June 2, 2015

Luke 18:43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

We’ve had this story, or a very similar one, three times now. What stands out to me in reading this just now is how the man followed Jesus, praising God, and how his doing so caused all the people to praise God. (The Japanese uses different words for praising God for what the individual and the group did, but I don’t know that that’s significant.) This brings to mind Internet websites like Godvine that give God glory for things He does for and through people. I am frequently moved to praise God myself in watching the videos or reading the accounts. (There is a fair amount of fluff, or strictly humanistic stuff, but some real gems do provoke genuine worship.) God works all the time, and when we recognize His hand and give Him the credit for it, we are blessed, even if the specific action was for the sake of someone else. There are orders of magnitude here; the crowd’s praises didn’t have the urgency and intensity of those of the man who was healed, I’m sure. However, all praise and worship of God is good, because it takes our focus off of ourselves and places it on Him, where it belongs. The Practice of the Presence of God (by Brother Lawrence) is a Christian classic, but such spiritual exercises best start with gratitude. If we recognize His hand then we are more aware of Him in general, and we are better able to walk in fellowship with Him.

I am as prone to focus on irritations as anyone, but I have certainly learned by experience that doing so benefits no one and nothing. Irritations by their very nature grab our attention, but if I choose to focus on the magnificence of God’s grace and love toward me, instead of on the irritation, then the irritation itself fades to insignificance because I am seeing it in perspective. In the whole Bible one of the most practical passages for living a happy life is found in Philippians 4:4-9. Being consistent in everything that says guarantees a life many levels above what most people experience. Verse 8 in that applies specifically to what we’ve been saying here. When we think about things for which we can praise God, it changes our entire outlook. I wish I did it more consistently, but I’m getting there! I’ve got to be a good example of what I teach, as I seek to lead others out of the negativistic thought-traps of the devil. God is always worthy of thanks and praise; as long as I remember and practice that, His victory will ultimately be manifested in my life.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Yesterday had some distinctly “good” things in it, making it easy to be grateful. Help me not forget to thank and praise You even when things don’t seem to be going as well. May my life itself be a praise to You, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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