A Second Look at Praise?

I was on the brink of suicide when God first revealed to me His gospel of praise.  Beside giving me the strength to hang on one more day, I found a dynamic powerhouse at my fingertips.  Praise became my mantra (if Christians’ have mantras).  Once I discovered praise, I couldn’t shut my mouth.  I had to share the good news with the world.  Thus I became known as the “praise lady” to family, fans and friends, and as the “praise nut” to others.  I learned that praise changes the worst of situations; eases the deepest of pains and replaces the gravest of depressions with joy.  I wrote books about praise; sang songs about praise; and preached on the power inherent in praise.  One of my favorite praise texts was and is, Philippians 4:4 KJV, “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice.”

I’d never thought much about the second half of the text, “…and again I say rejoice,” until recently when I found myself embroiled in an emotionally charged crises.  That night, distraught and heartsick, I tossed and turned unable to sleep.  Finally, in the wee hours of the morning, sleep arrived, along with it a dark, spirit-crippling dream that hung over me like a storm cloud after I awakened.  Lugging a 2000 pound elephant on my back, I stumbled to my prayer corner and picked up my Bible.  It fell open to Philippians 4:4.  As I stared at the page through a tear-blurred vision, it was as if I were reading the familiar words for the first time.  My heart skipped a beat.  “…and again I say rejoice!”

“Rejoice?  How can I rejoice in this situation, Lord?  How?” I moaned.  This time the letters appeared emblazoned in fire.  “…and again, I say rejoice!”

“OK!  I’ll rejoice, Lord.” I threw my hands symbolically into the air and lifted my gaze toward the ceiling.  “See? I am rejoicing!”  As I did,  a gentle spring shower of mercy cooled my fevered brow.  The power of praise soothed and comforted my distraught mind.  The hated dream faded from memory.  New-found strength touched my heart and coursed throughout my body.

“Forgive me, Lord, for forgetting…” Excited, I quoted the words, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10KJV)  And despite seeing no evidence the situation would improve any time soon, I realized my praise had given God permission to take over my worries and to carry that 2000 pound elephant on His shoulders.  And while “Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1KJV), God’s peace has restored my soul.  I can know for certain, in His hands all will be well.

If life has thrown you an undeserved curveball, if your situation appears hopeless, if your spirit is overcome with grief, consider following the advice of Philippians 4:4.  “…and again, I say rejoice!”   If you’ve once experience the power of praise but have temporarily forgotten the dynamite a simple prayer, song or word of praise contains, take a second look.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

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One Response to A Second Look at Praise?

  1. pepsi7 says:

    First and foremost a writer writes. Until you get something on paper, you have nothing on which to work. So just write wherever you find your thoughts. If it’s on point to your overall project, great. If not, you might use it later on or include it as flash back or antecedent action. I work from a very loose outline of events. In my blogs I always begin with a text and an anecdote. IF that helps… Keep in touch.

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