Category Archives: praising God

Choosing to Praise

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“My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.” Psalm 108:1-4 (ESV)

God called King David a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22). There are many reasons God said this about David but Psalm 108 shows us one clear reason. David was fixed on praising God. He was fixed on praising God not because things always went his way. Not because he never suffered. Not because he was perfect. It was a choice he made. He told God, “My heart is steadfast!” To be steadfast is to be firm, stable, established, fixed. He was set on praising God and nothing would sway him from that. He said,

I WILL sing and make melody with all my being!

I WILL awake the dawn!

I WILL give thanks to you, O LORD!

I WILL sing praises to you among the nations.

David determined to sing for God with all his being. He chose to start his day praising God. He made the choice to give thanks to Him. He was set on praising God in his heart and also chose to praise Him among the nations.

Why? Why would he praise him in spite of trouble and oppression? Why would he praise Him in spite of his own weaknesses? Why would he praise Him in the midst of daily struggles?

“For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 108:4-5

Why would he praise Him? Because God’s love is great above the heavens! His love never fails. His love is everlasting! Because His faithfulness goes on forever!

He deserves all praise and all glory! His love and faithfulness will never fail us.

Like David, I can choose to praise Him. I can say with David:

I will sing and make melody with all my heart!

I will wake up in the morning praising Him!

I will give thanks to you, O LORD!

I will sing your praises to those around me.

It’s a choice I can make. I can praise Him in spite of circumstances because He never changes. His character is firm in spite of my problems and struggles. I can praise Him because His love for me never fails. He will never love me any less. I can make the choice to sing and make music in my heart. I can thank Him everyday for all He does for me. I can also choose to praise His name to those around me. I can tell them how great He is.

God’s love for me is steadfast. It will never change. His faithfulness goes on forever. He is worthy of all my praise.

I will give thanks to you, O LORD! I will sing your praises to others. Praise your Holy Name!

This is a choice we can make every day! It’s a gift we give to our Lord.

I originally published this devotion at Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud

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Singing in the Storm

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S – “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me…My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!” Psalm 57:2,7 (ESV)

O – David wrote these words while hiding in a cave as King Saul with 3,000 men looked for him to kill him. A powerful king hated him and wanted him to die. In this Psalm he trusts himself to God. He knew His Father would fulfill His purpose for him. In spite of the danger, the fear, and seemingly overwhelming odds, his heart was steadfast and immovable in trusting God. He was singing and making melody to God even as he ran for his life.

A – Can I have such faith that trusts God no matter what is happening? Is my heart steadfast, immovable in trusting God?

Shouts and name-calling zing from our government leaders like bullets. Earthquakes shake our world. Hunger threatens. Gloom fills the news. Friends report cancer. Young people turn from faith. Life moves at lightening speed. I can surrender to fear and live in anxiety or I can make the choices David made:

My soul takes refuge in the shadow of your wings. (v.1)

I cry out to God Most High. (v.2)

My heart is steadfast. (v.7)

I will sing and make melody! (v.7)

I will awake the dawn! (With music-v.8))

I will give thanks to you, O Lord. (v.9)

I will sing praises to you. (v.9)

All choices David made. Choices I can make.

We can choose during times of destruction and turmoil to take refuge in God until the storm passes. We can trust Him or we can surrender to fear.

P – Father, I will praise your holy name. I will give thanks to you. You and you alone keep me safe and guide my path. I will sing praises to you. You are my hiding place. My Rock. My Fortress. Praise your holy name!

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When Depression Knocks

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When the darkness comes, reach for the light.

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises.” Psalm 34:1 (NLT)

I tend toward the melancholy.

Awhile back I was struggling more often than usual with the temptation to depression, a lack of joy, and an oppression of the spirit. I know there are many others who struggle with this and I want to share what helps me most.

(To clarify: I’m NOT talking about chemical imbalance and I’m not discussing clinical depression here).

I’m talking about a feeling of sadness that comes for no obvious reason. Feeling gloomy or unhappy sometimes in spite of having things go well in life. It might be unexplained or it might come because of sin and suffering in the world or because of my own failings and weaknesses.

When I fall into this kind of depression, these choices help me the most:

  • Singing praise to God out loud. Spending time alone with God and singing praise songs to Him is powerful. There’s more power in singing out loud but listening to praise music is also healing.
  • Prayer. Our greatest resource. We can tell God exactly how we feel. It’s important also to confess our sins. We can tell Him what we desire Him to do in our lives. If I feel powerless to pray, I pray the Psalms. Some that have helped me: Psalm 37, 34, 32, 23, 27, 40 and 42 but any of the Psalms are helpful.
  • Reading and meditating on Scripture. Reading God’s Word is essential. Quoting Scripture out loud helps to focus our minds on the truth. “For the word of God is alive and powerful…” Hebrews 4:12a (NLT) His Word is supernatural and meditating on its truth can bring peace and calm to our souls.
  • Resisting isolation. When I feel depression coming in my spirit, often my first temptation is to isolate myself and shut others out. This only makes things worse and amplifies the darkness. Reaching out to someone we trust and can share our hearts with will often drive the dark feeling away. I’ve found that the more I keep my negative thought patterns to myself, the stronger they get. But time and time again when I share those thoughts, just saying them out loud to someone exposes them as lies.
  • Keeping a balance between physical exertion (exercise/work) and rest. If we go for a period of time without doing anything that requires physical exertion, it can lead to a depressed feeling, but if we’re always on the go and never take time to rest, that also can leave us depressed. We need balance.
  • Remembering we are in a war. We’re all in a Spiritual battle but those who seek to get closer to Jesus will meet the enemy head on. Satan will attack anyone who follows Jesus. Peter warns us, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT). However, we overcome him through the power of the blood of Jesus Christ, our testimony and prayer. (Revelation 12:11) “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

One particular morning I was feeling the darkness. I read my daily devotions and meditated on His truth. Later, I remembered about praising God. By choice, not by feeling I began to sing praises to Him. I put on praise music and exercised while praising Him. I poured out my heart to Him. He lifted me from the pit (Psalm 40)!

