Conntecting the Dots

The Power of Practicing Praise

It’s been a very busy two weeks since 2014 dawned. I feel a bit disconnected blog-wise as I’ve been in the USA since January 2 and dealing with technological challenges for most of that time. My hubby bought me a phone data plan so checking emails and calling home wouldn’t cost me a fortune, but my laptop would not hook up to wireless. Thankfully I’m back online and can now catch up on a long to-do list.

I’m presently tucked away at a Bible camp near Lansing, Iowa for a few days of leadership development with International Messengers. On Sunday morning, we each received a chapter in the Psalms to read and reflect on. We also received a question: “How does this chapter apply to your life today?”

Psalm 34 was my assigned gem. It begins like this:

“I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together” (vv.1-3).

Beautiful Scriptures, these are. How do they apply to my life today? Easy. A year ago on Saturday I partially ruptured my Achilles tendon. Thus began nearly five months of major physical challenges and many more months of physiotherapy and ongoing recovery. Highs and lows characterized that season. I knew God’s presence was with me, but—in all honesty—discouragement hit me more than once during that time.

How did I overcome that discouragement? By practicing praise—“Father God, I praise You for being sovereign in my life. I praise You for being filled with lovingkindness and faithfulness. I praise You for being my strength, my fortress, my joy and my hope. Because of what You’ve done, I am more than a conqueror.”

I love that, in this passage, “let all who are discouraged take heart” is sandwiched between the writer’s commitment to praising God and his invitation to tell of the Lord’s greatness. Discouragement might hit us for any number of reasons, but praise redirects our focus from the tough stuff to the character of God and His ability to see us through. Telling of His greatness may be the last thing we feel like doing when we’re discouraged, but it’s vital to our spiritual well-being because it expresses trust in His care and sovereignty.

What a great way to begin the new year—with a focus on praise and a commitment to speaking of God’s greatness no matter what. Would you join me in this commitment? “Come—let’s tell of the Lord’s greatness. Let’s exalt His name together.”

Question for you: How have you seen the Lord’s greatness displayed?

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