Psalm 104:35 says, “Let all that I am praise the Lord. Praise The Lord!” Okay, so what exactly does this mean? How do I praise the Lord with all that I am? Is there some area of your life that hasn’t been surrendered? Is there stuff you’re trying to keep separate and away from God? Well, sure there is. We keep God out of addictions―we shut the door and tell Him, “Hey, don’t go in there, it’s a mess.” And we might shut God out of our shame, our abuse, our depression or our anger. What if, instead, we told our depression and un-forgiveness to praise God? What if we told our body, even when it is sick, to praise God? What if we told our shame to praise God? What if we brought all that we are, exactly the way we are, before God and said, “Here it is―all of it―the good, the no-so-good, and the shameful. Here is all of me―and all of me praises You today.” Wasn’t it even in our mess that God gave us His son so that we might be holy? How would all of God’s light change us? What would happen to our addictions, anger or shame?
Psalms 119:116 says, “Sustain me, my God, according to your promise…” Sometimes we run out of gas. We want to quit. The problem might be that you are leaning on yourself too hard. You don’t have to do this alone! God has the strength to sustain you. If you play the piano, and you push the sustain pedal, the notes just keep ringing. They don’t stop. God can sustain you. He can uphold you. Notice that it says, “My God.” God isn’t just a god, He is your God. This is personal. “My God, sustain me!” But how? According to God’s promise. God has given you a bunch of promises, enough of them that no matter what you are up against, He has one that fits perfectly. Today, identify the promise of God, and make sure you know that the promise is more real than the problem. The promise becomes hope, and that hope is the light in the tunnel. Keep at it. Be sustained by God. He will uphold you, and you will live. If you are tired, it’s because you are relying too much on yourself. God doesn’t get tired, and His promises are true!
Proverbs 4:14-15 tells us,”… don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving.” A little later in Proverbs 4:23 it adds, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” The message is pretty clear―when it comes to evil doers… stop, go back, turn around, NOOOOO! We call it, “overcoming temptation.” Do you have something that you struggle with? In these Proverbs we are told, “Don’t even think about it,” and “Guard your heart.” So, how does this help us? We are taught to determine ahead of time how we will respond to temptation, but if, instead, you’re asking yourself, “Hmmm, I wonder if that would be fun?”, then you might get into a mess. Stop it. Don’t even think about it. Put a wall around your heart―a “no-I-don’t-do-that” wall. Do you have something you struggle with? Decide now how you will respond, when faced with it the next time. Guard your heart. Make your decision ahead of time. This way, when the situation arises, you will already have determined your successful outcome.
In Luke 2 we find the story of Joseph and Mary bringing the baby Jesus to the Temple to be circumcised. At the Temple is an 84-year-old widow named Anna, who is a prophetess in the Temple of God. When she sees the baby, she begins to speak to the people about the coming redemption of Jerusalem. So here is a woman, ministering in the Temple of God. She was installed there by God, as a prophetess. She was destined to do this thing―to recognize baby Jesus for who He truly was. Praise God she was ministering there! How many people missed who Jesus was? Many people, both men and women, who met and heard Jesus didn’t believe. Anna may be the first human preacher of the Gospel, in the generation who actually saw Jesus. What’s my point? God had a woman at church ministering to the people as a prophet―she was preaching Jesus. This is props for all the women believers. Anna is a story showing us that God wants your voice in the house, too. Remember that God has poured out His spirit on men and women, and that in Christ there is neither male nor female. Go ladies!