This ‘blog’ (so called) makes no pretension to be comprehensive in its scope, or of the coverage of topics within that scope. Even still, it seems very clear to me that the treatment of one topic is particularly and distinctly lacking, given that it is written by a confessing Christian: praise. For a blog that is written by someone who calls himself a follower of Jesus Christ, much time appears to be spent on ruminating and introspecting, and very little spent on praising God for his character, and thanking him for his deeds.
I guess that there are a few explanations for that.
One of those would be, quite simply, that I’m an ingrate. That is undoubtedly true; that reality is at the heart of the sinful human nature, and can be particularly evidenced in the way that I tend to take God’s good gifts for granted.
Another is probably a reactionary position evident in the theological tradition that I have grown up in; that ‘worship’ constitutes the whole of one’s life’s actions, rather than centring on the words that we speak and sing. That is not only the theological tradition that I have grown up in, but also that which I have come to agree with. There’s nothing wrong with the position itself, but I think that its proponents often act in a way that is largely reactive, responding to those theological traditions that see ‘worship’ as a more spoken/sung phenomenon; that is, that those who hold a similar position to my own often place too little an emphasis on spoken and sung praise, as a reactionary separation from those who may take an opposing focus. Anyone who has read the book of Psalms should be able to tell you that this reaction is not entirely appropriate.
Anyway, this post is steadily going the same way as this blog usually does; towards rumination and introspection. It’s probably time to move on.
The reality is that I have much to praise God for. I could fill a much more prolific blog than this with the things which I can praise God for. No, scratch that; no blog, no matter how many contributing writers, no matter how prolific, could exhaust the content of God’s goodness to me.
In light of all the above, I want to thank and praise God for the many blessings that he has showered on me so far this year; a year that not even I (the ingrate that I am) could fail to be thankful for.
Some of those blessings that God has given to me this year (this list makes no claims to be anywhere near to exhaustive) are:
- A vastly improved Bible-reading habit; so much so that it’s nearly impossible to compare with that previously practiced.
- Huge improvement in areas of my life that had been racked with significant, persistent and damaging sin.
- New friendships, and deepened old friendships, that have been thoroughly edifying in character.
- The opportunity to be part of a church plant with a fantastic team of people (who’ve been a great pleasure to share life with, and join in mission with), and where we have seen God bless us richly in his provision for us, in bringing along people to share in fellowship with us, and in using us to share his gospel with many others.
- A welcoming and supportive environment for my first teaching prac.
- A number of great evangelistic opportunities, and a greater desire to take them (although the latter there still requires a great deal more work).
- A wealth of great (including some that are really quite exciting) options for life after I finish uni.
- A greater appreciation of his grace shown to me in Jesus, as well as of the implications that truth has for my life.
- His continued provision of breath and life (and all that is required for it), in spite of the fact that my rebellion against him renders me deserving of death, and being cut off from him.
I understand that maybe a couple of those points may give the impression that I am attempting to blow my own horn. Please believe me when I say that that is not the case. Those points that may give that impression represent things that I had put a lot of work into trying to change, but largely in my own strength; I am thoroughly convinced that the difference that has been evident this year has not been of myself, but of God.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.