praise

Praising In The Process

My husband and I are planning to go on a trip in February.  For months we have been looking at the end result, the date when the trip starts; yet we can’t get to that place without a process.  For this trip the process includes booking flights, planning a hotel stay, lining up a babysitter, and planning events for each day.  Now the first time we planned a trip like this, I have to admit, I was living for the end result. I may have went thru the process but didn’t enjoy or see the purpose in it.  This time, however, I see the point in the process. I see a glory in the process. Looking forward to and enjoying planning something together has been great.  Not just going through it to get it done, but to be spending time together, enjoying and learning more about each other through the process. I’m learning to praise in the process.

Kind of like smelling the roses as we walk up the mountainside path.  Yes, the sunset view at the top is the end result. . . yet there are things to enjoy and things to learn along the way.

I’ve been thinking recently about how much our walk with God needs to be the same way… Yes we might have things in mind that we view as the end or the point of our existence here… Yet what about the process. . .What process do we go through to get to the end?

God has been teaching me that praising Him during the process is just as important as praising Him for the view at the end.

praise in the process

I’m good at praising God for the big things… The miracles of healing, the marriages saved, the prodigal returning to Christ… Often, I even remember to praise God for the little things… the Sunday school lesson that went well, getting to church on time, and the whole house being clean at the same time…  you know, those little things.  ((Ok, let’s be honest having the whole house clean might be a BIG thing for us busy moms! lol  😉 ))

I have to ask myself, what am I praising Him for?  The end.  My answer would have to be the end result.

Do I praise Him during the process?  Do I praise Him for the things I enjoy, and for the learning I’m doing on on the way?

I have to admit.  I tend to be a “look at the future and get to the goal as quick as possible” type of gal.  I get to the goal, and I praise Him. Yet with each “end”, there is a process I go flying through.

God is interested in that process; maybe even more than the outcome.  It’s a path of enjoyment and a path of learning. And I’ve been rushing right through it!

God’s been laying on my heart that the little flowers He puts along mountain path, the little lessons He puts along the way, are as important as the view at the top.

When things get tough and all we want is the end result – the healing, the fixed situation, the clean house…  We need to remember He is taking us through a process of growing closer to Him.

Praising in the Process

Success isn’t the end result, success is learning to lean on God more fully.  And that, my friends, is reason to Praise God!

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:3-5

Let’s glory our God in the process we are walking through right now – because it’s through this that we are growing to be more like Jesus.

The Lord Inhabits the Praises of His People

“The Lord inhabits the praises of his people.”

Since I first heard the “praise” theme for our devotionals this month, I haven’t stopped thinking about this quote. While it’s not exact scripture and more of a paraphrase of the rhythmic text in Psalm 22:3

But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

I don’t know about you, but I need the Lord’s inhabiting of my life. I need His rhythms in my plans and steps. I need Him to abide with me as He promises. If the way to bring Him closer to me is by coming near to Him through praise, count me all in! I’ll be here, hands high, crying from the depths of my soul, the very inmost parts of my spirit, voice rising from the top of my lungs, “I need you more, come, Jesus, come! Inhabit my praises! Abide in me! I want You to be an atmosphere I carry through life!”

praise worthy

My first experience feeling the presence of God through praise was when my husband and I had a very rough season a few years ago. My pastor’s wife calls us, “the most supernatural couple she’s ever seen.” The Lord certainly healed our marriage supernaturally, inhabiting our praises. Through this season, I could’ve chosen to withdraw and especially be angry with God. Instead, my husband and I both chose to draw closer, raise hands higher and praise Him, moment by moment, praising, worshipping and thanking Him right through tears.

Since then, I’ve really learned, and chosen, to recognize and feel God’s abiding presence with me day after day. I seek for places to give Him glory, in all I do. I remember that old Bible school song,
Praise Him, Praise Him. Praise Him in the morning, praise Him in the noon time. Praise Him, Praise Him. Praise Him when the sun goes down.”

