Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Night In the ER with God

If you're on my Facebook page, you already know I spent last night in the ER. Sarah had a fever of 102 and since I'd spent the night before dealing with her vomiting, I felt it was time to find out what was going on. She has a UTI and her lymph glands in her lower abdomen are swollen, probably a result of the infection.

They did blood work and for Sarah, this is a horrible experience. From the time she was barely 6 weeks old until she was about 4, she had febrile seizures. She spent many long nights in ERS having IV's put in her tiny arms, hard bracing strapped to the arm or her arm strapped to her side to prevent pulling the IV out. She had vials and vials of blood drawn and redrawn. She's spent as many as 10 days in the hospital for things that normal children deal with at home. The problem back then was her low weight. She was a small baby and a tiny little toddler. Think Tinkerbell. She'd catch a bug, start vomiting, and become dehydrated and had to go to the ER. Her weight was so low, that after a day of vomiting, she was in danger and we couldn't get her weight up enough before she was sick again. Children in the first four years catch a lot of stuff. It is necessary to survive. So to the hospital we'd go and she'd end up there for a few days or a week, depending on the severity of the virus, or the vomiting.

To make a long story short, she is terrified of needles, screaming, hysterical, terrified of them. For years, they had to hold or tie her down to get blood work or put IV's in. Now, she's 9 years old and hasn't had a febrile seizure for 4-5 years and hasn't had many ER visits since that time but just talking about the possibility of needles sends her into hysterics.

Last night was no different. I tried to calm her when the nurse walked in with her gear. The nurse tried to talk to her. She wasn't hearing us. Eventually, we had to tell her if she didn't calm down, lie still, and let them put the IV in her arm, they were going to have to hold her down. I knew when they tried to put that needle in her arm, she'd be kicking, clawing, and screaming to the rafters.

Finally, we were out of time. The nurse called a name and this huge man walked in. Of course, Sarah realized what was coming. I explained to him her background and he was so very gentle when he approached her and did a really great job of being nonaggressive about it. He just held her arm and talked to her. He and the nurse got her to lie reasonably still, but she was still hysterical. They got the port in, hooked up the IV, and turned off the light to help her rest.

Rest was out of the question. Sarah was inconsolable. It hurt. She couldn't move it. She couldn't touch it. Her body was so tense you could have strummed the cords in her neck. Her eyes were red. She could barely speak for crying. She cried for Daddy, Mama, and to go home. I couldn't soothe her and was at my wits end. I've seen this so many times and it is stressful for all of us when we have to go through this with her.

I told her I was going to pray for her. I did, but she just couldn't seem to calm down. Finally, I put my head down on the edge of the bed and silently, I told God that I needed him to calm her down and give her peace. I told him I was asking for her, not me and that she needed it right now, not in a little while. I sat by her and in moments she grew quiet and the pain in the arm seemed to be, if not gone, at least not terrifying. For several minutes, she lay quiet and watched cartoons. Then she rolled over and went to sleep. I had to adjust the IV arm to prevent her lying on it. She slept soundly for a few hours until they came to do the CAT scan.

I am so thankful that God can answer prayers immediately. He doesn't do that often for me. In fact, I can't remember ever seeing a prayer answered in minutes but Sarah went from hysterical sobbing to quiet and watching cartoons, and then to sleep in just minutes. That's an on-time God.

Monday, September 28, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 10 - The Mathematical Character of Praise

Today I wrap up  my 10 More Days of Praise and I'm actually a couple of days off track. At first that bothered me but I remembered that life happens and it is usually beyond my control. I was suffering from fatigue one day and simply couldn't sit up. Another day, things just seemed to get in my way. At some point, you just have to let go and forgive yourself from being human. There are days when nothing goes right and you just have to start over. 

I've enjoyed my two praise challenges. I learned a lot about myself, my attitude, and my failings. I also learned that keeping an attitude of praise is a mathematical problem. I started with just doing a post a day. By the end of the first 10 days, I found that it multiplied. I caught myself uttering small praises about things throughout my day. During the second 10 days, I was more mindful of the need to praise God for simple things as well as big ones and the impact of doing that was positive, even if the day was negative. 

