Monday, August 10, 2015

How Loud is Your Praise?



Disclaimer: This post is 100% preaching to the choir as this is a topic that has been pulling at my heart strings! I’ve been feeling the Lord whispering to me a lot lately about this post and how much I’m struggling in this area as well so here’s to being completely candid in hopes that the Lord will speak to your heart too! 

A few weeks ago, the Pastor at our amazing church in Jacksonville spoke on praise. Seems like a simple, ‘I’ve probably heard this before’ message right? Wrong. This message was so thought provoking that it has been at the front of my mind ever since we heard it and I’d love to share with you a few of my thoughts on the topic of praise versus petition!

On a side note! We have an awesome Pastor that is an incredible communicator for the Lord. I encourage you to check out the message I’m writing about by searching “Celebration Student Ministries” in the podcast app. This message is the one titled “Somebody Shout” by Pastor Clay Baird.

I’m sure we all think we know how to praise God. We typically say thank you at least once in every prayer or we sing a few worship songs during the week and call it praise, right? And those things are praising God! However, Pastor Clay posed the question of how loud is your praise compared to your petition? And boy, did that hit home! I don’t know about you, but I can definitely testify to the fact that I always pray “harder” or pray more when something is going wrong in my life. Whether a family member is sick or I can’t seem to move forward in the job search, I find myself constantly calling out to God for help in my time to need. God wants to hear our petitions and He wants to help us in our times of trial but you can rest assured that our God also wants to be the reason for our praise.  So, when the pastor asked that question, it really got me thinking. I try to thank God for every single thing he’s done in my life but am I really actively and expectantly praising him?

Luke 17:11-19 tells this story:
On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.”  When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”  And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Out of 10 men, sick and desperate for the healing of God, only ONE praised Jesus for the healing he received. I don’t know about you, but I want to be that one man in every situation. I want to praise the Lord for the abundance of blessings He has given me (for my husband, for our health, for our families, for our home, for our friendships, for our jobs,the list goes on and on). I could never be worthy of all the Lord has done but I can and will continually praise Him for it because knowing how undeserving I am, makes His blessings that much sweeter.

The Pastor made a great point and put it this way, if God never did anything else in my life, He’s already done enough for me to be able to praise Him for the rest of my life. Meaning, if God never blessed me, intervened for me, or answered my prayers again, He has still blessed me enough in the past 22 years that I will be able to continue praising him until the day I die. What an amazing thought that will really get you thinking about all God has done. *Let me make note that the Pastor didn’t say this as a question but as a declaration.  We can’t even begin to phantom the ways God has blessed us. The devil is constantly planning attacks on our daily lives, however, the Bible tells us that the Lord is also constantly fighting for us and allowing His army of angels to take on our battles and watch over us. This means that there are things that the Lord has done for us that we aren’t even aware of. Whether it was a car crash we never experienced, an illness we never had, or a path we didn’t go down, it is all because of the goodness and grace of our God. That in itself is a HUGE reason to get loud in our praise!

The last point Pastor Clay mentioned was praising God in advance. This seemed like an odd concept to me at first but it gradually began to click. We know who God is and what He is capable of. We can also read about the things He promises us in His Word. These things make it possible to know what God is “good for.” For example, if I need a loan, I am only “good for” the amount of money I’ll have by the time my loan needs to be paid off. The same way God is good for all the things we know true such as God will never put us through anything we cannot handle, we will never be alone in handling our struggles, and everything God does is out of love. So, doesn’t it make sense that God is good for our praise in advance? We can wholeheartedly praise God when we lose a job, because we know He’ll provide another one. We can wholeheartedly praise God when we go through a break up, because we know He has someone else He’s preparing us for. We can wholeheartedly praise God when things go wrong because we know He’s creating a situation for Him to make things right. I know this can be so difficult when you’re in the midst of the storm, but when you finally hit your knees in praise and prayer, you’re in the perfect position for God to raise you up.

As I’ve written about before, I have been diligently searching for a job since about January. I had been feeling so defeated and broken down because I never thought I would be three months post-graduation and still unemployed. I could hear the devil pulling at my heart and telling me that I wasn’t good enough for the positions I wanted and I might as well not even apply because I was only going to be rejected. It has been a long and hard struggle for me, however, I continued to push through and to seek God with my praise and my petition because I knew that He would provide a job and that He also had a plan for me in the meantime. As He always does, the Lord proved Himself faithful and blessed me with TWO job offers this weekend! I can’t even begin to describe how thankful and how undeserving I feel that I had the blessing of choosing between two incredible job opportunities. With the Lord’s awesome provision, I have excitedly accepted a Marketing Manager position with Compass Group at the University of North Florida. I want to publicly praise God for all He has done and for taking the past three months to humble my spirit, to strengthen my trust and faith in Him, and for allowing me the time and guidance to start Wonderfully Wolf.

We serve such an amazing, all-mighty God who deserves our devoted love and praise. I want to challenge you to think about all the reasons you have to praise God in your life and to really take a look at whether your praise or petition is louder. 

I want this blog to be a way to grow a community of God fearing, beauty loving women, and that means going through this life together! If there is any way I can pray for you or praise God for how He has shown up in your life lately, please let me know!