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I am praising God today!

[caption id="attachment_3035" align="alignright" width="200"] Blog by Associate Colette Parker, OPA - Co-Director[/caption]

God is worthy of praise

I am praising God because the Lord is worthy of joyful thanksgiving and adoration, and the Lord's goodness and grace is worthy of celebration. Over the last couple of weeks, the difficulties of life - a close family member in critical condition; another close family member undergoing life-changing surgery; a close friend dealing with the news of a terminal diagnosis - clouded my vision. Fear began to creep in as I contemplated the worst in each of those situations. My heart sank as I began to remember all of the losses I have experienced - particularly those of my mother, my father, my sister, and three brothers - and the grief that each of those losses brought to my life. I had to restore my attitude of praise - to remind myself that God is worthy of praise, no matter what we're facing. Pain, hurt, disappointment, loneliness, heartaches - all trials and tribulations can cause us to let go of (or even lose) our faith. But I am thankful for a faith that is strong enough to help me recognize that God is always ready to hold me during the dark times, if I just allow it.

A process to work through...

My process of working through my unsettling feelings began with prayer. I made a connection with God, acknowledging my need to set my burdens on the shoulders of Him is the source of my strength. In that acknowledgement, my praise began - God is a stronghold that keeps us standing against the crashing waves and raging winds of our dark storms! From prayer, I went to a song. For me, there have always been songs that touch my heart during hard times and suffering. I was drawn to a gospel song by The Williams Brothers - "I'm Still Here". As I listened to the gospel group joyfully magnify God's glory with all of their hearts, minds, souls and strength, I found myself singing along and praising God for bringing me through my past storms. [caption id="attachment_4715" align="alignleft" width="300"] Praise God in every circumstance.[/caption] In that song, I found reassurance that God will continue to be my refuge and my strength during adversity.

Growing closer to God

I acknowledge that trials and hard times help me grow closer to the Lord. And I am determined to praise him during my darkest hours because I know that praise leads to peace and contentment and to a new outlook on life. Praising God makes every circumstance of our lives important and useful. Praise reminds us of the greatness of God and reinforces our understanding of God's power and presence in our lives. Our praise discharges strength in faith and transforms our spiritual environment. There are an endless number of ways to praise the Lord - with our physical bodies, with our hearts and minds, and with our deeds - but the result is always the same: an awe of God's power, grace, and love for all of humanity. When we walk in joy and praise, acknowledging that we are dependent on God, we serve as a powerful witness to those who do not know the Lord. Will you witness with me today?

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. ~Psalm 34:1 (KJV)

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