Praise is a choice

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

May/June 2016 Issue –  The Presence of God‘You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.’ Psalm 16:11

The text set for today’s reading and meditation:

Psalm 42:1-11 (NIVUK): “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”

Like yesterday, we have another excellent psalm on which to meditate – the first line, as with Psalm 22, is also well known.

These are the bits I liked in today’s study, Selwyn states: ” Praise, unlike thanksgiving, originates not so much in the feelings as in the will.

The psalmist in the verse we have read today … recognises and admits to feeling downcast. He doesn’t dwell too long on his feelings but he is careful not to deny them.

So here’s a solution that it has taken me a lifetime to learn: whenever you feel sad or depressed, acknowledge your feelings and then decide by an act of your will to focus your thoughts upon the goodness of God. (That is, turn your thoughts to God in praise.)  Learn this now and I promise you it will help save you from protracted days of sadness in the future.”

Perhaps, there are people who have the unreal expectation that they will always be happy when they enter into a relationship with God – we are not in heaven yet – so until that time there will be many occasions when things will go wrong which may cause extended periods of sadness and a downcast state of mind.

As Selwyn advises in today’s study, it’s important to bring our true emotions to the throne of Christ and not to pretend that things are okay when they are not. With prayer, turn your heart towards God and praise Him for who He is – it’s the best response to the pain of life.

Do you agree?