Today we come to habit Number One in the 7 Habits of Happy People Series.
We are determined to be those people who are positive and happy – with a powerful mindset pushing us forward.
We want to be examples of God’s plan for Christians – and be able to demonstrate His goodness to others.
So where do we start?
The habit of praising God goes first.
Because it’s something you can do as an act of your will, even when everything seems to be going wrong. It starts with a determination on your part to stay positive anyway.
There are times when you encounter some bad news which makes you feel as if you have been punched in the belly.
All feeling drains out. Any sort of clear thinking goes by the wayside.
Yet, regardless of what is happening or what threatens to happen, God is still on the throne, and He has the means of getting you through this problem.
Praise Him – not because you feel like it, but sacrificially. Praise Him exuberantly. Lift your hands, dance, sing, shout, whatever it takes for you to praise Him. Do it, and you will see the results.
Susan and her husband had been called into the ministry, and they had traveled halfway across the United States to answer the call – leaving a good paying job, and moving away from family and friends.
The ensuing days began to bring many tough moments. Finances were scarce. With two children in college and two still at home, things were beginning to seem desperate.
Some of the family resented the change, and started to complain.
Bills were piling up and bill collectors began to call.
One especially rough morning, Susan slipped away to her bedroom with her Bible in hand. She was in desperate need of encouragement. With tears flowing, Susan began pouring out her heart to God.
All of a sudden, she was interrupted.
The Holy Spirit said, “Psalm 117.”
Rushing to that word, Susan was sure that there would be words about how God would lift her head, etc.
Instead, as she looked at the shortest psalm in the Bible, music came to her, and she found herself up dancing and singing the words of this psalm. Just a few lines praising God is all that psalm entails.
It just seemed to catapult her up.
Within a few moments, the Lord had Susan dancing, clapping, praising – and laughing to this psalm.
Yes, I said, “Laughing.”
It’s amazing how exuberant praise will take you from the pit to the mountaintop – in seconds.
It’s hard to know all of what happens, but I know that it works.
There is plenty of scripture which suggests that angels hearken to the voice of praise, and demons are stilled and stopped. They don’t stick around to hear God being praised.
One of the most notable episodes of this exuberant praise was found in Acts 16:23-34.
Paul had this attitude down pat.
He and Silas were beaten severely with rods and thrown in the Philippian jail. The jailer then put their feet in stocks and threw them into the “inner prison,” the deepest, darkest part of the jail. (And those jails were not like our modern jails. They were horrible).
Think about it for a moment. Imagine that you had been beaten until you were bloody. Then imagine that you were bound with chains, and your feet placed up in stocks. Your entire body would have been in a contorted condition.
Then imagine yourself placed in the deepest, darkest, dampest, moldiest, rat-infested-est part of the jail.
What would you have done in that situation? Most of us would have moaned and felt sorry for ourselves.
We had been serving the Lord and had been obedient to His Word, and look where it got us!
That’s not what these guys Paul and Silas did.
In fact, they began praising God. At midnight their praises were so loud that they were heard all over the jail. The other prisoners were listening to them – amazed.
Suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken, all the doors were opened and the chains fell off.
(Do you think angels were involved in that)?
As a result, the jailer and all of his household were saved and full of joy themselves.
This is where the Philippian church was born.
Amazing, isn’t it?
The book of Psalms is filled with praises and examples of how to praise.
One of David’s habits was to talk to himself – reminding himself to praise.
Psalm 103:1 says: “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”
He also says, “Why so downcast, o my soul? Put your trust in God.” (Psalm 42, 43)
Psalm 42:11 – “Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.”
David talks to himself, and always ends up with psalms with praise to God.
Even though he made some mistakes, David was regarded as a man after God’s own heart. And the apple of His eye.
David knew the power of praise.
Scripture after scripture emphasizes this point.
And so it goes in the New Testament.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-6)
So start by developing that habit. The habit of praise.
It doesn’t matter what is going on now, get alone or with some understanding people. (It’s better to be alone).
Lift your hands, dance sing, twirl, clap and praise your God. Praise Him for who He is. Praise Him for making you who you are. Praise Him for your family. For your health. For your finances.
Praise is like a reset button.
It resets you from gloom to joy. From the pit to the mountaintop.
Let’s go do it right now!
See you next time.
Are you in need of some direction when it comes to making praise your number 1 habit? I would love to talk with you and help to guide you toward a happier, more praise-filled life! Get in touch with me HERE!