Tag Archives: personal

January 5 – Bless the Lord All My Days

“I will sing to the Lord as long as I live…”

Psalm 104 echoes God’s creation story.  Written many years after the establishment of the world we can join the psalmist in singing praise to God for the wonders of His handiwork and for His provision.  The song starts out with, Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty…” And verse after verse tells of God’s wonderful work in creation and how the earth is filled with goodness because God is a good God worthy of all praise. In many places throughout the Psalms the use of the words “bless” and “praise” are intertwined.  Isn’t it great how we, the creation, can bless the Lord, the Creator?  The author of this astonishing praise song exclaims how he will sing praise to the Lord all his life. “I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.”

These verses blessed me in January of 1998 as I read them while waiting for the results of an extensive procedure including tests for cancer.  I resolved that no matter how many days were yet before me, my lips would sing praise to God.  Russell and I sat across a worn wooden desk from a Chinese doctor in a Thai hospital to hear, “I so happy, you no cancer.”  My reply: “I so happy too!” From that appointment, we resumed our family vacation on a beach in Thailand.  My senses were newly alive. God’s love was deeper than the salty ocean that we splashed in with the kiddos.  Heavy elephants ambled while horses galloped across the sand under a brilliant blue expanse and all was framed by vibrant green mountains. When I heard my children’s laughter I smiled with thankfulness.  Time transformed day to night and warm air blew through a bejeweled sky.  My gratitude was made complete as I held Russell’s hand, so glad for the husband God gave to me to enjoy His goodness with.  The conclusion to Psalm 104 rings out loud and clear what we as those blessed by God are to do: Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord!

Psalms 104:1, 35b NKJV

January 3 – Blessed to Rest

What a spectacular universe the Lord has made!  Day after day He adds more splendor to the mix.  By the seventh day of creation, God had completed His masterpiece. Seeing that it was good, He stopped and He rested.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.  God rested. Be blessed to rest.  Trust that our heavenly Father knows best what we need, and we need time to set work aside and to rest.  Reflecting on His goodness refreshes us.

It was while in Spain during my enlistment in the Marine Corps, that I was first introduced to the concept of “siestas”, a time in early afternoon when business stopped and the Spaniards enjoyed naps.  Years later, when our family moved to China, we embraced an activity in the culture called “xiu xi”.  For an hour or so, in the afternoon, doors would not be knocked upon and all of China could rejuvenate for the evening interactions yet to take place.  These resting principles are similar to rest in God’s Story.  Sadly, many societies value work but do not value rest.  Often people try to get ahead by pushing through, seeking to fit more into a day already packed full, leaving little room for margin. From the beginning, however, God demonstrated that He valued rest a great deal.  It is good to work, and it is good to rest.  God did both.  May we have wisdom to do the same.

Genesis 2:3 NIV