July 17, 2017
by JJ Ollerenshaw

Psalm 150 – Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (NIV)

This spring, I attended a special performance of Handel's Messiah by an orchestra and choir in Dublin, Ireland. I wasn't aware that the music was written for Easter, not Christmas. First performed in Dublin on April 13th, 1742, I watched it on the day of its 275th anniversary. It was magnificent! I enjoyed every moment.

Who hasn't heard the glorious strains of the Hallelujah Chorus? Handel wrote the whole oratorio — 259 pages — in just three weeks. What a miracle! He could have been guided only by the Holy Spirit. He was, as Mother Theresa claimed of herself, "just a little pencil in the hand of a writing God".

Handel's original manuscript still exists 275 years later. On this amazing work, he wrote, "SDG": Soli deo gloria — To God alone be the glory. He humbly acknowledged that it wasn't accomplished through his own genius.

We're familiar with PTL: Praise the Lord. Since attending this concert, I've begun the practise of writing SDG on anything for which I want to give God the glory. It amounts to a great deal! There's always something — just look around, and you'll see something to praise God for. You'll want to write it in your Bible. Scribble it in your journal, on your calendar, and on the back of photographs of loved ones. Paint it on a rock in the garden. Use a permanent marker on the bottom of your coffee cup, and someone is sure to ask what it means!

Add SDG to anything that you accomplish with your own hands, with the full knowledge that you are able to do it only through God's strength, a gift from Him. We have a myriad of strengths and abilities, family and loved ones, food and all the provisions of life… and a whole lot more! We have God's forgiveness and the promise of life everlasting. We're not all musicians, but we can all sing praise. We can join with the psalmist in proclaiming, "My cup runneth over." (Psalm 23:5c KJV)

We have so much to praise and thank Him for. SDG!

Psalm 92:1-2 – It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night. (NIV)

Prayer: Lord, it is good to praise You. Forgive us for taking so much for granted. May we wake in the morning and go to sleep at night giving You alone the glory. Amen.

About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Great piece JJ.

    Yes, JJ! SDG! Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Just perfect to start my week.

    Thank you so very much.
    God is using you in special ways. SDG!

    Thank you for this great message this morning! SDG!!

    Good devotional — also used by Bach and others, particularly during the Reformation.

    Good info and a wonderful way to remember why we exist, thanks,

    Love it, JJ!! To think you got to hear it in Ireland!!! How great!! These little cuties keep popping up so I’m using them. Thank you so much and I send my best to you. Irene

    Whether by chance or design your devotional appears on the 400th anniversary of the first performance of Handel’s Water Music on the River Thames in London in the presence of King George I.

    Dear JJ,
    You have given me an idea. Possibly next spring, I could give my garden an SDG in three colors of flowers. That could set us to talking of the Messiah and Our Lord.
    But I hope to do something sooner, too.
    Thank you. Keep writing.

    I keep a prayer journal and in it I note things I have prayed about.
    When the matter is resolved I write PG beside it. For Praise God.
    I will now extend the practice.
    Thanks for sharing your inspiring experience.
    I will keep this devotional at hand!

    To JJ Ollerenshaw;
    Thanks for taking the time to write a very poignant touching devotional.
    I adore the Haullelujah Chrous.
    Yes our gracious loving God touches our lives numerous times each day.
    May God alone be praised.

    Many thanks for your devotional contribution this morning. I think it is a great idea to write “SDG” around on various things and places. What a good way to stimulate conversation about our great God. People that would see those letters and inquire what they mean could be encouraged through conservation about the glories our God supplies.
    Blessings to you,

    Question #1 of the Shorter Catechism:
    “What is the chief end of Man?”
    “The chief end of Man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever!”
    Thanks for reminding us that Georg Friedrich Handel was so well connected to Source, and to consciously do and express the same. Also for the information that a day special to me was the date of the Messiah’s first performance.

    Hi JJ
    Soli Deo Gloria indeed, in all we do.

    Thanks for the great informative devotional.
    As a musician and song writer I too rejoice each time I hear the Messiah.

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