Yesterday I received an award. Yes, this 71-year-old, grandmother of 15, got a trophy!! As I think about it, I believe it's the only trophy I've ever gotten.
At a luncheon at the Marriott Shoals in Florence hosted by the Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, I was one of the people to be singled out. My award was called the Chairman's Cup, and it is presented annually to a travel writer or media person who over time has demonstrated support for AMLA, its region and tourism activities. As someone who was born in the region and has lived here for the vast majority of my years, it is a true pleasure to write about the many attractions and benefits of North Alabama. Since I began my travel writing journey in 2015, I have worked extremely hard. For about 30 seconds yesterday, the emcee of the event listed my accomplishments and made me sound important. IT FELT REALLY GOOD.
As I was driving home from that encouraging, affirming time (which in reality probably lasted less than a minute), it struck me that if I felt that good about being praised and recognized for what I'd done for even one minute, how much more pleasure does God derive from the ongoing, heartfelt praises of His people. When we acknowledge Him, His presence in our lives, His majesty and glory, His power, His sovereignty, His many blessings and gifts to us, how pleased He must be to receive our worship and praise.
When we lift up His name in song on Sunday mornings, when we begin our personal prayer times with adoration of Him, what a pleasing, spirit-infused aroma that must create.
God is God, and He will be All-Powerful, All-Knowing, Just, Merciful, Loving, and Ever-Present whether we stop to worship Him or not, but how it enhances our relationship with our Heavenly Father when we realize Who He is, What He has done, and What He IS doing in the world and in our lives.
I anticipate my prayer times and my worship this coming Sunday to be strengthened by the thought of how the praises of His people delight our Almighty God and Heavenly Father. If you're not sure HOW to give praise to God, I'd like to suggest starting by reading a psalm aloud when you pray. The words have already been written for us.
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
3 For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; 7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.