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Praise be to GOD

After enjoying the Thanksgiving feast last week, I must admit I did not embrace the Spirit of Thanksgiving that we celebrate. Certainly I properly blessed the food and the one who prepared it, but did not reflect on the blessings I have received over the past year, nor did I give praise to the ONE who bestowed those blessings. In a year were we have seen our Church doors locked for weeks, limited our social interactions with our loved ones, restricted our public participation in the local economy and which has taken more than 1.5 million lives worldwide; have we forgotten how to count our blessings and give Praise to GOD?

I am reminded of our lesson a few weeks ago; In Luke 17:17 Jesus asked “Were not all ten cleansed?” Of course Jesus is referring to the ten Lepers who had asked Jesus to heal them and Jesus sent them to the High Priest to confirm the cleansing. Yet only one healed man return to give thanks to the ONE who had healed him. That really impressed upon me that I have been more like the nine this year, than the one. Although we know we should always be thankful, it is not very easy when we are stressing and 2020 has definitely been the year for unprecedented stress.

In reviewing Psalms 107, verses 1 to 32; I read how GOD rescues us from different types of distress. It is clear we are a world in distress and we need rescuing.

The first type of distress is the “wandering”. In verses 4 through 9, we are reminded of the exiled Israelite’s feelings of being lost, hungry, thirsty, and just plain tired. Yet this could describe anyone who is facing this year without knowing the LORD. Yet, it is up to the believers to show the lost the way (John 14:6), to provide them food (John 6:33,35), to help them find water (John 4:10-14), and bring them to rest (Matthew 11:28-30). Yet in HIS WORD it is written, we need only cry out to the LORD and HE will deliver us from our distress.

The second type of distress is the “prisoner”. In verses 10 through 16, we read the prison walls we create when we depart from HIM. Allowing our fear, our anxiety, our anger, or our depression to imprison us, placing walls around our emotions and every other aspects of our lives. Like a prisoner, we feel trapped and a sense of hopelessness. That feeling of not being worthy is Satan whispering that no one can help, when we only need to cry out to HIM and HE will save s.

The third type of distress is “sickness”. In verses 17 through 20, we learn how our immoral behavior and actions that go against GOD’S WORD are a form of sickness. Such sickness erodes our sense of right and wrong, creeping slowly into our daily lives and eventually consuming our lives. Like a common cold, we start out with a little bad (sniffle) and think we can control it. But like a cold, that little white lie (bacteria) grows and develops into a life-ending sickness.  

The last type of distress is “the storm-tossed”. In verses 23 through 30, we are reminded that GOD is the Creator of all things and HIS WILL is for our good (Jeremiah 29:11). Yet this up and down process we call life tests your heart and soul. How many times have you been at the bottom and felt you can’t go any further, only to be back at the top in no time? Such emotional roller coasters can be overwhelming if you attempt to do it alone, instilling a feeling of being at your wit’s end.  If we will cry out to the LORD and HE will deliver us out of these wild rides. GOD will guide us to happiness, if we would only commit ourselves to our faithful CREATOR (1 Peter 4:19).

But I started this writing focusing in on Praising GOD and that takes me back to verses 1 through 3. In verse 1, we are reminded why as the redeemed we must give thanks to the LORD. GOD wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of truth (1 Tim. 2:4). This means all mankind, from all parts of this world and through the redeemed, all can be introduced to the CREATOR.  

I know that we all have a lot to be thankful for this year, we need only look in the right direction to see how fortunate we are. If you are drawing a minimal salary, PRAISE GOD for being employed. IF you are not feeling well, PRAISE GOD for your immune system fighting for you. Even if you’re weighed down with life’s challenges, PRAISE GOD for the many bountiful blessings you do have!