Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Praise the Lord!

Reading: Psalm 104:35b – “Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord.”

Today’s reading is short and sweet. It centers on just one thing. So what does it mean or look like to praise the Lord?

The simplest and perhaps most obvious answer is worship. We gather together on a Sunday morning or a Saturday night or whenever to praise and worship the Lord. This formal setting often includes reading and proclaiming the scriptures, songs and/or hymns, prayer, and fellowship. There may be other elements too. These corporate gatherings are a way that we praise the Lord as the community of faith.

Some of these public worship practices are also a part of our personal faith life. In our daily quiet time we often read and meditate on scripture, we pray, and maybe we journal or write about our reflections on the word. In their quiet time some may thank God for their blessings, offer confessions… Each of these are also a means to praise the Lord.

Every time we listen to the Holy Spirit and follow the guidance or respond to the conviction with confession and repentance, we are praising the Lord. Being obedient and faithful to the voice or the nudge is another way that we bring praise to the Lord – by living a life of faith. The Holy Spirit often leads us to action: loving a neighbor, helping one in need, bringing consolation to the grieving… Not only is being the hands and feet of Jesus an act of praise – it invites the other to praise the Lord for what has been done on their behalf.

As we seek to live a life that praises the Lord, in what other ways do you praise the Lord?

Prayer: Lord God, you are ever present in my life. So I ask that you would use me today ever as a means of praise – whether it is me praising you in word or action or if it is these things drawing another to praise you. Amen.

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Times of Gathering

Advent is a time of gathering together.  To grow and develop in our faith we need the love and support of one another.  Without being intentional about being a community of faith, it can be easier to drift away from our faith.  In this season it can be easy to get caught up in the commercial side of Christmas.  Gathering together as a Christian community of faith reminds us of the true meaning of Christmas.

There are many ways to gather.  A group could gather to decorate the church or the homeof an elderly member.  A group could meet to bake holiday cookies and then go deliver them to a homebound member or to a nursing home.  A group could form and go sing Christmas carols at the jail or at a group home.  A group could gather once a week before school or work to study an Advent devotional.  A family could use an Advent calendar and pray together each day.  There are many ways to gather together to celebrate and share our faith.

Each of these practices are ways to connect us to our faith and to share that faith with others.  Each is a tangible way to be a witness to Christ’s love in our world.  In this holy season we live between what we know Christ did for us already and in the hopeof Christ coming again.  While our eternal hope rests secure in Christ’s resurrection power, we still long for His return when He will make all things new.  May we find ways to share the love of Christ with those in our lives so that they too may come to know the true meaning of Christmas.

Scripture reference: 1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13