At 70 MPH, just as the car started up the steep bridge, the hood suddenly flew up in front of the windshield. The moment before, I had been thinking about rejoicing and praising God in all circumstances. Maybe this was a test. Without hesitation, I slowed and pulled over, my heart already praising God .. no accident,..the hood did not smash into the windshield, ...my wife normally drove this car , ...nobody was hurt,... the certain knowledge that God was using the delay to protect me from something else down the road. Most of all, the same God who is worthy of glory, honor and praise, without a hood in front of the windshield, is still worthy!.
Are you about to be right-sized out of a job; facing a thousand dollar transmission repair bill; worrying about a child or parent's health? .... Has Moses has led you out of Egypt, where things were already bad, to die out here in the desert. It is time to praise God!
Walking by faith -- sees God in hopeless situations, praises God when one feels like crying and knows God is near when he cannot be found. We learn the truth of God's love and protection in times of trouble. But, the seeds of faith must have been planted before one can harvest fruit.
Paul's "joy letters" to the Philippians were written from a Roman prison. His spirit, however, was free and praising God: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4). Upon hearing Paul's uplifting encouragement, one man thought, "that is easy for Paul to say -- his best ox did not just break its leg". Another thought, "we already do that ... every Sunday at the 'First church of Philipi". A third man pondered the words, and thought, "YES!, that is what has been missing from my life --- I have been so busy looking at my problems that I forgot. God is still God!".
The praise of faith is more than a 'happy tune to whistle when we feel afraid'. It rejoices in God's faithfulness -- in the Sunday morning church service and also during Thursday's troubles. "I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies" (2 Sam 22:4 NIV). Even non-believers say "thank God", when things favor them. True "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see" (Heb 11:1). In this life, pain is inevitable, but misery is optional. Believers discover victory and joy when the praise God through pain and trouble.
If the power of faith-led praise is already part of your spiritual warfare arsenal, you know victory and joy that many have yet to find. If it seems like a radical, impractical concept, a dash of inspiration and a pinch of determination may be necessary before you are willing to try out this new recipie. Think about it! You praise God when the problems of your life are resolved, yet worry how you will overcome them when they are before you. Are you or God in charge? You need a plan!
Try this: The next time your heart is full of praise and thanksgiving for God, make a list of the ten things in your life for which you are the most profoundly thankful. Make another list of the ten things you love most about God. Add a list of God's promises that you find particularly encouraging. Prayerfully review your lists at least twice daily for the next week. Praise God for his faithfulness, forgiveness and [your list]. Then thank him for his many blessings in your family, church and [..your list], Thank him for promised blessings you have not yet received! Carry the list with you, to remind you of God's faithfulness, blessings and promises --- when things are NOT going your way. Discover the truth and power of "rejoicing always". (#224)