Thursday, January 26, 2017

God Wants His Praise Back.

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name" (Psalm 100:1-4).

Have you ever woke up in the morning only to wish that your day was already over because the thought of even facing it was more than you wanted to embrace? It is true that we live in a world that is continually speeding up at a pace that can feel so uncontrollable. There are moments when our feelings about what is going on around us appear to be bigger than we are and certainly find themselves in the driver seat of our minds. It is even possible to have a heart for God, an intention for God, and even a desire for God, but will little action to go along with it. There is often so much going in our headspace that our heart space get's overlooked and the feelings of anger, fear, discouragement, or even apathy begin to develop life and legs of their own. 

In the Bible, David was a man that found and connected with God the most in the absence of feelings but in the presence of loneliness and rejection. He was isolated and exiled to the fields of the sheep in a society that expected much from a shepherd's work, but not as much from a shepherd’s life. It was in the fields of loneliness that he discovered the intimacy of worship and the discipline of praise. 

How do you praise God when the feelings of praise are so small, if they exist at all? How do you pray to God in praise when it feels more natural to just think, brood, and get lost in the fog of your own mind? In Psalm 100:1-4, the shepherd David shows how his time in "alone-ness" was never overwhelmed by loneliness. He offers both physical and mental action steps that will bring your feelings into order with your faith. 

1. Shout for Joy. Joy has nothing to do with feelings. Actually, the New Testament will show you that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, so it has little to do with action of your own doing, but is a result of being with Jesus and IN His Spirit. Joy has much more to do with faith than it does feeling. Shout for Joy! You can do this because, not how you feel, but because of who He is and because of the promises He has spoken in and over your life. 

2. Worship with Gladness. Stop allowing all of the negative in your world to stamp out the gladness that you COULD have if you only adjusted the reality of your focus. Look to Him. You have more to be glad about than you have to be mad about. Worship Him with a heart of gladness. The more glad you are in Him, the less power the madness can have over your life.

3. Know He is God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Your feelings will focus your attention on that which will ultimately distract you from focusing on God. Your feelings are real, but they are not the rock of stability you want to build your life on. God is in control. When you know that He is God, you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you will stand in and through all that you face. 

4. Enter with Thanksgiving. Feeling thankful cannot be the standard for being thankful. Feel it or not, look at your life and determine the treasures that deserve and call for your gratitude to God. You may have faced many things, but you have not gotten this far in life without the blessings and provisions of God. Thanksgiving is the access point to praise. Start thanking God even in this moment. When you thank God for what you do have rather than focusing on what you don't have, you'll find the headspace clearing up!

The fact of the matter is simple. There is nothing or no one on earth that deserves your praise more than God. Never allow anything or anyone to have such control over your mind that turns your world negative and angry. He is still God. What you give voice to is what you give praise to. He is God and He wants His praise back! 

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