“The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23, ESV).
If you have not read about our Family Mission Statements, you can find the posts that introduce the idea, in two parts, one and two. In 2007 (and again in 2012), my husband and I sat down, and constructed our Family Mission Statement (s), in order to be more intentional about keeping God first and teaching that to our children. God’s Holy Word is at the foundation of our living and teaching. The daily application of this plan begins with memory work, hiding the Word in our hearts. Deliberately, we chose verses that would strengthen our faith and practice in the areas we saw as needing strengthening or deserving more attention.
We determined values that would support the Family Mission and compiled Bible verses that would flesh the Values out. This year, as a family, we have been reviewing these scriptures, starting with our 2007 list. Today’s verse is the first scripture under our Family Value “Practice Gratitude.” If you have ever wondered what gratitude can do for you, you should read One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, by Ann Voscamp, written in 2011. Or you could just do what we did in 2007…start by practicing gratitude.
My kiddos are both budding musicians. Gracie has been playing piano for four years. Josh is on guitar and drums. I have talked here before about the valuable lessons we are learning due to our children’s experience with music: Muscle Memory, More Music Lessons, and Staying in the Measure. I would say today’s memory verse is another time where the analogy of music practice is useful.
I tell my kiddos: the way you practice is the way you play. I think too that the way we practice our faith, is the way we live. So offering thanksgiving…lifting up praise for God’s blessings…is a practice that must be maintained. It is an important part of our walk because praising Him gives Him His rightful place – as the object of our worship. Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a devouring fire. (Heb 12:28-29).
And it reminds us that He is so good to us. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble (Psalm 107:1-2)
When we are grateful for His Grace, our hearts are set right, and obedience is the fruit that is yielded. This is the life abundant – that our obedience would result from gratitude for the Grace we have been given, and create in us, more gratitude and peace, and more obedience.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness (Col 2:6-7, NLT).
…if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9, ESV).
Practice. It means that we are not so good at it naturally. But the act of practicing is a faithfulness, a steadiness of purpose. Practicing is itself, an act of faith because we are proceeding with the hope that our continued efforts will rise as a song, making beautiful music with our lives.
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 forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100
So true! And what are you thankful for today? Name it – because, with practice, your heart will learn to play the music of gratitude! 🙂