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23 July – God’s goodness

give thanks

Being thankful and counting your blessings is actually a God given concept of how to live life well. The purposeful action of turning our attention onto what we can be thankful and God praise for causes us to shift our focus off ourselves and the day’s concerns or negatives.

God encourages us to give all our cares and concerns to Him, and expressively says for us not to worry. But there are some real keys in His word on how to actually live that out.

Some keys I have discovered can be found in Psalm 34. It says “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. On magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together. Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”

Here are some thoughts of how to follow and apply the advice of Psalm 34 everyday:

1.Give thanks – When we consciously choose to bless God and thank him with our mouths, our thoughts and emotions shift from anxiety and concerns to focusing on what God has done for us.

Find 10 good things – I always encourage myself to find ten good things in my day to be thankful for. Once I start doing that, I can often physically feel myself relax as I regain perspective of how much God does love and care for me. I thank Him for my family, my food, my health, friends, home, etc etc etc. We all have something to be thankful for, and it’s really important to recognise these things and not just disregard them, simply because we are having a bad day, or things aren’t exactly as we would like them to be. If we waited until everything was perfect we would never be thankful, and would miss a lot of what God has given us and is doing right under our noses.

The bible says,  “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

2. Praise silences the devil – Praise is a powerful weapon in our arsenal against evil. It’s how we resist the devil, and any attack formed against us. The bible actually says it silences our enemy. And it shifts our perspective and reminds us of how big God is to handle every anxious thought and situation we may be facing.

I’ve also discovered that praise is an on-ramp into heavenly places and God’s presence, for “We enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.”

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.“ (Psalm 100:4)

“From the lips of babes and infants you have ordained praise, because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2)

3. Keep your tongue from evil, and pursue peace – When we are busy continually thanking God and praising Him for all the good things in our lives we don’t have so much time for speaking evil and saying things that aren’t beneficial.  When I find myself slipping into thinking negatively again, I make an effort to switch my focus and start thanking God again. I then find it a lot easier to spend time looking for ways to bless others, to do good, and to seek after and pursue peace instead of grumbling and speaking evil.

“So let’s agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don’t drag them down by finding fault.” (Romans 14:19 Message Bible)

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” (Ephesians 4:29)

Give the wisdom of Psalm 34 a try today, and be free from anxiety, negativity and saying things that would probably be better left unsaid. Make it your aim today to be thankful, to praise God out loud, and to look for ways to do good and seek peace.

“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”(Colossians 3:15-17)

Prayer: Lord thank you that the things you encourage us to do are for our own good, and to help me to walk in joy and freedom. Let praise be continually in my mouth today, and that I would choose to be thankful instead of focusing on the negatives. In Jesus Name Amen.

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