Thursday, December 22, 2011

I WILL Praise the Lord!

The Christmas season can bring out so many emotions. For some it is a joyous time to celebrate family, friends, and our Savior. Life circumstances such as broken families, strained relationships, lost loved ones or financial struggles can make it stressful for others. This past week, I found myself feeling discouraged and wishing the season was already over. God met me right where I was at! He brought to my heart several songs, verses and used friends and family to help encourage me.

“I hear the Savior say, thy strength indeed is small! Child of weakness, watch and pray, find in Me thine all in all”

Jesus Paid it All…Kristian Stanfill

My discouragement was a direct result of me not trusting my whole heart to God and focusing on the “seen” and the “felt”. Throughout my walk with Jesus, I have had to continually surrender my heart’s desires and seek the heart of God. Some things are harder to surrender than others. God began to gently ask me once again, “Do you love me most? Do you choose me first? “He went on to say, “I want to be your life, your joy and your all. Think about me more than anyone or anything else.”

“Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His LOVE, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Zephaniah 3:16-17

As I prayed, read, and worshipped, God began to quiet my heart with His love. He called me to be obedient even though my heart felt broken and I didn’t understand what He was doing. The peace I felt after surrendering and being obedient was indescribable.

"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in ME as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."

John 7:37-38

I felt peace, but over the course of the week I had lost the insatiable desire for Jesus Himself. God challenged my heart to rekindle a thirst after Him, allow Him to be the center and to once again seek first the kingdom of God. Along with prayer and reading the Bible, God reminded me of the importance of thanking and praising Him throughout the day.

“To stand every morning to thank and praise the Lord, and likewise at evening.”

1 Chronicles 23: 30

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! While I live I WILL praise the Lord; I WILL sing praises to my God while I have my being.”

Psalm 14:1-2

Talking to God all day long is so AMAZING, but often focuses on what I need from Him. Thanking and praising God throughout the day focuses on the gift of a relationship with Jesus Himself.

Jesus draw me close
Closer Lord to You
Let the world around me fade away
Jesus draw me close
Closer Lord to You
For I desire to worship and obey

Rick Founds

My prayer this Christmas season is to thank and praise the Lord throughout the day for His unconditional love and indescribable gift!

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

The nails in your hands
The nail in your feet,
They tell me how much you love me.
The thorns on your brow,
They tell me how, you bore so much shame to love me.

And when the heavens pass away,
All your scars will still remain,
And forever they will say,
Just how much you love me.
So I want to say,

Forever my love, Forever my heart
Forever my life, is yours.
Forever my love, Forever my heart
Forever my life, is yours, it's yours.

Richard Cimino