April 8, 2011

Choose to Give Praise

Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
“He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23, NIV).

Friend to Friend
My husband, Dan, grew up driving the family ski boat, pulling various family members and friends across some lake as they learned to water ski. Consequently, he is an excellent boat driver, especially for children or any novice on skis. Both our son, Jered, and our daughter, Danna, learned to ski behind a boat driven by their dad. I knew they preferred Dan to other drivers but did not realize just how important it was to them until someone else tried to take the wheel. 

Several years ago, we invited some friends to join us for a few days at the lake. We had gotten to know Josh and Sarah at church and had become good friends. Our kids seemed to enjoy theirs so the idea of a combined vacation was perfect – right? 

After several days of non-stop skiing, Dan was exhausted and asked the kids for a breather. “Guys, let me have one day off and I will be set for the rest of the week,” he pleaded. Josh immediately volunteered to drive the boat, assuring Dan and the kids that he was an “expert.” Doubt spread across the faces of Jered and Danna but since Josh was their only option, they grabbed their life jackets and skis and headed for the boat. Dan grabbed a snack, a cool drink, the novel he had been trying to read all week and headed for the nearest hammock, a gloriously unplanned day to call his own. Actually, it turned out to be a gloriously unplanned hour before we heard our boat returning to the dock. Jered and Danna scrambled out of the boat and headed straight for their dad. I could tell by the look on their faces that the boating excursion had definitely not been a success. “Seriously, Dad, Josh has no idea what he is doing!” Jered explained. “He nearly killed me!” Danna reported with her usual dose of drama. Jered summed up his thirty minute play-by-play account of the disastrous skiing incident by announcing, “Dad, from now on I will only ski when you are driving the boat!”

What Jered was really saying was that he had no confidence or peace when someone besides his father was at the wheel. How true! When God is “at the wheel,” every circumstance we face is in His hand and under His control. Peace takes up residence and the power of praise is revealed.              

  • Praise turns trials into faith-builders as we learn to measure our problems against His limitless power, transforming the stumbling blocks of today into stepping stones for tomorrow. 
  • Praise frees us from having to understand our circumstances, knowing that God is in control. A heart that is filled with praise does not have to understand every detail of the circumstance. In fact, the details really don’t matter. What does matter is that God is aware of every minute detail, monitors the circumstance and shapes it to fit His plan.
  • Praise transforms tragedy into triumph. Fanny Crosby was six-weeks-old when she lost her vision because of a doctor’s error as he applied the wrong medicine to her eyes, a mistake that set the course of the infant’s life. She could have easily become bitter but instead, chose to praise God. I am certain she didn’t understand all of the reasons for her lot in life, but I am equally certain that she made the choice to build a monument of praise on that lot instead of resurrecting a tombstone of bitterness. Fanny Crosby wrote over 8000 hymns of praise including “All the Way My Savior Leads Me,” “Blessed Assurance,” and “To God Be the Glory.” Praise made the difference in her life between becoming bitter or better.

I know that many of you have had a tough year. Loss, disappointment, pain, financial stress … the list is endless. Go ahead and make that list, girlfriend. Add it all up. Then factor in the grace, mercy and love of God – and celebrate the fact that He is more than enough. Praise God!

Let’s Pray
Father, I give You praise for Your hand at work in my life. At times, I have not understood what You were doing – and still don’t. But it doesn’t matter, Lord, because I know I can trust You. Help me remember that my inner heart attitude does not have to reflect my outer circumstances. No matter what comes my way, I can praise You, knowing it will all turn out for my good and Your glory. 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now it’s Your Turn

  • Think back over the past few months to a time when your faith was tested. How did you do? What lesson(s) did you learn through that trial? 
  • Write a prayer of praise to God. Tuck it in your Bible, tape it on your mirror – put it in an obvious place and refer to it often. When you are tempted to complain or doubt God, pray that prayer out loud.
  • Read Romans 8:28. How does this verse encourage a spirit of thanksgiving and trust?                                                                       

More from the Girls
Chuck Swindoll says, “The sovereignty of God is the Christian’s security blanket.” I want my attitude to reflect that truth – in the good times and in the bad. How about you, girlfriend?

Need help?Check out my CD, Laugh More – Live Better for ways to saturate your life with joy. (Also available as MP3 download

New E- Bible Study now available:What Am I Doing in This Pit? At some point in life, we will find ourselves in some kind of pit. Instead of looking for the nearest exit or frantically trying to claw our way out of the pit, we need to rest in God, discover the purpose of the pit and trust Him to deliver us.

Need something for your pain? Enroll in Mary’s weekly online Bible Study,How to Handle Hurtand learn how to face and deal with the pain in your life.

Need a friend?Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

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