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Praise God And Give Thanks

Since my husband and I became parents, we have been fortunate enough to take a trip every winter. We head to the Wisconsin Dells to splash around the indoor water-parks with our children. It was a trip my husband took often with his parents, and one he wanted to recreate with his own children.

After our first trip, our daughter would continuously watch the videos of her zipping down water slides. She fervently anticipate our next trip. After our second trip, she was two and able to verbalize and remember the trip better. For this most recent trip, she pretty much mentioned the water parks once a week the entire year. She would ask when we would return and tell us they were her favorite vacations ever. Through her excitement, my husband and I found ourselves just as excited. We couldn’t wait to throw on our suits, grab a tube, and have three days of water logged fun.

When we arrived, our daughter ran from room to room with her sister close on her heels. She claimed her bed, got her suitcase, and told us how great she thought the room was. We unpacked, and I loaded the girls onto the luggage cart. Then they took a fun ride back to the front desk. On our elevator ride down to the lobby, our daughter crossed her hands and started to pray. She said,

“Dear God, thank you for my hotel, thank you for water parks, thank you for my sister, thank you for my mom and dad, and thank you for family time.”

Whoa!

My eyes began to well, and I smiled down on our faithful little girl. In her mind, this vacation with these massive water slides and these luxurious rooms were all thanks to God. And, she needed Him to know immediately that she was thankful for it. She wanted to praise God. Had I done that? Had it even crossed my mind to thank the Lord? To thank Him for the wonderful things in our life that allow us to have wonderful times such as these? The obvious answer is no, I didn’t.

For the rest of the week, my husband and I did model our behavior after our child. We thanked God for the little things every night at dinner, and even throughout the day. We took the time that our children were napping to read our Bibles and discuss how blessed our lives are. The Lord was doing so much in them right now.

Be Childlike

During one of those naps, my husband stumbled upon Luke 18, and thought of our daughter in the elevator.

Reading over Luke 18, we were reminded that we are called to BE childlike in our faith. In Luke, there is the story of people bringing their children to be blessed by Jesus. His disciples rebuked these people. They may have been thinking that Jesus had more important things to do with his time than be surrounded by a bunch of children. But Jesus said,

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”Luke 18: 16-17 (NIV)

Be Excited

We are called to model our faith and our excitement for the kingdom of God off of children. This lesson came to my husband and I from the mouth of our own little babe. She was ready to shout her praises to God because of the blessings we have in our life.

In Psalms, David proclaims,

“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2 (NIV)

Praise God

Over the years, from other translations of the Bible, the saying “from the mouth of babes” has evolved from this Psalm into a common saying among our culture. It’s used to describe an instance where a child has said something with much more wisdom and insight than us adults can sometimes grasp. God provided us with these little vessels of wisdom, stating multiple times throughout Scripture the importance of allowing them to speak, shout praise, and voice their thoughts on our world.

In Matthew, Jesus refers back to this Psalm again to explain the wisdom of a child. Jesus had just finished cleaning the Temple grounds of men who were buying and selling within the walls, telling them that the Temple was intended to be a house of prayer. Children began shouting their praises to Jesus in the Temple, knowing He was the Messiah, and to the dismay of some adults who couldn’t grasp this knowledge, they said to Jesus,

“Do you hear what these children are saying? they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants, you, Lord, have called forth your praise?'” Matthew 21:16 (NIV)

The children were wise enough to know who Jesus was. They were wise enough to praise Him, yet the adults had doubts and reservations when it came to this man. Sometimes, we need to put our adult thoughts to rest and remember how to praise in a childlike way, and with childlike wisdom. In addition, we need to listen to what comes out of the mouths of babes, so that we can more fully comprehend the amazing blessings that God has poured upon us.

Remember Who Is Responsible

On our drive home, we had more conversation about our daughter’s amazing insight into who was responsible for our vacation. We talked about how different our lives would be if we tried to praise like a child. For example, we would be thanking God all of the time for the things we have. Things that we take for granted or even start to believe are from our own doing. We would be sitting in anticipation of amazing things that are yet to come and preparing for it.

What if you talked about the great things that God wants you to have, even though you don’t know when it’s coming? Or what if you sat in anticipation and preparation for the day to come? What if you planned the things that you’re going to try and conquer? Or what if you praised the moment those victories came because you knew those blessings were sent from God? How would your faith be different if you were to praise God every day?

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