How to Praise God When Storms Rage

“I will praise You in this storm…”

I’ve made that choice many times. I have stood at the edge of the storm and decided that “I will praise God even here.”

But the will and the follow-through do not always go hand-in-hand.

Paul said it best, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 5:17 ESV)

As the storm crashes around me I cannot see an end to the destructive wind, I don’t praise God. I don’t look to Him, I don’t even ask why. I just watch the weather around me. I may even consult a close friend almost like we consult meteorologists. “When will the weather get better?”

Sometimes I say pretty things. Truths that I know are true, but ring hollow in my ears.

“God has good plans.” He does.

“God will work this all out for my good and His glory.” He will for those who are called.

“There is good coming, I have heaven to hope for.” He promises to prepare a place for us.

And the storm still rages and people I have no control over make poor choices, heart-breaking choices. Then my sinful choices add to the tumult. I feed the storm. Still I don’t still myself to praise God. Don’t get me wrong. There is a whole book in the Bible called Lamentations, many of the Psalms were out of heart-break and ask God why. It isn’t wrong to go there to deal with the dark and difficult in life, but there in those dark difficult moments we need to praise God.

Thank Him for who He is and what He has done and is doing though we do not see how He can bring good out of the storm.

Praise Him that He loves us enough to send His Son to die that we may live in right, healthy relationship to Him.

Praise Him that He will have justice (either the sins of the world will be covered by the blood of Jesus or judged by a Righteous God).

Praise Him that all things are possible with Him, and trust Him that His way is best like Jesus did in the Garden.

Sing praises. Pray praises. Say praises.

Thank Him for life, breath, health, family, etc.

One practical way I plan to incorporate praise in my daily life is to read a Psalm every day and praise it, pray it, confess it back to God.

For instance

 

Psalm 1 (ESV)

1 Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

Father God, Thank You for blessing those who walk with You in uprightness. Forgive me for the times I walk in wicked counsel, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.

but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

Oh God, Your law and Word are marvelous and worthy of delight. I confess I do not delight in Your Word nor do I meditate on it as I should. Help me to delight in Your Word and keep it in my heart and mind all day long.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Thank You Lord that you bless those who love You and bring You glory. I confess that sometimes I feel like Job and wonder why evil people seem to prosper. Lord help me to trust Your ways. Help me to sink deep roots into Your Word that I may be a tree that prospers eternally even if it doesn’t look like prospering this side of heaven.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Father God I praise You that You are a God of justice and that even if it looks like the wicked prevail, You will have eternal justice. I trust Your justice and Your ways. Show me when and how I need to stand up for justice on earth that I may help the widow, orphan, poor, and needy.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Lord I praise You for your justice and grace. Thank You that through Jesus I, a sinner, stand in the congregation of the righteous on the basis of Jesus’ righteousness, not my own. Help me to keep to the way of the righteous. Amen.

Will you join me in praising God in every circumstance?

Angela

Trust, Joy, and Labor

If joy is found in trust…

Trusting God has a good plan.

Trusting His justice.

Trusting God cares.

…then do we just wallow in the status quo?

Do we simply say “this is how God made me and so I trust His plan, His justice, and that He cares. So I don’t have to do anything.”

Or perhaps it is joy that leads us to our knees in fervent prayer.

Joy that prays for wisdom so we know what our next step ought to be.

Joy that steps out on uncertain waters trusting God’s plan, justice, and care.

Joy that works for God’s glory regardless of what the results of that work show.

Joy that says humbly obeying God is my greatest pleasure in life no matter the outcome.

No matter the outcome. Regardless if I see the fruition of dreams or plans. No matter if I see the correcting of some huge wrong.

Abolitionist after abolitionist died before the slave trade in the U.S. was finally abolished. But each person’s work added to the weight that finally broke the back of the slave trade.

Perhaps God has called you to a work that’s fruit will not be seen this side of heaven. Or perhaps He has give you a dream and He keeps shutting doors. The work seems fruitless, giving-up seems easier than plodding along. Perhaps we can learn a lesson from those in the hall of faith (Hebrews 11).

“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on earth.” Hebrews 11:13 ESV

Joy is doing everything to the best of our ability. But we don’t have to fear if we are enough, because God is.

Joy is trusting God with the outcome of our labor. No more fear of failing or doubts of being effective for God is in charge of the outcome.

Joy is working for God’s glory and honor knowing the fruit may only be seen in eternity’s light.

 

Trust, Joy, and Labor…Maybe that could free us to live for God in ways we never thought possible, in the strength that is the joy of the Lord.

 

Angela

Finding Joy When it is Unfair

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 ESV


Last night my favorite basketball team, the Kansas Jayhawks, beat their in-state rivals, the Kansas State Wildcats.

The game was tied with 5.6 seconds left and Svi (a Jayhawk guard) made a lay-up as time expired. It was a thing of beauty, until the replay revealed that he traveled…the basket shouldn’t have counted. The game should have gone into overtime. 

It wasn’t fair and to be honest there was more than just that one missed call that wasn’t fair. Let’s be real officials are human and mistakes are made and teams have to deal with the humanness of those officials. It isn’t fair. 

But as a Believer can we really sincerely say that anything in life is unfair?  Isn’t claiming something is unfair like stating that God got something wrong? Like He missed something important and let something slip by that should not have happened? Doesn’t God use the sin, the muck, the “unfair” of this world to work all things out for His glory?

And if that is true then as Christians we can trust God in the unfair, looking as Jesus did for the joy set before us (Hebrews 12:2). It wasn’t fair that Jesus had to endure the cross and maybe what you are going through right now isn’t fair. But we have a joy set before us. The joy of eternity with God, of knowing in God all wrongs will be made right. The joy of bringing glory and honor to the One who deserves all praise.

Perhaps it is time fellow Believers to remove the word “unfair” from our vocabulary. And rest in the joy that is set before us regardless or our circumstances. 

Father God I admit that I lose sight of the joy set before me when I complain about unfairness in life. Lord help me to trust Your ways when the circumstances of life are unfair. Help me to fix my eyes on the joy set before me rather than fixing my eyes on the joy found in circumstance. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

Angela

Finding Joy in Grief

And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b ESV

Grief can rub a soul so raw that the soothing balm joy feels like it acid. And it can taint a mind so that it only sees pain, heartache, curses.

But joy of the Lord is strength. Not the only the giddy joy that flows easily on days that grief only faintly touches. But the joy that stands up to the muck of this world and in defiance laughs. Joy that takes captive thoughts to make them obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Joy that focuses on what is pure, holy, admirable. (Philippians 4:8) Joy that trusts God’s protection when He banishes us from Eden. (Genesis 3:22-23) Joy that seeks the light in darkness, that trusts God’s “No.” Joy that rests in God’s promises and knows that He will not waste grief or tears or pain.

As we begin 2017, let us fight for joy that we may be strong in the Lord. May the Holy Spirit empower us to filter our thoughts so they are obedient and focused on what is pure and holy. And when grief threatens to strangle our joy may we in defiance stand on the promises of God and trust His amazing ways.

Father God, this sinful world is full of grief and pain, but we know that joy in You is our strength. We confess we have been week because we have not sought Your joy. Help us to take captive our thoughts, trust in Your promises, and focus on You to find our joy in You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

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Angela