“How Great Thou Art”

         The birthing of a praise song to our Lord God comes in many ways. Each one of us has a story to tell of our walk with God. Each day we learn more deeply the joy of loving and trusting Him. It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to the Most High. It is good to proclaim your unfailing love in the morning, your faithfulness in the evening.  Psalm 92:1-2 
Why is praising God important?  How many times did I hear Grandma Daisy burst into song when she was overcome with the overwhelming goodness of God?  Her favorite song?  Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  (These words are the chorus of Awake my Soul and with the Sun (by Thomas Ken, in 1674)  Thanks, Mom, for showing me how praising God is from the heart showing love to the Lord. 
         Have you thought of all the ways God is to be praised? 
·      He is full of glory (Psalm 138:5)
·      Great (Psalm 145:3),
·      Wise and powerful (Daniel 2:20)
·      Good (Psalm 107:8)
·      Merciful and faithful (Psalm 89:1)
         There are many more attributes through His works.
·      He is the One who saves us (Psalm 18:46)
·      He keeps His promises (1 Kings 8:56)
·      He pardons sin (Psalm 103:1-3)
·      He gives us our daily food (Psalm 136:25)
         And if someone described our attributes, I can think of only two – I am forgiven and saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Have you tried to find his blessings all day long?  An inquisitive robin and three tiny jonquils, and one glorious dandelion greeted me as I stepped outside just now.  A bird was trilling a song of grace in the tree above me. The sky is darkened with clouds of impending rain and I praise God for His Goodness and thank Him.
         We ask, what about those times when we feel discouraged, lonely, and unsure? It becomes more than we can bear, what then? That is the time to remember an important fact.  For God made human beings in His own image. Genesis 9:6b.  God made us in his own image – and in I Corinthians 11:7b, it adds this – for man is made in God’s image and reflects God’s glory. And woman reflects man’s glory.
         How can we reflect God’s image when we follow the world’s ways of acting, thinking, and being?  We choose one or the other.  God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. I Thessalonians 4:7.
            The beginning step of holy living is to praise God and thank Him for our blessings.  Think more how great God is than the things of the world. We do not deserve ‘the things’, the world holds in high esteem, when we walk in humility. Gratefulness to God is the fruit we enjoy.
         Candid conversations with others about the scripture and the meanings bring me to a new understanding of praising God for His Greatness.  This must have been in Carl Gustav Boberg’s thoughts as he penned the words of How Great Thou Art! Boberg said… “It was in 1885 of southern Sweden, and in the time of year when everything seemed to be in its richest coloring: the birds were singing in trees and wherever they could find a perch. On a particular afternoon, friends and I had been to Kronoback where we participated in an afternoon service. As we returned, a thunderstorm began to appear on the horizon. We hurried to shelter. Thunder pealed in loud claps and the lightening flashed across the sky. Strong winds swept over the meadows and billowing fields of grain. However, the storm was soon over and the clear sky appeared with a beautiful rainbow.  After reaching my home I opened my window toward the sea. Evidently, there had been a funeral because the church bells played the tune of a hymn. That same evening I wrote the poem I entitled, ‘O Store Gud.’ (How Great Thou Art).
         The amazing thing is that in the early 1920’s, the Reverend and Mrs. Stuart K Hine left England and went to Poland as missionaries. It was there they learned the Russian version of Boberg’s song, ‘O Store Gud.’  From there, J. Edwin Orr introduced Hine’s translation of the song to audiences in the United States. In 1957, it began the orbit around the world by way of the Billy Graham New York Crusade.
         A hymn written in Sweden circles the world – and people learned and sang  “How Great Thou Art.”  The choices we make in our homes make a difference when they reflect the glory of Who God is!  The God of Adam, Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac is our God today. Each generation has one important choice to make! What do we do with God and His Son, Jesus?  Praise, Glorify, Thank, and Live for Him, will bring us a God-glow of reflecting Him in our lives.  We can’t do it alone but with others who praise God.
         All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. Ephesians 1:3-8
         Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. Jude 1:24-25
         The Lord lives! Praise to my Rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted! Psalm 18:46   
         Psalm 8:1 and following – O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the air. Your glory is higher than the heavens!
         O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made….”  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By0iyTukDkQ)

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