A few weeks ago I was in our church’s Sunday morning service, standing with so many others, hearing the music, watching the band lead us. My heart was heavy when I’d walked in, the result of a rough morning and hard week filled with too much. I stood there thirsty, longing for a life-giving something to wash over my soul.
Then these words lifted up from the front, a song from Elevation Worship called Give Me Faith…
I need You to soften my heart
To break me apart
I need You to open my eyes
To see that You’re shaping my life
All I am,
Give me faith to trust what You say
That You’re good and Your love is great
I’m broken inside, I give You my life
I may be weak
But Your Spirit’s strong in me
My flesh may fail
My God You never will
I may be weak, but Your Spirit’s strong in me. My flesh may fail, but my God You never will . . .
The more I sang, the more my heart softened. As I stood and as I praised, the more I became aware of His presence, His strength and how it mattered that He was still there and how desperately I needed Him. That He lived, fully alive both in the beauty of that song and the messiness of my morning.
Something inside of me shifted as I praised Him.
In the middle of that loud auditorium, a quietness washed over my heart . . . and something shifted. The more I praised Him, the more I realized His presence. My worship, my surrender through praise, ushered in His truth, His strength of joy, that His Spirit was still strong in me, and that He will never fail.
You probably have a similar story, a time when you stood hands high, or bowed with face to the ground, and felt that shift. That exchange of your burdens for His joy that comes while praising our good God.
We’ve spent all of November looking at this word JOY. This idea that we can have joy to overflowing sounds so completely unattainable, yet Jesus said it is fully available. Joy is great in theory, but is it our reality? How is that even possible, especially in the emotional snow-globe of the holiday season?
We’ve covered two different challenges (if you missed them, here’s the links) –
- When Life is Hard, STAND, that His deep and abiding joy is only possible when we choose to stand in the truth of His Word.
- When Life is Unfair, GIVE THANKS, that offering up thanksgiving to God releases the grip of ingratitude and ushers back His joy into our lives.
My last challenge for our November Joy series is this:
When Life is Uncertain . . . PRAISE HIM
Take a moment today, spend some time in the words from Psalm 66.
Shout joyful praises to God, all the earth!
Sing about the glory of His name!
Tell the world how glorious He is.
Say to God, “How awesome are Your deeds!
Your enemies cringe before Your mighty power.
Everything on earth will worship You;
they will sing Your praises,
shouting Your name in glorious songs.”
Come and see what our God has done,
what awesome miracles He performs for people!
He made a dry path through the Red Sea,
and His people went across on foot.
There we rejoiced in Him.
For by His great power He rules forever.
This Psalm praises God over and over again. The writer acknowledges God’s goodness, power, miraculous works in his life. The psalmist is not confused. He praises God for all that He is, and for all that He has done.
I want to praise God for His goodness, power and miraculous works in my life.
However, when life becomes uncertain, I can forget His good and throw myself into a good panic. Fear and doubt can so easily fall on me… anyone else?
Here’s what I’m finding though. As a result of pressing into His joy, I’m becoming more aware of when it’s lacking. I am recognizing when I feel tangled up on the inside and His joy is missing.
And I am fighting for it.
I don’t want to live in a tangled mess. I want to be a wife my husband wants to be around and a mama who allows for laughter and joy. I want to be a woman who believes her God for all that He is. I want to fight for joy. The enemy wants us to believe nothing more than a lie, a depressing lie that it’s no use, it’s just always going to be a mess. The burdens of this life will forever weigh us down.
Praising Him exchanges our burdens for His JOY.
Not sure how? Here’s some ideas…
- Pull up your favorite song on iTunes and worship Him in the quietness of the morning before anyone else is up. Praise Him for the opportunities of a new day, the blank canvas for Him to write His fingerprints on. Praise Him that His mercies are new every morning, that He is faithful and true.
- Take the drive time and praise Him for every gift you can think of. Praise Him for that car and the gas that makes it go, praise Him for all the blessings in your life and for His provision.
- Read a Psalm to Him as a prayer of praise. Praise Him for the gift of His Word. Praise Him for His promises and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
- Praise Him in the quietness of your heart in the midst of a difficult conversation. Praise Him for His strength and wisdom to speak with His grace, truth and love.
- Turn up the radio really loud and worship Him. Praise Him that He is good, and great, and powerful. Praise Him for His presence in your life, for His salvation and His love.
Praise Him . . . though this life is uncertain, fight for His joy, and praise Him.
Our flesh may fail, but our God He never will.
Take time to PRAISE HIM through His Word – Psalm 95 – 100