Scripture Sunday

I Will Praise Thee Forever

Today my heart is overwhelmed with awe and thanks giving because of the greatness of God.

I am inspired by the song, How Great Thou Art.  A young Swedish minister, Reverend Carl Boberg of Monsteras, walked two miles along the southeast coast of Sweden in the rain and then was inspired to pen the words to this powerful, soulful song.  He was just 25 years old when he wrote the lyrics to this beloved song after trekking though a thunderstorm.  More than 40 years later, an English missionary, Stuart Hine, first heard the poem sung to a Swedish folk tune in Russia.  As Stuart Hine experienced a thunderstorm in the Carpathian Mountains, English verses began to form in his mind, verses that were suggested by portions of the Russian translation.

God is great.  His greatness does not diminish when we fail to acknowledge Him.  Our heartfelt devotions are actually for our own good.  He has no need for our honors, but our sincere gratitude help us in immeasurable ways as we strive for perfection in our own lives.

A worshipful awe for the goodness and greatness of God is an attitude — a way of life.  It is not a behavior to be turned on and off as we walk through chapel doors.  Reverence.  That is the word I have learned, early in my childhood, to describe worship.  Reverence is profound respect mingled with love.

I am greatly blessed.

The Prince of Peace cannot win our battles and conflicts that are raging in the hearts of men if we have not let Him in.  Peace cannot be realized in the world until we first let Him in to calm our individual troubles.  Jesus does offer this promise in John 14, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Jesus brings peace into our painful, broken, beautiful, and outrageous lives.  Whether the morning brings sunshine or storms, whether the sky is falling or is filled with rainbows, whether or not your bank account is full, your child loves you or is angry with you, you can still experience Christ’s peace within your heart.3078_2048x1536

As I grow older I am recognizing the need to see God in everything.  When I see great beauty I strive to respond with, “Wow.”  When I experience goodness through the acts of another I strive to respond with, “Thank you.”  When I hear truth, I strive to respond with, “YES!”  Responding to life in this way has brought light and joy into day-to-day living.

The greatest of all creations are us!  You!  Me!  God sees greatness in us.  He looked at His creations and said, “it is good.”

“If the Lord see greatness in you, how then should you see yourself?” – L. Tom Perry

Maturity has also reminded me this important principle: we tend to emulate those whom we admire.  When I take time each day to ponder God’s goodness and greatness, I am more successful in my efforts to be like Him; I am more successful in my efforts to repent.  I am beginning to understand Nephi’s feelings when he said, “O Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee” (2 Nephi 4:30).  Experience has taught me to “let go and let God.”  Recognizing how “big” God is and how “small” I am by comparison, I am better at placing my life in His hands.  I cannot create a flower.  I cannot create great mountains (unless you count laundry or dishes).  However, I can plant a seed.  I can climb hills (very slowly with lots of breaks).  I can bear a child.  I can do all these things because God, in wisdom and greatness, has made it all possible for me to do so.  See?  How great Thou art!

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Additionally, my appreciation of God’s greatness, goodness, and power is growing.  I am learning to recognize His hand in all things (see D&C 59:21).  I am learning to truly believe “Thy will be done.”  Sometimes it is still hard for me to be truly grateful during hard times, but it is getting easier.  Acknowledging God’s goodness is helping to boost my confidence and helping me to see my worth.

Seriously, see God in all things, the good and the hard is helping me to appreciate life and to see the beauty in life.  Simply rejoicing in the beauties of God’s creation has changed me: mountains, singing birds, blue skies, clouds, the flowers in my garden, a child’s smile. I am finding more joy.  I am finding that it is easier to accept things that I don’t like and can’t change.

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Making an effort to see God in small and simple things has helped me to develop a greater love for and understanding of Jesus Christ.  I have always had a testimony of Jesus as the Savior and Redeemer.  However, working to see His greatness has increased my understanding of His Atonement.  How grateful I am for the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

“My soul delighteth in the things of the Lord… I Lord, I will praise thee forever; yea, my soul will rejoice in thee, my God, and the rock of my salvation” (2 Nephi 4:16,30).

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