Praising in the Pit…

“Focus on remaining so gracious that when the time comes for your testimony, people’s recollection of how you maintained your faith and good character despite going through such a difficult season, will encourage them even more about what it is to truly trust in God.”

Smiling when things are falling apart around you, is possibly one of the most difficult things to do.
It’s hard to laugh, have fun, or even see the good in anything, because your circumstance is saying otherwise.

Today I want to encourage you to  P R A I S E  in the Pit.
And if you cannot think of any reason why it may be worth it, simply consider the fact that you have life, God still loves you perfectly, and His word says He will always be with you – that is more than enough to give Him praise for. (Romans 8:38-39, Deuteronomy 31:6)

In addition to that praise, here are three other key things to do:

1. Continue to do and be G O O D

Don’t allow your situation to make you bitter.
Natural emotions that we may experience when things are tough include;

  • Sadness
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Feeling fed up
  • Being irritable
  • Self-pity
  • Loneliness

and many others.

When we feel like this, it’s often difficult to be our usual selves, and in fact it is quite easy to fall into the trap of allowing our emotions to dictate and change who we are, negatively.
One of the most important things I want to tell us is that we must not allow our emotions to rule us. Yes, things aren’t great, but that is no excuse to compromise your character and forget who God has called you to be – which is someone who exudes L O V E at all times. (1 Corinthians 13).
Focus on remaining so gracious that when the time comes for your testimony, people’s recollection of how you maintained your faith and good character despite going through such a difficult season, will encourage them even more about what it is to truly trust in God.

When you find yourself getting into ‘a way’, remember that God’s word tells us a lot about His plans for us. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28).
Therefore, knowing God has a greater purpose, plan and will for you, means you cannot allow your energy to match your present situation. Instead, you have to ensure your energy is in line with the greater place God is taking you to! For that reason you need to draw out the praise that is on the inside of you and show God that you are dedicated to praising Him in spite of what is going on in your life. Show Him that your love for Him goes beyond your circumstance and that you truly love Him for who He is, not what He does.

 

2. Don’t obsess over ‘why’

Common perspectives many of us may have adopted throughout life, is that there is a reason for everything and that there is always a lesson to learn from every season you find yourself in. While I agree with both these concepts, we must be careful not to distract ourselves with trying too hard to make them fit into our lives in the most practical or perfect way.

Here’s what I mean by this…
Sometimes God does share ‘why’ He’s taking us through things, other times, He doesn’t.
The point is, if we get so utterly consumed with finding out ‘W H Y’ something is happening to us, or we get fixated on gaining an idealistic lesson out of it, we run the risk of losing focus on how God has truly called us to serve in that season, as well as engaging with God’s actual purpose or lesson for us.
For some of us, our focus on finding out ‘why’ could actually wrongly dissuade us from praising. This is because we subconsciously tell ourselves that we need a reason and purpose for the pain before we can praise in that pit, when actually the word of God encourages us to praise and give thanks in ALL things – good or bad. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Focusing on getting a so-called reason or lesson that we deem tangible enough to us, also falsely implies that depending on the answer we get, God could possibly be unworthy of our praise – and this is so far from the truth.
The bible tells us that He is worthy of all praise, honour and glory forever. (1 Timothy 1:17).

 

3. Surrender it all to God

This is the most important bit.
Stop trying to create the ideal outcomes in your mind, and stop trying to help God sort things out your way – just give it to Him and rest in Him.

The bible not only teaches us that we are made for God’s pleasure and to bring glory to His Name (Isaiah 43:7, Isaiah 43:21), but it also very clearly enlightens us that God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). Therefore some things may not make sense to us. Some things won’t add up according to how our human minds may try to work them out, and so chasing a reason, or trying to create an artificial lesson that we assume God is trying to teach us, will only leave us exhausted and disappointed.
What we should do instead in these situations, is truly and wholeheartedly seek God and ask Him to enable us to live out His very purpose for us in that situation.
We must learn the art of absolutely surrendering our will and way to God, realising that He is Sovereign and thus actively deciding to allow Him to have His way. This may not be easy – but it’s always worth it.

Worth it;
– because the earlier we surrender, the sooner we have peace.
– because walking with God is so much better than working against Him.
– and because ultimately, we should always desire for God’s perfect will to manifest, as opposed to anything else, as He really does know best!

 

Now get to know God’s Promises

It’s all well and good me encouraging you to trust God and rest in His promises etc., but you need to know His word for yourself, because that is what you have to hold on to.

So here’s a start for verses to use to remind yourself of how well God will carry you through it all, and that there surely is a greater glory awaiting you at the end:

Something crucial to remember in the midst of your pain and unrest, is that regardless of how sour things may seem, God has not, and will not EVER remove His covering over you. This means no scheme of the enemy could ever prevail over you, nor lead you to destruction, rather, just like He did with Joseph, God will turn it all around and use it for His glory and your victory. (Genesis 37:18-28, Genesis 39:21).