The sum of twenty specific days of praise is that over the two months the challenges covered, I've probably managed to praise him several times over. And I find I want to praise him more. 

I don't know if I'll ever do these challenges again. I may keep them in reserve as a way to remind myself of the need for praise in my life, Just in case life gets hard and it becomes difficult to give praise for anything.

You don't have to do what I've done. You can just get a habit of praising God every day for something. If you decide to try my method, I'd love to know how it works out for you.

For me, the challenge is over but the praises continue. 

Lord, you are more than worthy of our praise. I praise you for your lovingkindness. I praise you touch of your hand when I'm so tired I can hardly move. For all the times life is hard and unmanageable, I praise you for your care and compassion. I praise you because you are the air I breathe, the food that I eat, and a comfort in times of stress. I praise you, Lord, just because you are Lord.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 9 - Somewhere the Sun Shines

Courtesy Pixabay.com
There are only 24 hours in a single day. If you tithe your time you should be giving God two hours of your time. Aren't we lucky that tithing time is not a Biblical requirement. Got only required a 10th of the increase from your labor.

They why is it so hard to just spend a little time on praising God?

Generally, my blog post required anywhere from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending on what I'm writing about and how hard it is to find a graphic. Sometimes, the graphic takes a while. I have to get something I can use for free. Because I'm not employed, money is so tight Lincoln screams when I open my wallet.

We're at day 9 of my personal challenge. I lost a day in there somewhere but I've been under the weather and I'm not going back to find it. Today is the day the Lord has made and while rejoice is a rather strong word for someone with a cold, I will be glad in it. I'm glad to be alive. Some days I feel a bit closer to the other so any day I'm breathing, I'm glad.

Praise God for all the days he has given me. I'll praise him now for all the days ahead that he has promised me. I don't know how many there are, but I praise him for them anyway. I know that he holds my future and I am confident that he knows what is best for me. I praise him for his wisdom.

Today the sky is overcast and I'm still struggling with a rotten cold. Just beyond those clouds the sun is shining. I praise you, Lord, for a beautiful day, somewhere.

Friday, September 25, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 8 - The Worst Moments of the Day

That would be me today. I've got another cold, the second one since school  started in August. It does not bode well for me. I'm supposed to be praising God. I have two days to go, but I'm not in any kind of mood to praise anything.

It doesn't matter. At my worst, God is still worthy of praise. At my worst, I can't afford not to praise him. He is a loving, caring, attentive Savior and although I don't feel very loved, cared for, or attended to most of the time, it doesn't change who he is or his character.

So, for today, despite feeling more like a blob of misery, than an instrument of praise, I still praise you, Lord for all your wonderful works to us. I still praise you, despite my feelings of rejection and dejection. I want to  lie down but for now, for just this time, I lift my voice to you in praise. I write of your goodness and mercy, of your greatness and glory. You are El Shaddai ( The All Sufficient One), Jehova Jireh (My Provider), Jehovah Rapha (My Healer). You encompass every need and area of my life and for all that you are, I praise you.

I don't feel well today, but in my worst moments, God is always deserving of my praise.

What do you do in the worse moments of your day?

For more names of God: https://www.blueletterbible.org/study/misc/name_god.cfm

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 7 - How Often Do I Praise Him?

While at an airport a few years ago, I watched a cab driver get out of his cab, open his trunk, take out a small rug, spread the rug on the sidewalk, kneel down, and start bowing. I don't know how long he prayed. I was sitting on a bench waiting for my ride, but it was more than a minute or two. I think I was the only one watching him. No one stopped, stared, or commented.

I considered his behavior odd, the way we consider Mormons at the front door odd. As I sat there I thought about how lax we are as Christians. If I remember correctly, at the time I even prayed for a moment, for God to help me be more in tune, to take more opportunity to talk with him.

That Muslim cab driver at the airport made an impact on me. Not to become a Muslim, but to become more of a Christian. I wanted to have the kind of faith that made me want to stop what I was doing and give God a moment of my time. Did I leave the airport changed? I don't know, but I do know that since then I desire more time with God.

