Living in Praise

Did you ever notice that Paul was the eternal optimist? The man worked hard, almost died several times, was stoned, shipwrecked and in the sea a day and night, constantly in danger, sleepless, hungry and thirsty, and exposed to both hot and cold elements (2 Corinthians 11:22-28).

Yet, he told us to rejoice always; to pray without ceasing; not to quench the Spirit; and to give thanks in everything: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).

Does this mean to give thanks, because everything that happens to us is God’s will for us; or that giving thanks is God’s will for us? Either way, it is worth paying attention to this verse.

If giving thanks is God’s will, then when we praise the Lord, we are in God’s will; and when we do not praise the Lord, we are out of God’s will for us.

If Paul is saying that we should give thanks in good times and in adversity, because all of these circumstances are the will God for us, then when we do not praise Him, we are missing out on part of the miracle, which God has for us through this trial.

Recently, our air-conditioning was out for two days during the hottest November on record in southwest Florida. I was dripping sweat, irritable and claustrophobic – because the heat imprisoned me and I could not escape it.

This caused me to remember my childhood and first pregnancy; when we had no air-conditioning at all, because of our lack of income. My mom used a wet wash cloth on her neck, so I did too. It helped this time too.

As I prayed during this inconvenience, God brought Paul’s exhortation to my mind. I realized that I was not to grumble or to allow my flesh to get the better of me; and I was to walk in the Spirit and praise God, even in the suffocating heat.

Easier said than done; but I have been learning to live through my spirit and not my flesh and this was just another opportunity to practice. I truly was thankful that the circumstances were not even more dreadful.

Prayer:
Father God, I really wanted Your permission during this trial to be grouchy and to feel sorry for myself. I wanted to complain and gain sympathy from family and friends. However, I knew this would only make others miserable too, and I would not grow in my spirit with negative behavior or remain in Your will without praising.

I know that You were building character in me and preparing me for future events in my life; therefore, I chose to change my focus and to praise You with each drop of perspiration. I was even able to thank You that it cools down in southwest Florida on November evenings, and that I still had electricity and could run the fans. Thank You for living through this trial with me.

Thought for the Day:
Regardless of the circumstances, we are to do all things without grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:12-16), and to walk in the Spirit each moment of the day (Galatians 5:15-25).

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God’s Deliverance

God does not only deliver us from bondage to sin, Satan, the world and the flesh, He also brings us into rest and victory in the name of Jesus. He does not do this one time, but continually, day after day as we sit in His presence throughout our busy schedule. He takes our anxiety, stress and responsibilities on His shoulders and gives us His Spirit to comfort and direct us.

 

So often, we get so settled in our mediocre life that we loathe to leave it behind and walk deeper with God. However, when we finally weary of our wandering in life’s wilderness and call out to God, then He delivers us from all of our enemies. He showers us with His presence and faithfully provides for all of our needs.

 

If we are spending more time out of God’s presence than in it, He is calling us to completely surrender to His will for our life. It may be scary. It may be nerve wracking. It may be inconvenient and take us out of our comfort zone. However, we find a new serenity and comfort in God’s presence that is never available to us outside of His daily fellowship.

 

Walking away from the flesh and into the presence of God by the direction of His Holy Spirit brings us more freedom, joy and peace than we ever thought possible. We submit our will and goals for our life to God and embrace His will for us instead. He guarantees that we will love His plans much better than our own plans. He will amaze us with His kindness and love.

 

Prayer:

Father God, we are wholly willing to completely follow Your plans for our life (Ephesians 2:10). We know that the result of our plans and dreams bring endless futility and frustration to our life. Thank You that Your law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is greater then the law of sin and death, which reigned in our body and soul prior to our salvation (Romans 8:2). Help us to get rid of the residue of the flesh in our life. Teach us to live as spiritually-minded children who walk only in Your ways (Romans 8:6-10).

 

Thought for the Day:

God helps our unbelief (Mark 9:23-25), and leads us on a level path because of our enemies (Psalm 27:11).