“Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth….Come before Him with Joyful singing!” Psalm 100:1-2
The other day I had an overwhelming desire to enter the church just to lift up hands in praise to my Father. That desire doesn’t happen often, but that Sunday I didn’t care that I was entering church alone, or that it was dark, or that I would see friends I hadn’t seen in a long while because I was now worshiping in another congregation. No, I just wanted to worship. And I did! Deep peace flooded my soul and spirit. I met the Lord there in that space and it was profound.
Back in the dailyness of life, stress has clouded my thoughts with so much going on; or, I admit, much is going on that I’m allowing in to the day. Oh, how I have wanted to grab a huge chunk of morning minutes to write, to compose some devotional thoughts that would minister to someone else. But distractions and urgent pulls drew me from this person to that meeting to that errand to that meal to on and on and on. Primarily, I didn’t have the commitment to sit in the chair and write no matter what swirled around me.
One of the biggest distractions in my husband and my life right now is the imminent graduation of our younger son from Navy boot camp. Huge accomplishment for this twenty-eight year old who chose this path! Along with preparing to fly up to Great Lakes to witness this proud moment, I am still preparing for weekly ladies Bible Study.
Isn’t it like the enemy to slink down into our thoughts at our weakest moments, especially if we are intent on following the Lord. This past Monday I was reading a list of things a recruit needs to prepare for before entering boot camp, as well as the long list families need to remember before departing for the graduation ceremony. And there in highlighted paragraphs were words the enemy knew would rattle my world. Things that my son knew he needed to square up with his recruit commander and really were things only he could take care of. But in this loss of sleep, constantly distracted state, I let some of the statements shake me up. But not too much, for I had been camping in Joshua and parts of Deuteronomy and etching in my mind the command,
“be very strong and courageous.”
So…..as some doubts crept into my mind, I shot back with “be strong and courageous” over and over. Yet, I still struggled. In the wee hours of pre-dawn a couple of days ago, I thanked the Lord for some specific things, and do you know the struggle of doubt began to leave my mind! Gratefulness. Thanksgiving. Such a balm to the Lord! Oh, how He wants to be praised! Oh, how our Lord craves to be acknowledged for all He is doing in our lives! He wants a thank-you! Listen to this:
“….to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:12. To the praise of HIS glory!
In preparing for the lesson on the book of Joshua, the key word is possession. The Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, were to go in and POSSESS the Promised Land. It would involve conflict then conquest. It is never a comfortable road when truly following the Lord. After Christ, we are to POSSESS all the spiritual blessings he has given us! But we Western minded Believers really don’t know much about conflict and conquest. Our enemy is not flesh and blood but the spiritual powers that we cannot see, but surely are aware of. Satan invades our mind and spirit in the form of fear, doubt, despair, depression. And he is so delighted when we just languish there, forgetting to don our war paint! Failing to call on the power of the Lord to deliver us and forgetting to give the Lord praise and glory for everything in our lives, including our next breath!
So I went over to Ephesians 6 and saw the very same admonition the Lord gave Joshua before entering the Promised Land:
“be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might!” Ephesians 6:10.
Be strong. We have to do something. Strength just doesn’t come over us. We consciously say out loud I choose to be strong in the Lord! We tell the Lord we need Him. We open our mouths in praise and gratitude before Him! We turn off the news, the radio, the podcasts, put away the reading material, all that turns our minds away from the One who knows and loves us best! We moment by moment breathe in and out the Holy Spirit’s leading and we lean in to His promises and power and it is a battle! And the Lord is the victor. So then we praise Him with a thank-you song of praise!
Oh, delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart! Oh, how He desires that closer walk with you! Let it begin today!
And you know what? God totally has my son! He reminded me that He has forgiven him of his past; He is leading him onward and through the next part of his life. God is in control of his life. Is He in control of yours?