Since the mid-90's I have always made it a point to pray in my car, every time I go somewhere. At that time, I was driving all over, making roughly a 30 mile round trip to the university for my own classes, sometimes twice a day, shopping, and getting kids to and from their school if necessary. At home, I was so frantic trying to get meals, do homework, help the kids with homework, and go to school myself that I had virtually no spare time. Prayer was a problem.

I began to take time when I was between classes at home, to pray but it felt like it wasn't enough. I realized I was spending more than an hour in my car on an average day. So, when I saw a classmate leaving the school singing like a madman in his truck, I came up with a plan. I laughed at him, but it occurred to me that if he could do that, why was I worried about anyone noticing me if I prayed in the car. So, I began to use my drive time to and from school to pray. As soon as I clicked my seatbelt I began to talk to God and for every trip there and back, I would pray aloud. Some days I would not even remember the drive home.

It became such an ingrained habit that one Saturday as my oldest son and I were going to the store, as soon as my seatbelt clicked, I started to pray. He said, "Mom, what are you doing?" I stopped and looked at him. I didn't know what to say. For a moment, I hadn't even realized he was there or what I was doing. I know now I should have explained, but I was so stunned by what had happened, I couldn't think of what to say. Later, I did tell them about my car prayers.

I had become so used to getting in the car and buckling my seatbelt and then starting to pray on my drive to school that one day it became a natural part of getting in the car. I don't travel as much since I graduated, but I still pray in the car at times when I'm alone. It is still a place I can be sure that nothing will interrupt me. I've sat in my car, in my garage and prayed. Just because it was a quiet, solitary place I knew nothing would interrupt me.

I suspect that the Muslim never noticed me watching him. His routine was so ingrained that nothing around him made one bit of difference to his behavior. He set about the business of prayer. Everything else just disappeared. I can relate.

What about us? How often do we take time to give our God praise? Are there minutes when we stare into space that we could use to just give him praise for his faithfulness? Do we have long commutes that we can use to spend time talking to God? And more importantly, are we making an impact on those who are watching us?

The man in the airport does his prayer routine five times a day and we make jokes about it. How many times do we give our God praise? How many times should we give praise to our God? Is he not worthy of as much? He's worth even more. David thought so. In Psalms he said, Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments. Psalm 119:164

Seven times a day! We balk about church once a week. We complain we don't have time to stop for half an hour and talk to God. David was praising his God seven times a day. He was counting. And he was running a kingdom. You're running to the store, the gym, the club. You're running around chasing children. You're ... what are you doing that is so important that you can't stop and give God praise, even once a day?

I want to praise him with my whole heart. That is my goal. I started my 10 Days of Praise a month ago. It was a phrase that ran through my head in the middle of the night. So I did it. It wasn't enough. So, I started 10 More Days of Praise. It still isn't enough. Imagine every professing Christian praising God seven times a day. Imagine every Christian praising God even once a day!

The blog has helped me start a routine of praising God. I already had times when I just stopped and prayed. But face it, do your prayers focus on God or your needs? I don't want to just pray for needs. I want to spend time telling God how much he means to me. How long do you think a marriage will last if all you do is hand your spouse a list of items you think need to be taken care of? Sometimes, try praying without mentioning a single need. Tell God the only thing you want is to spend that time talking about his grace, his mercy, his faithfulness, his majesty. I think you'll be surprised at the outcome.

Lord, you are the air that I breathe. I praise you for the amazing works of your hands. You are the Great I Am, the Rose of Sharon, Lion of Judah. There is none like you and none as worthy of praise as you. I give you all the praise and honor for your sacrifice at Calvary on my behalf. I bless you with praise and desire to draw always closer to you.

How often do you give God praise?


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 6 Reasonable Service


Praise is mentioned 248 times in the Bible. I was so surprised when I saw that figure. I know that Psalms has many mentions of praise, but only about half that figure is in the Old Testament. The other half are in the New Testament.

So, it is just as important today as it was in the days of Moses, Joshua, and Solomon. We owe God so much and praise is one way that we can give back for some of the blessings that he's bestowed on us. Praising God for his greatness, the works of  his hands, for his love and mercy are the least we can do to honor God.