No matter our circumstance, it is with head held high and eyes lifted up that the Lord abides with us. Mamas, our families and our children take note of these praises and can’t help but be affected by the indwelling of our sweet Lord and Savior with their mom. You know, it will rub off and get soaked deep down in their beings and some day, they’ll too recall the songs, words and praises their mom sent our Savior, just like I recall those Bible song lyrics. Through my prodigal years and all the way back around to being sold out, on fire, arms high for Jesus, He surely took note of those sweet praises of my youth and has blessed me, and my family as He dwells among us, and you, through our praises.

The Lord Inhabits the Praises

Here are a few practical ways I praise Him morning, noon, and night.

I don’t even get out of my bed in the morning before I talk to my Papa.

I praise Him, I thank Him and I ask Him for strength for the day before I even roll out of bed, make my coffee, walk the dogs, open the app with my Bible reading plan or even kiss my family good morning.

My day becomes an active conversation with God. 

As a busy wife, mom, blogger, travel writer, homeschooler, volunteer, board vice-chair, all of the hats that I wear (and I know you wear, too)… it’s hard to set aside time to “pray without ceasing” as Paul says. But don’t we know our God knows our schedule, too? My prayers become constant and active conversation with my best friend. I speak, and expect Him to answer, and He does. In thoughts, words, through people, surroundings, and experiences. When I had the blessing of traveling to Greece last year, I learned something significant about Paul’s preaching to the Corinthians. He did it in the marketplace. His praises were raised and messages were given to the people right in the center of town, right in the midst of craziness amid the chaos of every day life of grocery shopping, trading wares, and entertainment. There was Paul, shouting out his praises to our Lord. I want to be like Paul, in a constant and unashamed state of praise.

Worshipping Him in the Minivan.

The car rides as a busy mom seems to be never ending. So, let’s use that time as just part of our day to invite him to inhabit our lives. Turn on the worship music. Singing out loud, our hope in Him affects the minds and hearts of our children and, hopefully, will stick with them as long as that Bible school song has stuck with me. I love Seeds Family Worship because their songs are simply scripture set to music. (I think personally I’ve memorized more verses this way than any other!) One time, we had VBS songs on in the car while we were transporting a construction worker! I’ll never forget the look on his tattooed face and can only pray God’s presence of our praises rubbed off on him!

Praise Him Publicly.

  Last week, I was at a theme park with a group of seven kids and before we ate I said, “Ok, who’s praying?” Some of the kids said, “I prayed in my mind.” I said, “well, we praise Him aloud.” And that’s just what we did, holding hands, right there, in the LEGOLAND diner. We pray every time we eat out. I want my kids and those I influence and encounter to know He is worthy, at all times and in all places. I hope my simple example of prayer at the theme park can leave that mark in each mind and heart.

Whatever your way of praising Him morning, noon, and night, I pray that He comes to inhabit your lives, hearts and families more than ever before and you recognize and feel His presence through your praises. Maybe there’s some things I haven’t thought of that you do, too?

Are You Giving an Empty Box or Authentic Praise?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Inigo Montoya

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes from the movie “The Princess Bride.” In this scene, the Spaniard confronts Vizzini, his Sicilian boss, about repeatedly blurting “Inconceivable!” during scenarios playing out before their very eyes (or behind them, as the case may be). Vizzini, Inigo concludes, is clearly confused concerning the meaning of the word “inconceivable.” His observation is simple, yet profound. For with it, he shines a spotlight on one of humanity’s most annoying tendencies: the habitual repetition of a common word or phrase by someone who lacks a clear understanding of its meaning.

As children, we initially learned how to speak by mimicking sounds and words and phrases. Unless we make a conscious choice to stop, think, and choose our own words, we may accidentally adopt a favorite phrase without giving any thought to what it means. Take for example this exclamation: “Praise the Lord!” Although you will find it throughout the Old Testament (most frequently in the Psalms), it is often misused in Christian circles today.

In this post, I will make the case that the expression “Praise the Lord!” does not mean what you think it means. And I will challenge each of us to think twice before saying it, in the hope that we replace it with authentic praise. Got that? Ok, let’s unpack it.

Praise his character

“Praise the Lord!” is a translation of the Hebrew “Hallelujah,” a compound word formed by combining the verb hallel (to boast or praise) with yah—a shortened version of the name of the LORD. It occurs twenty-four times in the Old Testament (mainly in the Psalms), and only four times in the New Testament (all in Revelation 19 as part of a hymn).

