fruitage of the spirit's journal

Expressions from the Heart

The Ultimate Test of Faith


prayer02

Psalm 103:1, 2

“Bless the LORD, O my soul;

And all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

And forget not all His benefits.

 

 

Lately I’ve been stirred to write about prayer, praise and worship. I hadn’t realized I was this focused on praising our mighty God until I flipped through the recent journals I’ve written; they’re about praising the One who delivers, who heals and who remembers us.  I suppose this special interest in writing about praising God is primarily because of the challenges I’ve been facing in recent months. Feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands, feelings of insecurity, not to mention constant struggle with imperfection is enough to make us surrender to defeat.  However, as challenges become mountainous, so does my desire to worship God; it’s an automatic reaction of my spirit.   Desperate situations tend to push some people over the edge…but a faithful believer tends to gravitate to praising God more passionately. When our faith is tested, do we praise God for the opportunity we have been given to experience His saving power? When we’re in fear, do we exalt in the God whom we know will deliver us through any circumstance?

 

The enemy wants nothing more than to keep us from praising our Creator. His tactics to draw us away from worship and praise include discouragement, dissentions among friends and family, confusion, temptation, doubt and fear (among others).  He is so sure of himself – his plan of attack is to be relentless enough that we crack under pressure and cause us to weaken our faith in the Lord. Despite the attacks, however, we can speak words of adoration to God where we are being carried to a triumphal place. We can be thankful because only God can provide the clarity we need to walk through the cloudiness in our circumstances. Nothing may seem clear to us at the time, but only God knows where we are and where we are going; He is guiding us every step of the way. Praising God while facing trials brings us to a peaceful rest because we know He is in control of our entire lives and the outcome of ALL situations.

 

The secret of praise is not to wait until we’re already experiencing peace. On the contrary, we praise regardless of our circumstances. When we are broken in spirit or feeling weary and defeated, that is the time to sing songs of praises louder and worship with more intensity than you we have! If you do, you can rest assure you will abide in God’s peace. The ultimate test of faith is not that we overcome our trials as thankful victors, but whether we can still thank and praise God while in the midst of the trials. It’s so easy to entreat God with our needs when we’re desperate, and to forget to praise Him along the way.  This is why Paul reminds us at 1Thess 5:17,18 to pray without ceasing, but always give thanks to God. Thanklessness is a trait of the unbeliever; to remain thankful and to praise God while in the midst of challenges is truly a test of faith to a believer. Let us hold fast to our faithfulness and worship our Lord and Savior no matter our circumstances! God bless you.

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May 26, 2009 - Posted by | Expressions | , , , , , , ,

5 Comments

  1. WOW! Linda You really touched my heart.Its been a rough week in my recovery and this just reminds me that I need to praise God for the time I have in recovery and thank him for friends like you,who will help pick me up and pray when it is needed.Thank you my friend.

    Tanya

    Comment by Tanya | May 26, 2009

  2. Indeed Linda. Thank you for this special message to us all. It is encouraging to see you so full of praise. And my word, you’re right! You DO have a lot of posts on this subject!! Obviously, your love for God is carrying you through the storms.

    Tanya, I just want to say how happy I am for your continued recovery. You are a blessing in my life and yes, yet another reason to praise God!!

    It is all like sweet incense.

    Comment by Julie | May 26, 2009

  3. Thanks, Tanya and Julie. You are both so encouraging and a blessing to me!

    Comment by Linda | May 26, 2009

  4. Linda, After reading your post, I feel led to share with you something that you may not be able to see in your life, but you my friend are a living testimony to the power of prayer and praise in a life. You are so hungering for God that I can almost feel Gods hand gently guiding you back on track when the “storms” in your life arise. You may linger a bit longer than necessary sometimes when those storms clouds begin to build, but God seems to make sure through the Holy Spirit within you that you seek the protection of His love and peace by finding your way back in to His love and grace. Whether that be through a time of silence before God or through your seeking out the body of Christ that surrounds you for encouragement. And once you get into the presence of our loving heavenly Father then suddenly those “things” that were pulling on you and drawing you into the storm of fear and doubt, just seem to fade out of sight. They may still remain off in the distance and you can softly hear the roll of their thunder, but their power over you has been humbled and disabled by your passion to seek God and His presence. It is so awsome to watch that it in itself is a blessing and reminder to those of us who know you so well.
    I truly believe that when we know God this intimately we actually get to enjoy little pieces of heaven right here on earth. Whether by learning or just knowing to seek Him when troubles arise, we dwell with the angels and the saints in the heavenly places who have no fear because they so fully know the power of our God and His desire to calm every storm in our life if we but only ask.
    One of the most wonderful things about finding our way in to praise and prayer in those times of trouble is that at those moments in time we are able to offer a sacrifice of prayer and praise that testifies to the unseen forces that surround us, of the amazing power of faith that God has gifted us with.
    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:1-2

    Thank you Linda for so openly living your faith in front of all of us. You and your walk of faith through the storms of your life are a precious gift.

    Comment by Sue | May 27, 2009

  5. Wow, Sue!! There is so much “meat” in your comment…where do I start??

    When it comes to talking about my walk with God, you of all people, can speak from having witnessed it first-hand from the start (and before).

    You watched me as I tried to worship God as best as I could, when I was involved in false teachings. You never pushed me to learn the truth; rather, you accepted me for the “false” faith I had and prayed for me (unknownst to me). Finally, after six years of confusion and frustration, I came to you for clarity and truth. Although I didn’t understand what would be revealed to me, I was still guided to come to you for answers. And boy, did you give them to me! The first thing you opened my eyes to was the gift of grace. I had no idea what that was – I was working 24/7 for my salvation, but you taught me otherwise. Then you showed me the meaning of the Cross, which I used to believe was a symbol of paganism. Still struggling with false teachings, I sought for more answers; I was hungry and that’s when God started bringing others into my life that would understand the place I was coming from. So began my friendship with Carl, Gail and Julie. As my understanding grew more and more, you were there to watch and share with me. Now, we worship side by side – we are sisters in Christ. I was reading this morning about how Paul hates to boast, and I thought about you. Whenever I thank you for all you’ve shown me, you humbly move the attention from yourself to God and give Him praise.

    I know that I should probably share this privately with you, but I know (that I know, that I know) there are many people out there who are experiencing the same confusion and lostness I once felt. I want them to know they are not alone. I also want them to know there are faithful stewards who have been called by God to help them. Like Isaiah, you accepted God’s commission to help me as I struggled to get out of a mind-controlled cult. May the Lord continue to expand your ministry! You are a blessed woman and I’m especially blessed to have you in my life! (P.S. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you in this comment.) I love you.

    Comment by Linda | May 27, 2009


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