New book serves as manual for praise and thanksgiving

| May 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

CavinsBookWhen faced with a problem, it’s natural to want to find the easiest, fastest solution. But even in today’s quick culture, instead of turning to Google, people should turn to the Bible.

Jeff Cavins’ new book, “Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys for a Joyful Life,” sets out to teach people the biblical origins of praise and thanksgiving and provide practical ways to adopt the practice — in just 130 pages.

“Typically, people look for answers that are outside of God, just wisdom for living,” said Cavins, who serves as director of evangelization for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. “But first, we need to turn our hearts to God and begin to praise him. Once [God] shared this with people and they put this into practice, it made a difference in their lives.”

Buy the book“Praise God and Thank Him: Biblical Keys for a Joyful Life” (Servant Books) is available at all Catholic and major book stores. An audio version is available at franciscanmedia.org and where books are sold. The book is also available on Kindle, as paperback and audio CD.

As a former counselor and pastor, Cavins has observed how people often respond inadequately or inappropriately to life’s problems. Through his work as a Bible teacher, he discovered patterns: When people in the Bible are faced with difficulties, they respond with praise and thanksgiving.

“We put all the characters of the Bible on a pedestal where there’s no way we could walk like that,” Cavins said. “And God did not reveal himself to them so that we would be discouraged and say, ‘Well, we’ll never be there.’ He revealed himself to them so that we would learn and be encouraged and walk this way.”

To help readers make a complex topic easy to understand, Cavins explains the overarching story of the Bible. Through examples like King David, Cavins shows how the words of the Bible fit into traumatic situations in people’s lives. While people might not have the same problems as biblical characters, they do cry out to God for deliverance.

“We’re not going to have a life that’s void of problems, but we can certainly do something about the way we respond,” Cavins said. “It’s within [the Bible] that you learn who God is, who we are, and how we interact with God. In this case, in the difficult situations, when we know the Bible, we come to a place where we know God, we understand God, and we can count on him. He’s predictable in some ways.”

Along with the Bible, the book draws from the Catechism of the Catholic Church; neither are prerequisites for reading the book. But when people read “Praise God and Thank Him,” Cavins hopes it will drive them to read both. For immediate reference within the book, however, Cavins includes notes and appendices. He also seeks to help readers move beyond the catchphrases of “Praise God!” and “Hallelujah!” and expand their praise vocabulary based on the content of Scripture in salvation history.

Both sections of the book — one on praise, one on thanksgiving — conclude with 10 tips offering practical ways people can foster praise and thanksgiving in their daily lives and come to know who God is.

“They’re not things that you do as though God were not there,” Cavins said. “You have to be in a relationship with God in order to do them. The more you put them into practice, the more you know God and the tighter you get. If you read the book and don’t do anything, you’ll be in the same situation you were prior to reading the book.”

Cavins acknowledges that trust is an obstacle for many people because they might have struggled in a relationship with their earthly father. The good news, he said, is that Jesus gives people the perfect image of who the heavenly father is.

“Part of praising God and thanking him is learning to trust him and learning a new way of responding in relationship to God in these difficult times,” he said. “For anyone going through trials, this could be a short guidebook to help get our thinking and our actions straight, which corresponds to God’s will. We do that through praise. And thanksgiving is the attitude of gratitude.”

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Category: Faith and Culture