“Know ye that Jehovah, He is God: It is He that hath made us, and we are His; We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise: Give thanks unto Him, and bless His name. For Jehovah is good; His loving kindness endureth for ever, And His faithfulness unto all generations.” Psalm 100:3-5 American Standard Version
Today I have spent the whole day at Living Proof Live! It was wonderful being surrounded by the women that I love hearing the word of God spoken with Beth Moore’s beautiful Texas accent. Now I’m a worshiper, and my favorite part of the day were the praise and worship times when I had the opportunity to join with 180,000 women across the glove singing praises to the name of Jesus our Messiah! It was AWESOME! At one point my friend Cindy turned to me and with a big grin said “I bet it makes God so happy to hear this right now.” And I shared with her how this spring I was at a women’s retreat, The Walk to Emmaus, where we sang everything with only an acoustic guitar and barely any amplification. The sound of the women’s voices lifting up the LORD’S praises was simply too much for me to handle and I could rarely sing the first verse or two for the beauty of the sound! I could only listen and dwell in the smile of pleasure that warmed God’s heart as He was receiving our praises.
We were created to praise Him! His word says as much. He DELIGHTS in the praises that we lift up, either songs, poems, stories, tears, moanings, groanings, you name it I believe that He LOVES it! However, I also believe that it is the Enemy’s goal in life to steal those praises from our lips. To snatch them from our hearts. To ensnare them from getting to Jesus on the throne and in turn steal Jesus’ joy of hearing them. I want you to think about this for a minute. When you do something big for someone, and they say thank you, how much does it mean to you. I’m not talking about one of those passive, smile-and-nod “thanks”, I mean one of those heartfelt, from the bottom of their toes, THANK YOU’s. How great does that feel? And if it feels that good to us, then how GREAT must it make God feel when we say that to Him? Now just try to tell me that the Enemy wouldn’t want to take that away from God. I would not believe you if you tried! No, it’s Satan’s chief goal to steal God’s glory and His honor and His praise through every way that he abuses us, trying to get us to drop our arms, to stop our songs of praise, to keep us from writing our stories of triumph and victory over defeat, to stop our tears of joy from flowing to the altar. The Enemy wants them replaced with guilt and shame, fear and condemnation. As God shared this epiphany with me today, in that church as I stood singing at the top of my voice with my arms reaching out to the heavens in an attempt to touch the hem of His holy robe, do you know what I told Him? I told God that I would NOT let the Enemy win. That I refused to let the Enemy steal my joy, to steal my confidence in the grace under which I live. I will NOT allow him to convince me that my God, who DIED FOR ME, doesn’t love me. I will NOT allow him to shut my praises up inside of me for fear of the condemnation of people who simply don’t understand what living under the grace-filled-shadow of the hand of the Almighty looks like. It looks like a shattered heart that has been mended by loving hands that KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING! It looks like tears flowing, not from hurt, but from HEALING. No, living a grace-filled-life isn’t without pain, or battles; it’s loving and praising through them because we have the peace that passes all understanding. It’s KNOWING that God loves us, not because He showers us with gifts of THINGS or MONEY, but that He prunes us so that we may bear much fruit. Life is HARD, and it HURTS! But we choose the one of two places from which those hurts can come from; the hands of someone who HATES US with everything in him (the Enemy) or they can come from the hands of the one who LOVES US MORE THAN LIFE ITSELF! HE DIED TO SET YOU FREE! He died to show you He loves you. He died so that you could LIVE. But He doesn’t force us to accept that love. He doesn’t force us to accept that life. He merely lays it at our feet like a rose on the ground, and we choose to pick it up and cherish it like the gift that it was meant to be, or walk all over it like it’s worth nothing at all to us.
While Jesus was here, many people treated Him just that way; like a rose trampled on the ground. Like He was nothing, and we still do it today, nothing has changed but the way in which we shun Him. Often times, it’s with a church service that brings people together in His name and then never mentions it once in the service. It’s people coming and singing the pretty church songs, but their praises are a mere “thanks” and not a heart-felt THANK YOU JESUS! Going through the motions so that WE feel like we’ve been to church and done our weekly Christian duty. But those aren’t the praises that God seeks, that’s not what He desires. He desires our hearts, not our sacrifices. He desires our LOVE and ADORATION, not our empty praises. He desires a FRIENDSHIP, not just an acquaintance. God wants US, all of us, not just a part. He wants us to DIVE into the deep end of His love and splash around in His grace. To do a cannonball off the diving board, just because we can. But, HOW do we do that? How do we get there?
We all have a different way to get to that point with God where we are confidently leaning on Him, so I can’t tell you that’s there’s one way and here’s how you do it. We are all made uniquely individual and we all come to Jesus in exactly that way. But I can tell you this, you CAN ask Him to take you there. You can ask Him HOW to get to that point. And when you call to Him for help, guidance, directions, He WILL answer you. It’s a promise.
Prayer for Guidance:Psalm 23: “Lord Jesus, I want to know You more. But I don’t know how. I want to lean on You in confidence that You won’t let me fall, but I don’t know what that looks like. God PLEASE, help me get there. Right now I am Your lost little sheep in need of a Shepherd to guide me, lead me to that place where You are. Please help me to lie down in green pastures, lead me beside those still waters, because I believe that You will restore my soul. Lord, guide me in paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. I am walking through the valley of the shadow of death right now Lord, but I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Lord, I believe that You do prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. That when You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Lord, I do believe that SURELY Your Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and that I WILL dwell in the house of Yaweh FOREVER. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!”
You know what I’m really enjoying about these scripture based prayers, they start out asking for something, and end up DECLARING THE VICTORY! AMEN! I am including a video (below) of a praise song with the lyrics included on the screen. If you are able, and I pray that God will allow you to read this particular post at a time when you are able to play the video, stand or kneel if you feel called. Sing along, raise your arms in praise to His sacrifice and His grace, and praise Him with a deeply felt thankful heart that He is GOOD and WORTHY of praise! HALLELUJAH!