Some experience depression that goes beyond what they can deal with by themselves. It may even be caused by a chemical imbalance. At those times, it is important to seek help from a counselor or a doctor. There was a time when my depression became so persistent that I went to a counselor for some months. God used her to help me tremendously! There’s nothing wrong with needing help. God created us as beings that need each other.

May God give grace and peace to anyone reading this who is suffering from depression or persistent sadness. Please use it Lord. Use it to bring them closer to you. Please shine your light into their darkness.

Please comment below if you need prayer to get through a season of depression. He loves you with an everlasting love!

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Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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He Also Made the Stars

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“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

“…He also made the stars.” Gen 1:16b

The first recorded words of God are, “Let there be light.”

Light is everything. Without light there would be no life. Light gives us warmth, shows us the way, protects us from danger and keeps us alive. Sunlight is essential to physical and mental health. How could light just appear? How can it be explained other than the Creator spoke it into existence?

Then in verse 16 a simple statement, “He also made the stars.”

He made stars beyond what is possible to count. He made stars that stretch into a universe of which there appears to be no end. Stars that inhabit galaxies beyond count. Wonders we can’t imagine.

Oh, by the way, He also made the stars.

That alone should bring us to our knees before Him, to our faces in worship of this powerful God who also made the stars.

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I take so much for granted. Light for example. I take it for granted the sun will come up each day. I take it for granted that when I flip a switch the light comes on. This is a gift from a holy God.

I talk to Him each day but do I remember this is the LORD God who made the stars, who spoke light into existence and who took dust to make the miracle of a human being?

How can I ever come to Him casually?

He is amazing! He is worthy of my praise and worship. He chose to reach down and save my soul. He chose to send Jesus to earth to live and die for those who had already rebelled. Words cannot express what I owe Him.

This God who “also made the stars” loves each one of us with an everlasting love. He thought of us before He ever said “Let there be light.” He thought of us and knowing we would choose to sin and rebel against Him, decided in advance to send Jesus to live and die for us so that we can live with Him forever. He made it possible for us to come to Him even in our sin. We can come boldly to His throne anytime of day or night and talk to Him, give Him our petitions, praise Him, and worship Him.

Father God, You are worthy of all my worship, all my heart and soul. I stand before you in awe of your majesty and power. The invitation to come directly to you and talk to you is an indescribable gift. I love you LORD. I want your will to be done in every part of my life and who I am. I worship you my Creator and my Lord!

May we come to Him in worship every day throughout the day!

Originally published for Takin It to the Streets – Omaha.

 

 

 

 

 

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Do I Keep it Secret?

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“Is it wrong to tell people about the ministry I do?” A friend recently asked in reference to this passage:

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:3-4

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:17-18

We need both. Praying in secret and praying with others. Giving in secret and giving openly. Fasting in secret and fasting corporately.

Secret times with God need to be the priority.

Times when we give Him praise for His ears only are essential. I love to let praise flow from my heart. Yielding as His Spirit moves, making up tunes, singing and letting His word inspire me and fill me with thanksgiving and praise. He is pleased because He wants a love relationship with me. He desires secret times with us where we find joy in His presence. He wants us to talk to Him, giving Him thanks and telling Him our needs. He wants us to listen as He speaks to our hearts.

He is also pleased when we raise our voices together to praise Him. Praying together builds our faith and is powerful. I meet with a couple of friends regularly to pray and we have seen many answered prayers over the years!

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:19-20 (NIV)

When we have our time with Him alone first, we then have stronger faith to pray and praise together. We need to pray with others to encourage each other in faith.

Our Father wants us to give in secret and openly. He wants me to give things that are between Him and me. Giving in secret helps me to give with a pure motive and to avoid the temptation of pride. Giving openly blesses others and inspires them to give. (Read 2 Corinthians 8 and 9)

Fasting in secret is a sacrifice only God knows about that is an offering to Him and blesses Him. He also calls us to pray and fast as a church or group to build our faith and show our dependence on Him.

He looks at the motivation of our hearts. Are we practicing these disciplines in order to look good or because we genuinely care and want to honor Him? Whatever we do, the motive matters. God wants a secret relationship with me so that He can give me what I need to then share with others in the right spirit.

So we praise when we are alone and when we are with others.

We give in secret and give as an example to encourage others.

We pray by ourselves and with others to His glory.

We fast in secret and fast together for a united purpose.

If we only offer theses acts of worship in secret, we miss the opportunity to encourage, inspire and bless others and to give Him glory.

If we only do them in public, we miss the reward that comes from having a secret time with the LORD and may fall into the trap of doing them for show.

We need time alone with our Father. When I contemplate that our Creator, our All-Mighty Holy God, the Great I Am wants a personal relationship with me, a sinner, (made possible by Jesus) why wouldn’t time with Him be my top priority? And spending time with Him motivates me to pray, give and worship with others.

Whether we offer these acts of worship in secret to Him or with others to His glory, what better way could we spend our time?

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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