When I see the brilliance with which the Lord paints the sky and consider the delicate beauty of the flowers that wave at me in the morning breeze I am reminded of the One who dresses them with brilliant array is the same One who has said He will provide for every need, so I don’t need to worry.
When I consider that the One who knows the stars by name and the total of their infinite number so that not one of them is lost, is the same One who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds…
When I walk along the beach and reflect on the miles of sandy beaches that frame the oceans whose floors are covered with so many grains of sand that it would not be able to be counted…and yet, God’s thoughts of me outnumber those very grains…
When I find a knot in my hair and the only way to get it out is to extract a few hairs with it, I don’t keep a tally of how many I lost that day to the battle with the hair knot…but God does. In fact, He knows the exact number of the hairs that I have remaining. He knows more about me, than I know about me.
When I watch birds flit back and forth, creating their nest for the spring, they don’t do so worrying if there will be enough. As I watch them fly back and forth gather the grass, twigs and colorful string I am reminded of the One who is good to all and has tender mercy over all His works.
When I hear the symphony of birds as they sing their praises, from the cawing crows to the sweet song of the white-throated sparrow to the crisp call of the chickadee I will often pause, because their praise is beautiful in its simplicity, and it is continual. It doesn’t seem to stop, regardless of what they are doing.
When I see and hear and experience all that I have listed above, I wonder why my life is not characterized more with songs of praise to God throughout the whole day, regardless of what I am doing. Why is praise to God not the language of my heart?
I have been reflecting on this for some time, and here are a few of the learnings that I have discovered.
- I need to practice four simple letters…STOP! It is hard to see the reminders of His tender care when I don’t take time in the hustle of the day to stop…physically stop what I am doing and and mentally stop to refocus my thoughts upwards for a few minutes, and reflect on a promise or a truth about the character of God. And you know what? This in itself is an act of praise. When you read through the psalms you will often find that the Psalmist will boldly declare “Praise the Lord!” and then go on to describe a truth of God.
- This next learning surprised me…sometimes I find that it is easier to grumble, complain and worry than it is to sing a song of praise even though I know that these don’t accomplish much except to spur on more of the same. So, when I find myself slipping into these thought patterns I am going to use those as opportunities to transform my thinking. With God’s help and His reminders, when I begin to grumble or complain, I am going to choose to find something to be thankful for. When worry comes knocking at my door, I am going to respond with a song or verse of praise that reflects on God’s tender care for all His creation…even me.
- This is one of my favorites – praise is beautiful. It is pleasant. It is good. It doesn’t have to be difficult. The simple acts of turning my heart upward to God, of praying words of thanksgiving, of reflecting on His goodness in my life, of celebrating His character is an act of worship and praise to Him. In fact, it is beautiful to Him.
- Not only should I be directing songs of praise towards God, but I should also be speaking to other people with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). There are some days when this seems so foreign and awkward to me. Talking to others about the character of God and His goodness in my life, or taking time to reflect on His promises and then giving thanks to Him with others is not the most natural thing for me to do. Yet, as I have been asking God to help me do this more, I have been finding that the fear that often keeps me from voicing these psalms, hymns and spiritual songs has been taking a back seat as I share with others just small tidbits of God’s love, mercy and grace in my life.
- I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of talking with myself…in my mind. I can carry on a whole conversation with one person! Ephesians 5:19 says that it is good to sing and make music in my heart to the Lord and always give thanks to Him. Here is what I have found…as I put into practice “STOP” at certain strategic points for a few minutes throughout the day to reflect on a truth or promise of God…as I replace grumbling, complaining and worry with thanksgiving and a psalm of praise that reflects on God’s care….as I remember that praise is beautiful, pleasant and good…as I speak to others about God’s goodness…the thoughts of my mind and heart have become inevitably filled with music and thanksgiving to God. And the neat thing is that as this happens in my heart and mind, it spills over into every area of my life.
I still have a lot to learn about praise, but I hope that these few musings will encourage your heart today and that you will be able to say…
Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and praise is beautiful! (Psalm 147:1)
Also, here are a few other verse that have encouraged me as I have asked God to help me turn the thoughts of my heart and mind upwards to Him.
Psalm 8:3 – 5 says, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him? The son of man that you visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor?”
Psalm 147:3 – 5 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars; He calls them by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”
Psalm 146:9 says, “The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
Psalm 139:17, 18 says, “How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the grains of sand…”