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Breaking Dawn and debt reduction

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Cast members Robert Pattinson (L) and Taylor Lautner pose before the German premiere of the movie Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn in Berlin November 18, 2011 (Credit: Reuters/Thomas Peter)

Here’s the plot of the most popular movie in America: a brooding teen marries her vampire lover, whose family strikes an uneasy alliance with a jealous werewolf to protect the bride and the baby she’s carrying.  I had to find that summary online since I didn’t see the latest installment of The Twilight saga, which apparently puts me in the minority.

Does anyone else wonder what God thinks of us this morning?  Our politics are dysfunctional, as the deficit reduction supercommittee will reportedly announce today its failure to do its job.  Partisan deadlock apparently killed the effort, raising fears of another stock market dive and prolonged recession.  Efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons are apparently failing as well.  Meanwhile, the top ten Google trends this morning are led by the Giants/Eagles game (no Cowboys?) and include green bean casserole and a cranberry sauce recipe.

Is God waiting for us to turn to him?  Is he allowing the pain and problems that dominate today’s news in order to show us our need of his help and hope?  How do we find his power in powerless times?  The answer lies in the holiday we’ll celebrate this week.

God says that we enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Psalm 100:4).  What does this statement mean?  The “psalms of ascent” (Psalms 120-34) were sung by the Jewish people as they made their pilgrimage up to Jerusalem, finally climbing the 15 steps into the temple.  In this way they literally entered his gates and courts in a spirit of worship and gratitude.  And they learned firsthand that God inhabits the praise of his people (Psalm 22:3, KJV).

All through Scripture we find this connection between our praise and God’s power.  Listen to this proclamation by the psalmist: “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord” (Psalm 89:15).  Why?  Because “they rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness” (v. 16).  With this result: “For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn.  Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel” (vs. 17-18).

If you want to experience God’s power today, enter his presence in worship.  Take time this morning to praise him for who he is and thank him for what he has done in your life.  Be sincere and specific.  Then choose this Thanksgiving week to make worship your lifestyle: “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1).  Praise connects our souls with omnipotence.  Is God’s power waiting on you?