In Hebrew, the verb praise is in the imperative mood. This means Hallelujah is a command. In other words, “You praise the Lord!” or as we say here in the South, “Y’all praise the Lord!” In the same way a parent might tell a child “Clean your room!” we are instructed to “Praise the Lord!”

Throughout Scripture, the command to praise is almost always followed (or preceded) by a retelling of the Lord’s deeds (Ps. 135); a recognition of His majesty (Ps. 148); a recitation of His character (Rev. 19:1-4); or additional instructions about how, when, and where to praise Him (Ps. 150).

Stay with me here, because this is important: There is literally only one occurrence in the entire Bible where “Hallelujah” is said as an expression, and it’s not between friends.

The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried: “Amen, Hallelujah!”
Rev. 19:4 (NIV)

This was knees-on-the-ground worship of the Lord right smack-dab in front of the throne. They cried, “Hallelujah!” directly to Him.

As you can see, to praise the Lord is to honor and worship Him for who He is, what He has done, and to trust His promises. We do this when we ascribe His attributes back to Him. His character. His name. In fact, this is the most meaningful praise we can offer in the midst of life’s harshest trials and tribulations.

We offer our praises in the sentences we speak; the words we write; the thoughts we think; the songs we sing; the dances we perform; the art we create; and so on—NOT through the mindless repetition of an idiom that seems like the right thing to say at the time.

authentic praise

Authentic praise is neither complicated nor simplistic, but it does require something from us: engagement of our minds. We must think before we blurt “Praise the Lord!” Consider the following questions: “What is it about the Lord I am wanting to honor? What has He done that compels me to praise Him? How is God making Himself known to me in this moment?” It is only after I’ve identified the reason(s) why I want to honor Him that I can offer a sacrifice of praise. Forethought is a powerful way we love God with our minds.

And he [Jesus] said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (ESV)

The word praise is an empty box. The only way it has any weight (meaning) is when we fill it with authentic praises. Otherwise it remains empty. Cliché. Vain. Devoid of meaning.

For example, when your son, Micah, aces his math test, you don’t praise him by saying, “Praise Micah!” That doesn’t mean anything to him. Instead, you speak truth to him about who he is and what he did.

Similarly, when your daughter, Leah, is hired as the summer camp intern, you don’t praise her by saying, “Praise Leah!” That would be weird. Instead, you speak truth to her about who she is and what she accomplished.

In the same manner, when God shows Himself faithful, you don’t praise Him by saying only, “Praise the Lord” as if that’s the end of the praise. Instead, you acknowledge who He is and what He did.

Imagine a scenario where a friend calls to share good news with you. She exclaims, “My husband got the job!” You could respond out of habit, “Praise the Lord!” But what exactly does that mean? “Yay!”? If so, you’ve used the Lord’s name in a mindless manner. If not, you’ve commanded your friend to “Praise the Lord.” Either way, you’ve tipped your proverbial hat toward Heaven with no personal investment, no acknowledgement of who the Lord is or what He has done deserving of praise. Is that what you thought you were doing? Or were you wanting to praise God for something? If so, what? Say that!

You could declare, “That’s great news! God is amazing! He’s promised to take care of us, and He is doing just what He promised. His timing is not ours, but it is perfect. He is sovereign.”

THAT, my friend, is what it means to PRAISE the Lord.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
Hebrews 13:15 ESV

I hereby challenge you (and me) to fill the empty “Praise the Lord” box with authentic, pre-meditated praise from our minds and hearts. Can you imagine how transforming this practice will be in our daily lives and our relationships? It might take a while and require re-training ourselves, but authentic—not empty—praise is a worthy goal.

To help us get started with this new practice, I’ve created a free printable for you with “12 Alternatives to ‘Praise the Lord!’”

Visit LauraZielke.com/downloads to save it, and let me know what you think about this challenge.

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Breaking Glasses and Praising God

“For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the LORD made the heavens.” 1 Chronicles 16:25-26

Does your kitchen cupboard with the drinking cups look like a tribute to the plastics industry? I know mine does.

