Turn up the volume of your praise and gratitude

About four years ago a friend of mine asked me what she could do to have a breakthrough in her life. She felt all dried up spiritually and her faith was getting weak. She wasn’t excited about the things of the Lord and she had lost her “God appetite.” She was just going through the motions with no hope of things getting better. I prayed for her. I prayed about her situation and I received a message that resonated with both of us. The message was that she needed to turn up the volume of her praise. She needed to go into praise mode more and to let it carry her to a higher place spiritually. I took that message personally as well and I put it into action. What unfolded in the days that followed was a new dimension in my relationship with the Lord. Turning up the volume of my praise allowed me to get closer to Him. It allowed me to embrace Him and to get connected with Him in a way that felt very special and very unique. I was very familiar with praise but I got a fresh revelation of the power of praise at that time. A few months later, I was in need of a spiritual boost and the message that came to me during prayer was to amplify my gratitude. Now, combining those two messages created a powerful formula. Turning up the volume of my praise and of my gratitude equals tapping into the heart of the Lord. Praise takes you where the Lord is and gratitude shows you who He is. Today I want to encourage you to turn up the volume of your praise and your gratitude. Increase them. Turn that dial and let your praise and gratitude be louder than fear and bitterness.

 

When my friend started praising more despite what was going on in her life, she saw a difference in the way she approached her situation. Fear decreased, her mood was good and her outlook on life was more positive. She looked forward to the praise sessions and she really got into them. What was happening was that she was getting into God’s atmosphere of peace and joy. The Spirit of the Lord hangs out in our praises. He is there when we exalt Jesus and His power taps us on the back and opens our eyes to a world of many possibilities. She found peace and joy at her fingertips when her hands were up toward the heavens as a sign or praise and adoration. She felt great during praise. She forgot about her problems. The more she did it, the less she heard the nagging from her problems. She found herself having more hope and giving more hope to people around her. God’s hope is contagious and she caught the bug that keeps on giving. If you need some encouragement or you need a little pick-me up, turn up the volume of your praise. It won’t feel normal if you are going through a tough time but it will diminish the power the problems have over your mind. It will help you renew your mind and think more like Christ. Be loud in your praise sessions. Be loud with your actions of praise. It doesn’t have to be music or songs, you can praise the Lord with your actions and with your attitude surrendered to Him. My friend became a “Praise before you worry” kind of person and I believe she still blasts the praises every day.

 

Turning up the volume of gratitude can come in very handy when frustration and bitterness try to get the best of you. They seep in and lead you straight down the path of negativity and keep you in a mental negative cell that you can’t get out of easily. They make you develop feelings that keep you from seeing God’s beauty and that prevent you from believing in His promises. The enemy wants you to be bitter and frustrated but gratitude removes the bitter look from your face and the frustration from your heart. Gratitude is an expression of faith. It is telling the Lord that you appreciate what He is doing even when you don’t see anything happening. Gratitude is the kind of attitude that rubs the enemy the wrong way. It is a form of praise and the enemy can’t stand praise. When you turn up the volume of your gratitude, the enemy will tell you that you are crazy and he will say that it doesn’t make sense. Now, remember. God’s wisdom is foolishness to the world and the enemy is the king of this world. Don’t pay attention to what he tells you. Thank the Lord for everything. Find things to be grateful for. Keep at it. Don’t put your guard down but be vigilant in gratitude and praise. When you focus on being grateful, you are not ignoring the pain and the troubles. You are rising above them and you are putting yourself in a position where they won’t have any effect on you. I have been there many times. I praised even when it hurt. I was grateful even when I felt cheated by life. Those moments were difficult but they quickly turned into opportunities to build up some faith muscles and to discover a new joy in the middle of chaos. Dear friend, turn up the volume of your praise and gratitude and you will see what the Lord does for you. Praise Him!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 25:1; Psalm 150:6; Acts 16:25

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When you get plugged into God

Even though I am not at work physically, I am able to communicate with my colleagues virtually. Yesterday we had a lot of meetings online through video conferences and we will have more today. There is something to be said about that face-to-face time. It is valuable. It allows for better communication than emails because we can see facial expressions and the tone is clear. The tone of an email can be misunderstood. The word choice of an email can convey the wrong message. There are filters that are in place that can distort a message through an email. This made me think about our communication with the Lord. Are we emailing what we have to say or are we communicating face to face? Do our messages get distorted? Do His messages get distorted? Do we have too many filters in place that get in the way of our communication with the Lord? Are we aware of the filters in our lives? I spent too many years “emailing God” and thinking He could email me back when in reality He could talk to me face to face. Seeking God’s face is primordial. I think and I know that it has changed the way I see God and the way I talk to God. He is alive and well and He has a lot to say. He talks to me in many ways but the best way for me to hear Him is when I am quiet or when I am praying. I get plugged into His Spirit when I am in prayer time. I get hooked to His presence and I stay where I can hear and see what He is communicating to me. It happens in my heart. It happens in the secret place where He dwells. When I used to “email God”, I used to think that He visited me only when He replied to my requests. He is always in us. His Spirit lives in us and He waits for us to plug in and be ready to listen. Today I want to encourage you to plug into God and listen. Let this communication time be about Him. Make it happen daily. These days we all need to hear from God regularly. Let’s get plugged in!

