Ps 134: Lift your hands toward the sanctuary. And praise the Lord.

Think about your hands, what they look like, what they do, but also think about what they represent. Our hands can reveal who we are in our actions. Do they hurt others, grasp and hold on to things, show weakness, indifference or rebel against God? Do they give to others, help when needed, love others, show hospitality, comfort, security, and strength?

Many people believe their life is in their own hands, but is it? Now look at the hands where you placed your life. Are they cold to the touch because they are so far from God? Are they dried up with guilt, shame, prejudice, bigotry or all-consuming lust? Are they discolored and necrotic from years of evil? Are they putrid and rotted with sin? Do they feel warm with God’s love? Are they tender with mercy, grace, generosity and compassion for others? Are the veins surging with the blood of Jesus that saves?

As I raise my hands in praise to the God of the universe, I look up and see hands reaching down to me. The same hands I saw, at age 18, as I lay unconscious in a hospital bed hemorrhaging. My body ghostly white, blood dripping from crisp white sheets to pool on the floor. I heard the words, “Bleeding out, no blood pressure, pulse faint.” I turned back to those hands of love, warmth and compassion, and the light so beautiful that I wanted to follow. I looked up to the white robed figure, unable to see the down turned face and know that I must not follow. It’s not my time. I awoke, hours later, with a friend holding my warm, pink hand. I will never forget those hands of love, compassion, healing and forgiveness and will always raise mine in praise to the one who saved me.


Ps 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy, I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Years ago, a study showed that people, especially those with devastating or terminal illness responded better to medical treatment if they laugh. I want to take it one-step further to praise. Praise can be as simple as a compliment or approval of a coworker for a job well done or admiration of a friend who did something nice for you like sending a get well card.
As Christians, we know that praise used against spiritual warfare is effective. Satan can use any negative thought or action to bring us down but, complete focus on and praise to the one who controls everything is the power that breaks all those chains. Unbelief is another that can sneak in. When life is trying to bring you down, go to your quiet place, even if is only in your mind, and praise God for everything in your life. Think about all that he is doing for you every minute and PRAISE him.
So many times working in NICU, having a bad day would cause me to stop and think about what was really going on. Perhaps a medication dose needed to be changed or maybe the noise level of the room was overwhelming the baby. Taking a minute or even a break to clear my mind, I started praising God and thanking him for all the times, he brought me through worse situations. Before long I would go back not only feeling better but also have the ability and strength to complete the task that was causing so many problems. As I reflect on my career, I just have to praise him again for all the times he helped me and realize that he was with me every day as I cared for his tiniest little sheep.