“Praise and be raised. Complain and remain.” –Joyce Meyer

I was reading something in my book 31 Days of Praise by *Ruth Meyer that I wanted to share. *(I don’t believe she’s any relation to Joyce)

 “THROUGH PRAISE YOU CAN PROFIT MORE FROM YOUR TRIALS

Why should you praise and give thanks in the midst of trials? Surely not because all the things that happen to you are in themselves good! The reason for praising in tough situations is found in Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (NASB).

C.H. Welch has elaborated on this truth as follows:

The Lord may not definitely have planned that this should overtake me, but He has most certainly permitted it. Therefore though it were an attack of an enemy, by the time it reaches me, it has the Lord’s permission and all is well. He will make it work together with all life’s experiences for good.

Praise can heighten your awareness that distressing circumstances are God’s blessings in disguise. Your trials rip away the flimsy fabric of your self-sufficiency. This makes room for God’s Spirit to weave into your life a true and solid confidence – the kind of confidence that Paul expressed in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV).

As fire melts unrefined silver, bringing the impurities to the surface, so trials bring the “scum” to the top of your life. When you praise God in the midst of a trial, you cooperate with His plan to remove the scum; when you complain, you resist His plan and stir the impurities right back into your character. This means that God, to accomplish His good purposes, may have to send or permit another trial; it may delay the unfolding of His good plan for you and your loved ones.

Through praise you focus your attention on God. You acknowledge Him as your source of overcoming power. You begin to look at your problems from a new perspective – you compare them with your mighty, unlimited God. You see them as molehills rather than mountains, as opportunities rather than hindrances, as stepping stones instead of stumbling blocks. You have a part in making them the prelude to new victories, the raw materials for God’s miracles.

Praise helps you obey God’s command in James 1: 2-4, “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance” (Phillips). Praise is a catalyst that speeds up God’s maturing process in your life.”

(taken from 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyer, pp. 123-126)

 I want to expand on the last quoted scripture passage in James. I’d never read it before in the Phillips version and I really like it.

 James 1: 2-8 (Phillips):

 “The Christian can even welcome trouble

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character with the right sort of independence. And if, in the process, any of you does not know how to meet any particular problem he has only to ask God—who gives generously to all men without making them feel foolish or guilty—and he may be quite sure that the necessary wisdom will be given him. But he must ask in sincere faith without secret doubts as to whether he really wants God’s help or not. The man who trusts God, but with inward reservations, is like a wave of the sea, carried forward by the wind one moment and driven back the next. That sort of man cannot hope to receive anything from God, and the life of a man of divided loyalty will reveal instability at every turn.

(my notes:)

I know that we’re all facing different trials, but the bible says, “God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” (1 Corinthians 12:6, NLT) I take great comfort in that. The God that is at work in (for example) Billy Graham’s life and Francis Chan’s life is the same God at work in my life, and He’s the same God that is at work in yours. No matter how difficult our trial, no matter how insurmountable the obstacles may seem, we CAN get through it. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13, NLT) When we are weak, He is strong. “But he {the Lord} said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (1 Corinthians 12:9, NIV) {emphasis mine}

We can grow in character, mature spiritually, and be filled to overflowing with love and JOY no matter what we’re going through if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. Is it easy? No. It most certainly is not. But keep in mind we serve a God of miracles! Peter, a regular human being just like uswalked on water as long as he kept his focus on Jesus. He only began to sink in the waves when he chose to take his focus off of Jesus to look at (and fear) the storm going on around him.

What is the current ‘storm’ in your life? Have you gone through other of life’s storms without keeping your focus on Jesus? How did things end up? Did you come through the storms stronger, more confident, empowered, and filled to overflowing with God’s love, joy, and peace? Did you come through them with a closer relationship with God than before the storms began? Or did you just make it through by the skin of your teeth, shaken to the core, and unsure of yourself, much less God and others? It’s worth taking some time to think about.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

 He loves us. Oh, how He loves us!

I honestly don’t know how I ever lived without the Lord. I don’t know how I put my feet on the floor every morning and faced the day – faced the world – without knowing He was right there leading the way, at my side, and my rear guard. I just know I could never do it again. I won’t. He is my EVERYTHING.

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