..I SO relate to that.  Photographing God’s blessings in nature and also in family/friends has been a life long hobby for me.   And it IS much more than a hobby because I spend a lot of time enjoying the memories and being awed by the beauty and joy of God’s creation.  I also love to share pictures with others and make gifts that include photographic memories.  I love that I can use this tool to drive out the stuff that Satan hammers into me.  The quote by Erasmus is wonderful! 

  13. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Eucharisteo…:)  Similar to Jill, when I see “eucharisteo” it brings a smile to my face and a feeling of thanksgiving in my heart.  I really like the first picture of the iris ready to bloom with the various meanings of eucharisteo…it is really quite striking.  Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts” was life changing for me; I am sad for those who misunderstand Ann Voskamp’s writing. 
     
    2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
    The only one that is truly righteous (upright) is the Lord.  Praise, honor, and thanksgiving is due Him for all that He is  (e.g., Creator, Sustainer, Lover of my soul) and all that He has provided for us, most importantly redeeming us.  He is such a gracious Lord…

  14. 1. My heart almost sunk when I saw the reference to Ann Voskamp, thinking that perhaps this week’s blog would point out some fatal flaw in a book that was so life-giving to me (One Thousand Gifts – which I’m not saying is the ultimate life-giving book, nor that Ann Voskamp is perfect!)…but once I started reading what Dee wrote, my heart echoed “yes! yes!” – it is so true! A saved life SHOULD be a thankful life – and it is such a great tool (again, maybe not the only one, but a great one!) to put out the fiery darts of the enemy! Anyways – I am excited to reflect once again on this concept of eucharisteo this week…a much needed reminder for me!
     
    2. This verse (Psalm 33:1) reminded me of the liturgical response to the minister’s “Let us give thanks to the Lord our God” when the congregation says “It is right to give thanks and praise”. When I looked it up on Google, it said this is often used in preface to the Eucharistic prayers – wow! The puzzle pieces are starting to come together… I guess just to reiterate Dee’s introduction – Praise and gratitude are the garments that best fit us, both in glorifying God directly and pointing others toward Him.
     
     
    3. Wow. I actually liked one girl’s comment towards the middle “to be real” – I think one of the ways in which we can better glorify God is by being authentic in who God created us to be. But overall it is so sad to think that SO many people have no idea, just no purpose or “chief aim” in mind. So, so sad. By the way, I was excited a few months ago to see the Gospel Coalition link (in an article) to Songs for Saplings catechism songs for kids! Such a great resource for parents, Sunday School teachers, music teachers, etc. to teach children these tenets of the faith! http://songsforsaplings.com

    1. Rachel-I looked up Songs for Saplings..WOW, how timely.. I have listened to a few songs-but am going to send the link to our children’s ministry leader.  I don’t know if this is just me or if God has put this in my heart-but I have been thinking since I started helping in children’s church-that  it would be sweet to have a live band to do worship music for the children. We don’t have that right now. 

  15. I still can’t get the video to play—I’ve tried a few things, but will try another computer tomorrow. 
    4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
     
    Shout for joy in the Lord—this tells me to share with others what He is doing in my life. As a Christian, my words should be filled with telling others about what God has done and pointing out His works around us.
     
    Give thanks with music—I love music and we regularly have hymns playing. For me it helps His Word “stick” in my heart when accompanied by music.
     
    This reminds me of something I’ve been pondering lately—being a Barnabas in others’ lives—focusing on sharing not just the hard stuff but encouraging each other with the joy God is bringing in my life. I never mean plastering a smile, its actually impossible for me—I’m a terrible faker, but focusing more on the hope…and sharing laughter—I imagine that pleases Him like an honest lament does.
     
    Other verses come to mind here too, Psalm 34:1  “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
    Psalm 19:14: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
     
    5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
     
    “ALL His work is done in faithfulness.” It is hard to understand why certain tragedies—fires, earthquakes, are allowed—but we can trust that He is always faithful and true.
     
    His creation is an expression of His love, His heart. It tells us of Him–He is creative, tender, artistic, exciting.
     
    “He gathers the waters as a heap…He spoke and it came to be; He commanded , and it stood firm” Then in Isaiah, He has “measured the waters in the hollow of His hand”—His power, His “size” is incomprehensible. But I am also amazed at the EASE with which He creates—it is His Word, His breath—simple acts of ease and He creates this world. That is awe-inspiring to me!

