Psalm 105

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;

make known among the nations what he has done.

Sing to him, sing praise to him;

tell of all his wonderful acts.

Glory in his holy name;

let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

I heard a quote this last weekend that Praise means we are awake at the wonder around us. This last week of vacation was truly an awakening of praise as I gazed at the incredible beauty of the ocean waves crashing against a rocky shore, listing to the surf as I went to sleep, watching the baby sea lions lounge in the sun and enjoying the sun and breeze on my face during long walks with new friends on the beach. In reality I was constantly filled with awe at Gods creation on our trip to the central coast. Then as we came back to our sons home and I woke up to my 3 year old grandson’s adorable face in front of mine as he waited for me to wake up and come play with him my heart swelled with a new joy. The baby’s laugh, my granddaughters delight as we got our pedicures and the joy I felt watching my 8 old grandson make basket after basket at his game were all filling up my joy bucket. I mention these delights because they all rolled together to awaken my praise. I just kept thinking with each new adventure life has so much to praise God for. 

C.S. Lewis said;” Praise is inner health made audible”. If we find ourselves without praise on our lips then perhaps we need to open our eyes and be awakened to the glory of God around us and see anew His glory reflected in the faces of those we love. 

I know there are many times life seems to crush us with responsibilities and challenges. Yet often we simply forget to look up and choose to praise Him. 

Choose Joy!

If we are intentionally looking for those things to praise God for we will find them. I read an interesting exercise around gratitude last week. The author suggested that when you were having trouble taking your negative thoughts captive and finding enough to be thankful for just use the alphabet! Take every letter and praise God for everything you can think of starting with that letter. I have been practicing this to help me get to sleep for the last 3 nights and I have only made it to J! Once you start you will be amazed and how many things you are grateful for! It also promotes peaceful sleep… Practicing gratitude brings joy.

Presence and Precepts

Psalm 21:6

Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.

Psalm 16:11

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Practicing the presence of God means staying aware of Jesus throughout the day, recognizing His handiwork. It also means living every activity of the day with Him, sharing your heart, thoughts and experiences. 

Most of us are familiar with Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. 

“Brother Lawrence retreated to a place in his heart where the love of God made every detail of his life of surpassing value. ‘I (Brother Lawrence) began to live as if there were no one save God and me in the world.’ Together, God and Brother Lawrence cooked meals, ran errands, scrubbed pots, and endured the scorn of the world.

Christianity Today International

Brother Lawrence’s objective: to keep a steady connection with God by means of communication throughout the whole day no matter what his day brought. This is what brings true, hidden joy.

I love that. Bringing God’s supernatural presence into our natural world. That changes our perspective on everything. 

We are also able to find joy in the precepts of God. 

Psalm 19:8

The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

When I feel a lack of joy I run to the word. Remembering who God is, how much He loves me, reminding myself of His promises all serve to renew my heart. 

As I was pondering the subject of Joy this week I was reminded of those things that steal our joy. 

Focusing on our lack steals our joy. 

Allowing the negative words of others place in our hearts steals our joy. 

Complaining steals our joy.

Gossip steals our joy because tearing down the reputation of others will never add joy to your life but building them up does. 

Negative self talk steals our joy. Reminding ourselves that we are the apple of God’s eye brings joy back.

Living in the past keeps us from enjoying the joy of now. Those negative memories are joy zappers! 

Fearing the future robs us of joy. It is better to hope in God and believe his promise in Jeremiah that he has a future and a hope for each of us and it is good! 

Shifting our mindset from negative thinking to one that is conducive to joy can be a challenge but as we practice opening our eyes to the wonder of His creation, appreciating the gifts of those loved ones in our lives, practicing taking Jesus along with us through every activity and declaring His glory in word in song will all help us all to enlarge our capacity for joy! 

God inhabits the praises of his people and when we declare His glory and sing joy will follow.

Psalm 66:2

Sing the glory of his name;

make his praise glorious