Sunday, October 25, 2009

Are We Holding God to a Standard?

Today in church, as we all stood and clapped along with the upbeat music, my mind was wondering. Yes, I’ll admit to it. I looked to my right and noticed a man. He was different from the rest. He looked so tired and his body was worn beyond its years. His arms were rail thin and his feet were dirty as I would imagine a disciple’s to have been. The back of his t-shirt was nothing but holes connected by struggling thread and the bottom was very tattered. Yet, he had managed to tuck it into his corduroy pants (it is 80 degrees). His pants were covered in dirt, but the holes were still visible. They were held up by an old scrap of material. His eyes were closed and his hands were raised. He was praising God and I was captivated. Why was he praising God and I wasn’t? As I watched him, I knew there wasn’t much he had to be grateful for….but he WAS grateful. Am I holding God to some kind of standard? I will praise him when the promotion comes, when the sickness goes, when there’s enough money, when my food is hot, when I’m having a great day, when I hear good news……but most of my time is spent in the valleys not on the mountaintop. People I love are dieing, my friends are far away, someone’s marriage is failing, I walk past starving children, I worry about support, my daughter is being mouthy, a friend lost their job, I don’t feel appreciated….the list goes on and on. Am I praising Him in each of these times? Am I praising Him despite my situation or because of it? It’s easy to say “Thank you Jesus” or “My God is worthy” when you have a smile on your face. But it’s the times I’m broken that I need him most….and it’s those times that I am asking Him for things…..when I should be praising Him. He is still capable, even if I’m having a bad day. He is still Holy, The Creator, King of Kings….He inhabits our praises. I saw Him inhabit that man’s today. There is nothing like praising God. You can’t help but be filled with joy….I think this is the point. To let Him turn my sorrow into joy ….to be made strong in my weakness….for His joy is my strength. So if I’m not praising Him in every circumstance, then I will remain weak and full of self-pity. So I’ve decided to praise God when I’m happy and when I’m sad….when I’m laughing and when I’m mad….in my human weakness ….in all the places I fall short…. on the days I want to quit….with every embrace of a precious child…in victory and failure…. Because all else will fail….. But not my God…

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!
Sing the glory of his name;
Make his praise glorious!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
So great is your power
That your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth bows down to you;
They sing praise to you,
They sing praise to your name.” Psalm 66:1-4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
And his courts with praise;
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5


Anonymous said...

Your post was wonderful and as I read it, in a warm house, celebrating the day with my Kenli, I am so inspired by all you are doing. I think of you often, and pray for your courage and strength. Sending loads of love from southeast Tn, at this Kenli's Korner!!

misslynda said...

You are so right that it is a choice we make every day about praise or "poor me". It is always easier to find something wrong or missing - - - or the glass half empty - - -we are ALL guilty. It gives the enemy a victory when we are like that. Our prayer is we will make our choice each day to be grateful and to verbalize it as a witness!
Love you both!!!

Anonymous said...

I read this before going to church and was praying about it and then Bro. Allen's sermon was so apropo. "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:18 connected to "An we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28.
Kelly, you are living out your calling and his glory will be revealed to you. Remember that the Spirit is interceeding in prayer for our help and suffering here on earth. Romans 8:26, and we are here praying with and for you.


Amanda said...

Love you! Have I mentioned that I can't read a single post without weeping???
***BIG HUG*** to you from me and to Kenli from Sophie

Chrystie said...

This is so amazing! I just read this great entry and how amazing is our God. Last night, I did not have time for a full lesson due to special program, and God just layed on my heart to talk to them about being thankful. And not just beng thankful about great things like miracules healings or for big things going on in their lives, but to be thankful for every small thing they have, received or did not receive and always thankhim and praise Him. Sounds like we were on the same page - you know what Gayle would say.LOL :) I know our situations/surroundings are SO different, and I was talking to 6yr olds and did not have such a great experience to share, but the message God has was so much the same. God wants us to always think about every small thing and be greatful, thankful and praise him no matter what is happening that day. Oh who I need to remember that myself. I am going to share this blog and your verses with my 1st graders. Love Ya!

Amy said...

Thank you- I needed to hear this today. Love you- Amy