  16. When I got up early this morning, I started this week’s bible study here on the blog and watched the video with the interview question, “What is the chief end of man?”     I visited a friend’s church and the guest speaker started his message out with that same question.   A confirmation of the presence and care of God in my very life.   Thank you, Lord.
    The speaker was a master artisan potter who demonstated as he spoke of how we are the clay and our God is the potter.   
    1 minute youtube clip:   
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrJvdcJSj0A
    4 min. youtube clip:    
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXWPywbZ840
    Entire 58 min. presentation of the potter with his clay….. beautiful analogy that is deeply moving:   
    https://dod.org/featured-videos/dod2332.html

    1. I enjoyed the short videos. Love the pottery analogy!

  17. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    I read this morning-didn’t have time to post but did have time to ponder-everything stood out!..what struck me most was how Ann uses her camera as her hammer. Satan hammers nails into us, but as Erasmus said, “One nail can drive out another.” Ann says “my camera is a hammer.” She photographs the glories of the simple life that produce thankfulness in her heart, and that hammer out the nails Satan tries to drive in, and rescues her.”  and Annie’s gratefulness. 
    I too am inundated with his nails via my thoughts, like Annie my grumpiness and discontentment can sweep in our vineyard like a fox..my ‘not enough’ can easily become my focus  (loved that from RO elliot!).  Since we have been in the Psalms God is moving in my heart-as I cling to Him, he helps me see His love and grace around me..even though my heart still churns. I had something come up last night that could have made me lose sleep and worry-a little thing-my husband’s car finally went kaput and we will need a car to replace his..normally I would freak out but there was a huge difference..God helped me to run to Him in my bed at 1:00 a.m. in the morning..and I gave thanks and remembered His beauty-His power, His Love, He is my satisfaction because of what He did-what could be higher, more important or take up more time in my affections than Him? and then I rested in Him-yet if I think about it I can still be tempted to not trust so this morning and today I have been looking at the ‘simple glories’ in life and praising Him-He is helping me rest in him and not in my circumstances-but it is each day..and there is repenting and turning too!

    This morning when teaching the 5th graders at church…there was a difference..I enjoy them so but sometimes I get caught up in time constraints and the lesson and getting everything in..but this morning was different..As I taught I sensed Him leading me to really listen to them and then wait on HIM…and He came.  It was a sweet time-and I really believe they were attracted to Jesus. 
     
    This is my other simple snapshot of His glory this morning: Oh and I am sorry this is so long-but another beautiful way God showed me himself this morning..Ever had a song you loved and meant so much all of a sudden become radioactive-and then you are just totally worshiping Him??? Well this one did this morning as I was going to church: http://youtu.be/JTY-UKgLlXs  and guess what the sermon was about? Spending time with God in His word..and the pastor who was teaching asked us if we ever got into the word to just hear God speak..to JUST SPEND TIME WITH HIM. Not to try to come away with something insightful, or to come at it with what I think in mind-trying to figure it out..but to just listen to Him and spend time with him-that’s all..OH….that hit me. 
     

      1. Dee, yes-Jake is in my 5th grade class-He tends to goof off and cause distraction because I am there. :/ I had to move him away from the other boys and next to a girl-then we had a talk after class.  ;~) 

  18. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks.    
    Shout for joy; praise; give thanks & make melody with musical instruments; play skillfully; sing a new song
     
    What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?   This wasn’t my idea — God must’ve popped it into my head:  Start a gratitude journal  (I burned out on journaling a number of years ago) AND also get out of the house- go outside (I love being outdoors & haven’t been much lately)  AND go to bed early enough on Saturday night that I am fully alert for corporate praise and worship
     
    5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God.  
     v. 4 “all his work is done in faithfulness.”  This one brought tears; I can totally and completely trust him.
     v. 5  “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.” He loves righteousness and justice so much that Jesus came, died, and was resurrected so that we could be righteous and just. This also encourages me that it is okay to grieve when I see people treated unjustly. The earth is full of his love!! — It is so FUN that I can look around outside, at his creation, at people and see his steadfast love. What a blessing. When I am playing in the dirt, mowing the lawn, walking, I will experience his love. And rather than getting annoyed because the lawn gets close to requiring a baler, I can rejoice in the growing grass as evidence of his love and creativity. I even can see his creativity in the “weeds.” Those mosquitoes are very creative looking and so delicate — but I still don’t like them. Yet I even can appreciate those unique little suckers (while wearing insect repellent) when I consider the Creator.
     v. 8 I am saddened that all the inhabitants of the earth do NOT stand in awe of him now. I am even more saddened that I grieve him when I don’t stand in awe of him.
     
    Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.    Creator God, you are so much greater than my ability to understand.  Your creation of all the water in the universe took less effort from you than than the effort it would take me to put a teaspoon of liquid in a recipe.  And you don’t even have to dig out the teaspoon; your measurements are perfect.  You created all the galaxies in the universe more easily than we would use yardsticks. And you designed and made the earth, the mountains, the prairies, the hills.   God, you are the Creator; I am created.  I am so amazed that you would create the vast universe with more accuracy and detail than a gourmet chef puts into recipes  — and you still pay attention to the hearts of people.  Draw me close to you, and help me praise you more.  You alone are worthy of ALL praise and glory.
     
     
     
     

  19. I cheated and jumped ahead.  I listened to the first Ann Voskamp video.  I go back and forth between the researchy/analytical thinking and the creative, and the creative feels luxurious to me.  Sometimes when I’m working I have to be in “efficiency mode” — and that may explain why I had difficulty reading larger chunks of her work.  I like her one-liners on FB, but get distracted reading more.  BUT OH MY!!! The audio — I was totally engaged — and I relaxed when listening.  Will check into the audio version of her book; it might be perfect for an overnight flight (wouldn’t listen all night though!).

