First Verse, a journey through the Psalms: Psalm 47

Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
    Shout to God with joyful praise!
(Psalm 47:1, NLT)

Have you found things to give thanks about this month? Have you looked around and observed the precious things in life? Have you made the effort to tell someone thank you for something?

If you are, have you noticed a change in your overall attitude, a transformation in your countenance, a shift in your outlook on life.

Interestingly, these things happen when we choose joy rather than gloom.

But why would we want to do that? Aren’t some things bad enough to grumble about? I mean, if you knew the day I had, you’d understand why I have a reason to complain. If you understood my circumstances, you’d understand my sour disposition. If you really took a look at the world around us, wouldn’t you be worried, too?

True, I haven’t walked a mile in your shoes. But I have walked many miles in mine. And believe me, I’ve had my share of troubles, grumbles, sufferings, complainings, moanings and groanings. And I can testify, things didn’t get better because of it. Rather, they really seemed worse.

I needed to rethink my thinking. Maybe you do, too?

It’s been said we shouldn’t conform ourselves to the standards of this world (grumbling and complaining), but we should let God transform us inwardly by a complete change of our mind (our heart, our attitude).

Wisdom tells us “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25 )

So, if I’m worrying, I’ve loaded myself down with extra weight. Who wants to walk around with extra weight? Do I want to miss the opportunities to encourage someone else? Or I miss the person who tried to encourage me?

Wisdom also tells us “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (Proverbs 17:22)

Feeling tired lately? Could be negativity. Feeling weak? Could be a critical spirit. Let’s take a dose of the cure. A spoonful of gratitude, turning our heart from trouble to cheer.

Finally, Wisdom says, “A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.” (Proverbs 15:30 )

Good health sounds good to me, how about you? Do you have some good news? Share it and share it with a smile. It will not only bring you joy, but someone else as well. We can all use a little more joy.

Paul instructs us in his letter to the Philippians to “Always be full of joy in the Lord.” He goes on to say “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” He also told the Thessalonians to “Be thankful in all circumstances.”

I know, I know. It sounds quite challenging. If it was easy, well, we wouldn’t need the reminder, would we?

It really comes down to a choice. Will we choose the benefits of a thankful heart? Or the complications of a critical one?

James even tells us to “count it all joy.” Count what all joy? When the good times roll?  No, not really.  Rather he tells us to count it all joy when trouble comes. If that sounds a bit crazy, well, check it out. James makes a pretty good argument. James 1:2-8

Heavenly Father, You abide in the praises of Your people. And where you are, that’s where I want to be. So, I’m clapping my hands. I’m shouting with joyful praise. And I’m giving thanks for the big things, the small things, and all things in between.

Grace & Peace


About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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