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Praise Him, all creatures here below...

Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children. 
(Psalm 148:7-12 NLT)

I had the privilege of enjoying a solid week with my BFF away from the busy schedules of work life with both of being able to just "settle into" the beauty of nature and the peacefulness of the cool pines. It was enjoyable to take walks among the tall pines and take in the wonder of huge boulders balancing precariously one upon the other. The gentle lapping waters of the lakes and the sound of tiny scampering feet as the squirrels made their way from one "stash" to the other just has a way of relaxing the soul and re-centering the mind. We took one Sunday morning to enjoy a rather leisurely, but long hike through the woods, listening in wonder as the trees seemed to carry the tune of praise to the one who created their majesty. I recall turning to my BFF and sharing that it seemed to me the trees were keeping beat with the song of praise gathering in my mind and spirit as we traversed that forest land. It should never amaze us that even nature cries out to the Creator!

Don't ever think the Master of all Creation takes for granted even one breath of praise. He is ever-listening to even the "breathed praises" of our minds! James reminds us that every good and every perfect gift is from the Father above. Nothing exists without his care - nothing then should remain silent where it comes to giving him praise and worship. As I set one foot in front of the other, pausing to take a photo here or there of the loveliness of the scenery I was beholding, the doxology so many of us may be familiar with kept running through my mind - "Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow". The words are simple actually:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

(Thomas Ken, 1694)

The power of praise - it cannot be underestimated, for it has a way of filling the empty soul and encouraging the downcast spirit. The mind is renewed and the heart is set free to take in the beauty around, not by accident, but because God has purposed to allow us the enjoyment of taking in such magnificent moments. It doesn't matter where you worship God, although his plan was always for us to do it in conjunction with other believers. It matters that we engage in the action of praise and the heart-connection of worship. If it has been a while since you celebrated the goodness of God and enjoyed the many wonders around you that he has prepared for your enjoyment, then maybe it is time to just relax a little - allowing his presence to sweep over you until you are once again at rest and in peace. Just sayin!

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