  20. 2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
    We are the upright because we are clothed in Jesus righteousness. This is REALLY hard for me to put into words..but praise befits us because we are His- He wraps us up in His Glory and honor and so we, in response out of our affections for him, praise Him with all we are- giving Him honor and glory in everything. I am thinking in song-when the lyrics go from our head to our affections and we pour it out on Him..in our every day breathing-as Anne Voskamp does by taking pictures – praising Him with our gratefulness for His gifts in the beauty all around us. 
     

    1. You said that very well, Rebecca…… ‘thinking in song and the lyrics going from our head to our affections and we pour it out on him’.   So good.

  21. 3. Watch this and comment:
    Everyone felt their purpose was to ‘do’ something, ‘be’ something, or ‘help’ others. It is this desire for something better-something greater -to be glorified..really a desire God put in us but originally to Glorify Him and enjoy him forever like the little girl said at the end-and it is sweet that it was a little girl. I was thinking…Yes: “enjoying Him”..a thankful heart comes out of a heart that truly enjoys him..and this changes us and brings Him glory. 

  22. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The Eucharist. I know that word from when I was little. Holy communion. With Christ. Beautiful. 
     
    When I went to check out Ten Thousand Gifts at the library I was told they didn’t have it but I could request they purchase it. I did. I soon received a letter in the mail that denied my request saying it needed further review. I was disappointed. I love Ann’s gift of photography and I LOVE her taste in design, but I will admit I don’t understand her writing often. I’m not real good with analogies, poems, and flowery writing. I’m a more plain jane girl! I will hang in here this week Dee!
     
    What at the heck kind of flower is that on the first picture??? It reminds me of a Georgia Okeefe painting! 
     
    2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
     
    The righteous are the ones who have praise. However I thought we weren’t to worry about being moralistic? Don’t want to be a pharisee! We want to strive to be like Jesus however, and he was an upstanding moral role model for us. We are joyous when we are like Him.
     
     

      1. Yeah., I mentioned that too 🙁 I think it was content. A Christian book. Remember, thr region where I live  it’s not cool to be Christian.

  23. I think it is amazing that everytime I hear God’s word put to music I get goosebumps.
     
    4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks.  To sing joyfully, to praise him, praise him with harp, make music, sing a new song (find new things to praise him for?), play skillfully (practice and get good at it!), shout for joy.
    What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises? I am convicted by sing a new song and play skillfully. Find new things to praise him for everyday (which fits with what Ann teaches) and practice how I praise and give thanks so that I become skillful at it.  Play skillfully also suggests that I give a very good effort in my praise – not just a half-hearted grunt when I see something beautiful but to do it well, consciously. To fully embrace the gratitude that wells up in me and then offer it to Him.
     
    5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.“For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.” Just the power of His voice, and that the result of it stands firm. Amazing. Isaiah again depicts the massivity of God in His ability and stature. He is able to do easily that which we cannot even fathom accomplishing.
    God, You are amazing. Every time I see the handiworks of You, that You accomplished with just Your voice and hands, I am overcome with awe, amazement, and desire. You are amazing that You allow me to share in this majesty that is Your creation. That You allow my soul to respond. My heart to well up in praise. That I could sing with You over the one thing that matters in this world: You. Your work. Your glory. May my eyes be open to see, my ears be open to hear, my feet light to follow and obey, and my tongue ever loosed to shout Your praises with joy. Amen.

  24. eucharisteo – a poetic word pregnant with meaning? This has me puzzled. I don’t understand why it’s a particularly poetic or pregnant word (but then, I’m not a particularly poetic person!) I looked it up in the STEP Bible… It’s a Greek verb, occurs 40 times in the New Testament, means “to thank, give thanks, render gratitude”. Related words: eucharistia – thankfulness, eucharistos – thankful. Seems like a pretty ordinary Greek word?
    I haven’t heard of Ann Voskamp or her books, so perhaps that would make a difference. Just puzzled about why using a foreign word is more poetic or meaningful than the equivalent word in English.
     
    PS. Have you seen the STEP Bible? It’s a wonderful online resource for Bible study from Tyndale House, and it’s free. It makes the Bible available in many translations and languages (including ancient languages) with commentaries and lexicons too.

      1. Dee, What I found meaningful was your descriptions above.  I was also intrigued by by your descriptions “pregnant with meaning” and “pregnant with power.”  I decided to dig a little (i.e., Google!) deeper.  Still pondering about posting some of what I read, but here is a site that lists the verses in which the word is used in the Bible:  https://www.teknia.com/greek-dictionary/eucharisteo
         

        1. That website missed one verse: eucharisteo also occurs in Matt 26:26. STEP Bible listed 39 occurrences, and teknia 38 and my inner pedant needed to know what was different.
           

        2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
          The upright are those who are in a right relationship with God, who trust in him, and rely on him. Only those who wait on God will see and recognise his hand at work. They are the only ones who can rightly give him praise, as others are oblivious to who he is and what he is doing.
          Watch this and comment:
          Enouraging that quite a few young people had a selfless view of the greatest purpose of life. Discouraging that so few thought it had anything to do with God.
           