 

Why do we need to plug in devices or instruments? We need the power that will make them work. When we plug something in, we give it the ability to function normally. We put in the energy that is necessary for it to come to life so to speak. The plug-in process is the power process. When I plug into God, I get charged or supercharged. It makes me come to life. I can function better. I get the power I need. His power enables me to receive wisdom, knowledge and peace among other blessings. God’s power gives me so much peace. His presence gives me serenity. He is always there but I am not always available. The fact that God is always by our side doesn’t mean that we are by His side. In other words, we might be too distracted to spend time with God or to recognize that He is with us. Have you ever felt like God wasn’t around? Newsflash! He is always around. We are the ones who wander away from Him. Plugging into God brings us back to Him. There are times when getting that connection going takes time. We must take a deep spiritual breath and let go of all that is in the way. We must let go of all the filters that muddy our emails. Our thoughts, our remembrance of some experiences are filters that interfere with our communication with God. They keep us from hearing. They transform His emails to us. They alter His voice and they blur His image. I deal with the filters with worship or gratitude. I tell the Lord how much I love Him and I declare His majesty over and over again. I do it through songs or through strong declarations. Those powerful words are like hammers that drive the nail of faith through the head of doubt. They do the job. I persist and a change comes.

 

Once I am more at peace and I have calmed down, I am ready to receive from the Lord. I run a scripture in my head or I stay there quietly. Our silence is God’s utterance. Our silence gives God’s His voice back. When there is too much noise in our minds, God’s voice gets lost easily. Friend, seek the Lord’s voice. Get quiet in front of Him and see what He tells your heart. He is very chatty and He longs for you to hear Him. How can you tell He is talking to you? He will always reassure you and show His love through what He says. He will remind you of His Word and His promises. Get plugged into the Lord today through silence and prayer. You will hear exactly what you need to know in these tough times. Get plugged in so you can give some power to others in return. God will encourage you in those silent moments so you can touch the hearts of those who can’t hear Him during the chaos. Get plugged in today!

 

Suggested reading: 1 Chronicles 16:11; Acts 17:27; Hebrews 11:6

 

Hanging out with the Holy Spirit

The holiday season is upon us and I can’t stop thinking about the amazing present the Lord has given us. The Holy Spirit is a gift from Jesus that will remain one of the biggest blessings forever. I understand that He is not always taken into account in our Christian walks. We are good at focusing on God and on Jesus but the Holy Spirit gets a backseat way too often. He is the One Jesus gave us for a good reason. He is not only our counselor and our guide but He also points to Jesus all the time. He is the “Jesus magnifier” as I like to call Him. You can’t have a relationship with the Holy Spirit without being directed and redirected to Jesus. You can’t have a solid relationship with Jesus without involving the Holy Spirit in your life. The Holy Spirit is represented by tongues of fire in the Bible. He is fire. He is burning with joy and enthusiasm for Jesus. He is not a cold God with no life. When you visit some churches, you can think that there is a perpetual funeral going on. Yes, Jesus died but He rose again. We shouldn’t exalt His death. It is done and it was cancelled. We should be celebrating His life and His Spirit can assist us with this ongoing celebration.

 

 
Is it possible to spend time with the Holy Spirit? Can we hang out with Him? We absolutely can and we already do if we are believers in Jesus. We might not be aware of the access we have to His Spirit but He is living in us. He is a fire that shouldn’t be put down or stifled. It is easy to suppress the Holy Spirit by our actions, our thoughts and our words. He needs to be put to the forefront by being acknowledged in all we do. The Spirit of Jesus is with us all the time. We are hanging out with Him and we ought to keep that in mind all day. He doesn’t come and go. He doesn’t appear and disappear. We are His temple and it is up to use to magnify Him or to belittle Him. It is possible to grieve Him. When that happens, it feels as if He has left the building but He is there. I want to encourage you to keep your focus on Jesus and spend time enjoying His presence through a devoted relationship with His Spirit.

 

 
How do you make a fire bigger? You add wood, tinder or kindling that catch fire easily. The same goes for the Spirit of the Lord. In order to see Him rise up we need to fan the flames and add wood to His fire. How do we do that? Prayer is key. Talking to the Lord through prayer is a necessity. The Bible specifies that when we pray, the Spirit of God helps us. Therefore, praying gives the Spirit a way of expressing Himself through us. It allows Him to participate in our spiritual lives and what can be better than having a continued interaction with the Holy Ghost? I want to give Him a voice. I want to let Him take over and show up through me.

