Praising God Wholeheartedly

Over the last couple of weeks I have been discussing the importance of praising God. David was a great example of someone in the Bible who praised the Lord often. In fact, David wrote 73 of the 150 Psalms. There is one particular story concerning David which illustrates the importance of praising God, and the consequences of not praising God.

In 2 Samuel 6, we read about David and his men bringing the Ark of the Lord to Jerusalem. David was “rejoicing” (v 12) and “David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets” (v 14-15). This is a beautiful picture of the king of Israel praising the Lord.

However, there is another person in this story who doesn’t have the same attitude. David had a wife named Michal, who also happened to be the daughter of Saul. Michal “watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.” While picturing David’s praise brought something sweet to the story, picturing Michal’s disgust brings a sour taste.

But the story doesn’t end there. When David arrived at home, Michal told him exactly how she felt. She said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would” (v 20). But David didn’t back down.

He replied to her, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by the slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor” (v 21-22).

The worst part of the story is yet to come. In verse 23 it says, “And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.” How very sad that the story ended this way for her.

But it is a good reminder of the importance of praising God with our whole heart. David didn’t care what other people thought of him. His eyes were on God and His opinion. That is why David was called a man after God’s own heart. The Lord wants us to seek Him wholeheartedly. And when we praise Him, He can see and feel our love pouring out. 

Closer Than a Phone Call Away

When I was a child, my maternal grandparents lived over a thousand miles away. When I was very young, my grandfather passed away. My mother traveled to be with my grandmother and spent many months with her. Returning home worried my mother because basically she felt like she was leaving my grandmother all alone, far away from everyone.

So my mother and my grandmother started a new routine. Every single night, without fail, one of them (whoever got to it first) would ring the other one’s phone and hang up. Then the recipient of the initial ring would ring back and hang up. Some nights my grandmother might have rang our phone first and hung up. Then my mother rang back and hung up. If my mother thought about it first, she would ring my grandmother’s phone and hang up. Then my grandmother rang and hung up. If one of them felt like talking that night, then they would answer the phone, let the phone keep ringing, or maybe even call back. But the majority of nights, they just rang each other.

This went on for around fifteen years, until it was time for my grandmother to live with my mother. The ring each night was a message letting us know that my grandmother was safe, she was okay, and all was well. And it also gave my grandmother a way to connect with someone each evening, since she lived alone at the time. The ring of the phone provided a sense of comfort to both parties. The ring of the phone was all they needed to go to bed each night in peace.

We too can have comfort and peace every day and every night of our lives. We don’t have to ring someone like my mother and grandmother did. We can turn to Jesus. No matter how alone we might feel at times, we can feel connected to our Lord and Savior every single day. No matter what is weighing on our minds, we can rest assured knowing that He is there. We can connect with Him at any given time. When we have Jesus in our hearts, we don’t have to worry or fret because we know He is all we need. We don’t have to wait to see if He will ring back or answer the phone. He will always be there. And He always hears us when we call on Him.

Last week I talked about the importance of praising God. Something I have learned when praising God is that He always hears us. Sometimes it might feel as though God is not listening, but that is never true. Here are some Bible verses from the Psalms which assure us that He hears us when we call.

  • “… the Lord hears when I call to Him.” – Psalm 4:3
  • “… Lord, you hear my voice…” – Psalm 5:3
  • “You, Lord, hear…” – Psalm 10:17
  • “I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” – Psalm 17:6
  • “… I called to the Lord… he heard my voice.” – Psalm 18:6
  • “I sought the Lord, and he answered me…” – Psalm 34:4
  • “…he turned to me and heard my cry.” – Psalm 40:1
  • “You who answer prayer…” – Psalm 65:2
  • “You answer us…” – Psalm 65:5
  • “But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.” – Psalm 66:19
  • “The Lord hears the needy…” – Psalm 69:33
  • “… I call to you, because you answer me.” – Psalm 86:7
  • “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice…” – Psalm 116:1
  • “I call on the Lord … and he answers me.” – Psalm 120:1
  • “When I called, you answered me…” – Psalm 138:3
  • “The Lord is near to all who call on him…” – Psalm 145:18
  • “… he hears their cry…” – Psalm 145:19

These are just a few promises found in the Bible, which tell us that God hears us, He is there when we call, and He answers us. If we cry out to Him, pray to Him, praise Him or even just whisper to Him – He always hears the voices of His children. And more than that, He answers. What a wonderful gift that is. So whatever you are facing today, take a moment to call on Him, in prayer and in praise.

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The Secret to Life

Several weeks ago, when COVID-19 was making a lot of changes in our lives, I also changed my Bible reading routine. At the time I was in the book of 2 Chronicles. I halted and moved over to the Psalms. I decided to read five Psalms a day. There are 150 Psalms, so that would mean I would complete the book in thirty days.