           
           

    1. Kerryn,  Thanks for the recommendation for the STEP Bible.  I have not seen.  I’m such a ‘real book/hold it in my hands’ kind of person, I’m just beginning to use online resources so I appreciate knowing what’s good.     This will be my first time reading/hearing VosKamp as well although I’ve caught wind about her writing from friends.  

    2. Kerryn, how did Friday’s street ministry go?
      Thanks for the STEP Bible recommendation.  I was just reading something that encouraged use of the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible “for better understanding of praying with biblical authority” (Sometimes He Whispers; Sometimes He Roars, Marilyn Chadwick).  Maybe the STEP Bible can provide something similar without my having to purchase something additional…I’ll be checking it out.

      1. I did post some detail about the street chaplaincy in last week’s blog. It was an exceptionally quiet night, so we thank God that his peace reigned. We spent quite some time keeping an eye on a girl who had been evicted from a night club, but rather than go home, she hung around outside the nightclub waiting for her friends.

        1. I skimmed through this morning, but didn’t see it…I will look again more closely…don’t know how I missed it…glad things were peaceful for you all.  We were away this past weekend at a friend’s cottage on a lake…no wifi.

  25. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?     Well……I LOVE Ann V!  About three years ago I was introduced to her book and her blog…..and her blog has just been such a “restful” place for my soul since then.  I love the photography, the music…..and her heart for the Lord.  After regularly reading her words for these past years, I can ONLY see Ann desiring to exalt and lift up the Lord Jesus Christ – in every possible way that He has gifted her to do so!  She loves His Word – and encourages and exhorts her readers to love His Word as well!  “Lord, I thank you for your servant Ann…..may she be grounded in Your Holy Word this very day…..encouraged by Your steadfast love ……may she perservere and run the race today that you have laid out for her……may she be clothed with the humility of Christ this day……may she live this day in your joy and grace……singing your praises and living out Your love in her little corner of the world.   Amen.”        That said,  a book I read this spring by John Piper is called Future Grace.  I’d like to quote a paragraph from the introduction just to help us think a little more about the subject of gratitude…..”For example, one of the main claims of this book is that the Bible rarely, if ever motivates Christion living with gratitiude.  Yet this is almost universally presented in the church as the ‘driving force in authentic Christian living’.  I agree that gratitude is a beautiful and utterly indispensable Christian affection.  No one is saved who deosn’t have it.  But you will search the Bible in vain for EXPLICIT connections between gratitude and obedience.  If, as I will try to show in chapters 1 and 2, gratitude was never designed as the primary motivation for radical Christian obedience, perhaps that is one reason so many efforts at holiness abort.  Could it be that gratitude for bygone grace has been pressed to serve as the power for holiness, which only faith in future grace was designed to perform?  That conviction is one of the main driving forces behind this book.”         Just prayerfully thinking……..

  26. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
    Sing Joyfully, skillfully, praise him joyfully-that He is above everyone and everything-this should be the overflow from our ransomed heart. It reminds me of Dee’s Steve who sang joyfully all the time-they could hear him in his den break out in song praising Him.
     
    What thing I might do to help myself sing more praises? Surround myself with meaningful praise music more consistently-He so delights in me delighting in Him and praising Him. It is this back and forth thing. He always moves me with Comfort Ye People. It is truly one of the best worship songs-the words, the skill and the music..
     
    5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
    5b-The earth is full of His unfailing Love. All of the beauty around me He made for me to overwhelm me, to ravage me with who He is and to comfort me with his unfailing love. Lord Jesus I am humbled by who you are. Help me really move into a deeper place of Eucharisteo with you remembering you daily-your acts, your love, your mercy that you manifest in so many ways every day-help me not to miss you today.
     
     

  27. I love that this is a place where there can be that “transparency” that you spoke of last week, Dee!  I’m thinking of Kerryn and Laura and others just pretty bluntly saying  “I don’t get it……I’m not really poetic……”  and that’s just fine.  There is such beauty in some saying “Oh, this is just my sweet spot”, while others are saying “This is like a foreign language…..what’s the point?”….and yet grace abounds and encouragement flows!  
    4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks.  What specific thing might you do to help yourself sing more praises?   Something that stood out to me – and is a challenge for me – is “SHOUT!!”…..it begins and ends this section……even ending with LOUD shouts!  I am so NOT a shouter!  Though I have a loud LAUGH that startles babies!  Maybe sometimes my laughter can be praises to God’s ears?    The specific thing I might do is:  stop walking by my piano and actually sit and play and sing……after all, my kids are grown and flown…..my husband is out of the house by 4:30 a.m. every morning….I live on a 140 acre farm in the midst of horse paddocks and cornfields…….what on earth inhibits me from actually sitting and singing???  That is my one thing.    I do cherish the corporate singing at our church on Sundays……those songs resonate in my heart all throughout the week – SUCH a blessing!!

