Category Archives: Devotion

Garment of Praise

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What exactly is “praise”?

There are many definitions of praise – I will focus on one.

Definition of Praise: The offering of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship: a hymn of praise to God.

When I was new in my walk with the Lord, I commonly heard the term “sacrificial praise.” I was like: Who feels like giving praise when you’re going through hardships and struggles?

But I have learned in doing just this very thing, it can unlock a lot of the weight and heaviness of one’s heart. This was a huge breakthrough for me, and I imagine can be for you as well.

We don’t praise God for the trials, we praise Him because He is faithful to get us through. How? That’s His business! Our business is to trust and rely on Him.

You’ll begin to focus better, see clearer, and think sharper.

So praise God during your struggles.

Praise Him with your tears.

Praise Him in the night seasons.

Praise Him through your fears.

Praise Him in the midst of confusion.

Praise Him with your mess.

Praise Him in all your questions.

Praise Him on your quest.

If on a mountain peak,

Or down in the dump;

Even if things look bleak,

or stuck in a slump.

Your load will soon feel lighter.

Your heart slightly fuller.

Your mind a little sharper.

 Your steps a tad bit quicker.

Then you’ll praise Him that the fog has lifted,

Praise Him the pain has eased,

Praise Him for the circumstances shifted,

 Praise Him that the gloom has ceased.

Lift your hands in surrender to Him.

For the spirit of heaviness, put on that Garment of Praise!

If you don’t know my pain, you’ll never understand my praise.

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Beauty For Ashes

Beauty For Ashes

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3
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My devotions today is found in Isaiah 61:3. Although this passage of scripture brings me comfort, I wondered …

How can there be a smidgen of beauty amongst rubble? Or ashes?

How is this even possible?

How do we see beauty in the midst of suffering, hopelessness, or despair?

When I saw my baby sister lying in her small white coffin, I didn’t see beauty.

When I noticed my mama with bruises on her body, I failed to see the beauty in that.

My former husband known for his strength, vigor and being sure-footed, morphed into a sloppy drunk after one drink of alcohol was miles away from anything charming.

To see my grandpa become a prisoner in his own body, his barrel-chested physic becoming sunken and scrawny was a far cry from beauty.

For my eyes to caress my grandma’s features, once so robust and plump, turning thin and frail after having lost so much weight due to illness wasn’t lovely.

Watching the back of my former husband after he pulled the rug from under my feet, and left me in the dust while calling out his name wasn’t a picturesque scene.

My 29-day old granddaughter swollen from fluids in a medically induced coma after her open-heart surgery wasn’t attractive to me.

Scars are not beautiful. Neither are bruises on the body or on the heart.

Death is not beautiful; the grieving of loved ones taken from you is never beautiful. Hunger is not beautiful. Loneliness is not beautiful.

Repossession isn’t quaint. Foreclosure is eons away from being delightful.

So how can there be beauty for ashes?

I believe it is found in hope. Hope against hope. Hope that the imperfect will become perfect. Hope that the pain will cease. Hope that there will be a day of reckoning. Hope that the scattered pieces will rebuild. Hope for healing and relief. Hope that the light will dawn and a new day will come. Hope that this too, shall come to pass. Hope in heaven. Hope that the best is yet to come. And most importantly, believing in the Blessed Hope that one day, we shall see our loved ones again who have crossed over.

Thank you, Lord, for turning my life’s ugliness into a thing of beauty.

Out of sadness and hurt, will come strength and victory.

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July 23, 2015 · 10:39 PM