The psalmist knew the importance of praise. He spent a lot of time extolling the virtues of God through his praise. Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.--Psalm 71:8 

And it isn't just David that knew praise was necessary. Even a pagan king learned the importance of praising God. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. --Daniel 4:37

Praise is our duty to the God who gave us life, gave his own life so we could be saved. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. --Romans 11:36 

Just a few short verses away, Paul states I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. -- Romans 12:1

Our reasonable service? Reasonable to lift up praise to the One who created us? Reasonable to give praise to the Creator of the universe, not just this dusty planet he provided for us, out of an entire universe of other planets that he could have chosen as his favorite? We won't ever know until we are in his presence if he did such a thing but until then, we owe him our praises now.

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth. --Isaiah 25:1


Monday, September 21, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 5 - Halfway to Success


I'm not at all in a praise frame of mind today. I'm rather downcast and sad and very tired this morning. I can't tell you exactly why because I don't really know. I could list a slew of reason, but they wouldn't mean much to anyone without background.

That's how life is, isn't it? There are days when we're just overwhelmed by a host of concerns, real and imagined, and we can't put our finger on exactly which one is giving us the mulligrubs.

However, I've made a pact to give God 10 More Days of Praise and I take my agreements seriously. Once I say I'm going to do something for someone, most especially God, I do my very best to keep my word.

But I don't feel like praising God today.

If we go by our feelings, we'll never find the time to give God the praise he so deserves. There will always be another pain, heartache, grief, accident, obligation, or souffle to get out of the oven. If we can't find the time to give God praise, I suspect more than the souffle is at risk of burning.

He has made me and supplied my needs. That is what he promised to do. He's kept his word. He also said he'd give me the desires of my heart if I just find my delight in him. I struggle to do that. Do you? So many things in life draw us away from delighting ourselves in God. I don't mean a dance at the altar or a dash around the church. Those are wonderful, to be sure, but generally only occur once or twice a week. That's not the only way to delight yourself in the Lord. I'm talking about continuing delight.

Have you ever seen a child eating their favorite ice cream? Have you ever seen them tumbling with puppies or kittens? Rolling in the floor with their father? How about story time with Mama? The look on their faces and the sound of their giggles are what is known as delight. They are enjoying the moment to the maximum.

There are so many ways to find delight in God. Our service, not only to our church but our families, those in need, the lonely, dejected, depressed, and forgotten all need someone to make them feel loved.

When I find ways to do things on His behalf, even if it is writing a blog post solely to give him Praise and share it with people I may never meet, speak to, or know in my life, I obtain a sense of happiness. When I write these posts I delight myself in Him because when we minister, in whatever way we are able, we minister to Him.

I learned in my last 10 Days of Praise that even on a bad day, writing one post that gives God praise was enough to lift my spirits, even if something hit me to tear me down later in the day. What I gained from the last round lead me to want to do it again.

I am halfway in my 10 More Days of Praise and I realized that it was about this same point I had problems the last time. I don't know if five is some sort of magic number or if halfway is just the natural point that struggle seems to catch up. I know that I had a rough time starting today. But I can't let that stop me. The rewards far outweigh the cost.

Take time today to give God all the praise. I can't improve on Psalms today. This says it best. Take a deep breath, let it out and as you do, give him praise.

Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. --Psalm 150



Sunday, September 20, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 4 - This is the Day



This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. The sun came up and I was able to get out of bed with relative little pain,  most if it in my back. I praise God this morning because of his eternal goodness. Because he has saved me, I will praise him. Because he has kept me, I can praise him. 

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who only does wondrous things and blessed be his Name foreverYou are worthy, Lord, of my praise. 

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name. 2 Samuel 22:50 


Saturday, September 19, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 3 - We're At War

We are always as war and in war there are enemies that creep into our lives and build fortifications that we are forced to scale. We must find ways to defeat those who inhabit these strongholds and then, we have to tear them down. These battles never end, though we peer into the future and hope for a day when we are at peace. If you feel you're there, I admire you.

So many battles and skirmishes in my life. I do not share much of my past on my blogs, even though you may think I do. Most of what I have shared is from my life after children and many of those who know me now would never imagine the some of the things I've faced. Yes, there or others who've fought more horrible battles than I, but those who know now would be shocked if I were to talk about my battles. It would sound ridiculous and impossible that I survived.

