Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 NKJV
With the death of a close friend, and both of us battling Covid (Thankfully not at the same time) the last seven days have begun to blur together. With hours of time and not a lot of energy, I have gone back to the project of digitizing our old family photos. First, comes the sorting process and deciding which of these can simply be retired. Then, I photograph each photo with our canon, upload and enhance those thousands of photos (Why did we take so many!?). By now I am up to the late 90’s and early 2000’s and the baby photos of our grandchildren are sweet. But as I see the thousands of faces, I also know the sad, sometimes tragic stories that replaced the smiles with tears. Some I simply delete, as the memories are too painful, others I preserve, because for better or worse these are the people who are part of our history. In a bout of depression, the other night, my mind turned back to the verse that has helped me so many times before. Our old friend, the Apostle Paul, sitting in his prison cell, writes to encourage his friends that when they face hardships, they need to remember the good things that God has done. No matter how low things appear, there are still things and people around us who have noble hearts. No matter how unfairly and selfishly people treat each other, there still remain things of true purity, loveliness and grace. As long as God sits on Heaven’s throne (Which is a long-long time!) – alongside the evil in this world and ruling over it are God’s goodness and glory. He is still good. He sees the whole picture and still loves and cares for each of us. It is up to me and you to decide what we allow our hearts and minds to dwell on and we can do this because our true life is in Christ and is hidden with Him in God.
One of the sisters from our prayer group sent us this song from Charity Gayle, saying it would give us something to praise God about. By the end, the ice in my soul began to melt and I was really blessed. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. There is no better way for us to set our minds on the good things God has done, that to take time out and give Him praise!
I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. The Humble shall hear thereof and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 KJV
We won’t have read far into the Bible before we realize that our Sunday School hero; that giant killing boy named David, grew to be a man with plenty of moral failures. Yet in spite of his sins, weaknesses and mistakes, God tells us that David was, “A man after my own heart” Acts 13:22. What makes David so special? We could point to His courage as He faced the giant, His humility in the way He obediently continued taking care of sheep even after He had been chosen to be king or even His musical ability. Yet there are other people in the Bible who also had these characteristics, but what makes David unique is his legacy of praise. Praise is a part of our prayer life equally as important as intercession and without it we will just drift along between problems, wondering what crisis we will need to intercede for next. But if we like David, we begin to praise God when we get victory in battle, then God will also teach us to worship when we are being hunted down by people like the jealous King Saul. (See Psalm 52 and 63). And just as David worships when the ark is brought into Jerusalem, we ought to be praising in church. But David also worships after the death of his child who Bathsheba bore as a result of their adultery, and we he leaves us His heart-rending cry for forgiveness and renewal in Psalm 51.
Our real, honest to goodness legacy of praise is not just “Hip-Hip Hooray, I am so blessed!” when we are nicely dressed and singing in church. We hear David praise the Lord “At all times” even when those all times are hard times. Even in those times when we fail most miserably, we can turn to God in humble repentance and praise Him for His wonderful and undeserved mercies. In Psalm 118:24 David tell us that, “This is the day that the Lord hath made.” That means every one of our days is made by God. Our good days and our bad – successes and failures – our greatest celebrations and our deepest moment of grief all belong to God. But if we praise God at all those times, moment by moment and day by day we become more like the person most like God’s own heart – His Son Jesus Christ. And as His praise remains continually in our mouths, we leave behind for others a true legacy of praise.
I love the Mullett family’s rendering of “Though You Slay Me” and it gives us just a peek into their story and how the God who has kept them through it all is worthy of all our worship, our trust and our praise. I pray you will be blessed as you listen, and that God will help you with whatever you are facing today. He is always worthy of our praise!
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. Psalm 27:4 ESV
My favorite people to sing with are my Thursday morning friends in the memory care wing of Sunshine Christian Home. We had a great group this week and they totally loved singing “Up From the Grave He Arose!” In Psalm 27 David asks the Lord for the right to dwell in the House of the Lord –ALL- the days of his life. All our days includes when we are older, weaker and frail. Even in those years God loves coming alongside and delights in giving us a song! If you have not yet known the blessing of serving in Nursing Home Ministry you are missing out. There is a wonderful connection of the blessing that God wants to pass from one generation to the next! I hope you enjoy hearing their voices as we sing my absolute favorite Easter Hymn. Blessings all!