Archives For Beauty

We sing a song in our hymnals that have beautiful words:

For all that You’ve done, I will thank You
For all that You’re going to do
For all that You’ve promised and all that You are
Is all that has carried me through
Jesus, I thank You

and I thank You
thank You Lord
and I thank You
thank You Lord

Thank You for loving and setting me free
Thank You for giving Your life just for me
How I thank You
Jesus, I thank You
I gratefully thank You
And I thank You

Beautiful words that ring true in many of our circumstances. We are in a season now where being thankful is on the minds of our nation seeing as it is a national holiday. Gratitude though is not an American tradition but a tradition rooted deep in Ancient Israel. In 1 Chronicles 16:4 the writer shares with his readers that David, “appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the Lord, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the Lord, the God of Israel.” Imagine that you are given a task to do and your job is simply to thank God for what he has done. You might say, “Dude that seems boring!” But if you think about it for long enough you understand that at any given point we can be thankful for what God has done.

The category known as Thanksgiving Psalms is a particular category that has a specific formula:[1]

  • Introduction
  • Report of Crisis
  • Deliverance as an Accomplished Fact
  • Conclusion

The difference between lament psalms and thanksgiving psalms is that the thanksgiving psalms provide for us a window into God answering their lament whereas the lament psalms are offered with no foreseen deliverance. That does not mean there was no trust but the deliverance just could not be seen. Consider Psalm 30:

2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. (30:2-3)

Deliverance was realized in this instance. Rescue was seen. It was time for rejoicing but I time for thanksgiving to God who provided the deliverance. Like the lament psalms, the thanksgiving psalms are both offered individually and corporately. There is a time for thanksgiving in both circumstances and both are offered to God. We are going to journey through the thanksgiving psalms this week in an effort to experience gratitude on an individual and corporate level. In a time where we live in such an iEverything culture it is important to humble ourselves and express our gratitude for the one who created us. Bullock summarizes it better than I:

The psalms of thanksgiving tap one of the great spiritual resources of Holy Scripture and offer us a spiritual home where the passions of life can find their moorings in a source outside the human self. One of the great tragedies of the human spirit is to become a prisoner of ingratitude, for ingratitude shuts the human spirit up in a world lightened only by self, which is no light at all.[2]

Let us bow at the feet of our Master and learn the spiritual discipline of gratitude.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Define gratitude?
  2. What are some moments where you felt the most grateful?
  3. What are some moments where you felt the most ungrateful?

[1] Bullock, Encountering the Psalms, 152-53. As with all categories there are various nuances but for the most part the thanksgiving psalms will follow that 4-part formula.

[2] Ibid., 162.


I should be in Song of Songs right now finishing my posts but in the Song the man is so enamored with the woman’s beauty even though the woman, by that culture’s standards, was not beautiful (see Song 1:6).  I was at the Titans’s game last night and there were a lot of beautiful women there yet a lot of those women were wearing tight, revealing clothing.  Not to mention the cheerleaders who put their bodies on show with the shake of a hip and a flip of the hair making most of the inebriated male population in the stadium whistle and scream.  I pondered about all of this last night and this morning and wondered what I would teach my daughters about growing up as godly women.  Society is against them and the numbers are unfortunate:

“One survey found that by age thirteen, 53 percent of American girls are unhappy with their bodies and by age seventeen 78 percent are dissatisfied.”  Vicky Courtney, 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter, p. 18. 

I will never forget a teenage girl who was in my office who struggled with cutting and she had such a distorted/horrible self-image.  All I could do at the time was weep.  So I have compiled a list (again I hate lists but it seems they are unavoidable) that is not all-inclusive but if you are a woman these should help. 

  1. Relationships matter.  It is important that you choose someone who is godly, and compliments you and treats you like you are the most amazing person in the world.  But…
  2. Relationships are not the end-all.  Life is not about having a boy and you are not incomplete if you are not married, dating, talking or whatever it’s called when you are boyfriend/girlfriend.  Could you accept being single for the rest of your life?  If not, then you may not be ready to date someone. 
  3. Nobody has the right to be sexual with you and you do not have the right to be sexual with others…until you are married.  Don’t kid yourself when you say, “He’s the one,” and then you go sleep with him.  When he whispers in your ear, “I love you and I think we should do this,” what he means is, “I am lusting after you and I cannot control myself.”  Do you really want a man who cannot control himself sexually?  If your man does not respect your wishes then leave him.  If he really “loves” you then he will respect you.  MAKE SURE HE RESPECTS YOU!!!  Sex is great and is worth the wait.  I should have another rhyme to that but I don’t 🙂
  4. You are not the sum total of your parts. If you look at all of the magazines you will see that most of them portray women who are so skinny and curvy that you wonder if they were robots created by high-tech machines.  I love Heather so much because she is so confident in who she is and how she looks.  She does not wear a lot of make-up (maybe some eye-liner and maschera) which is just the way I like it.  I actually think her freckles (and freckles in general) are cute.  I see some teenage girls who look like their face has been touched up by a body shop detailer.  It looks so fake.  I am not against people using a little make-up to make them feel better about themselves but people who cake it on to look unnatural (as opposed to accentuating the natural) seems to me that they hiding something.  God created you uniquely and while you may not accept that right now I want you to know that you are beautiful just the way you are.  So what you do not have curves like ____________ or your hair is not as shiny as ___________ or you don’t have long legs like ________________?  Who cares?  You are beautiful just the way you are. 
  5. Be proud of who you are!  You know what is attractive more than anything?  Confidence.  A man loves a woman who is confident in who she is and whose she is.  Confidence does not mean arrogance.  Love God and do not be ashamed of it.  If you enjoy listening to Simon and Garfunkel while sitting down in a field of flowers then do it.  If you have peace while walking alongside of a river that comes down from the mountains then walk there.  Be who you are not what society thinks you should be or what some man wants you to be. 

“God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Gen. 1:31).  Don’t you know that includes you?  

This post is dedicated to the most beautiful woman in the world (Heather) who has also given me two gorgeous girls (Amelia and Madelyn).  I love you girls so much.