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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Thankful Heart

A Thankful Heart

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).

            A precious friend discovered this verse at a time she desperately needed it. Having gone through the sudden loss of her only child, she faced sadness and utter desolation. Then God offered her a gift of hope. This verse revealed to her something that became a lifeline. She was told to give thanks in this terrible trial because it was God’s will for her to praise Him. Even though she didn’t feel like praising God at all my friend took God at His Word. Her praise became an offering of her pain and heartache to Him. It became her sacrifice of self. And God did a miracle. He lifted her from the terrible agony. Yes, she still felt the loss, but her focus changed from her pain to her promise. She would see her son again one day. Her life had a purpose and a message of promise to share with others.

 “Through Jesus,” the writer to the Hebrews declares, “therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name” (Hebrews 13:15, NIV). The day my friend heard of the death of her son the news was shocking, sudden, and overwhelming. When faced when such hard news, numbness is often our first defense. After the numbness lifts the pain can become too much to bear. God knows if it isn’t released it can destroy us. Often pain is released in anger, and we strike out in its bitterness. The greatest way to release the pain is to God. In praise we find release. And, yes, it is a sacrifice to give praise when your life is fractured. It is a sacrifice to praise Him when what you face makes no sense to your heart. My friend found release in a sacrifice of praise to God. She discovered His strength in the midst of her loss.

The hardships of our lives will always come. When we are on the top of the mountain, we praise Him easily. When we are in the valley, praise becomes harder. God knows that when we praise Him in our hardest times we receive release from the pain which has claimed us. When we praise Him in the midst of loss or pain or discouragement or embarrassment or loneliness or sadness or illness, the heart and mind become stronger through its surrender.

Do you give praise in all circumstances? If not, the truth in Hebrews 13:15 is healing. All it takes is your acceptance of His love for you, and a willing heart to offer a sacrifice of praise. Through praise my friend has discovered God’s healing power in her life. Greater faith has become her reward. She knows God will not forsake her at any time. The pain you may feel now can become part of the joy you will receive. That joy is His gift to His child who praises Him no matter what. So praise Him in whatever your circumstance, and you also shall receive. 

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