      1. 🙂

  28. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Well, I need a little refreshment this morning as I was still finishing up last week’s study in Psalm 32 and pondering the ways and the things in my life that are broken. That can be somewhat depressing! I really like the vividly colorful flower picture above and I’m wondering if it is an iris getting ready to bloom? I find nature just naturally fills me with thanksgiving at what He has made and thinking of Him as an artist.
    I liked the discussion above about what can save us from grumbling, as well as Dee’s daughter’s post about her family bike ride. I was doing a lot of grumbling on Saturday, because I learned that my son had invited his friend to spend the night and I like it when my kids have their friends over yet, because Friday was a busy day and I was looking to taking it easy on Saturday, I grumbled and complained at the extra work; the shopping for dinner, getting the spare bedroom ready. It turned out it was really no trouble at all, but I was focused on myself and how I was tired and it was one of those days where little things went wrong, like going to buy meat and they had run out of tickets to take a number and there were tons of people already waiting… But I was thankful to have a guest at our table and spend time with my son and his friend.

    1. Susan, I so “get” the grumbling thing; for me it is trying to go through my 2 college kids’ rooms to cull out years of their old clothes, toys, trash, etc. So depressing and I wish someone else would do it for me! I did suck my youngest in to vacuum under a bed though; I suppose that is the “grace” in this awful job…..a helper! You see, I wasn’t that great of a mom teaching my kids how to do chores, so now I suffer. If I had it to do again I would definitely teach them better instead of always playing! We live and learn.

      1. Laura, I had to smile when I read this! I had my son’s room so clean just before he arrived home from college for the summer. He came back with so much stuff that now I can hardly walk through his room!

  29. 2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
     
    The NIV says, “Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous”. The righteous are those who have been declared righteous by God, who have received that righteousness that comes from Him. It is fitting for those who have been shown such mercy to praise God because of all He has done for us; He gave His Son to die for us, so that in Him, we could become righteous in His sight.
     
    3. Watch this and comment.
     
    I found it encouraging that so many of the young people interviewed said things like “to make people happy; to help people; to make the world a better place; to love friends and family,” because although they may not acknowledge God or know Him, I believe He is the one, because we are made in His image, who has put these desires into their hearts, and they are good desires, to want to love and help others. Of course, living out these desires will not save anyone, but God has a heart for people, and if these young people end up coming to know Him, then He can and will use them to impact the lives of others. Wow, and the most cynical person was the old woman; I wonder what her children did to her to make her feel that way!

    1. She (old woman) probably had a “Sarah….” but no God in her life.

  30. 4. Psalm 33:1-3…list some way we are to give thanks.  What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
    Shout for joy in the Lord…worship the Lord…show gratitude to the Lord….sing to Him a new song…use your God gifted talents in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. 
     
    The specific thing I might do to help myself to sing more praises is to stop with the high, perfectionist standards and just “get to it”…similar to what others have mentioned, there are times when I question if what I do will be “good enough,” and thus, is it really worth doing at all?  This is SO wrong…nothing will get accomplished with this mentality.  My “good enough” is good enough when I am working within the will of God, with the right heart motivation, and at His direction; I must trust that He will equip me and fill in the gaps. 

  31. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
     
    We are to give thanks to the Lord by singing joyfully to Him, by using musical instruments to play our praises for Him and to play skillfully, to write new songs of praise and even to shout for joy to Him. I think listening to good music during the day and even memorizing some hymns or praise songs can help me to sing to Him. I remember the week that Rebecca sang for us, I wrote down the words, “The heavens declare God’s glory, the skies His worth proclaim…” on index cards and I set them on my ironing board and sang while I was ironing.

    1. Susan,  I’m impressed that you iron 🙂

  32. 5. Psalm 33:4-9.
    What quickens you about our Creator God?
    “For He spoke, and it came to be”
    Oh, the power of our Creator God…He only just spoke and creation came to be.  So many of the intricacies of this world are beyond my understanding and comprehension, to say nothing of those of the universe, yet the Lord spoke and it all came to be…everything from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the highest, largest mountain ranges, from the cells combining in conception to human existence, galaxies, etc. are from His hand and of His doing.

    Isaiah 40:12 similarly provides examples of the awesomeness of our Creator God…He calculated all of creation, by His creativity and power all came to be.

    Lord, You did it all…by your hand all came to be.  Thank You for your creativity; the world around me is filled with beauty that You provided and continue to provide.  You are Creator and Sustainer, Your power is unfathomable to me…my mind cannot comprehend all that You are.  Thank You that you are faithful….that “all Your work is done in faithfulness”.  You are in control, Lord, let me never lose sight of Your provision…may I follow the paths You have for me.  May I do the work that You would have me do with a heart motivation that is pleasing to You.  May I be still and soak in Your presence.  Thank You for allowing me to be Your daughter, dear Father…thank You for the promise of an eternity with You.  Thank You for Your guiding hand, Your patience, and Your faithful, continuous affection for me.  Thank You for Jesus and His sacrifice for my benefit.  Thank You, dear Lord…Amen.

