praise: the secret power of praising God in life’s storms

praise - the secret power of praising God in life's storms @poetryjoy.com

Praise tends to fall easily from our lips when life is good and we see visible signs that we are blessed. We feel happy and content because all seems to be right with our world. But what about when the sky darkens or falls in for us? What then?

Praising God during life’s storms can feel like an impossible thing to do. Yet praise is a powerful weapon to defeat discouragement and lift our mind and heart back to God. If we can open ourselves to God and lay all our cares at His feet, we can also learn how to praise and trust Him to meet all our needs even before we see it happening.

I’ve experienced this myself. On days when light was eclipsed in my soul and I was locked inside myself, drowning in feelings I didn’t want to have. Maybe you’ve been there too? Or are suffering that way now? 

May I encourage you to let Jesus into your pain filled places. Invite God to be Lord of your sadness, sorrow and loss. Ask Him to help, heal and lift you up. It’s a heart cry prayer He will always answer.

Such thoughts shaped my (slightly more than 5 minutes) poem. I hope and pray it will be a blessing to you, my friend.

Praise

her countenance is clouded
darkened by circumstance
head drooping low to ground
soul feels like it’s chained down

she can barely register anything or
think clearly, hear others speaking
because her mind and heart are gripped
hard, caught up in turmoil and pain

then she hears a voice urging her
to look up and lift her sad gaze
to him, to raise her head higher
see her Lord standing here by her

because it is here, in the midst
of hardship and pain that he
whispers his encouragement
urges her to begin again

here? now? she cannot fathom how
nevertheless, she listens, begins
to murmur softly in her heart and
ignite a small thanksgiving spark

praise starts as a tiny seed within
a sacrificial offering, often scraped
from a raw place, then flowering
into tears, words, deeds and grace

now he gently whispers her name
pulls her out of the miry pit she
is in, helps her to stand strong today
on the solid ground of faith and praise
© joylenton

praise - the secret power of praising God in life's storms - praise poem excerpt (C)joylenton @poetryjoy.com

I praise God for having a writing space and thoughts to share as I join fellow wordsmiths over at five-minute-friday today. The prompt is ‘praise’. You are very welcome to join in. Just click here to read the great posts being shared.  🙂

ring out the bells of welcome and praise

snowy-scene-winter-welcome

 

We search for signs, look for signals of change, indicators of promise. Because winter can lie heavy on our world-weary souls. Will the bells ring out for us this season? Will we find reason to rejoice?

Christmas is a clarion call to celebration, largely of the material kind. It is also an oasis of hope, peace and joy for those who put their faith and trust in Jesus, a welcome pit stop to remember His first coming to earth and His future return.

We’re invited to take a holy pause, to savour the sacred in our midst, honour God above all things. And we cannot fail to see how creation itself speaks of a deep yearning for the difference which each new season of the year will bring.

My first haiku today was sparked by remembering that many are now knee-deep in trenches of snow.  Yet, despite how prolonged it can seem, winter will be over before we know it and spring is already stirring beneath the frozen soil.

‘Ring out a welcome’

Bells silenced by frost

Snowdrops ring out a welcome

Sign of early spring

haiku-ring-out-a-welcome

 

If creation is a clear sign of God’s presence, it also holds whispers of His joy. Every flower is full of His glory, each green stem a vivid reminder of God’s vitality, His thisness  infiltrating our everyday with the living sustenance, strength and support which only He can provide.

I believe living things ring clear and true of God’s goodness and grace, and that includes us too. We are receptacles and shining lights, offering a glimpse of His manifest glory working in and through us.

‘These inner bells’

You can’t silence these

inner bells—they peal freely

ring out joy within

haiku-these-inner-bells

 

Time inches closer and we are almost ready to celebrate Christmas, to proclaim the joyous news of Emmanuel, God-with-us as a babe in Bethlehem and as Saviour and Lord in the here and now.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders..” ~ Isaiah 9:6

‘Ring out praises’

Sound the living bells

Let earth rejoice and ring out

Praises to her King

haiku-ring-out-praises

 

“And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace: ~ Isaiah 9:6

I’m linking here to Ronovan Writes where this week’s haiku challenge prompt is: ‘Bells/Ring’. You are warmly invited to join in. There’s no need to write more than one haiku but I tend to get carried away!  🙂 

Let us worship Him

Advent is a season for contemplation, reverence and awe as we consider all that God has done for us in Christ.

The Christ-child brings hope and light in our darkness.

We recognise the importance of His coming to earth.

We offer our gratitude, worship and praise to our Lord and Saviour.

I have been thinking about the meaning of worship recently and the poem below is an attempt to hone in on the essence of it for me.

As we seek to realise and express the wonder, you are very welcome to join in the conversation and add your own thoughts here.

“It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men” ~ C.S. Lewis

Worship Is…

Bending of mind, will, heart and knee in supplication

to God in recognition of all we have and all we can be

Raising of voices, lifting of hands, heart and head to His call,

lowering of our own goals unless they’re in tune

with the will of the One who is sovereign over all

Making time to spend in His word, by His side,

learning to sit still, to listen, rest and abide

Seeking God’s face, not His hands, His Presence, not His presents,

His heart, will and voice, as we give thanks and rejoice

Wonder and awe at all He is, has done, created and made,

how much He loves, gives, restores and saves

Being aware of Who we approach in prayer, words and song

as we give due reverence to the Holy One

Going wherever He leads and calls with prompt obedience and speed,

relying on His supply, provision and help for our every need

Knowing He is Father, Comforter, Helper, and our greatest Friend,

spending these days on earth with Him unto eternity without end

©JoyLenton2013

“To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God” ~ William Temple

 I’m exploring more of what worship means to me, and how my perceptions have changed over the years, on my writer friend, Josh Collin’s site where I’m delighted to be guest posting this week.

You can click here to read the full post.

Rays of grace

When our eyes are open to God’s work in our lives, we can see glory in the gritty reality of ordinary.

Have days made dazzling by His grace.

Gain hope and encouragement from seeing His hand upon our lives.

Find that our vision expands exponentially the more we are attuned to seeing the supernatural and extraordinary in the everyday.

Observe touches of God’s loving ways filling the commonplace with potential and promise.

As I have attempted to look with deliberation at these things, my heart is filled with wonder, gratitude and praise.

Days remain challenging.

There is struggle and pain, sickness and sadness fighting to control us.

But God…

He is always here to offer hope, help, strength and encouragement.

May your heart also beat thankful, swell with awe and gratitude for all the myriad ways He leaves a mark of grace on lives thirsty for His Presence.

‘Fiery rays’

It began…

with lack of rush or hurry

deceptively slight and slow

as barely a hint of maiden-blush pink

provided a tint to tinge edges

of clouds dancing fluffy, low

to brush rooftops and chimneys

with apparent ease

But then…

within the blink of an eye

as I observed with awed

and rooted gaze

the sky lit up in fiery

rays of scarlet-red bleeding

into toasted tangerine and gold

a veritable panoply of praise

very soon took hold

And I…

watched rapturous, sore-amazed

with wonder in my head as God

poured glory Hallelujah out upon

this familiar place I trod

in bygone healthier days

now wreathed in holy blaze

as earth was put to bed

©JoyLenton2013

“Earth’s crammed with heaven ~ and every common bush afire with God” ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Linking here with Jennifer for #TellHisStory where we seek to celebrate God’s work in our lives

And with Mel for Essential Fridays link up