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"My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long" Psalm 71:8
I find this time of year brings more stress than rest for me.
Each year I declare to God and anyone who will listen "This year is going to be different! I am not getting caught up in the Christmas frenzy."
Then, by December 1st, I feel like I have been run over by an 18 wheeler with a Christmas wreath dangling from the front.
Inevitably, God hits my heart with a thud to shake me loose from the Christmas crazy merry-go-round.
This year, He used the words of a dear friend.
She told me that the little girl she mentors dreads this time of year. The little girl told my friend that each year the kids come back from Christmas break showing off their new clothes, shoes, and toys.
Meanwhile, she comes back to school with the same old clothes and shoes.
Heaviness struck my heart.
How often we get caught up with our lists, our errands, our parties, our outfits...
While a weary world suffers.
Our busyness distracts us. We get lost in the flurry of "stuff", while so many around us are suffering.
Please don't get me wrong. I love Christmas parties, and shopping, and all the extra that comes with the Christmas season. However, it is easy to get lost in that. Blind to the suffering. The lonely. The hungry. The poor.
There is something we can do.
We can lift up praises to the Lord. [Psalm 7:17] We can let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our heart be pleasing to the Lord. [Psalm 19:14]
Why would we lift up praises?
Because it puts our hearts in tune with God's. It sets our hearts in proper order and enables our eyes to be opened to what He sees.
He sees all.
When we praise Him and worship Him, it rids our hearts of greed and selfishness. It cleanses out our spirit and washes it clean with His Glory.
Wanting to do the "right thing" doesn't give our soul a cleanse, it just strokes our egos. Only God can truly clean up our hearts and align them with His.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
When He purifies our hearts, we become blind to "self". We release any idol that has been placed before Him and we are set free to move about with His eyes and with His heart.
Suddenly, we aren't so bothered by the person that cut in front of us in line. Or the person at the register who is slower than molasses. Or the party we didn't get invited to. Or the family member we will see at Christmas that always rubs us like sandpaper.
Our flesh gets starved and our spirits get fed when we praise God.
Are you in need of some cleansing too? Let's jump right on into scripture, shall we?
Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. Titus 3:1-2
Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:18-19
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful to him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4
Therefore I will give thanks to you, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises to your name. 2 Samuel 22:50
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. Hebrews 13:15
And, like a good Father, He will lead you. Be prepared to follow.
He will open your eyes to the needs around you, and He will equip you to help in a very unique way.