At times, I've been defeated but I do not tolerate defeat well. My attitude is and always has been to get back up and pursue the enemy rather than to lie down and die. Like Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring, I stand on a narrow path and drive my staff into the ground and face my enemy with the words, "You shall not pass!" I passed this advice to someone recently, who is fighting their own battle. We do not survive by allowing the enemy to escape. We stand fast and we fight.

I look back over the course I have taken and I see a Glorious Commander, directing and guiding my steps. At times, I disobeyed orders and paid penalties that nearly ended my fight. I've taken different paths and ended up in valleys and deserts where I was forced to survive  things I would not have had to face had I just followed the directives I received. But I dare not give up because I know whom I serve and giving up is not acceptable. I'm weary, battle scared, and worn and still I fight battles unknown by others. I am in a place with few friends, little family, and few resources. Still, I stand on that narrow bridge and refuse to allow my enemy to overtake me. The battle rages on for I will not submit or surrender.

I will call on him who is worthy to be praised and I shall be saved from my enemies. He's prepared a table before them where I shall eat in victory and extoll the might and majesty of the Lord of Host.

Holy, Holy, Holy is the God of my Salvation. Holy is the Name by which I am saved. Praise to God who became my Savior. With his hand as my guide, there is no battle I shall not win.


I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. --2 Samuel 22:4



Thursday, September 17, 2015

10 More Days of Praise: Day 2 - Praises Anyhow



As I expected, the first day of my challenge was done and things begin to happen to put me off any idea of praise. Extreme annoyances and aggravation eroded any good humor I had and the last thing I wanted to do when I sat down Thursday night to prepare this post was praise anyone. I won't go into it here because I'm not going to be dictated to by it. I'm going to do what I intended to do. I'm going to give God 10 More Days of Praise. 



I will cry out with my voice to the Ancient of Days
to give him all honor, glory, and praise. 
He redeemed me and saved me and gave me grace, 
and the longing of my heart is but to look on his face. 
To see in his eyes the scope of his love, 
with a promise of eternity in heaven above.
My verse is so lacking in beauty and form, 
Yet a King who stepped down and in a stable born 
would never my heart song think to scorn.
The choice of a cross over golden throne, 
all for the right to call me his own. 
So, I'll sing praise to the Lord with my soul and this song, 
and give the title to the One to whom I belong.

Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; I will sing praise to the Lord God of Israel. --Judges 5:3

10 More Days of Praise: Day 1 - Beginning

I posted a few days ago that I planned to start 10 More Days of  Praise. I missed my start day. I woke up with a lot of energy and no fatigue. When I have days where like that, I have to get as much done as possible. I didn't touch my computer all day because I was cleaning and putting things to right in my spare room. I moved bookcases, chests, and got it all tidy. Now I have two rooms organized. I knew I'd have a rough start this morning and I did, but it isn't as bad as I expected. 

Today I begin my 10 More Days of Praise and I'm excited about it. I was excited when I decided to do it in the first place. When I think about the kind of problems I had in my first 10 Days of Praise, I get a bit nervous. You see, I know that as soon as you start doing anything remotely resembling praise or worship, the devil gets uncomfortable. He doesn't like it. I try never to let anything the devil thinks get in my way.

You, Lord, are MY praise, and MY God, that has done for ME these great and terrible things, which MY eyes have seen.(Deuteronomy 10:21 )

I give you all my praise, Lord for the things I have seen and you have done. I praise you for your grace and mercy. I praise you that each day they are renewed in my life. I praise you for the great power and strength that keeps me and upholds me through trials and storms. Without you, Lord, I would fail. I praise you for your eternal faithfulness.

Spend some time today, praising Him, regardless of your circumstances and expectations. Just give God the praise he deserves and He will give you what you need to make it through the day.






*All scripture is King James version unless otherwise noted. Some verses may be personalized but are still based on the original translation.





Monday, September 14, 2015

10 More Days of Praise?

Courtesy Pixabay.com
My 10 Days of Praise Challenge over a week ago was a resounding success. I came away from it with such a sense of accomplishment and feeling far more positive than I did going into to it.