Sure, I would love to have a complete matching set of drinking glasses, but any set we buy begins to slowly dwindle as glass after glass shatters when it is dropped to the floor. It’s interesting how that happens, isn’t it?

Your child tries to fill his cup on his own, it is slippery to hold, and…well… you know the rest. Gravity does its job.

It just makes me want to praise the Lord.

I know. You need some transition for that last sentence. You see, I am a scientist. That means I look at things from a weird perspective. So during that slow-motion time as glass begins falling to the ground, I first accept the fact that these are my children, and we can’t have perfect things in our house until they are grown and gone (which I am not looking forward to). But then I begin to study that glass falling.

  • How it shatters due to its molecular structure.
  • The pattern the shards move in as they are propelled from the angle of impact and the force of gravity.
  • The fact that we all need to put on shoes now (Homeschoolers never seem to wear shoes, do they?) until everything is swept and mopped.

Praise Him

But really, the forces acting on that cup are fascinating. Yet even more fascinating is the One who laid down those forces – those physical laws. He spoke things into being, and they appeared at His command. He is upholding them today.

Asaph and his men knew this when they were appointed by David to minister before the Ark.

“He appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to extol, thank, and praise the LORD, the God of Israel.” 1 Chronicles 16:4

And they praised Him, marveling at His Creation. Extolling Him along with the heavens, earth, and all the animals living on the earth.

How did they know He is worthy?

Because He made everything and keeps it. Asaph went on to say in verse 30, “Tremble before him, all the earth! The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.”

As we observe the world around us, we are more aware of the vastness and complexity of the universe God spoke into being.

[Now, here’s the science-y person in me coming out…] Science helps us to marvel and praise God along with Asaph. With the telescope, we begin to understand that this huge planet and the entirety of people are nothing but a grain of sand on an immense field of universe. BUT…with the microscope we learn that this grain has entire tribes and populations within it. You see, we think we see our world as insignificant in light of the heavenlies that the telescope reveals. But we are reminded that it IS NOT insignificant, thanks to the microscope and its discoveries of the vastness of creatures and particles held within a tiny drop of water.

On Breaking Glass and Praising God

He creates, He fills up, and He upholds. The world is firmly established, it is sustained by its Creator, and He is worthy of our praise!

Just look around. You only have to look at the plastic cups in your kitchen to be reminded of the elegant design and natural laws of our world.

Read through all of Asaph’s praise in 1 Chronicles 16. Pray those words with me as you marvel at our God. Indeed, He is worthy.

Praise the Lord for glass breaking! Praise Him for His wondrous works!

Sing Praises to the Lord

Sing Praises to the Lord

 

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
    sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
    sing to him a psalm of praise. Psalm 47:6-7

Have you ever been so overwhelmed with God’s greatness, deliverance, and love for you that you simply had to shout out in prayer? Can a person be spiritual, a lover of God, and an obedient follower without emotion and praise for what God has done for them? I think not, and so Psalm 47 is worthy of our attention since we encounter those who experienced God’s goodness which erupted in their praise, love, and thanksgiving for all he had done in their lives. Sing praises. 

Psalm 47 is a spontaneous eruption of praise and glory to God almighty. As with Psalm 46, there appears to be a single event that stimulated this great psalm, and many think that both Psalms 46 and 47 were in response to the overwhelming defeat of the Assyrian leader Sennacherib in front of the gates of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18-19). Notwithstanding the historical antecedent, the spontaneous and profuse praise for God Almighty by his people is itself a great joy to read about.

Many years ago I went to the movie “Song of the South”, an animated version produced by Disney. In that show Uncle Remus sang a song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”. That song that stuck in my mind, and I still to this day walk around humming it and singing it because I just feel happy about life.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

choice to praise

Praises Every Day

Have you felt the sunlight of the new morning and dropped to your knees in praise to God for what he has done for you? Have you had a new song placed in your heart because of the happiness of the gospel of Christ and sung it to a dark, lost, and bitter world? Our devotional text calls us to uninhibited and unlimited praise of our Father in Heaven. What overwhelming goodness we receive every day from God, and one way we should respond is in profuse praise and song to him.

