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Sunday Devotion: 3 January 2021, Second Sunday after Christmas

Sunday Devotions

For what can we praise God?

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Written by clergy and lay people across our Diocesan community, ‘Sunday Devotions’ is a column of short reflections based on a Lectionary reading of the day, suitable for small group discussion or personal use.

Main Readings: Jeremiah 31.7-14 or Sirach 24.1-12; Psalm 147.12-20; Ephesians 1.3-14; John 1.(1-9) 10-18

Supplementary Readings: Psalm 147.1-11; John 5.19-25; Isaiah 44.1-8, 21-23; Psalm 104.11-25;

“Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God; for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting.” (Psalm 147.1)

When I first became a conscious believer in Jesus, I had great difficulty understanding how I could offer praise to God. I heard other Christians giving such praise; however, I was unable to do so.

Today’s reading from Psalm 147 ends with three words, “Praise the Lord!”, which also start the Psalm, as I have quoted above. The writer of the Psalm then lists the significant matters he encouraged Jews of his day to use as a guide for their praise of the Lord. I have learned from these sorts of lists to make my own list of items to enable me to give praise to the Lord, including strength to live, peaceful surrounds, nutritious and life-giving food, seasonal changes, sunshine and rain.

I have also added the great blessings every believer in Jesus receives because of his life, death, resurrection and ascension. Over the years I have kept such lists and added to them as I have read the Scriptures. When I read these lists, I can give praise to the Lord no matter what else may be going on around me or within me. The Apostles, Paul and John, help me a great deal to expand my list with what they have written in the two New Testament readings for today, Ephesians 1.3-14 and John 1.10-18.

You may struggle with some of the phrases used in these passages, but I want to encourage you to put into your own words the blessings Jesus brings you.

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