Praising the Lord in All Things

Posted on July 8, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Reminders of the lessons God taught us continued to surface during our recent visit to our first missionary assignment in Indonesia. I’m not sure how the concept came into focus, but we discovered that praising the Lord in all things was a real key to walking in victory.

Perhaps it was the testimony and encouragement from a veteran missionary colleague, something from books we were reading at the time, or maybe it was just a revelation from the Holy Spirit that emerged from our Bible study. Nevertheless, we were desperate to discover something that would allow us to consistently experience God’s presence and power.

We had our share of trials and challenges–isolation, hours from any other missionary, still struggling with the language, the stress of cultural adjustments and trying to find normality in a new setting for family life with two small toddlers. In the first year in our assignment we had had dengue fever, almost lost our son to a staph infection, and received news of Bobbye’s father being killed in a traffic accident.

But the real hardship was the lack of response to our witness. Frustration grew into discouragement, and discouragement grew into despondency. Where was God? Why wasn’t He blessing our efforts? Where was the evidence of the power He had promised?

We began to gain insight into the fact that everything God did was to the praise of His glory. The Psalmist says that God resides in the praises of His people. “But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel” (Ps. 22:3). When did we sense His presence? When did we feel intimate communion with the Father? It was in times of prayer and worship, privately and corporately.

We realized that we were not to praise God just in our morning devotions or periodic times of worship but at all times, even in times of trials and adversity. When our plans went awry, or we came in from a foray into the villages without finding a pocket of response, we would praise the Lord for who He is. Our praise was not based on what He did but because He is Lord and is worthy of all praise and honor and glory.

Our children began to pick up on the pattern. When they would fall and skin their knee or break a toy we would hear them utter, “Well, praise the Lord anyway.” An abiding sense of God’s presence began to prevail. Satan could not break through with doubts and discouragement. It became the key for practicing the presence of Jesus!

Notice what happens when you praise the Lord. Your focus is diverted from the situation or circumstances to the Lord. When your focus is on the Lord, you are reminded that He is with you. When you become aware of His presence, you can readily relinquish your attitudes and feelings. It puts your situation into perspective and you realize how trivial your trials and daily disappointments compared to what you have in Christ. It doesn’t matter whether He blesses your plans, solves your problems, and provides your needs or not because you seek His face, not His hand.

God is enthroned on the praises of His people. That is when He is truly Lord of our life when we place Him on the throne through praise. Paul admonishes us to “Rejoice always! Pray constantly. Give thanks in everything” (1 Thess. 5:16-18). That principle enabled us to survive, to persevere and walk in victory. We became constantly aware of the presence of Jesus through praising Him in all things.

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