In the mornings I am a slow riser. I remember sharing with my beautiful girl Mishel, how I would get up 2 hours before work (in which my job was about 5-10 minutes driving distance from my house) simply because I was a slow riser. I would wake up and sit at the corner of my bed getting my thoughts in order. Then I would start thanking God for my day, for giving me another day. Another day where I had a fresh start. Another day I could share with others the joy I felt. Another day I could help someone. Another day that God would share His heart with my heart. Another day I was blessed to have His Word, His promises, His blessings working for me against the enemy.
I have realized although at times it's not the formula I follow, that if you thank God more than you ask God, you actually have a youthfulness to you. This is why I come to realize that God is the actual fountain of youth. How so? Through praising God for all He has done, all He is doing, and declaring according to His Word all that He will do, your ways of thought, speech and action are more lively. The Word of God says, '..be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.'
So the question is, How do you renew your mind? By being in the Word of God, and praising God for all that He is doing by His Word. It's a simple formula. Praising! Now this morning I read a verse in a devotional that makes this simple formula for success a bit harder, and requires our faith to truly be shown. In Jonah 2:9, Jonah says these words to God, But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord.” In other words Jonah praised God even in the midst of his difficulties. We may find ourselves usually praising God in the good times, but praising Him in the bad times is far more defining of the faith we have in God.
This page out of heart today will speak to such. I will share with you one moment in my life where God was praised in the bad and how it revolutionized my faith in Him despite a bleak outlook. In April of 2011 I was robbed just a block away from my aunts house. I was returning from one of my walks with the Lord, where I would walk and talk with God, praise Him for all that He is, and ask Him to show me new and amazing things while speaking life into me. I called this time with God, "Let's see what we see." As I was returning from walking I was listening to praise music and singing and just rejoicing in the Lord and from the corner of my eye I saw something approaching, and when I looked a car drove up alongside me and a man got out covered from head to toe so I couldn't see any distinguishing marks. The whole incident went by so fast and although a barrel of a gun was aimed at my face and the gun was placed so close to me that if I leaned forward an inch I would've touched the barrel I had such a tremendous peace over me, and although these next few words may seem ludicrous I believe that same peace was over the man who was robbing me as he wasn't shaking, angry, belligerent or any such manner known to be displayed from one who is robbing. We even exchanged words together in peace. He asked once I responded to his request to give him everything I had, if I had anything else, and although this may seem weird to you, I responded all I have left are my headphones and he responded back with okay and ran back to the getaway car.
For a split moment it was surreal, then I ran around the corner to my aunts house and explained to them what happened. As my family called the cops and we went through the motions, all I thought of was how amazing the peace I had felt. How amazing it was that the robber was calm and collected. Later on after the cops arrived and i gave my statement and all that took place as my family was upset and sharing words (we'll keep it like that), and I shared with them how I was protected by God and was in His peace, I walk away and felt an overwhelming desire to pray for the robber and his getaway partner. I thanked God that no one was hurt and I asked Him to intercede on the their behalf. I didn't want them hurt or remain doing such things. I wanted them to know who Jesus was and to be saved. Once I finished praying I couldn't help but be amazed with God. I was praising Him and thanking Him for His Word and once again allowing it to be my reality; my Truth! How so? The Word of God spoken in great fashion by our Lord and Savior in (Mathew 5:44) commands us in this manner, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you."
Trust me when I tell you that the next day I wasn't thinking like that. I didn't wish harm on my robber but I started to think of scenarios of how it could have gone differently. Everything from me being a hero and fighting him off and turning him into the authorities to my robber actually taking my life a block away from my safety. All in all that is a moment in my life that was profound for I experienced God's Holy Spirit praying what I couldn't pray and God's peace shining on me and the robber. I don't know what ever happened to the two individuals but it's was my prayer and still is my prayer that they would be saved and redeemed by the Blood of Jesus. Amen
If you have experienced such a peace of God, and have praised Him despite a bleak outlook I'd be honored if you would share your story with me and others.
As always...YOU ARE LOVED.