This devotional appeared first on Susan Cady’s blog, Get Real!
We continue our study of Psalm 86:11-13, as we seek to prepare our hearts and homes in order to celebrate what’s truly important this Christmas season. (Download/Print the study guide, including family activities and Preparing Our Home ideas)
I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. —Psalm 86:12
Last week we looked at cultivating a grateful heart. Today our focus is a giving heart. I love to shop and give gifts and I have a tendency to “over do”. But over 15 years ago when the Lord began to impress on my heart the need to focus more on Christ and less on the commercialism of the season, He really did a huge work in my life and in the lives of my family as it related to giving and generosity. (I shared this story with you in an earlier post.)
A grateful heart produces a giving heart. I find in my own life the more grateful I am for things in my life, big and small, the more I desire to give and serve others. It’s the overflow of the gospel at work in my heart and life.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. —Colossians 3:16-17
A grateful and giving heart is also a heart that glorifies the Lord. The word hallelujah in the Old Testament is a combination of two words:
Halal, one of the Old Testament word for praise meaning to praise, to shine forth light, to be bright, to boast, to celebrate, to glorify. At the heart of this root word is the idea of radiance. The well-known imperative phrase in the Hebrew “hallelujah” called for giving glory to God.
Jah is a contracted form of the word Jehovah(Yahweh) —LORD. It is the proper name of God. It is the name by which He has been know from the creation of the world and it is His forever name. I AM who I AM (Exodus 3:14-16). Jehovah means “He who is” and He subsists in a manner superior to all other beings! He is the self-existent, all sufficient One. He is the One who was, who IS and who will be. His name Yahweh/Jehovah, LORD, is often compounded with another word to describe the character of the Lord in greater detail. For example, Jehovah-Jireh in Genesis 22:14, the LORD who provides or in Exodus 17:15, Jehovah-Nissi, the LORD is my banner. Jah is the contracted form of this name. (Note: In the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation, they print JAH whenever this contracted form of the Lord God appears. It is found particularly in the Psalms).
We can translate hallelujah as Praise He is! I love that and so often I need that. I need to know that He IS in this moment. That He IS sovereign. That He IS all-powerful. That He IS unfailing love and so much more. There is great comfort for me in knowing God IS present in my every moment. Therefore, HE is to be the object and focus of my worship, because He alone is worthy. And when I focus on the greatness of the Great I AM, my preoccupation with self diminishes.
In Week 3 of the study guide, you’ll find Psalm 107 broken down into sections. Read through each section and note what you learn about those redeemed by the Lord, those He has redeemed from trouble and gathered to Himself. As you read through each of the sections of Psalm 107, note the people involved. What were they facing? What were their circumstances? Then note what God does for them and how He meets their needs —all because He is!
What would your Psalm 107 be? Write your story of how God has worked in your life and reasons you have for giving thanks. Hallelujah, Praise He IS…
“When it comes right down to it, these are the only two possible responses to Jesus Christ. We either want to be kings ourselves, as Herod did, or we surrender to the King of kings. We crucify him or we worship him. There is no middle ground.” —Ann Hibbard
How can you be more intentional about cultivating a heart of gratitude and giving in your life? If you have children at home, what steps can you take to cultivate hearts of gratitude and giving in their lives? (This week’s Preparing our Home has a great idea). If there is something you’ve done in your family to foster generosity with your children, please share with us! Leave a comment.
The Orphan Advent Calendar – These calendars are free from Lifesong for Orphans. It’s an advent calendar with Scripture reading for each day, a prayer focus for orphans along with an activity to complete to that involves teaching our children to give to those in need. 100% of the profits go towards orphan care. For more info or to order a calendar visit, Lifesong for Orphans Advent Calendar
Gifts of Serving – One of the gifts our children gave to one another was a gift of service. They would give each of their siblings a gift certificate redeemable for some chore or task they would complete for them during the following year. We also encouraged a spirit of giving by participating as a family in Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, giving pajamas to homeless shelters for children and preparing stockings of toiletry items to give to indigent senior adults. Instead of just “giving” our children the money to purchase these items, we had them work extra chores or use their own earned money. Find a way to give back in your community and let your children invest personally and take ownership for the giving.