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Bless, Praise, Thanks Always

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
(Psalm 34:1)

With these words I began to try and memorize that verse of Scripture. We are urged at our church to learn by heart Scriptures of our own choosing. This particular verse served to remind me that I am to bless and praise the Lord all the time.

Whether I can actually do that is another matter. It's much like praying as the Apostle Paul admonishes the Ephesians: "...praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..." (Ephesians 6:18), or to the Thessalonians, he says, "...pray without ceasing..." (1 Thessalonians 5:17); or Luke's admonition: "...that men always ought to pray and not lose heart..." (Luke 18:1); and Paul's: "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;" (Colossians 4:2).

"Always"? Lord, how can I ever remember to do just that?

As soon as that question crossed my mind, I looked up to the sky. After overnight showers, the sky had turned bright blue with clusters of fluffy white and gray clouds filling in here and there. Oh my!

"Oh, magnify the LORD with me and let us exalt His name together" (Psalm 34:3).

"Will this be the kind of cloud on which You will soon return?" I asked of Jesus. And I remembered,
"Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.'" (Acts 1:9-11)

I am taken away with just the thought of this Ascension scene! As I give voice to His mighty name, my thoughts return to another Word the Lord has for me to exclaim:
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, to the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever." (Psalm 30:11, 12)

I continue my memorization of Psalm 34 and am encouraged:
"This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them." (Psalm 34:6, 7)

Can we indeed cry out to God and give Him our blessing, praise and thanksgiving at all times?

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© Constance Vanides