(Offered at the end of a very challenging week)
I’ve been encouraging us to enter each moment and savor its beauty. This is the “art of mindfulness.” It takes practice, but the effort brings miraculous benefits. One of these miracles comes through the power of acceptance. We learn from past mistakes, recognize the futility of trying to change others, and come to value ourselves as awesome children of God.
Entering, accepting, and now, PRAISING!
The first step in praising is a piece of folk wisdom that almost goes without saying: count our blessings. At Thanksgiving we remind ourselves to spill our cornucopia of positives: food, shelter, loved ones, vocations and avocations, faith in God, the free beauty of nature. We cherish stories of gratitude, like the Pilgrims giving thanks after a bitter winter, the Ten-Boom’s praising fleas in their death-camp barracks, or Jesus pausing to bless bread even with his cross on the horizon.
Certainly, part of our training to live in the present is harvesting thanks for God’s abundant gifts. But I want to close this series with an even more powerful reason to give praise in this moment.
We find it in the 17th chapter of Luke as Jesus heals ten lepers, releasing them from lives as hideous outcasts. Only one, a Samaritan, kneels and gives thanks. Jesus says, “Has no one else returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he says to him, “Rise and go; your faith (expressed in thankfulness) has made you well.”
Do you hear that? The other nine were healed, but only one became truly “well.” What did Jesus mean? The key is to understand the Greek word used for “well.” It is sozo, and it describes someone who has become whole in body, mind and spirit, a person made right with God, humbly delighting in the gift of life!
Friends, please realize this. God’s presence is especially strong within our praises. Our hallelujahs release divine power. Positive people experience greater physical health and endurance. They know peace of mind and spirit. They enjoy healthier relationships, and have an uncanny ability to overcome life’s challenges.
Praise that flows from our hearts literally shapes our environments with supernatural joy. Why? Because the promises of God become our lifeblood. We see that our Creator wants only good for us. We realize God will help us shape a future that plumbs our deepest desires. We align ourselves with healing mercy that can restore us on every level.
I don’t know about you, but I want this kind of “wellness” in my life. I want my cup of praise to overflow. I want a life filled with contagious joy.
And it begins in a moment. This moment!
As we conclude this series, I have a simple Thanksgiving prayer for all of us: Loving God, all good things come from you. Open our eyes this moment to see your glory. Give us wisdom to know how everything that has happened to us can be used by you for our benefit. Stir our hearts with praise and lift us up with the healing power of your love!
Have fun IN THE MOMENT!