Have a Blessed Thanksgiving Celebration!

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Thanksgiving 2017

Make this Thanksgiving Day weekend a memorable one, not just another holiday! Here's a couple of encouragements towards a memorable and meaningful time of Thanksgiving—

Be thankful, be gracious, be merciful, for this honors the Lord and will, in turn, bless you. Be a blessing rather than seek to be blessed, for this will cause others to be thankful.

Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord cheerfully. Come into his presence with a joyful song.

Realize that the Lord alone is God. He made us, and we are his.

We are his people and the sheep in his care.

Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving. Come into his courtyards with a song of praise. Give thanks to him; praise his name.

The Lord is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation

A psalm of thanksgiving — Psalm 100:1-5 GW


God is our Creator and Redeemer, the One who keeps us and rescues those who trust in Him. If you know this, come, sing praises and worship Him with your mouth and life!

Come, let’s sing for joy to the Lord. Let’s shout praises to the Rock who saves us.

Let’s come to him with thanksgiving. Let’s sing songs to him, because the Lord is the great God, the great King over all gods.

Come, let’s worship him and bow down.

Let’s kneel before the Lord who made us, because he is our God and we are the people he takes care of, the sheep that he tends.

Psalms 95:1-3, 6, 7 NCV

Hallelujah!

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Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament!

Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! [vss 1-2]

Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!

Praise Him with the timbrel and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!

Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with clashing cymbals!

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! [vss 3-6]

(Psalms 150:1-6 GW)


Hallelujah is universally known as an expression of praise. It literally means—Praise the LORD! The LORD—the Self-Existent and Eternal One. Our human desire and need for praise in some form are also universal. It's connected to the basic need of every soul who cries out for acceptance and approval— pure love.

Our pets demonstrate a similar need for attention and affection. Studies even show people with pets are usually happier because of the mutual care between the pet and their master.

However, an unintended but common consequence of the attention and affection shown to pets is the lack of showing the same to people, especially significant others.

The reason for this is complicated because relationships with people are complicated. Why? Because of the expectations we put on relationships and the inevitable disappointments and hurts resulting from unmet expectations.

Another inherent need is expressing praise not just receiving it. Something comes alive in us when we express genuine and heartfelt praise. It fills us with joy and contentment. As a parent and grandparent, I receive joy and love when I show my joy and love for my children and grandchildren.

Likewise, when I express my love and affection to my wife I enjoy a connection and fulfillment I miss out on when I keep my thoughts and words of love and affection inside, unexpressed.

Psalm 150, the final expression of praise in this collection of prayers and songs is a reminder we are all created for a greater purpose than what typically fills our life.

God breathed life into us. He sustains our life. He provided a means of knowing Him intimately and personally. When we praise Him in a genuine way, we experience a fulfillment and freedom not found anywhere else with anyone else on earth.

Only one word is adequate to express that sense of true fulfillment and freedom—Hallelujah!

Do you know or desire to know true fulfillment and freedom deep within your soul?

God—the Creator and Sustainer of all life—calls us into a universal chorus of praise with all creation to be expressed in many ways. Join in with your own Hallelujah!

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

Pull Out All the Stops and Praise Him!

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Hallelujah!

Praise the Lord from the heavens. Praise him in the heights above.

Praise him, all his angels. Praise him, his entire heavenly army.

Praise him, sun and moon. Praise him, all shining stars.

Praise him, you highest heaven and the water above the sky.

Let them praise the name of the Lord because they were created by his command.

He set them in their places forever and ever. He made it a law that no one can break. [vss 1-6]

Praise the Lord from the earth.

Praise him, large sea creatures and all the ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and fog, strong winds that obey his commands,

mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedar trees,

wild animals and all domestic animals, crawling animals and birds,

kings of the earth and all its people, officials and all judges on the earth,

young men and women, old and young together.

Let them praise the name of the Lord because his name is high above all others. His glory is above heaven and earth.

He has given his people a strong leader, someone praiseworthy for his faithful ones, for the people of Israel, the people who are close to him.

Hallelujah! [vss 7-14]

(Psalms 148:1-14 GW)


What is worship? It's a simple word but hard to adequately explain or describe. How is worship expressed? There are myriads of forms and ways for worship to be expressed, along with many opinions about it.

Our current English word worship originally came from the old English word—worth-ship—the realization and response to someone of great value, power, or who is worthy of respect.

Attempts to define or describe worship sound bland and academic. But when a person sees true worship they know! Even better, when a person experiences the freedom and fulfillment of genuine worship, it defies explanation.

This psalm helps us understand worship with its exhortation for all creation to worship God. It declares—Pull out all the stops and praise Him! 

It's like hearing a pipe organ at full volume in a great cathedral, as the organist pulls out all the stops—or a choir singing acapella—filling a cathedral reaching towards heaven.

Psalm 148 exhorts worshippers in two realms—heaven and earth. It begins with the great universal expression of praise and worship—Hallelujah! 

All heavenly beings and the heavenly elements of creation are called upon to exalt their Creator and Eternal Ruler. A glimpse of this is found in the gospel of Luke, as the birth of Jesus is announced to the shepherds near Bethlehem (Luke 2:8-14).

Then the earthly realm is encouraged to praise the Creator and Sovereign overall all. This includes all the elements of creation on earth and all beings on earth from animals to kings. Why?

...because his name is high above all others...His glory is above heaven and earth.

The glory, majesty, and splendor of God exceed the honor of whatever and whoever is on earth. A simple illustration of this is the awe we sense when viewing a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Words fall short and it can't be captured in a photo.

We all know that sense of awe. It is the seed planted in our heart that grows into worship!

When is the last time you stopped to watch a sunrise or sunset or took in a breathtaking landscape?

