Sunday, April 17, 2016

Your praise is ever on my lips...

Good morning all-

I've been up since 3 am this morning so I've already spent my quiet time with Jesus, looked up recipes to make this week and will be praying for all of you.  My time writing is one of my favorite times with the Lord.  I sometimes feel as if He's writing through my fingers and when I read back, I'm in awe.  Over the last months I couldn't write.  I tried and maybe if I was having a good day, I wrote a couple times a month but all the creativity and energy it took to write was hard to summon.  I was in the desert and the desert felt dry, dusty and if I'm honest, like quicksand.  There was no brightness or rainbows.  There was just me and God trudging day to day together, moment by moment.  Those moments have turned into the best of my life.  If you knew all the details, I don't think you would agree and either did I, in the moment.  However,  I now realize its been the best time of my life because I'm learning to rest in God, trust in Him even when I can't see and just praise Him with my lips.

It is easy for me to praise you for what you've done well.  I like to be praised and I know that others do too.  So praise comes easy for me, normally.  God tested me in this over the last year.  He pushed me to my limit and requested that I respond with praise.  I'm surprised He heard anything through all that complaining but eventually, as I gave Him everything, the praise became my saving grace.  I literally found myself, and still do, praising Him in the morning and in the evening.  I praised Him when I was driving, cooking or cleaning.  I praised Him whenever possible and little by little the light came through the clouds and what once was dry and dusty became beautiful and bright.

It didn't happen overnight.  I really complained.  I grew weary of complaining and of my negativity.  Every day I had to choose to be nice, thoughtful, encouraging and uplifting.  The smile on my face didn't capture the grumbling ogre within.  I covered it by acting like life was great but over time people that knew me began to ask me how I was.  I would answer with great, fine, why?  And they would push until I talked.  All I wanted to do was hide.  I was ashamed that I was handling my life deplorably and I was ashamed that I was grumbling more than praising Jesus.  I just felt dry and alone.  That was the lie.  I wasn't dry or alone.  I was being stretched to believe.  Jesus wanted me to put down all that I treasured for Him alone and He was showing me through others that my acting was awful.  At least with people that knew me well.  I couldn't con people that cared about me.  It was freeing to humble myself and say, "I'm going through a rough time and need prayer."  So little by little, day by day, the grumbling lessened and the praise increased. 

As I praised, I saw Jesus in His true form.  I saw a God that loved me for me.  My heart broke and I began to see the beauty of the Lord in a way that I have never experienced before.  I needed Jesus, not just for my token 20 minutes a day.  I needed Jesus 24/7 and I still do.  I now read my devotional morning and night.  I wake up most days thanking Him for all He has done.  I pray more for others and I'm more aware of the world and what Jesus wants the world to know.  And through this beautiful transformation, I started writing again, reading more, loving more and really seeking Him in all things.

God is good and He is faithful.  I've realized that my desert period, although very difficult, was the only way I was going to rest in Him, believe in Him for all things and have faith in the unseen.  I had become jaded and I truly believed I was in control of my own destiny.  I had to be broken from my world thinking that makes us believe that we are the final judge and jury.  Many of us have fallen into this viewpoint and we must repent and let Jesus take the wheel again.  We can't be women that seek Christ if we don't give Him all the credit, all the praise and all the direction.  We must surrender all to see the world through His eyes. Surrendering does not make us weak creatures, it gives us strength, courage and perseverance.  We go from being a lamb to a lion as we give our Lord all the control.

Today, I can say I'm thankful.  I also realize that no amount of advice would have helped me during my trial.  Only Jesus could show me my path.  I needed human people to lift me up in prayer but what really got me through was praise on my lips.  Praising and thanksgiving took me from the negative to the feet of Jesus!

If you don't know the Lord, it's time.  Repent of your sins, tell Him you accept Him and love Him and He will give you the keys to eternal life. We will all have struggles but through those struggles He shows us His love and mercy.  He's worth it, take the first step today.

Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)
Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Psalms 119:171 (NKJV)
My lips shall utter praise, For You teach me Your statutes.

Lord we just praise Your name and thank you for your goodness.  As the world repents, we pray You would continue to go before us.  Help us to surrender all with our lips!  We know You are good and that the things of this world must fall for us to see You in all Your splendor.  Bring Your sheep forward and through their praise make them lions. We need You Lord in every facet of our life.  Thank You for taking off the blinders and replacing them with Your eyes.  May we praise You morning and night for all Your loving kindness. In Jesus Name, AMEN

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