Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. There are so many variables to each day. But one thing I’ve learned is that how I start the day affects much of what follows. As I read the Psalm scripture in this week’s worship lectionary, memories of peaceful God-infused mornings came back to me. Let me share from the first few verses of Psalm 66.
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.”
Take a deep breath and read these verses a second time. Then a third. Allow these thoughts and words soak through your mind and into your soul. Feel the peace.
Studies show that when you begin your day in a positive mood, it increases your chances of remaining happy as the day progresses. As I look back, I remember that starting my day focused on making a “joyful noise to God” was the most positive way I could start a positive mood, and I can personally attest to how it affected my day.
I wish I could tell you that having found this spirit-filled start to my day became a daily practice. It did, but only for a while. Somewhere, somehow, I lost that pattern. But reading this scripture today brought back memories that make me long to return to this type of morning routine.
I stop as I realize that if I don’t do something right now to make this change, I will continue to wake up each morning and entrench myself in the daily news from my online feeds. So, before I finish my next sentence, I am googling “Praise scriptures”.…
… I found numerous entries but the most promising is in Verse for the Day. https://www.verseoftheday.com/topics/praise/ where there are approximately 70 different praise scriptures written out. I’ve emailed it to myself and I’ve printed the few pages. Now when my alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m. the alarm label says “Offer Praise”. And by the bathroom mirror is taped page 1 of the praise verses.
I challenge you to do something similar. Print off a list of praise scriptures and tape it next to your bathroom mirror, or next to your coffee maker, or on the refrigerator – wherever you will pass it every day. Stop, take a deep breath and read the scripture once, twice, then a third time. You will find yourself less distracted and more focused when you get to the third read. Add a few words of your own and be thankful for God’s enduring love and peace. If you miss doing it in the morning, it is still there when you pass it again.
In closing, use these words in Psalm 104:33-34 as your words (reading 3 times): “I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the LORD.”
Author: Bonnie Barber
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Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.