     

  33. Perhaps my praise should be encased in trying something new – poetry, writing a song, speaking more openly about what He has done for me.  Maybe I need the exuberance I had as a young believer restored.  Remember the excitement; I wanted everyone to experience what I had experienced.  I am going to ask Him for daily opportunities to “praise Him with my whole being.”

  34.  

     

    1.        What stands out to you from the above and why?

    Because of our “natural curvature of the soul,” we have a tendency to forget the greatness of God and His unfailing mercy — and when we do, we become depressed, irritable, and self-focused. Indeed, giving thanks can rescue us.

    It is so easy for me to be tempted to forget the greatness of God and His unfailing mercy either when I am “on top of the world” or “down in the  dumps.” Ann V. thoughts on gratitude releases me from the “ME” lifestyle and indeed giving thanks can rescue me from becoming self focused or depressed.

     

    2.        Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?

     

    The upright are those who has trusted Christ to be their righteousness not their own. Praise befits the upright because the former should be an overflow of the realization of what Christ had done for them. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1

     

     

     

     

    4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?

    With instruments, with new songs, with loud and joyful sound. I like to sing and I play the guitar. One of the best times though I have had is when I am home alone and I would crank up the volume to one of my CD’s or go to youtube and sing along. I would dance to the beat as well and sometimes the songs are so beautiful in expressing my praise, I would stop and just weep. Chris Tomlin, Mandisa, TobyMac, Fernando Ortega, Sarah Groves, The Getty’s, Selah, Jaci Velasquez, Michael Card, etc-thank you, Lord for the gift of music. Another thing my husband and pastor, Richard and I like to do is to teach praise songs with sign language to children in our church. Now, that is an awesome experience! Some of them can hardly carry a tune but their eyes speak of their wonder and one can’t help but be thankful to God!

     

     

     
     
     

  35. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
    Sing joyfully,  Praise with instruments.  Play skillfully.  Shout for joy.  
    I just need to begin again.   To be brutally honest, the singing died for me awhile back.  I became so disillusioned with so much of Christian radio that I tuned my dial to classical and left it there.   It wasn’t only music that disillusioned me but the silly chatter in between songs.   I found that listening to classical when there are no words, I find solace and peace.  And often, it leads me to worship.  I do go back to singing what was meaningful for me earlier.  I play my old 70’s records of the contemporary Christian rock pioneers.  And some stuff from the generation of when my kids were growing up.  When I go on a road trip alone, I play choral arrangements of hymns, soul, spirituals, a bit of contemporary and I play it LOUD.  And I sing.  I guess that is the closest I come to the SHOUT.   I grew up in a home where Christian music played almost every waking hour.  My mom lived and breathed music and singing.  When my children were little, my home was the same.  I sang to them always.  My oldest knew entire stanzas of hymns when he was two.  With pain and losses…..some I can explain and some I can’t….I began to prefer instrumental to lyrical.  I am coming back to words.  Until I began this blog, I had never really been interested in looking for music online.  I didn’t enjoyed the music videos of the 80’s and 90’s as I wanted to picture the words in my own mind.  Now I do enjoy and worship with lyrics sung to a backdrop of nature and beautiful photography.  Going outside to work in my flower garden.  Think I’ll bring a CD player with me.  If I’m feeling brave, I might even check out a Christian radio station.

    Just re-read this. I guess it sounds like I don’t enjoy contemporary stuff. I actually do and always have….but my soul finds joy and peace in different places than it has in the past and in praising Him in different ways than I once did. Discernment in lyrics is a big thing for me.
     

    1. Wanda, I can relate to some of your musical struggles! There’s a lot of Christian (contemporary) praise music that honestly just jangles my nerves. When I was in college, I used to listen to a lot of classical music. It is beautiful, and it lets your mind be contemplative or even your thoughts to soar along with the music. I also am coming to appreciate the older hymns. I struggle with much of my church’s worship because to me, I feel like I’m at a rock concert; I guess I’m old-fashioned as in bring back the organ and hymnbook:))

  36. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    Eucharisteo- Giving Thanks. This is what drew me to becoming a Christian. I noticed my young life leader, her response to life.  She always had a thankful heart no matter what the circumstance. She was always finding a reason to be happy, to be thankful. This was new to me, I noticed her, and I wanted that kind of outlook on life. Living this word out, Eucharisteo, does not saver her….. but it showed me WHO she had.  
     
    2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them? His children, only because he is our Father. Seeing Him through us. When we praise Him, He is glorified. Happiness all around.
     
    3. Watch this and comment –  Makes me feel sad, but a good reminder to keep praying for my friend who does not know the Lord. Seeking his happiness in “partying” with no concept of the truth. After spending a week with him, I saw through his mask and caught so many glimpses of “there has to be more”.  

    1. Natalie
      What an amazing witness your Young Life leader had to cause you to thirst for the source.  Says so much.

  37. Comment deleted as per request from user.

      1. Good to know! Thank you 🙂

  38. Grrr… comment was just fine until I edited it a second time, then it was marked for moderation.  I put in two words and may have misused “)”    Could an incomplete parentheses really do that?  or editing it twice?  Will not edit twice again if I know it creates more work for Dee !! (ugh — just a quick glance tells me I should have edited more. their vs there???)

