Sculptures created from oak trees destroyed by hurricane Katrina in Bay St. Louis.
Well, here it is…the start of a brand new year, for the world in general and for me, in particular, as I will be sixty-one years old in a couple of days.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions any more, but I do want to start this new year of my life by remembering God’s faithfulness to me and my family this past year…and by blessing Him with my gratitude and praise.
In Psalm 103 we are exhorted to bless the Lord and to remember (forget not) all His benefits.
In verses 1-5 we read:
Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
* For more encouragement you can read this Psalm in its entirety here…
Salvation, healing, deliverance, being crowned with loving-kindness and tender mercies, and our youth renewed…these are truly wonderful benefits!
Yet, there are even more, for daily He loads us with benefits ~ Psalm 68:19…
and here are just a few of the benefits for which I am thankful for:
The Blessing of Family ~
For the time I still have with my elderly mother, and time spent with my husband and our son and his family.
For all our precious grandchildren, near and far…how I love their dear faces and the sound of their sweet voices and infectious laughter. They are truly beautiful souls!
There is nothing so pure and true as the love of a child, and I am forever grateful to have their love, and to be their Nana.
(Painting by Artist Frederick Morgan)
The Blessing of Home ~
I am so grateful for our home, it is our haven here on this earth…and I love being greeted by the morning sunlight as I pour myself a big mug of coffee to start the day.
I’m also thankful that I can get out of bed each morning to take care of our home. When I was a child, I was in an accident that injured my lower back, and there have been far too many times when I have been almost completely bedridden for days and weeks at a time.
It is always such a blessing to be able to do simple chores again after a long bout of illness or disability. When I start getting crabby about the seemingly endless dish washing in our home, I remind myself what a blessing it is just to be able to stand at the sink for a few minutes, and to have food to put on those dishes…that usually puts an end to the crabbiness!
The Blessing of Beauty in Creation ~
I’m so grateful that God created beauty. It. Is. Everywhere.
We are surrounded by it, and all this beauty is just one of the many ways in which He reveals Himself to us.
Finally, the blessing of beautiful sunsets, such a lovely way to end the day.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits!
Although none of us can know what the future holds, if we know the One who holds the future we can face the coming year with hearts filled with hope and peace.
May you and your loved ones walk in the covenant care of God now and always.
Below is one of my favorite poems from an old “Streams in the Desert” devotional. It never fails to bless me no matter how many times I read it.
“He was better to me than all my hopes;
He was better than all my fears;
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.
“The billows that guarded my sea-girt path,
But carried my Lord on their crest;
When I dwell on the days of my wilderness march
I can lean on His love for the rest.
“He emptied my hands of my treasured store,
And His covenant love revealed.
There was not a wound in my aching heart,
But the balm of His breath hath healed.
Oh, tender and true was the chastening sore,
In wisdom, that taught and tried,
till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.
“He guided my paths that I could not see,
By ways that I have not known;
The crooked was straight and the rough was plain
As I followed the Lord alone.
I praise Him still for the pleasant palms,
And the water-springs by the way,
For the glowing pillar of flame by night,
And the sheltering cloud by day.
“Never a watch on the dreariest halt,
But some promise of love endears;
I read from the past, that my future shall be
Far better than all my fears.
Like the golden pot, of the wilderness bread,
Laid up with the blossoming rod,
All safe in the ark, with the law of the Lord,
In the covenant care of my God.”