Paul writes that we should be joyful always and give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). This cannot be done if we do not have a good attitude toward God and all of his good gifts. As a Christian, there is plenty of “Sonshine” headed your way every day because Jesus Christ lives on the inside of you (Colossians 1:27).

sing praises to the Lord

David calls us to the boundary of the day when he said in Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Seize each day in the Lord with happiness not sadness, with joy not tears, with optimism not negativity, with hope not despair, with love not hate, with selfless service not selfish pursuits, with forgiveness and not spiteful bitterness. We have a choice every day to praise God and to sing a new song.

I will choose to praise the Lord for all that He has done for me, since He blesses me beyond measure and spares no goodness on me. Thank you Father, for your grace, love, and mercy in my life. I always want to praise your name.

 

When to Worship

Praise Him in the middle of the night when the moon shines in the darkness and the crickets sing. In the morning before the sun peaks over the horizon, as the birds begin their chirping. At lunch time when hunger rumbles. In the afternoon when the yawns begin and eyes droop. At dinner alone or around a table, in prayer, in conversation, in reflections about the day.

When it’s sunny or cloudy, or raining or storming. When it’s clear outside or foggy, hot or frosty, humid or dry, lush or not. When the seeds sprout, or the buds bloom, or the seeds fall, and the plants die. As the winds blows, the leaves fall, the snow piles.

joy and excitement - praise him

Praise Him when love is new, when love is broken, when love is lost. When birth is anticipated, new life arrives, and first steps pitter-patter. When imagination asks, seeks, and knocks. When curiosity wonders, when midnight awakes.

Praise Him in the stillness, in the chaos, during the in-between. When interviews happen, when job offers come, when bonuses grow, when bosses recognize, when bosses don’t. When jobs are lost, savings are depleted, when doubt crouches. When bills pile up, when community supports, when miracles happen.

Praise Him when questions come, yet silence lingers. When time passes, but nothing changes, when hope diminishes, and discouragement settles. When opportunity knocks, challenges surmount, and solutions surprise.

Praise Him in waiting rooms at the vet, during oil changes at the repair shop. In hospitals, emergency rooms, doctor’s offices. Waiting on reports, on return calls, on a prognosis, diagnosis, and treatment options. When tests return inconclusive, benign, malignant. When in remission or in hospice.

Praise Him when you can’t stop shaking, can’t stop the tears, can’t get off the floor, when you wish you could just run away, when you’re out of options, when you’re out of money, when there’s no one to call, no strength to dial, no words to say anything. Praise Him.when to worship

Praise Him in peace and in confusion, in understanding and in frustration, in clarity and in distraction. Praise Him when it makes sense and when it doesn’t. On the mountain top and in the valley, when it’s fair and when it isn’t. In betrayal and pain and abuse. In misunderstandings, missteps, misrepresentations, and mistakes.

In joy and excitement with dancing, with wet faces and hands lifted, hope raises. Praise Him!

Seeing In Light of Praise

 

“Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.” – Psalm 63:3-4

There was a moment in time that if you were to step foot inside our home, you would need instructions on where to step and what places in our floor to avoid.

The children had the pattern memorized as they jumped from one colored carpet square to another.

Those were the lean years of building our small business from the ground up. Some days that was a literal term. I had to get used to cold drafts and instability.

In the beginning I chose bitterness and discontentment as my companions throughout the day. There was no gratitude or praise to be found in me.

God showed me the state of my heart through women that pulled me under their care.

They were gentle, and yet stern, in reminding me that as long as I have life, I’m to be thankful and give Him praise in the ways that He had already blessed our family.

lifestyle of praise

God was gracious and loving in giving my husband a vision for the future. He brought clarity to my husband’s mind as he sought God daily for knowledge and wisdom.

He was allowing God to help him make a difference for our family, but when he’s met with my discontentment when he darkens the door each evening, I’ve just torn down what my husband had invested in building all day.

This wasn’t the wife or mother that I wanted to be. I didn’t want to teach my children bitterness and discontentment. I didn’t want to dishonor my husband with my terrible attitude.

