Devotional

A Song of Praise

Garden Devotionals – Spring 2021- Part 4 of 4

Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God; For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful. Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; sing praises on the harp to our God… Psalm 147:1,7 (NKJV)

The Dawn Chorus of birds fill the air with beautiful song at the first hint of light. Every morning the trills, coos, warbles, and chirps of various birds join together from the tree outside my bedroom window. The mockingbird adds his variety of songs. Joyfully they begin each day. They do not worry or get too busy to begin their music. I believe they are praising their Creator.

The LORD desires our praise, for praise glorifies Him. God wants us to praise Him for who He is, His attributes and His character. He is the Creator who determines the number of the stars and names them. He lovingly cares for each of us, as well as the rest of His creation. He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens that cry….the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love. (Psalm 147:4, 9, 11). He is the one true God. He is truth. There is no falsehood with the Lord. We can rejoice in God because He keeps His promises.

The LORD is just and righteous, unable to look on sin. But because He also loves us unconditionally, His Son Jesus shed His own blood to pay the penalty for our sin so we could have His forgiveness.  He is our provider, forgiver, and the healer of our mind, body, and spirit.

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Praise not only glorifies God, but lifts our souls. I find it harder to complain while I’m praising God for what He has done or is doing in my life or in the lives of my loved ones. Worry about the future is displaced when I praise the Lord for providing for our past needs and often our wants too. Remembering His past provision, even while my husband was unemployed, helps me to trust Him with my future.

I’ve learned that praise can even be part of grief.  While my father was suffering with terminal cancer, I was able to praise God for how much closer Dad began to walk with Jesus, and for the lives of friends that turned to the Lord as a result of Dad’s testimony and his death. The pain of saying goodbye for now was there, but as I turned to the Lord, He helped me. He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.   

The LORD is worthy of praise! As the Psalmist said in Psalm 147:5, Great is our LORD, and abundant in power; His understanding is beyond measure.

Lord, may I praise You daily like the dawn chorus of birds do each morning. You are worthy of all praise. You are great, Lord. Your power and understanding are beyond measure. Amen.  

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Thank you for joining me and for reading my devotional blogs.  Blogs post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.

For information on making your garden a home for birds, see my article “Planting to Encourage Birds” on my Gardening page.

Devotional

Remember

Come to the Garden Series

I will extol You, my God, O King: and I will bless Your name forever and ever. One generation will praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.  Psalm 145: 1,4,7 (NKJV) 

My cousin has a special spot in her garden, a place set aside where she can go to remember our grandmother. In it are Grandma’s chrysanthemums, tulips, her Mother’s Day peonies and other flowers from Grandma’s garden.

My own garden of memories is scattered throughout my flower beds. Special plants remind me of my parents and other people I’ve been blessed to know and love. The Paperwhites and Jade plants from the home I was raised in remind me of my parents and brother. The purple bearded irises especially remind me of Mom, as she generously shared them. The red Chrysler Imperial rose reminds me of Dad. Other roses bring to mind my friend Judy, or our family’s trip to the Rose Parade. Some plants have been chosen by my children or have come from friends, and I think of each one when I see “their” fern, bush, succulent, or flower. I use the memories to pause to pray for him or her, and to thank my Lord for putting that individual in my life.

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The LORD often called His people to remember what He had done for them, and to teach those things to their children and grandchildren. The Passover feast reminds the Israelites of God’s deliverance from their slavery in Egypt. When Joshua took over leadership after Moses, the Lord told Joshua to have the twelve tribes of Israel pick up stones from the midst of the Jordan River, and they heaped the stones on the bank and in the river as memorials of their crossing on dry land through the river (Joshua 3 and 4). The Lord’s Supper is also a memorial, instituted by Christ Jesus in remembrance of Him and of how He gave His blood and body for us. (Luke 22:19-20).

I think God calls us to remember and to tell of His works to each other so we will remember Him and what He has done for us. He knows how forgetful and unthankful we can be! King David realized the importance of remembering, for he told the Lord, “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. People will speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.” (Psalm 145: 5, 6 NASB20)

Whether it is with a special plant, a pile of rocks, or a special meal, let’s find ways to remember to pray for others, and to meditate on God and how He has been at work in our life.  Keeping a journal helps us remember how the Lord has answered prayer or acted on our behalf in the past. We can see God’s faithfulness and provision in the small and the large things in our lives. Those memories can be shared with our families, so they know the way God has been with us and with them. Lessons we’ve learned can be taught to others. Like King David, we can commit to blessing and praising the Lord every day so that we quickly remember what the Lord has done for us.

How many things can you praise God for today?

Lord, help me to remember what You have done in my life and in the lives of my family. Help me to tell my children and extended family of the blessings You have provided. Help me teach them the lessons You have taught me. In doing this, “One generation will praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness.”  Amen.

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Devotionals post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.

Thank you for joining me! I would love for you to leave your comments.

Devotional

Prayer: Hold On to the Lifeline

When Storm Clouds Gather series, devotional # 7

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry in distress, and He hears my voice. (Psalm 55:16, 17 NIV)

A storm can make it hard to know where we are going. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, On the Bank of Plum Creek, Laura described a blizzard so bad that Pa was lost in it for four days without knowing that he was very close to home. He couldn’t see the light in the window. During the blizzard, Ma had to hang onto the clothesline to find her way from the house to the barn to care for the animals, or she would have been lost. The clothesline acted as a lifeline.

In the storms of life, such as financial setback, ill health, or other crisis, we may not see our way to safety. The path ahead can be dark, and we may not feel God’s presence. It’s easy to lose our direction, our hope, and our peace.

Prayer is our lifeline.

Prayer is talking to God. It doesn’t need to be full of ‘spiritual’ phrases. Our Heavenly Father wants us to communicate with Him, just as we want our children to communicate with us. The Lord listens and He answers our prayers.

Jesus expects us to pray. When He taught the disciples how to pray in Matthew, chapter six, He said “When you pray”, not “If you pray.”

The Apostle Paul also told believers to pray. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Sometimes we may not know how to pray, or what to ask of our loving Heavenly Father. Is what we are asking according to God’s will?

We have a Helper. Paul assured us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us … And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26, 27 NIV)

In 1988 I heard a Focus on the Family broadcast that ultimately changed my prayer life. Dr. James Dobson was interviewing Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch International (now called Moms in Prayer International). Fern described how she and other women gathered weekly to pray for an hour for their children and for their children’s schools. I looked at my three-month-old daughter and decided that when she entered Kindergarten, I would join a Moms in Touch (MITI) group. When that day came, I was fearful. I’d known Jesus since my childhood, yet how would I pray for an hour? I certainly couldn’t imagine that I would later lead MITI groups and eventually teach Moms in Prayer (MIPI) on mission trips.

I learned how to pray using Scripture, as I’ve done using I Thessalonians 5:16-17 in the prayer below. The following prayer format used by Moms in Prayer still helps me to pray. I hope that it helps you.

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  • Praise – Praising God for who He is, His attributes, His name, or His character.
  •  Confession – Confessing your sins to the God who forgives. (In a MIPI meeting the confession is done silently.)
  • Thanksgiving – Thanking God for what He has done.
  • Intercession – Coming to God in prayer on behalf of others.

Writing and dating the prayer requests and God’s answers to prayer in a prayer journal helps us to see the way God has worked on our behalf in the past and reminds us that God will answer in the future. Let’s talk with God.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for being the God who listens. I confess that I grumble and I forget to seek You. Please forgive me. Thank you for loving me. Please help me to rejoice always, pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus. Amen.