When I first devised this plan, I had no idea how much the Psalms would change me. Reading through the Psalms has been such a joy to me and made a big impact on my heart. I loved reading them so much that when I reached Psalm 140, I slowed my pace because I was sad to see the book come to an end. But when I slowed my pace I could tell that my outlook took a turn as well.

So, I decided to take a different approach to make the Psalms last longer by simply reading through them again. I have done this before with the book of John, re-reading it several times in a row. All the gospels are good, but John is my favorite. Perhaps it is just the way the author writes. I always feel comforted when reading John, more so than the other three gospels.

And the same is true for the Psalms. They have been bringing me so much comfort and joy over the past several weeks. When things in the world seemed to be falling apart, I was reminded of how great our God is. Many of the Psalms focus on praising the Lord. Therefore, as I read through the Psalms, I found myself praising the Lord more.

And I discovered that is the secret to surviving this chaos, and even the secret to surviving day-to-day life: Praising God!

Praising God transforms us in several ways:

  • It takes our attention off of any issues we might be facing. The more we focus on our problems, the bigger they seem to become.
  • Praising God also keeps our eyes on God. When we focus on Him and how amazing He is, our troubles seem to shrink in comparison to His greatness.
  • It helps us to see that God is our source. God is our strength. God is our provider. God is our shepherd.
  • Praising God reminds us that we don’t have to worry and fret because we have the Most High God by our side.

So during this time, if you have been feeling down, I encourage you to read the Psalms and to praise God. Keep your focus on the Lord. Remind yourself each day of just how amazing He is. Remember that God is still God. We don’t have to fear when the Most High God is by our side.

I will be talking a bit more about praising God over the next several weeks. So be sure to come back next Tuesday for more on this topic!

The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior! – Psalm 18: 46

Housekeeping

Personal Housekeeping

Every so often, we each should perform some housekeeping in our lives. What do I mean by housekeeping? We should analyze the current state of things, dig around to find any areas that might benefit from some changes, and then proceed accordingly.

This is something that is important to do in all areas of our lives. Today we are just going to focus on three primary areas of our lives – spiritual walk, relationships, and health. But you can also do this for any area of your life, such as work, education, etc.

Our spiritual lives should always be our first area of focus. When our relationship with God is in the right place, when our thoughts and actions are aligned with His will for our lives, then the other areas are easier to adjust. We can walk in peace because we know that each step we take is on the right path. So take some time today to look at your spiritual life. Ask yourself if there are any changes you can make today in order to realign yourself with the Lord.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

Next take a look at your relationships. Start with those closest to you, and branch out to other relationships as well. The enemy will try to pull families and friends apart. So make sure you keep this in mind when you analyze this area of your life. If there is any discord in your relationships, then it could mean that the devil is trying to cause division in your life. Ask yourself if your relationships are where you want them to be. If the answer is no, then ask yourself if there is anything you can do to improve the situation.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. – John 13:34

Third, take a look at your health. How have you been feeling? Are there any issues you have been ignoring? What has your diet looked like lately? Do you need to make any changes in this area? And how about physical exercise? Do you move throughout the day? If not, how can you implement some changes? Our health is often something we take for granted. We don’t worry about it until we are faced with an issue of some kind. But striving for good health is important. I think many people are realizing that now more than ever. When the stores were running out of toilet paper, they also were running out of things like hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. Let’s make our health a lasting priority, not just when we are faced with a pandemic.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Ultimately, when we do some housekeeping in different areas of our lives, it is important to keep in mind that we are to honor God. So when you analyze your spiritual walk, relationships, health, and any other area of your life, ask yourself – am I honoring God?

Blog Housekeeping

With all that being said, I will be making some small changes around here. For starters, I will try to post on Tuesdays now, rather than Saturdays. This day will work better for my schedule. I am trying to avoid posting on the weekend. There are various reasons that come into play. One reason in particular is that I am trying to solidify a better Sabbath routine. To read more about that, you can click here. I want to ensure that I can devote more weekend time to the Lord, to my family, and to slowing down.

Don’t forget that I also post every Thursday on the Christians Read blog. If you are not following it, I encourage you to do so. There are several writers that write for that blog. This keeps the posts fresh and interesting, and you will be guaranteed to read something that resonates with you.

This brings me to my next point. I am here for you and I am here to honor God. Therefore, I want to provide content that is useful and encouraging. If you have any requests on topics which you would like for me to write about, please don’t hesitate to ask. Or if there were certain posts you enjoyed more than others, let me know that too. This will help me to focus on the topics and content that are most beneficial to you.

Most of all, I just want to say thank you for being here. It makes the journey so much richer when we have friends by our side. When there are people out there who walk beside you, bring you fresh insight, and inspire you – those things are truly priceless. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. God bless you!

This sunset was taken the day before Easter. What a beautiful way for God to remind us that incredible things were about to happen.

Fix Her Crown Award

I have exciting news! I have received a blogging award called the Fix Her Crown Award! Thank you to Tina for nominating me for this unique award! Tina’s blog is called Pippi’s Poetry. Tina is a gifted blogger and poet. Tina’s posts are always inspiring. What I love the most about Tina is that she is always genuine and real. She shares stories from her own day-to-day life to help encourage others.

