Sunday, October 07, 2012

The power of a list

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 65:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion;
And to You the vow shall be performed." Psalm 65:1

Do you make lists?

I do. Lists to remind me of what needs to be done, organize my thoughts, help me with shopping and packing, keep me on track when I give a talk or speech ...

Psalm 65 is David's list of praise and thankfulness to God. He praises God for:
1. Hearing and answering prayers (Psalm 65:2)
2. Providing atonement / forgiveness for sin (Psalm 65:3).
3. Choosing people to come near to Him (Psalm 65:4).
4. Being approachable (Psalm 65:4).
5. The temple (Psalm 65:4).
6. The joy and satisfaction of living in God's presence (Psalm 65:4).
7. The way God inspires confidence (implied is the need to remember ways God has come through for him in the past) (Psalm 65:5).
8. God's power illustrated in nature — the grandeur of mountains, God's ability to calm physical and people storms (Psalm 65:6-7).
9. That He is visible and available to all on earth (Psalm 65:8).
10. The reliability of day and night (Psalm 65:8).
11. God's nourishment of the earth with rain (Psalm 65:9-10)
12. An abundant harvest (Psalm 65:11-12).
13. The beauty of a pastoral scene (Psalm 65:13).

David's list is a good example of one way we can set the tone of the day by focusing on God's gifts to us. Instead of dwelling on what's wrong with life, what we dread, fear, or regret, let's focus on the good stuff.

I'm going to spend some time today making a praise and thanksgiving list (especially fitting, because this is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada). Will you join me?

PRAYER: Dear God, I'm sorry for my frequent lapses into worry and ungratefulness. Today I choose to think about You and reflect on the things for which I can praise and thank You. Amen

MORE: A gratefulness community

Canadian writer Ann Voskamp began an initiative some years ago to encourage everyday gratefulness.  She challenges readers to, over time, list 1000 gifts which they jot down and share with others. These can be things as small as the comforting taste of bread and butter, to life-changing events like the safe birth of a baby.  Bloggers from around the world come together on A Holy Experience (Ann's blog) every Monday to share links to their writings of gratitude. There is a Gratitude Community on Facebook too. Though I finished my 1000 gifts project some time ago, I found listing things for which I am grateful such a powerful focus-changer I have continued the practice privately. Why don't you give it a try.

Ann's book One Thousand Gifts released in January 2011 and continues to be a best-seller.

Bible Drive-Thru
 (From the archives)

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