I've been contemplating those feelings ever since I finished and initially, I thought it was something I'd like to do every year. But it wouldn't leave me alone. I liked how I felt, despite several issues that arose during that time. I enjoyed doing it, despite having a few days of struggle trying to figure out how to keep it fresh. It was harder than I expected in some ways, easier in others.

So, guess what. I'm going to do 10 More Days of Praise! Yes. I am. I've already done the artwork with a photo I edited from Pixabay. I made it a couple of days ago when I was still thinking about it. I think the photo sort of pushed me over the line. I mean, once I completed it, well, it would be silly not to use it. Right?

So, beginning tomorrow, I'm going to start a new challenge. I'm giving Him 10 More Days of Praise. Don't get me wrong. This doesn't mean I don't praise God every day. I do. But I wanted to make an extra effort to share that with others. I wanted to impress on others that giving special praises to God is such a blessing, not only to God but to the person praising.

Very often we become robotic in how we worship and the words we say are more like a script we've memorized. We just say the words without thinking about them. When I write, my mind is fully engaged. I write with my full awareness and careful thought. My body is involved in the process: my hands write what my mind thinks, my eyes follow along to ensure there are no errors, my body works to maintain a posture that is not painful, sometimes I tap my feet, jiggle my leg, and roll my shoulders. That is how I want to approach my praise. I want to be fully engaged in the process of praising God.

Just to ensure you understand exactly what praise is, I'm repeating the definitions from my Day 6 post of 10 Days of Praise.

  • Worship: the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity
  • Praise: to express warm approval or admiration of someone or something
  • Thanksgiving: an expression of gratitude
I invite you to join me on September 15 to give God 10 more days of praise. You don't have to, of course. But it cost you nothing and the benefits, I can promise, are priceless.



Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Heart For Praise

I am really so glad I did my 10 Days of Praise Challenge. First, I actually finished something. That's gratifying. What I'm really excited about is the way it left me feeling. It will sound odd, but I'm relieved.

Relieved?

Yes. So relieved. It was difficult at times, but I felt so much better each time I posted that even with the problems surrounding me, I think I handled them better.

So what's next?

I want to do it again. In fact, I'd like to do it every day. Of course, I know I can't post every day on this one blog. I try and balance my posts between this and the other blogs and writing. But I've had this craving to do more of those praise posts. Not as a challenge, I think you can burn out on some things if you overuse them. I'd just like to write more of them whenever and see what happens. And I will do another challenge, maybe in a few months.

You said some things happened mid-way that wasn't so good. What if that happens again?

You'll know this already, but I'll say it for the benefit of readers. In my life, it would be unusual if something didn't happen.

This is true.

So, I can't be surprised if it does but I'd like to be able to cope when it does.

All right, then. What are you waiting for?

Oh... yeah, right.

You have blessed me and kept me for so long and I have given you so little in return. I want to take this time just to praise you for you faithfulness, your grace, and your mercy. You are so worthy of more than my small endeavor, but I praise you with all my heart, Lord.






Sunday, September 6, 2015

Aftermath

Well.

Yes, well. I'd say very well. Of course, I knew you could do it.

I didn't, not really. Around day five I almost gave up. I don't know if it showed or not but I did. I wondered what was the use. No one cared if I finished. No one would notice. I wasn't changing anything. 

Someone cared. Someone noticed. And it did change something.

........

No, really. You may not know about it. You may never know. Somewhere, sometime, someone will accidentally land on one of those pages. They might need what they see there. They may already have done so. And it did change something.

What?

Not what. Who.

Well, who?

I'd say you've changed.

I  don't see how. 

Well, maybe what is showing was already in there and you've just let it show more.

There are many who would rather it didn't.

I'd day that's their problem. 

Yes, well. I am feeling let down. I'd like to keep this mindset for a while. 

I thought it was difficult?

Oh... it is really hard. But usually, when I sat down to write the day's post....

Yes?

I felt better, at least for a while. And I think, no... I know that throughout the day I focused more on actively making an effort to keep praise in my mind. I got annoyed at things, even got upset so badly at one point I had to actually stop writing and walk away for a bit. There were things happening that so truly annoyed me. But I found myself thinking differently most of the time. 

Then I'd say it had an impact on someone.

