Why We Praise

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1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
16Rejoice always, 
17pray without ceasing, 
18give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

 

The Lord never does anything in halves. I should know this by now, but quite often I need a good swift kick in the bottom to remind me of this. Long story short, once again I find myself in financial difficulties. While I admit that it is always my fault, and take full responsibility for the fact that I’m broke, if I weren’t broke, the circumstances would be almost laughable.

Unfortunately, they are not.

This time, after battling life with the parents, and living the past few years on far less than the poverty level, I just knew everything was great. I have a wonderful house. I am living where I want to live.

I’m out of money. As of today, I have exactly thirty-five dollars cash and something like $180 or so in checking. I struggled all those years, and managed to pay my bills on time. But, it’s worse, depressing worse. Miserable worse, to the point where no one wants to be around me I’m in such bad shape.

Misery builds on misery.

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, guess I’ll go eat worms!

In order to make things work, I’ve sold a powerful lot of jewelry. I’ve tried selling other things, but, like that Mel Gibson remake of Maverick, everyone keeps scamming me. If people paid what they owed me, that’s about $1100. A local auction company basically sold things for absolutely nothing. That would have been another thousand dollars, which would have managed to help me survive another month.

And so forth and so on…to the point where we’re talking upward of seven or eight thousand dollars.

I have been despondent to the point of not sleeping, spending the entire day in bed, not dressing for a week, the whole nine yards. I’ve done a lot of crying. I’ve also done a hell of a lot of praying.

I am very well aware of the verses from Thessalonians. That’s the problem. Many years ago, I think I was maybe in the eleventh grade, my parents read a book by a man named Colonel Merlin Carothers, Prison to Praise. It was life changing to the point where my father learned he was speaking in Hickory, North Carolina, a town about two and a half hours away from our then Fair Play, South Carolina home. He and my mother drove to Hickory that evening, to meet Col. Carothers.

It was life changing.

From that day on, our family has made the philosophy of praise, codified by Col. Carothers a foundation block of our lives.

So have I.

But…

When Merlin Carothers was in amazing circumstances he praised the Lord and amazing things happened in return. Over the years, I’ve begun to think of this as a game. I can’t play a game with praise.

This morning, while I was taking out the trash, I told the Lord I wanted to praise, but did not want it to be a game. I needed to understand. I know the secret to survival is praise.

But, how?

Without going into details, things came to such a dramatic head this evening, I was at the point of breaking down, almost suicidal. I called a friend, who illuminated the situation to a point where it was like that moment in the Blues Brothers when they went to the church where Reverend Cleophus James was preaching. (cue the music)

I understand.

Praise is critical in those moments of despair, not because we think something dramatic is going to happen if we praise, but because praise protects us from the soul destroying attacks of the evil one.

In those moments when we are at our lowest, we must praise. It is absolutely required for our mental and spiritual health.

I understand.

All of this is quite ironic, and just an amazing example of the Lord’s timing. Today my parents would have been married sixty-seven years.

God’s timing is everything.

I’m still broke, but I have my praise back, after seven long years of bitching about it. I’m not really broke, am I? It took me seven long years to regain my praise.

Thank you, Lord!
Thank you for all the shit, the tears, the pain, the years without new shoes. (I’m a shoe addict).
Thank you for the heartache.

Thank you for the new house, the car, and thank you I was able to safely and quite easily move the cats. A year ago, I was agonizing about how I was going to move the cats. My mother asked me to take care of her four cats. I have five of my own. After I bought the new house, and planned the move, I would sit at her kitchen table (I’ve now planted it turquoise and it’s on my patio) and cry. I was so worried about the cats. They are here, safe, happy, and love the new house.

Thank you for the spider bite.
Thank you for the increase in arthritis to the point where I’m miserable.
Thank you I’m broke.
Thank you I’m not sleeping
Thank you it is taking forever to unpack.
Thank you for friends who put up with me.
Thank you for Josie, Laurie, Ann Lee, and Marge.
Thank you for my sister.
Thank you for my Savior!
Thank you for returning my praise.
Thank you Lord, for everything.

This is copyright 2018 by SJ Reidhead. 
All rights reserved. 
May not be reproduced.

 

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