In my latest YouTube vlog, I spent some time with my husband Kenya on a quick mid-week date. We have been so busy and we try to date often. The demands of life can get overwhelming and crowd out everything else without a bit of balance.
After 20 years of marriage, we have learned that it’s necessary to be deliberate about giving each other focused time and attention.
So we headed to Applebee’s Tuesday. It was a simple way for us to spend some quality time together. We had a good time eating, laughing and talking.
In the car, on the way home from the restaurant, I spontaneously sang one of my favorite songs by worship leader Travis Greene, “You Made a Way.” Kenya even chimed in, which made me chuckle.
You can share in moments from our silly date by watching the latest video HERE or at the bottom of this post.
My reason for sharing this is to make this point: you can’t allow anything to rob you of your joy and take away your song.
Even though we all have seasons when there is plenty to smile and be happy about, this isn’t always true. Things can change quickly. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself struggling, hurting and trying to keep your head above water. Life can come at you fast!
When this happens, that pit of depression will invite you to climb in. Discouragement will volunteer to be your companion. And disillusionment will offer to keep you company.
Decline all those invitations and choose the joy of the Lord instead. Otherwise, before you know it, that smile will fade. Your laughter will cease. The gleam in your eye will dull. Your zeal for life will be greatly reduced.
If you have ever experienced one of those negative life-shifts that felt like a swift kick in the gut, you know problems can knock the wind out of you.
This morning, I was reading Psalm 137, written by someone who had the wind knocked out of them.
The writer of this sad song, who was a very depressed and distressed musician, asked, “How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?”
He wrote this at a time when Babylon overtook Jerusalem and took tens of thousands captive. While Israel was forced to live away from home as punishment for their sin, the captors God allowed to triumph for a season, mocked this displaced nation. They wanted them to sing the songs of Zion. These evil conquerors asked for a show. They hoped God’s chosen ones would conduct praise and worship for their amusement.
This was something that broke the writer’s heart. He could not fix his mouth to sing holy songs in an unholy, God-forsaken land.
In verse 1, he paints a picture of how devastated he and others were. “Beside the rivers of Babylon, we sat and wept as we thought of Jerusalem,” the psalmist said.
They were all sitting around, just crying, mourning and lamenting their losses. One of the things they lost in the process was their praise.
Friend, when you go through, Satan wants to steal your praise. But David wouldn’t let that happen. In Psalm 34:1 he wrote, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
At all times.
Never let your trouble be greater than your praise. The harder the trial, the higher you lift His name up!
The fascinating thing to me is that David wrote this song while on the run, trying to preserve his life as jealous King Saul sought to kill him. You can read about it in 1 Samuel 21.
When we enter the story, David was desperate for food and protection, so he went to a place called Nob. Once there, he asked Abimelech the priest to allow him to eat the holy bread that was set aside as a sacrifice to God. Also, for his safety, he asked Abimelech to give him the sword he used to kill Goliath that was stored as a sacred national possession of Israel. The priest complied with both requests.
But after David left and went to Achish, one of the king’s servants recognized the revered warrior. His life was in danger!
So, to conceal his identity, David changed his behavior and pretended to be crazy. He started scratching on the doors of the city gate while letting saliva run down his beard.
This man, whom God promised to make a king someday, was relegated to the wilderness, living in and out of caves, and drooling all over himself to avoid danger.
What a tough time it was to be David.
He looked like a wild man, though he was perfectly civilized and anointed to be king of Israel. Here David was, carrying around that prophetic word in his heart that said he would take the throne, when everything happening to him seemed to contradict it.
David didn’t ask for that life. God chose him. He was out in the field, tending sheep, minding his business. The Lord sent the Prophet Samuel to find David, a ruddy teenager at the time, and anoint him. David was supposed to be favored, beloved and singled out for great things. He was Saul’s replacement.
So, how was it, then, that his life was in shambles? Why was Saul still on the throne, in constant pursuit of David? Why didn’t God stop this? If he was anointed, why all the trouble, heartache and pain for this worshiper?
David could have taken on a victim mentality, folded his arms, gave up, quit believing, walked away and stopped worshiping altogether.
Could anyone blame him if he did?
Many people would have walked away murmuring. They would have begun questioning God. They would have lost their song like the writer of Psalm 137.
But David, a true worshiper, said, “I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
In trouble, he still had a praise on his lips and a heart after God.
His sentiments were: while I’m on the run, I will bless the Lord; when the prophecy looks like it’s not coming to pass, I will bless the Lord; when my enemies pursue me, I will bless the Lord; when I’m hungry, I will bless the Lord; when times get harder than I ever imagined they would be, I will bless the Lord.
Friend, be like David when you’re going through. Refuse to allow anything to steal your praise. Keep your heart full of gratitude—no matter what. Keep on singing. Keep on laughing. Keep on rejoicing. Keep on declaring the word of God. Keep on holding fast to His promises.
To help you do that, I’m stirring David’s words from Psalm 34:1 into your cup of inspiration. I want you to read this verse aloud and mean it: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
As you drink down the contents of your cup, even though things aren’t perfect, refuse to let anything steal your praise. You may have unanswered requests still before the Lord. That’s alright. Bless His name while you wait.
In this moment, find a reason to give Him glory. Praise Him for keeping your mind; for holding you together when everything in your life was falling apart; for waking you up to see another day; for giving you strength to endure; and for encouraging you in discouraging circumstances.
God is worthy all the time, even in the worst times.
Be like David. Bless His name at all times.
Continue lifting up His name like you know He’s worthy. And in due time, just as He delivered David, just as He delivered the Israelites out of Babylonian captivity, and just as He delivered you before, He will do it again.
Now let’s pray.
God, discouraging circumstances have come to rob me of my praise. But even though I’m going through, I will never cease to praise You. You are my everything—my rock, my strength, my fortress, the lifter up of my head, and my very present help in trouble. I lift You up in all things as I await my breakthrough that I know will surely come. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
As always, thanks for reading and until next time... may today's cup of inspiration uplift, encourage, and empower you!
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