I want to exude a lifestyle of praise, and what better time to do that than when it seems like we have nothing to praise Him for?

It started with a list of gratitude each day.

We were smack dab In the middle of winter. When there would be snow piled around our home, making the temperature inside colder than outside, I praised God for electricity so that we could run our heaters, and have the oven door open for extra warmth.

I praised Him for nails to hang sheets up to close off doorways.

I was looking for ways to praise God because He is worthy.He was not the cause of our hardship. We decided to make choices that were unconventional and probably downright stupid in other’s eyes, but we had to make a change.

I started playing music that helped me get lost in praising Him. My hands would go up and my feet would start moving! I’d sing songs about Him being worthy of our praise.

There was now a song of thanksgiving in my heart.

It was a growing season for our family. There were things that we all had to learn.

Our lives surely looked like Philippians 4:12.

The children look back on that time in the old 2 bedroom mill house with fond memories. We pulled together to make the best of our close quarters.

They can recall the lean times and the times of blessings.

light of praise

Faith and praise made all of the difference.

God was always there blessing us, but we had to grow to a place of recognizing it in everything.

We got to a place where our faith was getting stronger than what we perceived as lack.

We started to see things in light of praise.

For further study:

Philippians 4:1-23

Prayer

Lord, may I be mindful to remember that Your lovingkindness is better than life. A praise will be on my lips and I will bless you while I live. I will lift up my hands in Your name because You are worthy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

And There She Praised

She stood there with her hands held high, praising, so intently focused on her Savior. She smiled. She sang. She worshiped. Praise God.

At a glance anyone that saw her would think she was in the midst of great joy. Her face glowed with praise.

Yet, for the past eight days, she sat at her husband’s bedside while he remained unconscious. Scores of people prayed. Even greater number of tears fell as so many begged, pleaded, and held onto God for his dear life.

It was unfathomable to think God would take her husband, just 39 years old and father to three young children, all gathered from various corners of the world, to be a forever family.

But God saw it fit to take Him home.

praise God

And there she praised.

In the midst of her husband’s life celebration service, and in the midst of a pain I am sure I have not known, her hands raised were raised high.

That is true worship. That is true praise.

I was changed that day, as I was a witness to the most pure praise I have ever seen.

Sure, we can praise in the moments where all is going well in earthly terms. The family is healthy, there’s an abundance. Life is good. And we praise.

And that praise it just as worthy.

But there is something more I learned that day as my friend praised through the worst pain of her life.

It is just gladness for earthly things. True praise sings through the sorrow and the pain, and not just when you get what you want.

Praise for our Father, no matter what swirls around us on earth, because we overflow with love for Him, is a beautiful act of worship.

My life changed in that moment.

praise God

Praise God.

It is so much more than a song or a happy feeling. It is so much deeper. True praise knows this life is not all there is.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25

Just like Paul and Silas praising through their suffering, which unleashed God’s power, and ultimately His salvation for others, she praised and gave glory and honor to Him. And others witnessed His power at work, which shows that we do nothing in our own strength.

Because who on earth would praise in the midst of the darkest suffering…

A daughter of the King…that’s who.

“Father, I ask you to give me a song of praise through every single breath I take. May my praise not be dependent on what is going on around me, but may it be simply because you are King of King, Lord of Lords, and I believe your every word and every promise. I praise you with my lips and I praise you with my life. May I give honor and glory as others see you through my praise.”

 

 

The Praise He is Worthy Of

There are times in life when praise is hard. Our hearts are sad, angry, and bitterness is trying to take root. Sometimes it can even completely take over. Yet, He is worthy. Even when things are not as we would want them — He is still worthy of praise. 

“The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away – blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21

These words from the book of Job are some of the most quoted words of scripture. They are easy to get out when God gives to us, but what happens when God takes away? How do we remember how worthy God is in those moments? It is hard isn’t it? 

God is worthy

We Remember

We need to start by going back over how faithful God is. We start by looking at all the blessings He has given. Then, we need to go back to times when God has taken away – think through all that God has done since that time. We can use those experiences to see how we have grown, to see how the hard things in life have been used for His glory.

