Praise Him, Praise Him
“The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me…. to comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion period – to bestow on them a Crown of beauty instead of Ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”
– Isaiah 61:1-3
Looking back at my ministry over the past 35 years, I see that God had placed me in some churches which had corporate hurt and unfortunate circumstances in their histories. I came into these churches at a time when healing and unity were needed. I didn’t choose this type of ministry, but for whatever reason, God placed me in these circumstances. I have learned through this, that God uses our praise to bring healing. God is the one who does the changing, but He will also use those who choose to worship Him and praise Him through trials to bring encouragement and change in others, even the congregation as a whole.
We all will go through difficult times in our lives. In those times, we have a choice: will I praise Him, or will I become bitter? A difficult time for me was in the summer of 1995. I was a student pastor at a church in Atlanta and I was driving a church van bringing a group of seniors back home from a senior trip. My wife, Chris, and my two sons were in the van with us. We were going through a green light when a car pulled out in front of us, I tried to stop, but it was too late. We hit them going 40 mph. It was a terrible accident. Many of our passengers were Injured including my two sons and my wife. My youngest son was in a coma for three days, my oldest son had a broken leg, and my wife had a crushed foot and bad gashes on her head. I had a choice. I could either get mad at God for allowing this to happen or go to my knees and praise Him and seek His face. I had never experienced God’s peace as I did during that difficult time. That choice to praise Him brought a positive change in my life, but God used it to bring positive changes to the people who watched us. As a result of our witness, one of the girl’s Dad, who was riding in the van, committed his life to Christ.
This is true for all of us, as individuals and as a congregation. When the church gathers each week and there is a spirit of praise, worship, celebration, and joy in our worship music, it permeates the church and our own lives so that the spirit of praise replaces the spirit of heaviness or despair.
Pray – Lord, by Your grace I choose to pray. No matter the trials that come my way, I want to honor You and encourage others with my praise. I pray I will have a thankful heart and be free from bitterness. I choose to praise. Amen
First Baptist Broken Arrow