Valley Praise

psalms-42-11What happens to your countenance when you are in the valley? What is the appearance of your face when everything seems to be going wrong, and you don’t know what to do? How do you react when trials, sickness or persecutions come? Are you sad? Do you get mad? Is confusion and chaos the ruler of the day?

Are you down in the dumps, or are you rejoicing through the valley?  My pastor always says, “What you can PRAISE through, you can MAKE IT through!” Find something in that valley to take joy in. Count your blessings. Even the smallest things can bring the greatest joys.

Honestly, there are some valleys where it seems there is NOTHING about which to celebrate. Some desert places are NOTHING but hot, dry sand and a burning sun that makes you feel you will DIE of thirst and loneliness. Some low places in life simply feel like the abyss with no light, no sound and no direction or hope. Yet, those are the times when we must stand with Job and say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21, and “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” Job 13:15.

We must praise Him regardless of what we feel or what we see. Praising is a submission of our flesh. It is not something that comes when we “feel it.” It is something that comes as we force our stubborn will into submission. Praise helps us see hope again, because it opens our eyes to His truth beyond our current circumstance.

God is holy. God is righteous. God is gracious, merciful, loving and majestic. He is worthy of all our praise. He is honorable of all our affection, adoration and appreciation. Let us praise Him through the valley. For, it is in our loneliest hours, and through our darkest nights when His glory and grace is revealed in our lives. ❤

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Between The Ditches

We were driving behind this guy one day who seemed very preoccupied with everything except the one thing he needed to be focused on: driving. He turned around to talk to his backseat passenger. He looked down for something. He reached over into the front passenger seat for something else. The whole time, he was swerving from the yellow line to the white line, back and forth, time and time again.   

  It made me think of our personal lives with Christ. Sometimes, I think we can find ourselves driving the road of life simply keeping it between the ditches. We can survive this way. We can definitely make it to heaven, keeping our lives just barely beyond the boundaries of sin, and, yes, especially when we are just getting into this thing, it takes learning and growing to set those boundaries strong and true. 

However, when we consistently live our lives simply with the mentality, “How much can I get away with and still make it to heaven?,” I wonder if we truly THRIVE in our Christian walk. I wonder if we can have as much impact as when we set our standards higher and start living life victoriously…

I believe God has called us to live thriving to seek more of Him and less of us. I believe He would have us thriving in this life, paving the path for those around us to find Him. I believe He would have us to live victoriously, mountaintop to mountaintop. 

This doesn’t mean we never encounter temptations, we never drop down into the valleys. After all, the only way to move from one mountain top to the next is by going through the valley or across the ridge. We can’t just hop from one to another. We will face low points at some times.  

However, the difference I’m talking about is just like the driver that we found ourselves behind that day. He had a choice to drive straight, to take the curves wisely and to not hinder, or even scare the life out of, the on coming traffic due to his distractions. He lacked focus of the main thing he needed to be doing: driving! 

We, as Christians, are called to a higher place, to live a better way. After all, Jesus told us, “…But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” 1Peter 2:9

*I do not own or possess this picture. Found on Google images: http://www.equipmentworld.com