Morning listeners to Kinship Radio know that Announcer Ryan Freed actively asks people to submit ideas for “The Burning Question.”
Well, I have had a request to write a blog about gratitude and praise in the coming New Year.
Grateful praise of the LORD is one of my favorite topics. In my daily prayers, I ask that I would live a life of gratitude and praise.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4:
“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (NIV)
While some people might read that verse as some kind of promise that delighting in the LORD will get you brand-new cars or a beautiful vacation home, what actually happens is as you take delight in the LORD, your heart changes and desires what the LORD desires. You end up with something better than fancy cars –namely love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You end up with life and life to the full.
Now, of course, life as a Christian is not always full of dancing unicorns pouring out accolades of affirmation at every turn. We have an enemy of our souls and he does his best to make life difficult and disheartening for us. But, we are told how to deal with this in James 4:7:
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (NLT)
The Greek word translated as “humble” here is Ὑποτάγητε (Hypotagēte) and it means to subordinate; reflexively, to obey. I know of no better way to humble myself before God and obey Him than to whole-heartedly praise Him and extol His endless virtues. I absolutely know the devil hates that and it is my go-to weapon in the arsenal of resisting the evil one. HALLELUJAH! GOD BE PRAISED!
God is infinite as is His love, His mercy, His grace, His almighty omnipotence, His omniscience, His omnipresence. There is nowhere we can go to hide from Him, nothing we can do to negate His love for us, and no one who can stop Him or thwart His plans. His only Son, Jesus Christ, proved that. The grave could not hold Him. Death and evil could not stop Him from saving us and restoring our relationship with the Father. He sent His Holy Spirit to live not just with us, but IN us as a guarantee of our adoption as sons and daughters and heirs of His kingdom.
Normally, this is the point where I would go on for an additional five hundred (or more) words listing a whole bunch of things we have to be grateful for.
Instead, I’m just going to tell you that the request for a blog on gratitude and praise came from my friend and sister in Christ, Ysabel Paulino. That’s relevant because Ysabel has been in a wheelchair for the last 14 years and she lives in the Dominican Republic where they have absolutely nothing like the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are no handicap parking spots, no ramps on the sidewalks, no public bathrooms designed for use by people in wheelchairs, or anything remotely like that.
I do not tell you this to elicit sympathy for Ysabel. She would not want that. She has founded and operates a certified non-profit called Impactando Vidas sin Barreras. (Impacting Lives without Barriers) Its sole objective is to bring help, smiles, joy, and love to people in her home country with disabilities. These are people who are typically neglected and forgotten by her society.
Despite all the adversity in her life, Ysabel not only lives a life of gratitude and praise, she inspires gratitude and praise in others.
As she would say: ¡Gloria a Dios! (Glory to God!)
I believe we as Christians could do a lot to benefit our society by resolving to live a life of gratitude and praise in the coming year.
Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
Praise him in his mighty heaven!
Praise him for his mighty works;
Praise his unequaled greatness!
Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn;
Praise him with the lyre and harp!
Praise him with the tambourine and dancing;
Praise him with strings and flutes!
Praise him with a clash of cymbals;
Praise him with loud clanging cymbals.
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD!
Praise the LORD!
Ysabel (right) with Loreto, a speech therapist who was a guest
on her Impactando Vidas radio program. He has since passed on.