  39. I have such a busy week this week that it makes me wonder if I should even try to post on the blog this week. I guess that isn’t the right attitude, and that I probably should just try and see what I can do.   If I disappear mid-stream, don’t worry, it is probably just over-whelmity!! 🙂
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Dee, you had me from the beginning.   The beautiful photo of the flower just beginning to unfold  — guessing with some of the others that it is an iris.  But besides the beauty and the vivid colors, the words were so poetic:   “gratefully thankful, beneficent mercy, shower by grace, filtered by love, muted by reverence, encased in glory, revered in the folding, bending in awe, choosing joy.”     Each phrase evoked a slightly different emotion, but still all of it expressed what eucharisteo involves.       All of this grabbed me right at the start!        I also liked the quote from Erasmus that “one nail can drive out another.”     We all need to find that one tool/hammer which increases the gratitude in our hearts and helps us fend off Satan’s nails.    Nature and nature wallks are so helpful to me.   I should mention the one phrase that I have trouble with, which is “bending in awe.”   When I am awed, I don’t tend to bend — at least not forward.  I tend to want to throw my hands up in the air, perhaps bending backward a bit, and yellng, “Oh, my, did you see that?!”   
     
     
    2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?
     
    I think it is more that we who are sinful owe grateful praise to the Lord, who is the only one who is totally upright and righteous. 
    In my NIV Bible, the theme prior to psalm 33 states:  “Because God is Creator, Lord, Savior, and Deliverer, he is worthy of our trust and praise.   Because he is faithful and his word is dependable, we can rejoice and sing, giving thanks and praise.”

    3. Watch this and comment:   
     
    Such an interesting video!     Of course, I don’t know how great I would do if someone caught me on the street and shoved a microphone in my face.   However, a lot of these people seemed to be clueless.     I sort of like the response of the girl who said “be real.”    I was almost horrified at the older woman who was declaring she wished she had never had her children — couldn’t imagine that kind of response.     The final segment with the little girl was so precious — actually it was almost too good — made me wonder if it was scripted.    She definitely had it right, but it didn’t seem like the expected response from someone so young.     Of course,  on the other hand,  “out of the mouths of babes…”    

    1.  We all need to find that one tool/hammer which increases the gratitude in our hearts and helps us fend off Satan’s nails.
       
      So agree, Deanna.  And the Erasmus quote makes me think harder about this too.  
       
      I wondered if ‘bending in awe’ is more of a “bowing before such greatness” feeling of reverence and worship.  But I can see your response too…  Look at that!  

  40. I think we are having blog difficulties again, with comments being placed wrong, and some comments being shoved along to the end on a continuous basis.   My last post should have been after Renee’s post.   Instead Dee’s and Renee’s posts were shoved along to the end.    Hate to be giving David headaches once more! 

    1. Deanna, I think it had something to do with the fact that Dee’s post is in a response to a post of mine that wasn’t showing…  Good to know that more posts are above when I refresh page!

  41. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
     
    Be thankful for all situations regardless of the pain or sweetness of each. There must be something to be thankful for and that will be my focus; to find the bit of  “silver lining.” 
     
    Incidently, Nancy Leigh Demoss has an entire week on not grumbling last week! I listened to three days’ worth, one after another and am planning on listening again! I can definitely use practice and study in this area 🙁
     
    5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
     
    God is so amazing! I LOVE the imagery of Him breathing the stars and galaxies into existence.
     
    “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6 NIV)
     
    He he has taken such great care and made everything so perfect. If you look closely at different species in nature; the detail is phenomenal. Our bodies are so wondrous to say the least. How quickly eyes heal when injured, the little cell parts all working to keep us alive…..one part of nature that is unique to our planet (that we know of so far) is the water cycle. Water on the earth heats up from the sun, evaporates, cools down, and precipitation occurs. Water is life! Because the wind blows, there are cool and warm air masses and we get thunderstorms. Did you know the jet stream is a river of air that can move at 300 mph?! Stars with heavy elements can burst, or supernova, and these elements are spread around the universe. We have the same elements as the stars, inside us! The details are phenomenal and He thought if it all! Such care! Such consideration! Praise The Lord!
     
    “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?” (Isaiah 40:12 NIV)
     

    1. Laura–I heard a snippet one day of Nancy L. DeMoss’ radio–I don’t normally listen to her, but was drawn in and even signed up for the 30 day no complaining (email) challenge–we’ll see! 😉
      Love your #5 too

      1. You are brave…I’m not sure I can go 24 hours without complaining, if only in my head!

    2. Laura…..I love the mystery of Creation but I also love when you share some of your knowledge of the greatness of it with the specifics that you understand so much more than I do!

  42. My longer post just posted above Dee and Renee. Weird.

    1. Mine too.  I think this happens whenever a comment has been removed…..it’s happened before.  

  43. 5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.
    Sitting outdoors on a blissfully pleasant June afternoon,  listening to the constant birdsong, watching young, tiny goldfinches 10 feet away and enjoying an array of vibrant color in the flower gardens.  Praise?  YES!  YES!
     