Then, we need to think back even further. Think back to the day on the cross. Think back to that moment when the Son of God was upon the cross. God allowed His only Son to die in your place  – in my place. Go back even further – all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Where we decided to follow our own way instead of following after the goodness God had set before us.

Yes, the more we look through history, the more we remember, the more we will realize that He is worthy of our praise.

Yes, times get hard, sometimes really hard. Yes, praise might be a sacrifice during those times. But just because it is hard, and just because it is a sacrifice, doesn’t mean that He is unworthy of it. We need to remember that nothing God does is wrong or bad – and that it is because of sin in this world that bad things happen in this life. God never intended that. One of Satan’s favorite tricks is to send something bad into our life and to have us blame God for it. The devil knows that if we can believe that lie, it will be much easier to convince us the rest are lies. However, the Lord only intends for two things: His glory and our good. But our good must also meet His glory.

Focus on His Praise

So, when circumstances have you focusing on this world, take time and let yourself focus back on the character of God. Let yourself refocus on what God has done for you. During this time of refocusing, you will be reminded that God is worthy of all the praise you can give.

Prayer: Father,”I will bless your name at all times. Your praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make me boast in you: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.  Even in the toughest of circumstances, the pit of darkness or in the desert, when I seek you, you will hear me, and deliver me from my fears.  (Psalms 34) paraphrased.

In Awe,

Laura

January 2017:  Praise

Praise Him for He is Worthy!

Welcome to the Rooted Devotions! I am so excited to be partnering with a bunch of great Christian writers – mamas like you who love the Lord and are passionate about growing a deeper faith. This month we’re taking a close look at praise. I love, love, love when women band together and unite in something meaningful to benefit the Kingdom and I’m so excited about this project! This month we’ll all be talking about praise – join us every week day for a new devotional thought, join the conversation and let us know what’s speaking to your heart.  

Praise Him.

Praise

As we look ahead to 2017 with all of its known activities and schedules.

As we write in our new calendars and planners with new markers and heightened anticipation.

As we rewrite some of the same resolutions we wrote last year, the year before, and the year before that.

As we set priorities.

Let us resolve to praise Him all year long.

Not just the first few days of January, but all year long. May the praise of Him who alone is worthy characterize our quiet moments, our conversations, our comments, our prayers, our lives.

We don’t have to wait to see what happens to praise Him. We don’t have to worry; we can praise Him. We need not wonder, but rather rejoice in Him.

He is worthy of our praise no matter what. And our focus on Him makes all of the difference. It grants us confidence when we feel weak, hope when we feel depressed, courage when we feel doubt, joy when we feel sad. Praising Him reminds us that He is in control, that He has a plan, that He is victorious, that He is coming back to take us home.

Are you up to a challenge? How about this one: Praise Him every day—every single day. Choose to praise Him for who He is. Choose to begin each day with acknowledging His goodness, His grace, His mercy, His love. Choose to worship Him and sing His praises.

Now, dare to imagine with me what a difference that would make in 2017.

How we submit to our spouse? How we respond to our kids? How we engage with our friends? The culture?

How would praising Him (as we begin each day and through each day) affect how we go about our responsibilities, how we fulfill our roles, how we approach conflict, how we celebrate? I bet we would smile more. I bet we would love better. I bet we would let go of the unimportant. I bet we would serve selflessly. I bet we would be more kind and less judgmental. I bet we would change from the inside out. And I bet we could change those around us, pointing them to Him, praising Him all the time.

You see, when we start making it our mission to praise Him, our perspective changes. We think about Him more, the wonder of the Eternal God, the glory of the Father, the sacrifice of the Son, the gift of the Spirit. Our lives become less about us and more about Him. Our focus changes from ourselves to His glory. 

Yes, let’s praise Him.

May 2017 be the year when we encourage each other to praise Him on the mountain top and in the valley, in our celebrations and in our disappointments, in our gains and in our losses. May He be our focus: the Unchanging, Almighty, Blessed, Sovereign God of the universe. Holy is His Name.

Psalm 145

Will you commit to praising Him along with me? Leave a comment with an idea or two, let’s inspire each other!