Everyday Praise

Sleeping BoyThis morning, my eyes opened (1) to see my young son (2) sleeping right next to me (3). His hair smelled of chlorine (4) and he was breathing/snoring in that special way of a child completely at peace (5). Not wanting to disturb him (6), I got out of bed slowly (7) and walked (8) carefully to the bathroom (9) and shut the door so the sunlight (10) would not awaken him.

Monday mornings are hard…and the Monday morning after a long holiday weekend is even harder. But before I even began to consider the demands of the coming work day, the Lord – the God Who created all things and upholds them all by the Word of His power – had seen fit to rain down blessings on me before I had even hit an acceptable level of consciousness.

  1. Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me the great, entirely-unearned gifts of life and breath on this average, back-to-work Monday.
  2. Father God, thank you for the great and unexpected gift of a son late in life, a blessing I was too stupid to ask for.
  3. Holy Spirit, thank you for changing my harsh outer demeanor such that my young son finds “safety” lying next to me.
  4. My Lord, thank you for the great gifts of Christian community and the fun we all had the day before at “Mr. Aaron’s Pool.”
  5. Jesus, thank you for the great gift of peaceful rest, both for my son and for the rest of our household.
  6. Spirit, thank you for the softening work you have done in my heart, a chipping-away that often causes my first thought to go to serving others.
  7. Jesus, thank you for the physical ability to get out of bed unaided, a great and powerful gift I tend to take for granted.
  8. Lord, thank you for the ability to walk, for the power that You alone provide to help me start my day.
  9. Father God, thank you for providing our family the means to own – or at least make payments on! – a home of our own, a special place that provides all of us with great comfort and stability.
  10. Lord Jesus, all praise to You for giving us, Your fallen creation, another day – with sunshine! – to draw closer to You and for Your forbearance in bringing richly-deserved judgment.

Seriously?The events described in my opening paragraph really took place this morning. Most days, my alarm goes off and I struggle to remember my name, let alone what I’ve been reading and learning about through the ministries of The Crossing. Most days, I’m not even 100% certain that I am a Christian prior to 10:00 a.m. Therefore, I am deeply grateful that my relationship with Christ does not depend on me or my faithfulness. Rather, I wake up confident that He will do something with me, assuming that I am willing. One of the first things He does is remind me of those times in my life when I had none of the blessings listed above, and that there will come a time in the future when all of those blessings will fade into memory, or perhaps even oblivion.

The Bible has a lot to say about gratitude, and yet we Americans tend to be some of the most ungrateful people ever to have walked the Earth. We grouse about trivialities such as “too much traffic” in Columbia, Missouri. We shove food and drink in our mouths with scarcely a thought as to our supply drying up one day. We drive to work in cars that most people could never afford and we complain about the paint chip we noticed on our hood last week. I’m no different than anyone else in this regard; I constantly have to remind myself to ask God to open my eyes to the everyday blessings that He has ordained, and then to follow up with, “What do You have for me today, Lord?”

Try this. The next time you are fighting with someone over where you will go to eat dinner, which shoes you should wear or what route is quickest, stop a moment and silently ask God to show you what a fool you are being, and how ingratitude has been used to stoke the fires of rebellion in your heart. I didn’t wake up exactly thrilled to be crowded to the edge of “my” bed, but being quick to call on the Lord for wisdom brought me to my senses before I even got to a closet filled with clothes, “forced” to make a decision about what to wear today.

Night LightGod will be gracious to you in this, I feel certain. He will only show you what He alone knows that you can bear. If He were ever to show you the thousands upon thousands of blessings that He has provided to you in one 24-hour period, it would be more than any of our souls could bear. Amen?

Deuteronomy 6:4-12 (ESV, emphasis mine):
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you – with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant – and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

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