I recently read a book called ‘Prison to Praise’, which I’ve been buzzing about ever since! Some of you may have already read it (free online link for it in PDF format below!!)
The author, Merlin Carothers, gives an account of his life and the very powerful ways God worked through him after he learnt a valuable lesson about praise. God wants us to be filled with joy, in everything that we do. Yes, everything! Even the mundane things like having to get up in the morning when it would be so much warmer and cosier to stay in bed, or the harder things like going through a family crisis or rough time at work. God wants us to experience His joy in all things.
“…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matthew 25:21)
“What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil…When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy!” (Luke 6 22-23)
It goes against human instinct to rejoice in ALL circumstances. Particularly in a culture where we love to complain! But the verse above says we have to ENTER into the joy of the Lord. We have to actively make an effort to rejoice in all situations.
God is in control of every single thing and by rejoicing in every situation, this is what we are saying:
“I trust you God with every ounce of my being. This situation seems impossible/is really not ideal/is boring/is really different to how I imagined, but YOU know best and YOU have allowed this to happen in order to teach me something/give me an opportunity to show how much I love and trust you/use me for your work/demonstrate your love for me/reveal something new about you to me. Therefore, I genuinely rejoice and am thankful and happy that I am having a bad day/in this tough circumstance. Thank you God!!!”
What happens then is so powerful! Not only does it transform our outlook and attitude, but God pours out his blessings on us and reveals himself in ways we never could have imagined. I have really experienced this lately and it is so exciting to see how God can move in our lives, in such a palpable way, once we willingly enter into his joy and allow him to show us his love. Praise God!
PS. I REALLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO EVERYONE