His praise will always be on my lips!

Daily Readings – Leviticus 16-17, Psalm 34

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.

Psalm 34:1

This is the level of thankfulness and adoration I want to have for Jesus and the sacrifice that he made on my behalf. I want to walk through life with a childlike wonder at the fact that the God of the Universe loved me enough to take on human form and pay the ultimate price for my sins knowing that I could never earn it on my own. I want his praise to always be on my lips.

When my daughters are excited about something, it is a reoccurring theme throughout the entire day. Whether it is Grandma and Grandpa coming over, Christmas tomorrow, vacation coming soon, or a birthday party; I am going to be hearing about it constantly. Their excitement is going to be bubbling over.

I want to extol the Lord at all times. I want his praise to always be on my lips. What he has done for us is so much bigger, so much more spectacular, and so much more exciting that a birthday party. I want the posture of my heart to be one of giddy excitement.

When we are remembering what Christ has already accomplished on the cross and that our eternity is already guaranteed, it makes the normal everyday challenges we face in life shrink to their proper size.

However, maintaining this focus is always easier said than done. We may want our heart to maintain this posture throughout the day and yet the enemy is on the prowl as well. He cannot wait to swoop in and steal that childlike wonder away. If we have truly given our lives over to Christ, Satan knows that he will not be able to take that away or convince us that the eternal gift is not worth celebrating. His main weapon is not convincing us we are silly to be thankful. His weapon is distraction.

A thankful Christian is an active Christian. It is a Christian that Satan fears most. It is a Christian that naturally attracts others to learn more about Jesus because they live their faith out and you can visibly see that there is something different about them. When challenges in life come, they still have an inner peace and optimism that is contagious.

Satan may not be able to remove our thankfulness in regards to salvation, but he can certainly work hard to shift our focus.

He works hard each day to replace thankfulness with stress, pride, envy, fear, etc.

Psalm 34 goes on to tackle these challenges that arise in life:

“But what about when I am afraid?”

I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.

“But what if my needs are not met?” 

This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.

Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.

“But problems keep occurring…I struggle to not lose hope and give in to frustration and stress in this life.”

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit

It is easy at times to want to buy into the modern “Health and Wealth” gospel that preaches that God is going to make us all wealthy beyond belief if we just have enough faith. It is easy to think that material blessings, perfect health, etc. are the results that we should expect to see in our lives if we simply have faith the size of a mustard seed.

This is not what the Bible promises. We are not promised an easy life. In fact, we are frequently promised challenges along the way. We are promised the opportunity to take up our own cross so that we can walk with Jesus. We are promised occasional heartache. And ultimately we are promised that our God will never leave our side and will help us through everything that comes our way if we simply give over the need to have absolute control over our own lives.

Towards the end of Psalm 34 we read, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

Troubles will always be there in life. How is our thankfulness in the midst of them?

Today, I want to be able to say with full confidence, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.”

Thought to ponder

Spend time this morning thinking through all of the blessings God has put in your life. Don’t stop until you have a smile on your face that shouts to the world. Then walk throughout the day with praise in your heart and praise on your lips!

Thank you for reading! Your comments and shares are always greatly appreciated. If this post speaks to you, please considering sharing it with others!

Tacking on verse 25

Daily Readings – Leviticus 1-4, Psalm 31, Romans 7

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15 

I believe this simple verse is one that every Christian can relate to in a powerful way! There is an intense desire that exists within most Christians to be perfect. When we fall short, shame and self-condemnation comes flooding in.

Why can’t I kick my drug problem? Why do I still get so angry all the time with people I love? Why can’t I seem to avoid gossiping? Why am I so consumed with materialism? Why can’t I get my pride under control? When will I be free of my porn addiction? When will I stop over-eating? When will I be free of my jealousy? When will I stop caring so much about what other people think about me?

I think we all frequently feel like Paul when he cried out, “For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am!”

Unfortunately, most Christians stop our train of thought there. I know I did for the vast majority of my life. I would be doing well for a while in regards to some sin issue in my life, eventually my flesh would wage war against my mind the way Paul described, I would give in to sin once again, and I would be left thinking, “What a wretched man am I!”

I would sincerely pray to God, “Lord, this is the last time! I am done with _______. I want to live for you! I won’t do it again!”

The cycle continued.

Good for a while, sin again, hate myself, confess…good for a while, sin again, hate myself, confess…

Why wasn’t I strong enough? Why couldn’t I get it all together? What was wrong with me?

For so long I wanted to win the war against sin. I wanted to wage that war that Paul described and emerge victorious. If I could somehow put the right systems in place, have the right accountability, form the right habits, read the right books, do all the right things; surely I could conquer this. Surely my spirit could conquer my flesh!

I don’t think I am alone in this approach.

The problem for most Christians is that we never get to verse 25. We never get to the part of this cycle where Paul rejoices and declares, “Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

We stop at, “What a wretched man am I!”

Shame is a powerful tool in the hands of the enemy. Satan wants nothing more than you attempting to do it alone. He would love an army of Christians who are looking for the right tactic to conquer the sin in their lives. He rejoices when he sees us broken and defeated, promising God, “This will be the last time…”

Satan trembles when God’s people instead choose to give thanks immediately in these moments. He wants no part of Christians who, immediately after falling short again, have a spirit of profound thankfulness overcome them. He is terrified of us collectively living out of our new identity in Christ and giving immediate thanks to our God who chose to deliver us while we were still broken.

Too many Christians allow sin issues in their lives to keep them on the sidelines. Too many tell themselves, “God could never use me. I need to get my stuff together first.” Too many of us do not walk through our day expecting blessings from God and asking the Holy Spirit to abide in us throughout the entire day because we do not yet feel worthy. Paul did the opposite.

Here was the greatest evangelist of all time and yet, today, we see him struggling with the same challenge we deal with. Why do I keep falling short?

The beautiful difference comes when we tack on verse 25 and choose thankfulness over shame. The beautiful difference comes when we embrace that fundamental truth that Paul understood. We are still human. We will always fall short from time to time. We can never be perfect in our own strength. The war will always rage on.

Today, when you feel those moments coming and you are tempted in some way or another, choose thankfulness. Smile quietly to yourself and acknowledge that the battle is already won. In these moments of temptation in the past, when I have chosen, “I am so sorry Lord…” it is usually followed by me trying to win the battle in my own strength and  eventually falling short. When, in these moments of temptation, I choose to smile and think of the sacrifice made on my behalf and whisper, “Thank you Jesus.” it is far easier to turn away and win that individual battle.

Jesus came in the first place because we are incapable of winning the war on our own. Today, instead of this being a source of shame, make it a source of overwhelming joy and thankfulness! Today, tack on verse 25.

Thought to ponder

What is the most prominent area of sin in my life where I have tried for too long to wage war in my own strength? Am I willing to give that over to God today and give thanks that he has already delivered me?

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