I Smile // praising the LORD in all situations

I don’t always feel like smiling.  I don’t always feel like being polite.  I don’t always feel happy.  And I definitely don’t always feel like praising the Lord for and during the trials.  But often, those periods of trial are the most important times to praise Him.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

-James 1:2-4

Praising the Lord is important even when we don’t feel like it.  Praise is not a feeling – just like love, it is an action.  We can praise God anytime, regardless of our feelings, simply because we know that He is God and that He is worthy of our praise and adoration.  So on those rainy days when we just feel like giving up, when nothing seems to be working the way it’s supposed to, and when we’re just plain tired, we need to lift our heart to Jesus and, through the carnal feelings of despair and discouragement, tell Him that we love Him, and that He is an awesome God…because He really is!

Not too long ago, my pastor pointed out that even if we come out of a time of true worship, out of a pure heart, with absolutely no feeling of a spiritual experience, we can still rest in the knowledge that we have worshiped the Lord.  Isn’t that cool!?  We can worship Him no matter how we feel!

So a few weeks ago, I decided to try it.  I was at work and feeling pretty blue and ready to go home, being tired and a little stressed.  I had to force myself to put a smile on my face and thank Jesus mentally as I worked.  As I began to thank Him for every little thing that crossed my mind, my smile slowly became less forced and more real.  He gently gave to me a joy like no other as I simply told Him what I was thankful for.  Though I don’t always feel a burst of energy as soon as I start to praise Him, I do know with all of my heart that He has heard me.  And, as the old song reminds us, counting our blessings always helps to cheer us up!

So why do I smile?  Not just because I feel happy…I smile because Jesus loves me!  Because He died for me, He’s given me a beautiful day, and He answers prayer! And even the because of the little things, a cup of hot coffee on a cold day, or a safe trip in the bad weather.

Sometimes, we just need to smile and thank God for the simple things. Praise Him not only in the moments of peace and contentment, but also in the moments of despair, discouragement, and confusing moments.  It is then that He desires and enjoys our praise the most. And it is then that He rewards us with unspeakable joy.  So come!  Let us worship the Lord together!

“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”  

Psalm 32:11

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