April 19, 2016
Winning Over Worry
Always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20, NCV).
Friend to Friend
When we lived in South Florida, the grass in our yard grew year round. So did the weeds. We soon learned that the best way to deal with weeds was simply to take really good care of the grass. When the grass was healthy, it was thick and lush – leaving little room for weeds to grow.
When our hearts and lives are filled with praise, worry is a weed that will die from lack of attention. When we choose to continually give God thanks, there will be little room in our hearts for fear.
Because praise acknowledges the very character of God, while thanksgiving recognizes the work of His hand. Together, praise and thanksgiving are powerful weapons against worry and formidable tools to strengthen our faith.
I know what you are thinking. Sometimes it is just plain hard to praise God because of the grueling circumstances we are facing. Honestly, it is hard to find something to celebrate.
The problem is that we don’t understand the true meaning of praise.
Praise comes from a Latin word that means “value” or “worth.” To praise God means to celebrate His worth, His value and His presence. “Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds—His name is the Lord—and rejoice before Him” (Psalm 68:4).
Praise and thanksgiving pleases God. Psalm 147:1 “How good it is to sing praise to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him!”
Praise and thanksgiving encourage obedience. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Did you catch the truth that it is His will for us to praise Him? Obedience to Him always promotes peace and eliminates worry.
Praise and thanksgiving enhance our awareness of His presence. Psalm 22:3 “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” When we praise God, we enthrone Him in our lives. We make that fearful circumstance His dwelling place. That’s right! We invite Jesus to join us in our mess. And do you know that He always accepts that invitation of praise?
Praise and thanksgiving produce trust. Psalm 42:11 asks, “Why am I so sad? Why am I so upset? I should put my hope in God and keep praising Him, my Savior and my God.” The psalmist is telling his own soul to stop the pity party, put his hope in God and keep praising Him – no matter what!
Thanksgiving is a deposit on the future.
Praise is trusting Him for what He will do and then expecting Him to do it, understanding that today’s stumbling blocks are tomorrow’s stepping-stones.
Praise frees God to work because when we praise Him, we are choosing to trust Him, despite the circumstances.
The story is told of a young man who was sitting on a park bench reading his Bible. Suddenly he began to shout. “Praise the Lord! What a miracle!” An older, very distinguished man walking by stopped and asked what he was so excited about. The young man replied, “I was just reading how God parted the Red Sea and the whole nation of Israel walked across on dry ground.” The older man sneered, “Don’t you know? That wasn’t a real sea at all. It was just a few inches of water.” He then turned in irritation and walked away, leaving the young man confused and discouraged. But in a few minutes the young man began to shout again. The unbeliever returned asking, “What are you shouting about now?” “I just read how God drowned the whole Egyptian army in just a few inches of water!”
Don’t let anyone keep you from praising God.
Don’t let any circumstance deny you the joy of giving thanks.
Praise is not optional in a life that wins over worry and doubt. Praise is a demonstration of trust and the acceptance of a circumstance without insisting that God change it. When we choose to praise God, we choose to trust Him. And when we choose to trust God, we will win over worry.
Father, I am helpless. I am desperate for You, Lord. I need Your strength and power to sustain me. Everything seems to be falling apart. I want to be a woman of faith and stand strong when trouble bombards my life, but I can’t do it alone. I am afraid and seem to worry about everything. Today, I turn to You and celebrate the truth that You will turn to me and be my refuge.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
When did God take something bad in your life and bring good out of it? Describe that experience. Remember the truth that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and what He did in your past … He can do today and tomorrow. He is faithful – even when we are faithless.
Read and memorize Psalm 59:16. Choose to sing a new song of praise – no matter what happens today. Record this verse on an index card and keep it with you. When fear and doubt come, meet them with this powerful promise from God.
More from the Girlfriends
Need help? Get Mary’s E-Bible Study, Getting a Grip on Fear, for practical ways to win over worry and experience real peace in your life. Included is a bonus article that will help you learn to walk by faith … not by sight.
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Originally published Tuesday, 19 April 2016.