Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How can I find joy in the midst of tough circumstances?

Start with PRAISE!!!

Psalm 150: 6 (NIV) Let everything that breathes praise the Lord.

This morning while I was spending quiet moments with the Lord, I thought about my friend who has had 7 surgeries on her vocal chords to repair damage incurred from her bout with throat cancer. She is a gifted worship leader and vocalist at my church.  

I have often  tried to put myself in her shoes as I thought about how I would react to circumstances she has had to walk through as a result of cancer. I might question “why” especially when God has gifted me (actually her) with a voice that leads and encourages people to praise and worship Him.  But she doesn’t ask “why”; she praises God because she understands who He is and she knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God has a plan and a purpose for her life.

I have learned a great deal about praising God in all circumstances from my friend. I have also experienced first-hand the unexplainable joy that comes when we praise God for who He is and the things He’s done.  My friend is a great example of joy-filled praise in every circumstance.   Her love for the Lord shines through in everything she does and I believe it’s because she understands the benefits we receive when we praise God.

Benefit: Strength
In Exodus 15: 1-21 I am reminded of the importance of praise. In these verses we read about Moses’ song of victory and praise after God led Israel of Egypt and saved them by parting the Red Sea.

Exodus 15:2 (NCV) The Lord gives me strength and makes me sing; he has saved me. He is my God, and I will praise him.”

Just like this verse in Exodus, my friend receives strength from God to face her circumstance head-on when she sings praises to Him.

Benefit: Focused attention on God
In 1 Chronicles (15 – 16) we read the story of the Israelites carrying the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. In preparation for the journey, “David commanded the chiefs of the Levites to appoint their kindred as singers” (1 Chronicles 15: 16) to lead the procession with songs of praise.

Music and singing (praising God) were a cherished part of Israel’s culture. Praising God helps us focus our attention on God and not the “stuff” we all go through. Singing songs of praise proclaim God’s greatness by giving Him the glory no matter the out-come of our circumstance.

After each surgery, my friend wasn't able to sing for a few weeks… but this didn't stop her from praising God. She praised God with all her heart through her attitude and her life.

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