I woke up with a song in my head. "How can I keep from singing?" By Chris Tomlin, God has been showing me the importance of having a heart of praise, and lips filled with thanksgiving towards Him.
I have thoughts rolling through my mind of friends recounting trials they were facing, and how the pain began to ease in every situation as soon as they found something to thank the Lord for. One friend of mine had all kinds of terrible things happening, death in the family, financial stress, work problems, and a child with a broken collar bone (so of course no sleep on top of everything else). She told me how everything just seemed dark and she was so discouraged, but yet, in the midst of the craziness she was still able to thank God. To say "Even though all this is happening, and my daughter is in so much pain, this isn't permanent. Thank you Lord that she will heal from this." She said from that moment on her circumstances changed and everything looked brighter. Another mom told me that she was discouraged with cleaning the house and how it used to be such a disheartening time for her. Then God laid it on her heart to find something to be thankful for. She began seeing his provision, for having a sink to clean, fresh water, clothes for her family that she could fold. She said "Everything that I did around the house which normally seemed like such a CHORE....was now being looked at as another reason to be thankful."
As I was pondering the significance of praising and seeing victory the Holy Spirit laid a scripture on my heart. This particular passage is about the Israelites. They had just been freed from slavery in Egypt, and were only beginning their journey in the desert when the Amalekites marched against them. This was the first battle after being freed.
“So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” Exodus 17:10-13
So Moses, leader of the Israelites, wasn't fighting, but standing on the Hill with His hands raised. Typically hands raised in the air are a symbol of worship, a sign of praise to God. And as you read, as long as the hands were raised the battle was being won, but if they fell, they began to lose. Maybe this is hinting to a key truth to overcoming the battles we face. What if in times of pain we still find something to praise God for, will we start seeing the victory once again? I believe so. In Philippians 4:6-7 it is written “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I used to always read those verses and wonder, why the "thanksgiving"? In a tough circumstance it is really hard to find the silver lining sometimes! But you know, there always is one. If you are breathing you have something to be thankful for.
When we are faced with hardships, difficult people, tough tasks, as we start looking for the good, all the lies of the enemy will be silenced as we open our lips and lift our hands in praise to our king. The word even says "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger." Psalms 8:2
So I encourage you, with whatever you are facing big or small, mundane or life changing, find something to praise God for. When you are in trials of every kind keep those hands lifted in praise and choose to say as Habukkuk did "...yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Hab 3:18
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