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Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus”

1 Thessalonians 5:18

My word for this year has been “grateful” I decided that I needed to change my perspective on a lot of things, and the way to do that was to show gratitude for everything I do have.

It’s easy to complain about what we DON’T have – a new car, better paying job, a bigger home.. but it’s harder to do that when you are instead thankful for what you DO have.

My car gets me from point A to B. Are my kids constantly kicking the back of the seats and are my knees are touching the dash? Yes, but it gets us where we need to be.

Do I wish we were more financially secure? Absolutely, but our bills are paid, we have plenty of food to eat and we are clothed.

Are we at maximum capacity in this bungalow? We sure are, but it’s home. We have heat, and a dishwasher (an absolute necessity in my eyes) and beds to sleep in.

It’s all about contentment.

We as women can be consumed by the mundane, and it does sometimes feel like a burden and like we may be missing out. But take a look around you right now, what do you have that you are thankful for? What is around you that you prayed for, and God miraculously provided?

Let’s change our outlook on life today ladies, and thank and praise God for what He has provided and everything we are so blessed with!

Lord, help me to have a thank you on my lips every single day, and to not take anything I have in this life for granted.

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.” I Corinthians 4:5

How often do we look at people and their circumstances and judge them in our hearts without knowing the whole story?  Only God can see their heart and know the reasons that they are acting the way they are. So many times, the faults we see in other people are no different than the ones they see in us.  Paul tells the Corinthians not to judge because the time will come when God Himself will judge every man and reveal the hidden things.

The last part of this verse tells us that every man will have praise from God. It will not only be the best, not just a few, not just those who have achieved great things, but every man.  God Himself will praise His children.

Matthew 25:23 “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”

We must always remember that God looks at our heart and knows the motives behind everything we do.  We may think that our life doesn’t measure up to others who are seemingly doing great things, but the little things are just as important in the eyes of God as the great things.  An encouraging word to someone who is struggling, prayer for someone who is going through a time of trouble, a few dollars slipped to a person in need, and even a pat on the back of a teenager who needs some encouragement are all little things that count as great in God’s sight.  We may not receive praise here on earth, but one day we shall hear the Lord say, “Well done!”

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help us not to seek the praise of men, but be faithful in the things you have asked us to do, that one day we might receive praise from you.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified”

Isaiah 61:3, New King James Version).

I overheard a conversation between two ladies at church, both going through difficult times. One had battled her situation for several months, the other not as long. The “veteran” was advising her friend, “When things get really bad, I just begin to praise.” For her, putting on the garment of praise was the way to find peace in the midst of life’s storm. Her advice was on target and biblical.

The Midnight Praise Session

Acts 16:16-40 tells the familiar story of Paul and Silas in a Philippian prison. Their trouble began with the healing of a damsel possessed with the spirit of divination (what we would call a fortune-teller). The jailer was charged to keep the two men safe, so he moved them to the inner part of the prison and, as an added measure, put their legs in stocks. This was no “country club” prison; and no one cared about their comfort. Yet, at midnight Paul and Silas put on their garments of praise and began to pray and sing. Can you imagine the amazement of the other prisoners? Circumstances did not matter; they focused on praising God. If their fellow prisoners were confused before, the earthquake that followed really grabbed their attention.

Covering Ourselves in Praise

How do worship and praise help when trouble and despair try pull us down? If we change our clothing—covering ourselves in praise to God—the heaviness lifts. Praise drives out negativity and worry. Faith increases and God steps into our circumstances to perform the miraculous. Isaiah 25:4 describes the Lord as “a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat” (English Standard Version).

When trouble overwhelms us, the enemy loves to fill our mind with worry and doubt. He desires to steal our faith and silence our praise. Rather than give in to his tactics and accept defeat, it’s time change our clothes. Let’s put on that garment of praise and start dancing.

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11). 

Prayer: Lord, I claim victory over anxiety, doubt, and discouragement. When trouble comes my way, I will praise You. When the enemy fills my mind with negative thoughts, I will praise you more. I will put off my sackcloth and put on gladness and praise. You are my strength and place of safety.