Monday, January 21, 2008

Women of Joy, Pt.4

We need to be joyful people. God wants us to shine in this world - shine with righteousness, peace and joy. His people should be earmarked by such good things. Today let's begin to consider how to make our lives filled with joy.

In the last post we concluded that there was a vital cycle we need to tap into. It goes like this:
worship and praise > His presence and light > revelation and joy > real strength

Within this cycle we observe both the "how to's" and the by-products.

"How to": praise and worship.

Just open your mouth and declare the truth of your salvation. Open your mouth and give Him thanks. Open your mouth and sing of His great faithfulness. Fill your mouth with the testimony of His goodness and send the words forth - out loud, for all to hear. I don't know why, but there is power in declaration. Consider:

Psalm 34.1,2 "I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice." New International Version

Read that same passage from The Message: "I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with His praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren't going well, hear this and be happy."

Let's get real here for a minute. Where will his praise be? On my lips. When will it be there? At all times; every chance I get. What makes me think it should be outloud? Let the afflicted hear. Hear this and be happy. My lungs expand with His praise. Now why would our lungs expand with the praise if breath wasn't being used? Why would breath be used if I were just thinking praise thoughts to myself? And who would hear such thoughts?

Don't praise thoughts count? Aren't they good as well? Yes. "...singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord." We are instructed to do that, too. But as I said before, there is a power in declaration that we may never completely understand. We enter into it by faith. We do it simply because His word instructs us to do so.

By-products: the afflicted hear, and, we enter into the vital cycle resulting in newfound strength and joy-filled living.

There is an obvious blessing cited for the afflicted who hear us give Him praise. We are giving credit to whom credit is due, right before their troubled eyes. The same hope they see in us can be theirs. Remember? That's great good news!

Sometimes we are a bit gun-shy of this out loud praise business. "That's phony. That's fruity. Those Jesus freaks from the past generation got themselves and all of us a bad reputation with all their 'Praise the Lord' comments. Doing that seems dumb - just plain stupid."

Well, too bad for us. That doesn't change the Word one iota. My Bible still tells me to praise, sing, tell, declare, and give thanks. Check this out for numerous verses which may help persuade you. (If the link doesn't work, just do a word study of praise. If you are still not convinced, well... start over again. It is really quite obvious. This is no deep revelation.)

God knows that when we remember His greatness, we are empowered. When we function in joy, we have strength. The regular practice of praise allows us to remember and to function in just that manner. Once again, this is not rocket science. Believe me, if it was, you would not see me writing about it!

Thought for the day (actually it's a "do this" for the day type thing):
Ready, set, go! Fill your lungs with air and your mouth with praise. Yup. Right now. This is your opportunity to respond to the call to worship - step one in the vital cycle of joy-filled living. Praise the Lord!

Next time I will share a practical approach and a personal testimony.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you Darlene! Your words
are such an encouragement. Even
in the midst of trial, I will
praise the Lord. Instead of
having a pity party, I'll cele-
brate with praise!

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Darlene, thank you so much. This "joy" thing has seemed a bit of a mystery to me at times, yet I know it is a fruit needed to be born of the Spirit in my life. You are making it real and practical.

3:20 PM  
Blogger The Growing Goodsons said...

Thanks! I needed the reminder that praise needs to be out loud so that other cand HEAR me praise my God, not just in my thoughts as I think I tend to do, especially in my time alone with God.


9:14 AM  

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