I her message, she encouraged us to Praise God no matter what. She said so often, we get weighed down in life's struggles and spend all of our energy begging God in prayer (Hello, Me!). Christy suggested that if we focus on praising Him, He will give us the power we need to get through.
She offered these scriptures as a foundation for praising God:
She also cautioned us to be mindful of 4 things that can block our praise (again, hello Me!):
- Psalm 22:3 He inhabits the praise of his people. He lives and dwells in our life when we praise Him.
- Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. We get access to Him when we praise Him.
- Hebrews 13:15 Through Jesus we should always bring God a sacrifice of praise, that is words that acknowledge him. We may not feel like praising but do it anyway.
- Psalm 34:1 I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. Praise Him without ceasing.
- jealousy...focusing on what others have can make us ungrateful
- insecurity/comparison...focusing on what we don't have
- worry...focusing on what could go wrong
- pain/suffering...focusing on what is broken or wrong
Instead, focus on Phillippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
So this is my newest initiative, friends! (I know - how many is that now??) I am really going to try to redirect my "begging God" energy to praising him instead. I have been in a rut and feeling sad and depressed about it. I am now trying to just praise God through it, instead of begging him to deliver me from it. I did something similar last year when I focused on scripture and on what I was grateful for each day, rather than what was wrong. It is definitely not easy to make changes when you are in the midst of misery, but with His help we can do anything.
So hopefully, just like Leah, who finally learned to change her focus to praising God after the birth of her fourth son, Judah, "This time, I will Praise the Lord."