The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!
Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).
“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]
When we are blessed, it is sometimes hard to remember the Source of the blessing. The Bible tells us, “When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God.” We are reminded to be careful. It is so easy while we are in our time of “plenty” that we “forget the LORD… God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees.”
Today, aim to get into the habit of praising God. Continue to seek out opportunities to praise Him. As you give Him the honor and praise He deserves, you will continue to remind yourself of your dependence on Him. You will remember the Source of everything and develop an attitude of gratitude.
“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 8:7-14 [NLT]
We look all over trying to have a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. We seek out delight in this world, but again and again we come up short. Temporary pleasures fade away. As we reach out for joy, we grasp glimpses of happiness that always fall short, unless we get to the source of joy itself.
The Psalmist got it! He understood that the source of our joy is God. Without God, you don’t have joy. You have something that might feel good for a while, might make you happy for a moment, but it passes. Circumstances and situations do not take away true joy, because through all the highs and lows of life, God is still present and you find your contentment in life in Him. Every time you depend upon something for joy, you will see it pass by at some point. People, feelings, situations—these things continue to change.
Today, praise the Lord, the source of joy. Ask Him to help you build your life upon His foundation. Let Him move freely in your life. Put your hope in Him. The fruit of joy will grow stronger in your life, and this with be contagious. Praise Him! He is the source of all your joy!
“There I will go to the altar of God, to God–the source of all my joy. I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!” – Psalm 43:4-5 [NLT]
For about six years, my daughter has been growing her hair. Everyone always compliments her on her hair. They love the natural highlights, the curls, the red hair. Years ago, she found out that she could donate her hair to an organization who would give it to someone who lost their hair from cancer treatments. She set her mind to it and continued growing her hair to meet her goal.
Today was the big day. Her hair was finally long enough to make the cut for a donation. We went to the salon ready to make the next step. As she sat in the chair, we discussed this donation with the stylist. Surprisingly, there were many people sitting by with listening ears as they waited for their perms and colors to be finished. They started asking my daughter questions. How long did it take to grow your hair? Why are you donating your hair? I was so proud when my daughter responded that she has been blessed with hair everyone adores so she wanted to give her hair to someone else who could be blessed by it.
As we left the salon, with hair much shorter, and a plastic bag with the donation pony tail, we left with something else. We saw God moving in awesome ways at the salon. Someone who heard my daughter speaking decided to pay for her hair cut. We got to the register and the stylist said everything was covered. My daughter’s desire to bless was met with another person’s desire to bless. What a day of blessings! It all starts with God—He blesses us. We are blessed to be a blessing. Be a blessing today! Open your hands and watch how God moves!
“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” – Genesis 12:2 [ESV]
“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” – Proverbs 11:25 [ESV]
Sometimes the day does not start out “right.” Many people call this “waking up on the wrong side of the bed.” We have all heard the phrase, “I wish I could just go back to bed and start the day over.” But once God blesses us with a morning, we have to live out the day until a next one comes (God willing). For me, this morning did not start right. Poor Max had some ear issues. Then I started working while still at home and I found more issues. My drive into the office wasn’t filled with the usual praise and worship session. Instead, there was silent contemplation.
I continued along with my day, but I didn’t have the same “bounce in my step.” All of the sudden, while running an errand, I drove right into a traffic jam caused by a road construction. A complete stand still. The cars were not moving. As I sat waiting for a hint of movement ahead, I was singing along to the worship music on the radio. As I sang, I focused on the lyrics. In the midst of day that did not start well, traffic had stopped to bless me with this special moment to praise the Lord—something I did not do during the morning drive.
Yes, the construction did not happen simply for me to have this jam session Jesus encounter. Even so, it was just what I needed. Each day is a new day. What a blessing! When a day seems to not start out the way you intended, do not count the day over. There’s no need to go back to bed and have a do-over. Instead, shift your eyes to God, realign yourself with Him, and meditate on His Word. Lift Your voice to Him. Thank Him. Praise His great name! As you are doing what you were made to do, you will live more expectantly, more joyful, more excited to share His love with a world desperate for Him.
“Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:2-3 [ESV]
“Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” – Isaiah 43:7 [NLT]
For the past two weeks, life was different. The schedule was different. Things were rearranged. Time spent was different. The people I spent the most time with were new in my life. Everything was different. As quickly as it began, it was finished. For two weeks, the church hosted a homeless shelter. There is no going back to the way things once were. We are different. The church is different. I sit here tonight considering what I’m not going to be doing tonight. Wondering where the list of people will be, how their day went, remembering silly moments filled with Spiderman and giggles, thinking back on the first day and all that has happened since.
As we left last night, some tears were shed. The season was over. It’s often difficult when a season ends. What do you do? Sometimes you wanted to do more. Sometimes you had hoped you could make more of a dent, more of an impact. Perhaps you wish you could be able to help more, make it last more, do something different. But the season ends.
Life is full of seasons. I just finished reading Ecclesiastes 3—“to every thing there is a season.” When a season ends, God is simply closing one door because it is time to go through another. It doesn’t mean the opportunity won’t come back around; it means your work is done at this point. There is something new God has for you to accomplish. When the season ends, praise Him for what He has done. He is an awesome God! Thank the Lord! Praise His great name! Pray. Seek Him. Read His Word. Seek out what He wants for you to do next. Wait in the silence. Listen for His voice. Continue onward into the next season. You are different now. You likely changed. You’ve grown. You are ready for the next step. May He prepare the way!
On the way home from work, I was singing loudly during the praise and worship music. I would say 90% of the time you will find me doing this while driving. I came to a red light and stopped in traffic. Still singing with windows open, a SUV pulled aside me in the turning lane. They had their windows down and there were two kids in the back seat. They were not fans of my singing and yelled for me to quiet down but I kept on singing.
I do not have a very pleasant singing voice but when I am singing praises to God, I am not performing for judges or trying to land a record deal. God does not say to His off-key children, “Stop singing. I didn’t give you the gift of a great singing voice.” It is not about the voice. It is not about the musical talent. It is about the heart. When we sing it should be an outpouring of our heart.
Today sing as if no one is watching—and if someone is watching, don’t stop because you aren’t Grammy material. Sing to the Lord. Praise Him. Give Him the praise that He alone deserves.
“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” – Psalm 150:6 [NIV]