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Today's Truth "Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph and songs of joy" (Psalm 47:1 Amplified Version).
Friend to Friend Steve and I boarded a Cog Train for a scenic ride to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is the most visited mountain in North American - a hiker's paradise. But since going up and down my stairs at home is about as much hiking as I like to do, we opted for the train to chug us to the top. This stately mountain stands as a majestic backdrop to Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods rock formations. As we clicked along the 8.9 miles of railway, a tour guide pointed out various areas of interest and wildlife along the way. Suddenly, the train slowed to a crawl and a chorus of ooohs and aaahs rumbled through the boxcars. In hushed silence, we gazed at a herd of Big Horned sheep congregating to our right.
The six-foot male grayish-brown rams with white fluffy rumps gathered in a circle like spectators at a boxing match. Two males stood head-to-head in the center of the ring, eyeing each other with studied determination. Smaller female rams with diminutive spiked horns grazed nonplussed over to the side. It seems it was mating season and the males were vying for the ladies' attention.
A crack filled the air as the two males ran toward each other and furiously butted heads. With front feet leaving the ground, the hefty rams twisted and turned interlocking horns until one retreated from battle. The sound of cameras clicking mixed with cracking rams horns as we dared not interfere with the ritual of thousands of years. Time and time again the males butted heads with one thing on their minds - the right to spawn with the seemingly disinterested females grazing nearby and trot away with the spoils. (Oh, we ladies can be so coy at times).
After viewing this incredible display of God's creation, the train continued its trek up the mountain and the onlookers broke out in cheers. The tour guide enthusiastically shouted, "Folks, I want you to give yourself a big hand! I've never seen such a display on any of my trips up the mountain. Give yourselves a round of applause for seeing this magnificent sight today!" The entire coach broke out in wild cheers, applause, and congratulatory back slaps. Well not the entire coach.
I looked at Steve and said, "Why in the world would we give ourselves applause? Why are these people clapping? We had absolutely nothing to do with it. God placed that in front of us for our enjoyment. He allowed a sneak peek at His divine creation. All we did was decide to get on the train."
Then I heard God speak to my heart. Happens all the time.
O dear friend. God has given us an incredible gift of salvation. We neither earned it, merited it, nor deserved it. If we could, it would not be referred to as a gift. Salvation is not something that we need to congratulate ourselves for. We actually have nothing to do with it. All we did was decide to get on the train. But praise God, He has promised us the ride of our lives filled with incredible displays of His splendor. We don't have to earn it. We simply have to accept it.
As we begin this New Year, let's give God the round of applause He deserves each and every day!
Let's Pray (As you pray today, consider standing to your feet and giving God a hearty round of applause. The Bible calls this a praise offering! Clap your hands all you people!)
Dear Lord, I am speechless because of Your goodness to me. So today, I stand, lift my hands, and offer up a rip-roaring round of praise-clapping hands to You! In Jesus' Name! Amen!
Now It's Your Turn When was the last time you took credit for something God did in your life? Boy, that was a personal question, wasn't it? I'm asking myself that very question too.
As you go throughout the day, make a list of all the reasons God deserves applause.
If you have children, ask them to do the same. Then at mealtime, share your lists. Consider giving God a round of applause as a family!