Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 9 Send In The Choir For Joy

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is of King Jehoshaphat. Basically the whole world was marching against Judah. So in 2 Chronicles 20:3 "the King became alarmed and he resolved"  to seek the Lord for the answer. The King went to battle with his army. Only this time the choir was in the lead singing praises. There was a great victory and and great joy in Judah because of it. 

'Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." ' 

Chronicles 20:21 

Their focus was on the Lord even though their circumstances were life threatening. They praised God before the victory came. 

In my darkest times and deepest pain is often when I have walked the closest to God and experienced the most joy and peace. At first in the trail or battle I may initially feel helpless and hopeless. Until I choose to praise God IN the trail. Not necessarily for the trail. 

For example. When our daughter was making poor choices and dangerous decisions I wasn't praising God that she was doing that, but I did praise God that I could walk by faith, partner with Him in prayer and ask for wisdom in what to do. There was peace and joy even in those difficult days. And there was power in saying out loud that I would praise Him no matter what.

When I was diagnosed with cancer I was undone. But I fell to my face and worshiped God for who He is. At that point I had no idea what the outcome would be. Praising God brought joy into the unknown. There was a lot of unknown. There was strangely joy and peace throughout the journey.

When my mom passed away suddenly last year, I walked out hard days with praise to God for who He is. Again there was joy even in deep loss. Not like a happy dance, but a deep sense that He was in the details and I could rest and find joy that the Lord would sustain me.

I don't site these things for you to think anything of me. And praising God isn't my knee-jerk response. I'm a person made of flesh and blood just like you.I don't pretend to understand it, but somehow praise invites God to take up residence in our messy lives. And that releases the joy. 

The enemy of our souls hates it when we praise God especially in hard days.  Therefore I believe there must be greater power in it than we can realize. 

After the Red Sea was parted and the strongest soldiers of Egypt were defeated, Moses and his sister Miriam sang a song of praise that is recorded in Exodus. God is always so gracious. But may I suggest that it would have been sweet if the praise had been sang by the people before the waters were parted as well as after?

Do you have a hard thing in your life today? Could we together raise our hands and praise Him out loud anyway?

My prayer for each of you today is that you could feel true.. deep... joy in whatever you are facing.

More Joy For Your Journey, 

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