At first I thought what is there to praise…I just didn’t ‘feel it’ when a friend called complaining about all the things she did not have and wanted. I told her the problem was she was focusing on the negative and assigned her to make a list of what she did have. Oops. Boomerang. (God’s Word does that to me a lot.) I began doing the same for myself. Then a friend who also lost her daughter (a good friend of our daughter’s) called me this morning. Her daughter was ravaged by disease and it was her request to be cremated and have her ashes placed in a receptacle carved into a rock by a pond.
She explained her feelings and found some praise for me when she wished that her daughter would have qualified for organ donation like Laurie did.
I admitted I needed to praise again, so considered this old saying:
I cannot choose my feelings.
I can’t help what I feel But I can help what I think
Once I change my thinking
The feelings will follow
Laurie’s list of scripture forced me to see that she too was feeding her thinking to praise even when she didn’t feel like it and I wanted to understand what she was feeding on when she searched all those scriptures on praise.
The word praise comes from yadah to throw (with abandon)/glorify, cast – toss and confess praise and thanks
That reminded me of a favorite fiction series- YADA YADA Prayer Warriors by Neda Jackson. I loved them because no matter how real or tragic the situations were for the characters in the group, there was always praise. Worshipful praise for who God is. Expectant praise for what was going to happen, and Thankful praise for escapes from things that did happen.
That and more was in Psalm 148—God is the center of Psalm 148, and you and I are there too. Here are seven of the things I learned:
- God’s decrees are permanent – the things he says are not like temporary hair color – when it rains it melts away. (yes, personal experience)
- God created ALL things for PRAISING. (that would include me)
- All creation is commanded to praise – commanded! For our own good, to toss out praise rather than withdraw inwardly.
- Let (without restraint, loose, without control) – so all creation praising fulfills the purpose of their creation. I should not prevent it.
- I need to choose to release praise despite feelings.
- In order to LET myself praise Him, I will remove any restraints (shield of protection) or controls that are hindering or stopping the praise
- Praise means to offer thanks – to sing with joy – to worship with open hands (as opposed to the closed ones) – No hidden things clutched inside – the hands are like an empty bowl or spoon reaching out waiting to be filled.
And so I praised. Worship for who I have and have had in my life. Expectantly for what might yet come, and Thankfully for an unusually close relationship with Laurie.
Two couples today stepped out to worship with open hands and hearts. These couples were linked by our daughter, Laurie.
God’s presence was there and where He is there is joy and worship and healing, and praise.
And a new, yet deeply bonded, friendship.
Today I experienced praise again. You can too. Open your hands, and open your heart. Let go. Release whatever you have been clutching.