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 on an understanding of the circumstance or trial. Praise depends on an understanding of who God really is and wants to be in our life, and on 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 grasp 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. 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 became a powerless prisoner of the darkness as I battled severe clinical depression. It took me two long years to climb out of that dark pit, but in the process I learned many important truths.
I learned that I couldn’t depend on my own strength or my fickle emotions. God often asked me to praise Him when there didn’t seem to be 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 on God’s truth and God’s character instead of on the trial at hand.
We can celebrate the battle before it even begins because 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 is with us and will deliver us in it or from it.
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, success is certain.
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. 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,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read and answer the following questions:
- What comes to your mind when you hear the word “praise?”
- Do you really believe your life can bring God pleasure?
- Read Psalm 139. According to this psalm, how does God see you?
- What are the sources of discouragement in your life?
- What steps do you need to take to eliminate those sources?
Begin your “Joy Journal” by recording the daily blessings He gives you each day this week. Remember to add the “small” miracles as well as the “large” ones. At the end of the week, have a private praise service – just you and God. Thank Him for His presence and power at work in your life.
More from the Girlfriends
NEW BOOK from Mary Southerland! Mary has updated the E-Book, Fit for Life, and released it in a soft cover book. Fit for Life addresses the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual areas of your life and teaches you principles that will empower you to bring each area under God’s control.