Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Inhabiting Praises (A Thanksgiving Reality Check)


Thanksgiving has a lot to do with inhabiting. Either people inhabit our homes or we invade someone else’s place. Regardless, there’s the cliché stress, family issues and close proximity which makes us want to throw the turkey through the plate glass window. And that’s if we’re feeling generous. Let’s get real. Most of the time, we want to aim it at a family member’s skull. Or is that only me?

Hello out there?

We all give mental assent to how Thanksgiving should have an emphasis on gratitude. But practicing that? Well…

So, Psalm 22:3 doesn’t feel so great, especially when we’re this close to tearing Aunt Mabel’s hair out, strand by strand.

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

It’s hard to experience gratitude, let alone, be vessels for God to inhabit our giddy praises.

But we’re instructed NOT to grumble, complain, hair pull or throw any feast out of any portal.

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning.”

“Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.”

Not feeling great, are we about that, huh?

We’re not the only ones feeling a bit miffed by the grumbling issue. After all, let’s do a reality check. Aside from anyone within earshot of the family table, who else is hearing us mutter away?

Two guesses. The family dog? The family cat?

How about God? Oh, yeah. Forget about Him…

God has a history of dealing with this behavior…

“I have heard the grumbling of the people of Israel. Say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

“How long shall this wicked congregation grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against me.

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Now who wants to engage in a food fight? Yep, in the middle of every hustle and bustle, holiday party and excruciating family member, there is God, hearing about ALL of it. And how often does He REALLY hear the words “thank you?”

Are those crickets I’m hearing?

I’m all too guilty of it as well. I admit it- I don’t thank God NEARLY as much as I SHOULD. Despicable… shameful… petty…human…

Sigh. Yeah.

But before we all go and crawl under some rocks, let’s just stop and think on a few scriptures. God does not want us to be garden slugs. He does, however, want us to be mindful-not perfect-just mindful.

That’s where it starts. And it doesn’t have to take that much time or effort. So, let’s be MINDFUL of these scriptures, even in spite of ourselves, even in spite of an irritating family get together. Doable.

“I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.”

Psalm 7:17

“Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.”

Psalm 147:1

 “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”

Psalm 34:1

And even that last one, Psalm 34:1, is achievable if we look at it and separate the scripture from our feelings. They don’t always have to match. We don’t necessarily need to feel all oo-ey goo-ey. If all we can do is “go through the motions,” out of obedience to God, I believe He will honor that.

And I believe He starts with us WHEREVER we are in the process, let alone, holiday.

So, let’s start, wherever we are this Thanksgiving; let’s be mindful of thanking God. Just start by saying those two little words today. We’re all capable of at least doing that.

Happy Thanksgiving; God bless!!!

And yes, Thank You, God, for being soooooo good! I give You praise!

Copyright © 2016 by Sheryle Cruse




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