I'll do it again, sometime. Not sure how soon, but I'm going to do it again. And I think the fact that it was 10 days rather than 30, made it easier to commit. I was afraid it was too short, but I think now, that it was just right. 

I think I was the one who suggested that. 

Yeah, about that. Next time, could you let me know at a decent hour? I mean, middle of the night, when I'm just about to fall asleep... not the most optimal time. I don't get much sleep anyway and I tend to forget things by the next morning.

But you didn't forget.

That's how I knew it was you. 

.....................

Oh....... I see. O.k. maybe late at night makes sense.

10 Days of Praise: Day 10

I did it! I did it! I am so excited! I took the challenge and gave him 10 Days of Praise! Imagine, 10 straight days of finding a way to Praise God through good, bad, and ugly.

Am I a better person? Do I feel less pain? Am I happier? Is life going the way I want it to? Who cares?

God is worthy of all praise. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. His name is holy and He is truly an amazing and wonderful Lord and Savior. He is the solution to the revolution in our world.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. His name is above all names.

I challenge you to give Him praise! Not just for 10 days but for all the days of your life. He is worthy!

If you took the Praise Challenge, feel free to take the clip here, save it to your computer and upload the size you need to your blog and challenge someone else to give the Lord 10 Days of Praise.


Saturday, September 5, 2015

10 Days of Praise: Day 9

I can't believe how amazing the last 9 days have been. I've been hit with several things, almost as soon as I started this challenge. One day I really had a difficult time writing a post because there was just so much emotional stuff happening that I found it hard to praise God. I finally had to give myself a good talking to and remind myself that "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him!" 

It is a hard thing in the middle of trouble to step back and just give up. Yes, I said give up. Sometimes, you can't change circumstances, locations, people, or the bad brakes. Nothing you do will fix the problem. You have to physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually give up and let God deal with it. I've learned, even when I struggle with it, that this is the only thing that will get me through a situation.

Today, I'm using Psalms as my point of reference regarding praise. Please notice the first words of these particular Psalms is all about Praise. The psalmist started his prayers with praise. Oh, that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! That's the Psalmist, too. 

I want to praise the Lord for the works of his hands, of which I am one. My children are the works of his hands. My extended family is the work of his hands. My friends are the work of his hands. Oh, that men, women, and children would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! 

Oh God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. Psalm 108:1

Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise; Psalm 109:1

Praise ye the Lord, Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord's name is to be praised. The Lord is high above all nations and his glory above the heavens.  Psalms 113: 1, 3-4




Friday, September 4, 2015

10 Days of Praise: Day 8

My day has not been good, so I'm late with my post. I woke up with a bad headache and severe neck pain and it hung on nearly all day. I've been so weak with fatigue for days now. Even going out to do a couple of errands this morning, with a migraine was almost too much. I came home exhausted and had to lie down for a few hours.

However, I have promised that I would give God 10 days of Praise and despite some residual pain in my neck and a mild headache, I'm going to get this post done. Before this day ends, I will give You praise.

You are my praise and my God, who has done these great and awesome things which my eyes have seen.*

You, Lord are my strength and my song. You are my salvation. You are my God, and I will praise you. I will exalt You as long as I have breath.*

As long as I am able to write, I will give you praise.




*Deuteronomy 10:21
*Exodus 15:2

Thursday, September 3, 2015

10 Days of Praise: Day 7


Thus saith the LORD, thy Redeemer, 
the Holy One of Israel; 
I am the LORD thy God which
teacheth thee to profit, 
which leadeth thee by the way 
that thou shouldest go.--Isaiah 48:17 

It doesn't look like a scripture about praise, does it? Everyone immediately thinks of Psalms when you mention praise. That's natural because David and a few others wrote many beautiful Psalms about praise. 

Although the Bible is filled with scriptures all about praising God, particularly in Psalms, I've been focusing more on verses outside of Psalms. I supposed you could say I've gone off the beaten path. 

Over the years, particular since Jerry died, I've found that there are other places in the Bible that have verses that deal with praise. Of course, they're often not as happy as David was about it, but so often real praise is born out of grief, rather than joy. So much of my life has been filled with grief of one sort or another. Has your's? Before I was 20 I'd been rejected by both parents, experienced an alcoholic grandfather, lost the only mother I ever knew at 17, and left home while still grieving her death. I won't even begin to relate the next 39 years of praise formation.