 

 
I learned a while ago that praise and worship sessions kickstart the process of embracing the Spirit of the Lord. The more you do it, the faster you will catch the fire so to speak. By God’s grace, I get wrapped in His presence in a matter of minutes when I am in praise mode. It is like a switch that gets turned on every time I exalt Jesus. The fire of the Holy Spirit is powerful and it is all consuming. It consumes fear. It consumes sadness. It consumes doubt and it consumes all forms of negativity. We need that fire. We need that fire badly every day. We need to be consumed with the love of the Lord more than ever. That powerful love will cause us to burn hatred and discrimination among other things. Pray to be burning all the time with the fire of the Holy Spirit. Know that you are always hanging out with Him and let Him lift up Jesus in you. Keep burning for the Lord!

Suggested reading: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-13

 

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God is not done with you

God created love and He is love. He is dipped in love and He is made of love. He has no hate in Him. He doesn’t associate with anger, revenge and hard feelings. He is not mad at you. He is not angry with you. He is not out to get you. He is out to love you in more ways than you know. Your life matters to Him and His desire is to make your life even more beautiful than it is. If your life looks like a pile of chaotic refuse or a pile of sadness combined with distress, know that the Lord can turn your life around and make it shine brighter than the sun. If your life is good and you are in a good place, know that the Lord can turn it into a pile of heavenly blessings that will exceed your understanding. No matter where you are in life, God is not done with you. There is more. There is more love, more peace, more joy and more faith. God has exceedingly more of Him for your life. What He is about to do has never been done before. Have faith that He is not done with you! Be open to His ways and His unfathomable love for you.

 

 
God is working behind the scenes right now. What seems to you as hard work and impossible is nothing to Him. He is not struggling to make things right in your life. He is not trying to figure out the puzzles of your life. He is not confused and He is not at a loss. He knew what to do about you and for you long before you were born. He had a well-designed plan for your life before you graced the earth with your presence. He knew it all and it didn’t take Him centuries to plan it all. His plan remains the same for you. His intentions are good and they will never change. He is still a God who blesses and the number of blessings He has for you is out of this world. You will go from glory to glory according to His plan. You will be the head and not the tail according to His plan. You will get through all trials and tribulations according to His plan. You will walk through fire and not be burned according to His plan. The question is, are you on board with His plan?

 

 
Some people say that we can always do better and we can always improve something in our lives. The Lord says that He can always do more for us and He can always improve areas of our lives if we let Him. Believing that He cares for us and that He wants for best for us is a great step in the direction of powerful faith. Faith gets us where we should be and it keeps moving us in the right direction. With God we will always be on the move. With Him we will always reach new levels of blessings because in our relationship with Him we will always be impacted by whom He is. We can’t be connected to the Lord and be stagnant. He is not sedentary when it comes to spiritual growth. He causes us to be nomads of faith who will always go places traveling through “the lands of much more.” God has more for you and as you honor Him, praise Him and worship Him, you will experience the more and enjoy His goodness continually. Don’t settle for yesterday’s blessings. Be thankful for them but also be grateful for the new blessings that are in the pipeline. God is not done with you, friend! You have seen nothing yet!

Suggested reading: Ephesians 3:20; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Romans 4:21

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Take heart

“Take heart ” is a song by Hillsong United that I listened to over and over again three years ago. It was during a season of my life when I really needed to “take heart.” I wasn’t sure how I was going to get out of a few situations I found myself in. I didn’t know if I should go right or left. However, I held on to hope and to my faith and I cried out to God for help. If your week is starting off on a wrote note, let me tell you that there is always hope even in the darkest times. You might be down in the valley now but Jesus is with you. You might not know whether to turn right or left but Jesus is your compass today. He will guide you and He will get you out of the worst situations. I have been there. I know how you are feeling. Let me encourage you today to hold on to your faith and cry out to God. He will do the impossible. He will make a way where there is no way. My words for you today Monday are “take heart.” My verse for you today Monday is Isaiah 41:10. It says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Friend, take heart and do not be afraid. The Lord will be with you all week long in good times and bad times. He is your God. He will strengthen you and help you. You couldn’t ask for anyone better to be your helper. He created the whole world and here He is telling you that He will help you. My prayer for you to use today Monday is this; “Lord thank you for your presence. Thank you for your love, your mercy and your grace that endure forever. Thank you for your mercies that are renewed every morning. They are renewed for me today. You are going to be with me and Your are going to help me. I have nothing to fear because You will not leave me. Thank You for listening to my prayer, for blessing me and for making me a blessing today. In Jesus’ holy beautiful name I pray.“Take heart. The best is yet to come. God is not going to leave you. 

Three years later, the song “Take heart” still means a lot to me. The difference now is that I am anchored in the Lord and the message of the song to take courage is etched in my heart. I know what to expect and what I expect is that God will have the final say! Just like the song says “Should oceans rise and mountains fall. He never fails.” Have a great week!

Suggested reading: Psalm 26:8; Psalm 46:1-3; 1 Peter 5:7