The story of Joseph (found in Genesis 37 onward) provides a good example of someone who praised and served his purpose diligently whilst in his pit. In fact his very service to others whilst in jail, is what then delivered him in time to come – but that’s a word for another day.

Admirable examples of other Praisers in their Pits and people who remained faithful to God in the face of adversity are;

Daniel – with friends in the fiery furnace – Daniel 3, in the lion’s den Daniel 6

Paul and SilasActs 16:16-40

JobJob 1, Job 1:20-22, Job 2:10, Job 42:10-17

In each story, as each character served their season of pain/trials with diligence and grace, we see the final outcome was completely worth the strife, especially when it caused others to give their lives to God.
So today I encourage you to keep Praising and keep your heart Faithful to God.
Praise your way into the sweeter season, because you serve a God that would never leave your current situation as your final destination.

Set it in your heart that NOTHING will steal the praise from your lips and the worship of your heart,
Because at the end of the day
God will still be God –
The Sovereign God, who knows best,
So why not Praise Him anyway?!

 

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing

Song suggestion: Praise Him in advance by Marvin Sapp

*Practical tip: (suggested by a friend and I think is a great idea) Create a playlist of Ten upbeat praise songs! Get into your praise zone with these daily and be reminded of God’s goodness.

No Chill When He Spills!

May God have no chill when He blesses you!  (AMEN!)
Haha! What a prayer!!! ūüėā

[Very quick side note: for anyone who doesn’t quite understand what is meant by the term ‘no chill’, it simply refers to ‘not holding back’ – so in this context, it refers to God going all out and not holding back when He blesses you. (Yep, now you can say a heftier Amen!)]

Can you imagine this though?
This is¬†basically what is spoken of¬†in¬†Psalm 23:5¬†– ‘My cup ¬†O V E R F L O W S’…¬†

Simply filling the cup to the top isn’t¬†enough for God, no way!
He looks at that cup as a limitation and says “No thank you cup, you can’t tell me how much I’m going to pour out onto my child, I’ll decide myself when it’s enough!”¬†

That my friend, is why your cup runs over.

And as if that isn’t already enough, the bible tells us that He places you in the midst¬†of your enemies;

“You prepare a table before me
¬†¬†¬†¬†in the presence of my enemies…”
[Psalm 23:5]

And chooses to anoint/bless/fill you up right there!

“…you anoint my head with oil;
¬†¬†¬†¬†my cup overflows.”
[Psalm 23:5]

Now there are a few more things to look at in this verse, and we can definitely draw power, strength and confidence from them.

Firstly, why does God choose to prepare that table in the midst of our enemies?
I mean these are people who don’t like us, and most definitely don’t care to see us winning!
Well look at this, Almighty God uses this to display His Power and Authority.
In case these enemies/haters/oppressors get too big for their boots, God first shows them that though they may bark loudly, and appear ‘strong’, they are truly powerless over your life, your destiny and anything concerning you.
He alone has the final say over your life and so it doesn’t matter what or whom stands against you. (Have a look at Romans 8:31).

Now the anointing itself represents Blessing!
I’m sure that’s the main thing we gather from this verse, but actually here are some other things God is saying to us:

“I am protecting you”.
It doesn’t matter how many people may stand around, seeking to tear you down – the Lord God is covering you now and forevermore.
He is your strong tower (Proverbs 18:10), your fortress and your rock (Psalm 18:1-3)!

“I Love you”.
(What more is there to expand on this one? He adores you, that’s all).
John 3:16, Romans 5:8

“Focus on me”.
Many times we get consumed with so much negativity around us, that we allow fear to paralyse us to a point where we forget the power of God’s light in the midst of darkness.
Well God is a respecter of no man (Acts 10:34), so regardless of every wicked attempt to make you fail or fall – God still does what He has promised to do, and that is keep you (Psalm 121:7).

“You are mine”.
(Isaiah 43:1)
How precious is it to know that God claims us as His own, and puts His mark upon us?
God doesn’t only bless us with things we need on this earth, but it should warm our hearts that He shows His everlasting love for us and makes it known that we are special to Him. In this verse, God embraces us.

Now with all of this to take in, can we just stop to Praise God quickly…
He is so Good! So Kind! And so Faithful!

We serve a God who is bigger and greater and larger than life itself, therefore we must adopt His confidence, as we are made in His very image (Genesis 1:27), and we must not be scared, nor hindered by the presence of enemies! Not now, not ever.

Just let that cup flow friend, let it flow flow flow, and sometime soon, we’ll speak about what to do with the overflow…

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing,
God Bless you.