I suppose in light of this, you could say that praises are the diamonds of our life. The chemicals that make up real diamonds lie buried deep within the earth and over time, this pressure of the earth causes crystallization and formation of some of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. They are highly prized and of great price. 

Praise is formed deep within us, beneath the pressures of our life. The pain of living forms pockets of chemicals within us that become compressed and begin to harden and crystallize. Left to themselves, buried within us, they become bitterness, heartache, anger, resentment, and ill health. 

But, what if we begin to dig them out, to excavate them? If we do that, we will realize their true worth and beauty. Praises are the hardened crystals formed within us that, once excavated, will reflect the light of His love to the world. Life up your praises and watch your life become a treasure house.

I can praise you, O Lord, for so may things - for the joy of the morning, the smile on Sarah's face, the song in my heart. I praise you because  you are our Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. But I praise even more today because you've lead me in the way I should go. Without your guidance, I would truly be lost. 

I can look over the path of my life and see your hand at every turning in the road, at everydetour, and every pass. You have guided me true. I give you praise for the strength of your hands is sure and strong and the times I would falter, you hold me up secure. 

You are worthy, Lord, of all praise and honor. Your name is above all names and your glory is the only light we truly need. 

Holy, holy, holy, holy are you, our Redeemer and Lord. 



Wednesday, September 2, 2015

10 Days of Praise: Day 6

Courtesy Pixabay.com
My 10 Days of Praise is nearly over, but I thought it appropriate to clarify why I made a point of focusing only on praise and clarifying why it's different from worship and thanksgiving.
  • Worship: the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity
  • Praise: to express warm approval or admiration of someone or something
  • Thanksgiving: an expression of gratitude
So often we interchange these three behaviors as if they are all the same. They're not, as you can clearly see from their definitions. Each is a different type of honor shown to God, given of our free will. They address three distinct areas that we are to bless Him.

We worship God when we give him reverence and adore him in our actions, words, and thoughts. This is generally a stance we take such as singing, lifting hands, prayers of adoration. When he blesses us, we express our thankfulness by giving him thanks, just as you would anyone who did something for you.

But praise is something completely different from the other two. Praise shows our approval of God and His choices for us. It's admiring Him for His abilities and His character. The power and grace and mercy of God should be awe inspiring. It should result in an earnest praise of his attributes.  It is more than thankfulness. Praise is admiration and approval for all that God is and all He does, and all that He has yet to do.

Praise is the complete surrender to God as the beginning and ending of our faith. It is a form of surrender. When we approve of God and his methods, we're saying He knows best, that He is in charge and we approve of that arrangement. Praise is a form of submission to God by showing our admiration and approval of his actions, regardless of how we think or feel about them.  It is acknowledging his authority and accepting Him as that authority. You see in these verses the use of both praise and worship. Exaltation is a form of worship.

I will bless the Lord at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
The humble shall hear of it and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
And let us exalt His name together.
  --Psalms 34:1-3

I praise you, Lord for your authority and kingship over me. I give You my approval to manage the affairs of my life and I admire You for the grace and mercy You have shown.

Take time today to give God your praise. Even if it is just for one day.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

10 Days of Praise: Day 5


Let every breath praise the Lord. Let every tongue confess that He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Hear, Oh Lord, the voices of praise to you.

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.
Isaiah 40:28

I praise you, Lord. You're awesome, God. You're the Hope in hopeless, the Love in loveless, the Rest in restless. You are grace and mercy. Your power and might keeps the universe in balance and extends beyond my imagination. 

I praise you because you are worthy to be praised and you have made me complete and wholly yours by your love. You are an awesome God.

I give you praise because You are the Holy One of Israel, there is no God before you nor ever will be. You have declared it. 

Your arm is not too short to save us. Your ears not deaf to our cries. Your eyes see all that we do or say. 

From the east to the west there is none but you, Oh Lord. You form the light and create darkness. You make peace and create evil. You do all things and by you are all things. There is no power except that which you possess and direct.

Great is the Lord. I give you all my praise, oh Lord.