    What quickens me is that with just a word, the very breath of God, the magnitude of the heavens were created.  (6) The starry host for which Isaiah tells us, every name is known by their Creator and He calls them by name!  I also love the verse ‘For he spoke and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm.’ (9)   I am SO okay with embracing the mystery of Creation.  He held the dust of the earth in a basket.  He weighed the mountains on scales and the hills on a balance.  “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me!”  The hows and whys and how longs just become a barrier to praise for me.  I only know He IS the Creator and Redeemer of the world.  And that is far more than I can comprehend.  How else can I respond but praise?!   
    “Oh Lord, I embrace the mystery of Creation because I embrace you, the Creator, and the mystery of your unfailing love for me!  And I praise you!”

  44. Listening to the except from ‘Comfort Ye..’  reminded me that I have been known to inadvertently drive about 15 miles over the speed limit while listening and singing full throttle to  ‘and the Glory’  and ‘Every valley…’ and of course the ‘Hallelujah’ from  ‘the Messiah’  in my car! 🙂   I think that’s why cruise control was invented 🙂

    1. Ha!

  45. 3. I finally got the video to work! I think my response though is different–I sensed such a longing to know, a longing for truth. And then I felt a burden–am I really helping answer these seeking hearts or do I just exist in my cozy bubble? I teach the 1st graders at Church, and we teach the Westminster Catechisms, and that little girl reminds me SO much of them. Last week we talked about prayer and their little thoughts were so sincere, so precious–but they are growing up in it. Its taught to them at home, school, Church. SO many, like those in the clip, do not know that the Source of all power and knowledge loves them and created them with a specific purpose. I’m not “good” at evangelism, but this clip really put a burden on my heart for all those aimless humans created in the image of GOD.

    1. Dee–I personally wouldn’t consider it worth troubling David-but all I see is that for whatever reason, Renee’s post at 11 am is stuck at the bottom, with one of yours above it from 11:01–then as we post new ones, they are above that…if that makes sense? This happened before when someone had to delete a post. You only notice it if you go to the blog page and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see the last 2 are out of order. I just like to ignore these things and make let the enemy see he can’t annoy us ;0

      1. Agree with Elizabeth!  I like to have Renee smiling at me saying..’Good to know. Thank you!’ after everything I say anyway….. Ha!

        1. that’s funny Wanda–I like that too–our beautiful Renee “grounds us” 🙂

        2. Ha! Again Wanda!

        3. In my best Texas accent: y’all are funny;)

  46. 4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?
     
    Sing joyfully, play the harp or play the lyre, sing a new song, play skillfully and/or just shout for joy.  

     
    I think it is note-worthy that David was a skillful harpist.   Many of his psalms mention the use of musical instruments.   David composed music for many of the psalms, and the whole chaper of I Chronicles 25 is about David commissioning a good many people for the purpose of providing temple music.     

     
    I  found it significant that several of those who have already posted on this question have indicated that they don’t sing and give praise as much as some time previously in their lives.   I think that is true of me as well.    There was a time in my life when I always sang in the shower — seldom do I do that now — and if I do, my husband misunderstands and thinks I am calling for him, and he will come to check on me 🙂   Perhaps I sound like I am in pain 🙂    For whatever reason, I don’t do it as much as I used to do, and I worry that is a telling sign.   I hope my praise-level isn’t slipping, but it may be!     I love Wanda’s idea of taking the CD player along when working in her flower garden.   I just may try that — it sounds like a great idea!     
    I used to put a CD of Wow Praise Songs to play while I dusted the house — and I bought the new Wow CD every year, but when my church eliminated the contemporary worship service, it sort of took the wind out of my sails, and didn’t buy any more and played the ones I had much less frequently. I have to clean tomorrow because we are having a party at our house on Thursday night — perhaps I will play my Wow Praise Songs again while I get ready for our party.

      
    5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.

     
    Just to think of all the infinite details absolutely blows my mind.   Psalm 33: 4-9 is a poetic summary of Genesis 1.  The Lord of Creation sees to every last detail, and He has the power to bring it all into being as he wants.    He created it all and set everything into motion — and the amazing thing is that the universe is still expanding every day!!    
     
    O God, creator of all living things,  I only need to look as far as my backyard to see the splendor of your work.   However, I need to remember to look with eyes that long to behold your wonder and awesomeness.   Forgive me, dear Lord, when I am preoccupied with myself and fail to notice the “praise triggers” right in front of my face.    You are so worthy of praise!   

    1. Deanna…..the more I think about it, I don’t think it’s necessarily, a worrisome or telling sign.  I find myself at a place in life, where I love quiet so much!  I used to have a radio going all day long while I worked at home….or some kind of music going.   I used to enjoy having oldie re-runs on  tv while I cleaned house, folded clothes etc….for ‘back ground noise’.  Now, I’m just fine with quiet and that is often a good thing!   That said, though….I’m with you in thinking it’s also good to bring back some singing!