Page 258 has been a long day as I began the day early with the morning cleaning and finished the workday doing tomorrow morning’s cleaning after teaching a children’s class tonight. In between the two cleaning times were a variety of normal maintenance issues and a lot of work on the lesson for tonight’s 1st – 3rd grade Bible class. As I worked at my desk late this afternoon, a pair of cardinals were playing in the underbrush in view of my office window and would peer out at me every once in a while. I would also occasionally catch a glimpse of a tiny green hummingbird and a small yellow bird of some kind but both of those wouldn’t stay in one place long enough to take their pictures. The birds outside my office window always serve as a reminder of God’s care for His children which exceeds the care and provision He provides for the birds of the air.
I suppose that reminder was fitting as the lesson focus I was working on throughout the day was about praising God. As I introduced the lesson, I compared bragging and praising. When we brag, it is us saying how great we are. When we praise, it is us saying how great someone else is. When we praise God, it is all about us proclaiming His greatness that exceeds all others. I also compared praise with giving thanks. While the two are closely related, they are not necessarily identical. When we are hungry, we can be thankful for a meal even if it isn’t our favorite or hasn’t been prepared all that well. Our gratitude reflects our appreciation for something that has been done. Praise, on the other hand, is generally more focused on the who and how. When we are served a meal that is our favorite and it has been prepared perfectly, we may well be thankful but we are also likely to praise both the meal and the one who prepared it. God wants us to live a life that reflect expresses both thankfulness and praise.
As I wrapped up my day and checked my website stats, I found that it has had 150 page views today! While for some websites that is not much traffic at all; given that my average is 3 or 4 views a day, this was a huge leap. As I looked at the stats breakdown, it appears that the majority of the page views were from a single person going through page by page looking at the weekly prayer guides I have posted. There are many times I wonder why God has me writing and if the work I do in sharing these writings have a real purpose beyond what God teaches me through my efforts and the time I spend with Him writing. Usually at about the time those questions begin to grow to a distracting point in my mind, God provides a small glimpse into how He is using something I’ve written. Today that glimpse was a reader from Nigeria devouring the weekly prayer guides.
I pray that you and I would know and understand God’s love that cares for us in ways that exceed our imagination. I pray that we would be people of praise as we spend time with Got telling Him about our view of His greatness. I pray that we would be faithful in doing the things God calls us to and sets before us. I pray that we would be mindful of how God will use others to encourage us and use us to encourage others.