Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Praise God Anyway

After I wrote that blog post I decided to check out my Girlfriends in God devotional of the day and low and behold “Today’s Truth.”  I have included it in this post, please take the time to read it.

My favorite quote from the devotional is, “…praise is not a feeling. Praise is a choice, a step of obedience taken without the assurance of a changed circumstance or the elimination of a trial. Praise focuses on God, not the circumstance, and fixes its gaze upon God's truth and God's character instead of the trial at hand or just ahead.”  I think this quote so accurately explains how I feel. 

I have heard since our loss other people say things like, I don’t understand how she is still trusting in God, or how she can be at peace.  And this is how.  With everything in ME I am mad and sad and confused and angry.  But just having “[God’s] presence in my life changes everything, empowering me to live each moment of every day, content in knowing [He is] in control.”  He IS in control and He DOES deserve praise even when I don’t understand and I don’t FEEL like praising.  HE gives me the strength to get through each day.  HE gives me a reason to get my head off of the pillow each morning.  HE gives me the peace I feel.  HE understands my anger and frustration and sadness.  And only HE can give me that peace through this time.  So I choose today to praise my Heavenly Father content in knowing that He is in control. 

 

September 7, 2010
Praise God Anyway!
Mary Southerland

Today's Truth
Philippians 4:7 (NIV) "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Friend to Friend
I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, "I know God promises to never give me more than I can handle, but sometimes, I just wish He didn't trust me so much." Can you relate? When trials come and life seems hard, we plead with God to deliver us from the problem when many times; His plan is to deliver us in the problem. Praise does not depend upon an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends upon an understanding of who God really is and wants to be in our life and our willingness to put our faith in Him.

As humans, we will never fully understand God - this side of heaven. God is holy and without blemish. God is all powerful and omniscient. He is Creator of the universe and yet lives in you and me at our invitation. He is the only true, living God! 

We may understand some of His ways and comprehend the reasoning behind some of His plans. We may even come to the place of knowing Him on what I call an intimate level, but a full understanding of God is reserved for heaven. Until then, we walk by faith, not by sight. We praise Him in the darkness, knowing that the light is just ahead. We trust Him for things we cannot see and rest in Him in the valleys. Honestly, the thought of serving and relying on a God I can understand is not a reassuring thought. 

Most people who know me well would describe me as a strong person, someone who can usually handle what life holds. I thought the same thing until I found myself a powerless, prisoner of the darkness as I battled severe clinical depression. It took me two long years to climb out of that pit and not a day goes by that I am not reminded of that wonderful, horrible time. God used that first experience with the darkness in so many ways. He taught me new truths as He stripped away wrong attitudes and destructive thought patterns. I began to see myself as He sees me - loved, planned and wanted.

One of the many lessons I learned from my "pit experience" was that I cannot depend upon my own strength or my fickle emotions. God often asked me to praise Him when, as far as I could tell, there wasn't a whole lot to praise him for. I didn't feel like praising Him. 

I began to understand that praise is not a feeling. Praise is a choice, a step of obedience taken without the assurance of a changed circumstance or the elimination of a trial. Praise focuses on God, not the circumstance, and fixes its gaze upon God's truth and God's character instead of the trial at hand or just ahead. That is why we can celebrate the battle before it begins. The outcome is neither our responsibility nor our goal. Praise begins and ends with faith in the very nature, personality and integrity of God ... and that never changes. 

No matter what lies ahead, God is faithful. 

No matter how hot the fiery trial may be, God will deliver us in it or from it and surely be with us as we go through it.

No matter what man says or does, God loves and accepts us. 

So praise God! 

Thank Him today for every victory tomorrow holds.

Celebrate - knowing that the battle belongs to God and because of that single truth, victory is certain. 

Let's Pray
Father, I praise You today for all that You have done in my life. You are faithful even when I am faithless. Your love pursues me even when I am unlovable. Your forgiveness covers my sin and frees me from its penalty. Lord, teach me to praise You. Help me to see and understand the power of praising You in my life. I want to bring You pleasure, Father. I praise You for your love and faithfulness to me. Your presence in my life changes everything, empowering me to live each moment of every day, content in knowing You are in control. As I face today, Lord, remind me that no matter what happens, I can praise You! 
In Jesus' name,
Amen.

16 comments:

  1. I read this devotional before work this morning and am so glad it touched you too. (Thank you so much for sharing the link a few weeks back - I love it.) In going through IF (even now) one of my favorite songs is "Blessed Be Your Name". It is a regular reminder that even on the worst of days, there is power, healing and strength in me saying aloud: "Blessed be Your name, Lord."

    "When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I'm going to say: blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name."

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  2. Isn't it wonderful how God knows just what you need.. right when you need it. :)

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  3. Now that is a cool God thing! ((Hugs)) Thank you for that!

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  4. Wow! Thank you I really needed this post.

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  5. I read DeniFay's post today and it had a link to your post. I'm so glad she sent me over because I've been thinking a lot about how disturbing my feelings are about God lately but my feelings don't have anything to do with my choices and even though I'm not feeling it I can still choose to walk in faith and choose to praise Him. Great post!!

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  6. What a great post- I really needed to read that. We are coming up on our second FET after our first one failed. It's hard to have a positive outlook. Your strength is so encouraging and inspiring! It's amazing that "God is faithful even when I am faithless".

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  7. What a powerful post. I needed these reminders today..and always :)

    I continue to hold you very close in prayer, as I know exactly what you are going through and my heart aches for you. I'll continue to call you by name and pray for your journey each day.

    xxx

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  8. Thank you for your post. I needed to read those words in your blog and to hear the song that inspired my blog whilewerewaitinginfla.blogspot.com.
    I am refocused and I remember nothing is impossible for God.

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  9. Absolutely wonderful post. Thanks for sharing this devotional and reminder that praising God is a choice that we make despite our circumstances. The fact that you remain faithful in your trust in Him is a powerful testimony that I know will touch many hurting hearts!

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  10. I found your blog through Courtney's blog. I just wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. I also wanted to praise YOU for your ability to praise God despite your circumstances. It's something I'm not really able to do in my life, but I'd like to learn how. Thank you for sharing.

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  11. To God be the Glory,I'am just getting started in blogging and ran accross your post I have a similiar title.

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  12. To God be the Glory,for the things he has done.I really loved your post

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  13. I am so thankful for your posting. I am really going through a number of things. They all seem to be coming at me back to back, with no end. Though I knew that I would never turn away from God, I was at a very low point. I came across your inspiring post and was instantly restored. So I thank you.

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    1. Wow...thanks so much for letting me know how the Lord is working in your life. It gives me chills when I think about how God orchestrates everything - giving me the words to write, leading you to the post and then speaking to you and encouraging you through those words. God really is amazing! I don't know exactly what is going on in your life, but I am definitely praying for you!

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