Choose to Praise God

Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

I once saw a refrigerator magnet that said, “I know that God promises to never give me more than I can handle. But sometimes, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.” 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 and faith in God.

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 me. 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 we 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 turn to 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, in 1995, I found myself a powerless, prisoner of the darkness as I battled 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.

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 but 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. 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.

Have a blessed day!

Stop Worrying

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

By definition “Worry”  means to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.  It is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.

worry-chart

Most days, I don’t think I worry or at least not to the point of anxiety.  I do tend to worry about the usual things – finances, the health of family, and business. And despite my best efforts and my hard fast “I am NOT political”, I am concerned about the state of the country and the world.  It is definitely the Social Worker in me.

I am a doer and I definitely do not have patience.  When life starts to unravel and things seem out of control, I do everything I can to fix them.  When things can’t be fixed (by me), I worry.  I say that I put things in God’s hands but the reality is, when things don’t happen in MY time frame, I am quick to retrieve them and begin the process again of trying to fix them.

I never really thought of prayer as an action step until recently and I began my God bag.  When I read these verses, I have a clear picture of what action I should take to FIX things.  Although I still have no control over certain situations, I am bringing it before the Almighty One who did. And that was the very best “doing.”  I leave things in my God bag until prayers are answered.  I am beginning to think it is overflowing with worries but I know that God will handle them in his time.

When we carry the Word of God in our hearts, it becomes a weapon against worry and anxiousness.

Things beyond our control happen every day of our lives, but we can equip ourselves with the Truth that protects our hearts and minds. When we do this, the words become like a soothing balm for our anxious souls.

Confidence replaces doubt and peace replaces worry. We find sweet rest because instead of relying on our own strength to carry us, we rely on the promises found in Christ Jesus.

Are you worrying today?  Place your worries at God’s feet and leave them there.  Trust me when I say that this is much easier said then done, at least by me.  Just for today – I will place my worries at God’s feet and leave them there knowing that there are some things that I just can’t fix.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day as you relax, reflect and recharge!