"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess His name." - Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)
"Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise" - wow, really?! Continually?! Does God realize what's going on in our lives? Doesn't He realize that the economy's in the tank, that people are out of work, that children are suffering , that the divorce rate is rising, that people are going hungry, that this world is a MESS!! And, He's allowing it all to happen!! He's not asking for much, is He? I mean, come on, be realistic here!!
It's so much easier to complain about our lives than to find the "silver lining", isn't it? And, yes, there's a "silver lining" to everything....sometimes we just have to look really hard to find it. Maybe you're asking yourself, "Where's the "silver lining" in today's world?" Let's see: we might be learning to manage our money better, we might be learning to be self-sufficient and entrepreneurial, we might be learning to be more compassionate & charitable, we might be learning to be less materialistic, we might be learning to lean on God instead of ourselves. There's ALWAYS a "silver lining".
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." How many of us actually do this? I know I am not always joyful or thankful for my circumstances. And that is being disobedient to God's Word! I find it easy to praise and worship in church; the music and the message combine to lift me up and fill me with hope, peace and joy. I also find it easy to give praise and worship during my morning and evening prayers. But, during the day, not so much. There are times when something good happens and I immediately say, "Thank You, Lord!". However, I'm to be offering praise and thanks no matter what - the Bible says so!!
I have a God who loves me more than I can fathom! Jesus loves me so much that He took on my sins and suffered a horrible, painful death for me! The sun is shining! I can see, hear, feel, taste and smell! I can walk, talk, laugh and love! I have a roof over my head, food in my cupboards, clothes on my back! I woke up breathing this morning! Whenever I'm lacking joy, peace, hope, courage, strength or faith, I can open up my Bible - freely, without fear - and find them again! I have NOTHING to complain about!!
I am going to make a conscious effort to find the "silver lining" in all circumstances and lift them up to God in praise and worship. I may not be able to find it immediately, but I know there is one and it will be revealed to me in God's time. I hope you take the time today, and every day, to look for the blessings - obvious or hidden - in all your circumstances, and praise and worship God for them. HE IS GOOD TO US!!
"A good memory is one that can remember the day's blessings and forget the day's troubles." - Unknown
Dear Heavenly Father, I don't always see the blessings in all my circumstances. Open my eyes to Your blessings, Lord. I want to complain less and praise You and Your Son more, as Your Word has commanded. Let my life, my thoughts, my words and my actions reflect Your greatness and praise and worship You. In Jesus' name, Amen.