Take time to see the glory and splendor of God displayed in the heavens and earth and join in the chorus of praise!

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

A More Sure Hope

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Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, my soul!

I want to praise the Lord throughout my life. I want to make music to praise my God as long as I live.

Do not trust influential people, mortals who cannot help you.

When they breathe their last breath, they return to the ground. On that day their plans come to an end.

Blessed are those who receive help from the God of Jacob.

Their hope rests on the Lord their God, who made heaven, earth, the sea, and everything in them. The Lord remains faithful forever.  [vss 1-6]

He brings about justice for those who are oppressed. He gives food to those who are hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free.

The Lord gives sight to blind people. The Lord straightens ⌊the backs⌋ of those who are bent over. The Lord loves righteous people.

The Lord protects foreigners. The Lord gives relief to orphans and widows. But he keeps wicked people from reaching their goal.

The Lord rules as king forever. Zion, your God rules throughout every generation. Hallelujah! [vss 7-10]

(Psalms 146:1-10 GW)


A quick look at current events around the world reveals how many disasters and turmoils exist. In one sense, it's nothing new. But our awareness of it all at one time is new because of the internet and social media.

Natural and man-made disasters have occurred throughout history. Conflict over immigration and oppression aren't just American or European issues—they're worldwide and have continued for centuries and centuries.

When atrocities and tragedies take place some common questions get asked. Where's God? Doesn't He see what's happening? Doesn't He care?

This psalm reminds us that God cares far more than anyone who's ever lived on the earth. He has always cared. God has intervened on behalf of those in need and oppressed many times throughout history. Many have testified of it over and over again.

God even came in person to provide a solution—a way of reconciling and restoring all humanity. This psalm reminds us that it's God's nature to care and to help those in need and oppressed.

Many people trust in themselves, or people with influence and wealth, or a government or a sovereign ruler. But all these are a very limited source of help and hope.

When they breathe their last breath, they return to the ground...their plans come to an end.

But those who trust in God have a more sure hope and enduring source of help. God is not limited and He is always faithful. And so, the psalmist shouts "Hallelujah!" An exclamation of praise understood around the world.

The Lord—

brings justice...gives food...sets prisoners free...gives sight...straightens...loves...protects...gives relief...and rules as king forever.

These actions are what we see in Jesus when He lived and ministered among people on earth. It's what God has always done for those who trust in Him (Isa 61:1; Luke 4:18-19).

Who are you trusting in? Do you have the sure hope found in the Lord?

There will always be uncertainty, turmoil, disasters, and oppression but the Lord is ever faithful and ready to help when you call out to Him and entrust your life to Him.

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!

Great, Compassionate and Good

I will highly praise you, my God, the king. I will bless your name forever and ever.

I will bless you every day. I will praise your name forever and ever.

The Lord is great, and he should be highly praised. His greatness is unsearchable.

One generation will praise your deeds to the next. Each generation will talk about your mighty acts.

I will think about the glorious honor of your majesty and the miraculous things you have done.

People will talk about the power of your terrifying deeds, and I will tell about your greatness.

They will announce what they remember of your great goodness, and they will joyfully sing about your righteousness. [vss 1-7]

The Lord is merciful, compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive.

The Lord is good to everyone and has compassion for everything that he has made.

Everything that you have made will give thanks to you, O Lord, and your faithful ones will praise you.

Everyone will talk about the glory of your kingdom and will tell the descendants of Adam about your might in order to make known your mighty deeds and the glorious honor of your kingdom.

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Your empire endures throughout every generation. [vss 8-13]

The Lord supports everyone who falls. He straightens ⌊the backs⌋ of those who are bent over.

The eyes of all creatures look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand, and you satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The Lord is fair in all his ways and faithful in everything he does.

The Lord is near to everyone who prays to him, to every faithful person who prays to him. He fills the needs of those who fear him.

He hears their cries for help and saves them. The Lord protects everyone who loves him, but he will destroy all wicked people.

My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all living creatures will praise his holy name forever and ever. [vss 14-21]

A song of praise by David. (Psalms 145:1-21 GW)


Fame is fleeting. It does not last. Even notoriety fades quickly, especially in our day of instant media notifications—regardless if it's true or false.

As generations come and go, what was once great or sensational is forgotten. One of many reasons history repeats itself.

King David understood the fickleness of people, their unfaithfulness, and their short memories. He understood the need for each generation of God's people to proclaim God's greatness to the next generation.

This is still a need today. Each generation is responsible to declare God's greatness and goodness to succeeding generations.

David gives us three things we need to communicate—God's greatness, His compassion, and His goodness. We are to share what we know through our own experience with the Lord and about the nature of God which transcends every generation's experience and existence.

Here are a few things David reminds us in this psalm—

  • God's greatness is unsearchable—it's beyond our comprehension and capacity to know or communicate in an adequate way.
  • The Lord is merciful, compassionate, patient, and always ready to forgive—this is His nature, unlike us.
  • The Lord is good to everyone and compassionate towards all He's created—His loving kindness exceeds whatever limits we think exist.
  • God's kingdom—His realm of sovereign rule—is an everlasting kingdom. It's far greater than that of any person or government on earth.
  • The Lord is fair and faithful and near to everyone who trusts in Him.

Have you realized God's greatness, compassion, and goodness in your own life? If so, have you declared this to anyone else, especially those of younger generation?

If you haven't experienced or realized God's greatness, compassion, and goodness, God is waiting for you to trust in Him personally and enter His everlasting kingdom.

©Word-Strong_2017


Would you like a free study guide for your study of Psalms?

Click Here to get a Free Psalms Study Guide

I won't cover all 150 Psalms, but do selective devotionals through the rest of Psalms.

So if I skip one that you like... let me know and I'll try to cover it!