I wonder what has happened in your last seven days. Has a storm hit or are you in a time of smooth sailing? Is there a storm brewing on the horizon?
Here is another every-day choice we need to think about, choices that are a key part of preparing when that big storm hits...
Choice Three: Will I choose to sing God's praises today, regardless of what is happening?
There are different places in which we have the opportunity to sing praises to God. The most obvious one is church. The church that we are blessed to belong to always has a beautiful vibrant time of praise and worship. An atmosphere where God's tangible presence can be felt.
However for me over the years there have been days when I have been in church and have had to consciously choose to open my mouth and sing those words of praise. On those days my heart has been full of pain, fear and disappointment.
My head knew all the words to the songs, but did I believe them? As I stood to sing, sometimes for the first couple of songs I just couldn't say the words. I had to let the words wash over me and literally soften my heart to allow God's love into the pain, fear and disappointment.
In those moments of worship it was God's presence, His love, that enabled me to surrender, become more vulnerable, open my mouth to speak those words of praise and worship and trust that they were true.
Although looking back I can see that it was in my private worship times that I first experienced this true surrender. Often this was during time spent singing God's praises in my car. Times when it was literally just me and God, and through music and lyrics God spoke to me and restored my hope. Times when He revealed more of His father heart and love for me.
So in terms of preparation for the big storms, we can practice with the small disappointments, choosing to praise God in those moments. The more we choose to do this, the more we will experience what God can do in us at those times.
Then when the big storms come, we will more quickly make that choice to genuinely sing His praises, because we know that He will bring us through. It almost becomes a default reaction to choose to sing His praises regardless, opening a way for peace and love to flow into our hearts.
Here is some of Psalm 34, for The Passion Translation. I pray that as you read this greater revelation of God's love and faithfulness will wash over you.
Lord! I'm bursting with joy over what you've done for me!
My lips are full of perpetual praise.
I'm boasting of you and all your works,
so let all who are discouraged take heart.
Join me, everyone! Let's praise the Lord together.
Let's make him famous!
Let's make his name glorious to all.
Listen to my testimony: I cried to God in my distress
and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears!
Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come.
You'll never wear that shame-face again.
When I had nothing, desperate and defeated,
I cried out to the Lord and he heard me,
bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.
The angel of the Lord stooped down down to listen as I prayed, encircling me, empowering me, and showing me how to escape.
He will do this for everyone who fears God.
Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God.
Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives
to all who turn to hid themselves in him.
Worship in awe and wonder, all you who've been made holy!
For all who fear him will feast with plenty.
Dear Jesus, please help us today to choose to sing praises to You, regardless of what is going on in our lives. Thank you that you hear our cries when we are in distress and that you answer us with your love and mercy. Thank you that you free us from our fears. Please help us to be vulnerable and to know that you are a safe place, always faithful. Thank you for giving us the freedom to choose to draw closer to you. Amen.