Tuesday, March 24, 2009

God inhabits our praise

So, duh, right? (The title) I mean, as Christians we all know this. But I know I forget it so easily, what it really means. For years I've had people tell me I should play praise music constantly in my house because a) the Devil doesn't like it and will stay away, and b) God inhabits praise, ergo His presence will fill the house. But I've always balked at that suggestion because I don't tend to like praise and worship CDs (you know, like Vineyard or Hillsong or whatever). There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, I just don't like the "sound" or whatever. It's a personal preference thing. So I just haven't done it.

But God has been working on me about it lately, mainly because I know that I and my family are under spiritual attack. If it's not my marriage, the kid has a weird phase. If it's not the kid, it's me with depression or illness (or both). If it's not me, it's the hubster with stress or whatever. And 'round and 'round it goes. As Roseanne Rosannadanna on Saturday Night Live used to say, "It's always somethin'!" So God has been pointing out to me that the Newsboys and Phil Joel have praise songs. And there are lots of praise songs on albums I used to listen to a lot, like the City on a Hill albums, and Tree63, and the Passion worship albums. I even have two WOW Worship CDs from several years ago. So last Thursday or Friday I got on our Windows Media Explorer and made up a Praise and Worship playlist from the Christian stuff we have on there. And then yesterday I went through our CDs and added a bunch of other stuff. It's funny that there are songs we have on CDs that I discovered I loved when we had this very hip worship minister in our church for awhile, and I didn't even know we had the songs! (I clearly wasn't listening to those particular CDs.) So now I have a great collection of P&W songs that appeal to me that I can put on and listen to whenever I want to! And my plan is to keep them on in the house all day long, even if I'm distracted and not really listening, because the Enemy knows those songs are my heart, he knows I mean them regardless, so hopefully they will keep him and his minions at bay.

When I first started listening to them on Friday night while cooking supper, I was so uplifted! Some of these songs I hadn't heard in years, and they had been incredibly meaningful to me "back when". Oddly, the last couple of days I've felt a bit depressed, but I'm not terribly surprised. I'm sure the Enemy is NOT happy about this new warfare tactic. At any rate, I'm lovin' the songs and the devotion they inspire and the good stuff they remind me of! I even borrowed an extra MP3 player my husband had and put the playlist on it so I could listen to these songs in the car. (I wanted to keep MY MP3 player "Newsboys/Phil Joel dedicated." lol)

So that's one of the things that has been helping lately. It also helped me a great deal to spend time talking with my mother on Saturday (the day before the anniversary of her mother's -- my Granny's -- death), remembering my Granny, and especially sort-of rehashing all the junk with the hospital and the situation surrounding Granny's illness and death, all the nightmarish stress we were all under, all the disbelief that this woman, this amazing lady who had been such a rock in our family, just forever!, who had always been the strong one, always been the no-nonsense one, always been the one we counted on to live forever (or until Jesus came back), had become so sick, so dependent, and had died in the hospital instead of quietly in her sleep, like she so deserved. After awhile Mom and I got to the point in the discussion where we were just going over all the incredible things God had done for us through those six weeks, how He had sustained us through our own illnesses and weaknesses so we could be there for Granny, how He had provided for so many different needs, how He had made sure all of her grandchildren had had a chance to be there before she passed away so they could say goodbye (she died the very day my middle brother came up to see her -- the only day he had been able to get free to come). And then afterward how He had sustained us through her memorial service, even enabling me to SING for her service, after I had said I would never be able to sing at a loved one's funeral. And I looked at my mother and said, "You know, in those times when I find myself doubting God's existence, or that He cares about me -- all I need to do is think about how He was with us every step of the way through the crisis with Granny and her death." God even allowed me the special privilege of being with her at the time she passed. It was just me and my Dad in the room with her. It was such a peaceful, quiet passing. As Dad said, "she just stopped." I believe I was there as a stand-in for my mother, who would NEVER have been able to handle that. (Mom was her only child, and they were extremely close.) Plus, it was just a very unique, special thing to be there at the moment my precious grandmother passed from this life into Eternal Life. Not pleasant. Not "happy" by any means. But a special honor, in a way.

Okay, so the whole point is -- God has been there for me so many times in my life I can't even count them. And I am SO quick to forget that! I'm so quick to let the dark clouds -- the fog, if you will -- of my depression obscure the undeniable proofs that HE IS THERE, that HE LOVES ME, and that HE WILL NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME! The song "Great is Thy Faithfulness" just sums it all up so beautifully. If you don't know it, here are the words:

Great is Thy faithfulness, o God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee.
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not.
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

(CHO)
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

(CHO)

Pardon for sin, and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

(CHO)

Isn't that the most beautiful song? I know the words are a bit archaic, but it is just such a testimony to the truth of His trustworthiness and, well, faithfulness! My mother has long said this is our "family song," because He has proven Himself faithful so many times in my family of origin. And I'm seeing Him prove Himself faithful in my marriage-family, too. Especially when I pull my head out of my own despair and look at the facts!

Well, the kitties are clamoring for their bedtime feeding ... and my stomach's kinda growling, too, actually! So it's off for a bedtime snack and then, hopefully, a good night's sleep.

Blessings to all ...

3 comments:

Melb. said...

We all need reminding of the wonderful things God has done for us. Praise His name! Nice post. Thanks.

Pioneer said...

Again, Stacy, we have a common thread. I had no money, i mean NO money for Christmas gifts this year. But I HAD to give my parents something. I didn't know what. Then the hymns that have been a part of my life forever rose up in me. I love the contemporary stuff. But the truth in the hymns kept me afloat throughout my life. So I made a book about just a few of them. And it was a blessing to them, even if it didn't turn out the way i had envisioned. It was an Ode to the King. Praising Him blesses us, isn't that just like Him?

Becky said...

Hi Stacey :)God Bless you, the old hymns are the best, I still sing them daily "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine", but being trained up in a Pentecostal church we were not allowed to listen to "Worldly music" :), but I am grateful for that type of training because it has stayed with me through all these years, my training was fasting, praying and not just reading the Word of God, but studing the Word of God, Hebrew and Greek, we not only had to know the books of the bible by heart( I still repeat the books daily :)) but what was in every book :), that is why to this day I still study hours a day before work, I still play Gospel music daily, I still get on my knees several times a day to worship the King of Kings and Lord of Lord's, He still is as real to me today as He was 33 years ago when He touched me and sealed me with the Holy Spirit. But sin in us, in me- O sin, will bring doubt in my mind at times, how can YOU love me Lord, but that is why it is so important to worship daily, to be cleansed, renewed, validated that "I am a daughter of a KING".
Have a blessed week.