Fix Her Crown Award

The rules are simple:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to her blog.
  • Copy and paste these rules to your post and please include a link to the Fix Her Crown Award post: http://cindygoesbeyond.com/2020/02/24/fix-her-crown-award/
  • Post three photos of just yourself and write a short caption beneath each about why you chose that photo.
  • Nominate seven women for the Fix Her Crown Award, women who lend a helping hand to the woman whose crown seems too heavy, who appreciate the sister who dares to be her own glorious self, who raise strong young women, who smile at the sister journeying alone and walk alongside her for a time, who stand with the sister whose crown has been knocked off her head time after time and women who shine as their own beautifully unique selves.
  • Link to the blogs of the seven nominees.

 

OK, I will be honest. I don’t like the part of including photos of just me. I am not a selfie kind of a person, perhaps because I don’t like the attention. Fortunately, I was able to find three photos of just me.

Me - First Book Signing

The first photo is from my first book signing. This Monday will be the one year anniversary. To read more about this fun day, click here.l

Me - Good Vibes Only

The second photo was taken on New Year’s Day of 2019. This was a rare occasion when I did take a selfie of just myself. Normally my selfies including other people, especially my husband. This is one of my favorite shirts in the photo, and includes a motto that I would like to keep in the forefront of my mind.

Me - Christmas Crescent Cane

The third photo was taken on Christmas Day 2019 at my sister’s house. Christmas is one of my favorite days of the year. I was displaying a yummy Crescent Cane that I had made for the day’s festivities. In case you want to try it, here is the recipe. (I left out the pepper because my sister is allergic.)

I nominate the following. You each are an inspiration and a blessing!

Peaceful Wife

The “F” Word – Faith, Family, and Food

Blessings by Me

The Project: Me by Judy

Not Your Season: Summer’s Blog

Transformation Place

The Mimosa Blossom

From a Spark to a Flame

Harvesting Hope

Crystal Byers

The Whole Heart Challenge Recap

We recently walked through the Whole Heart Challenge here on my website. In the Whole Heart Challenge we read through my book, Giving God Your Whole Heart, and then we met up here to discuss each chapter. I enjoyed it so much. If you were one of those who walked through this with me, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot tell you how much having you here truly meant to me. Nothing beats having friends by your side, as you grow closer to the Lord. We had a rich time together through the journey. I sure hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

In case you missed the challenge, or if you want to do it again on your own, I compiled all the posts here in one place. If you long to draw closer to God or if you want more of God’s presence in your life, then I encourage you to read through my book, Giving God Your Whole Heart. It will transform your spiritual walk and strengthen your relationship with the Lord. We all have room for growth in our lives. And the most important area we can focus on is in our relationship with God. You will never regret giving God your whole heart.

If you were part of the challenge, then you know with each post, I included a song. So of course, I am including another song here. Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher. You can feel this artist’s heart for the Lord in all of his music. Enjoy!

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 1

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 2

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 3

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 4

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 5

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 6

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 7

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 8

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 9

An Easter Prayer

Tomorrow we will celebrate Easter. This Easter will be different than any of us have ever seen before, because life is different right now for every single person on the globe. While we are going through this unprecedented time, my hope is that this will draw us closer to the Lord. We will not get to do many of the things we normally do each Easter. We might not see as many Easter bunnies, egg hunts, and baskets filled with candy. I dare say, this Easter will be one that we will not soon forget. But perhaps if we approach Easter with the right perspective, we can spend our day focusing on Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. We can use our time to worship the Lord, remember what Easter is all about, and give Jesus our gratitude. Let’s take a moment to do that now. Let’s thank Jesus for what He did for us on the cross. Will you pray this Easter prayer with me?

Dear Jesus,

How can we begin to thank You for what You did over 2,000 years ago? The words “Thank You” will never be enough. In fact, no words could ever fully express our heartfelt gratitude. We are deeply humbled to think about what You did for us and for all who would accept You. You, who knew no sin, took on the sin of the world. You knew each and every one of us would stumble and fall. But You still loved us all so much that you went to the cross for us. You paid our sin debt that we could never pay on our own. And as a result, you washed us clean. You made us as white as snow. You redeemed us from our sins. You saved us from death. You gave us the gift of salvation. You gave us the opportunity to have a relationship with You. And this relationship is more precious that anything we will ever know on this earth. Nothing compares to the price you paid for us. But today and everyday, we give You our hearts. We surrender all to You. We honor You. We worship You. We love You. You are our Redeemer, Provider, and Shepherd. We praise Your Holy Name. May our lips praise Your name every day of our lives.

In Your Holy Name we pray,

Amen

If you have never accepted Jesus as Savior, I invite you to do so today. If you want to know how, you can say the prayer found here. And if you need information on next steps after that, contact me here. This will be the best decision you ever make. This will bring true contentment into your life. And this will bring you hope. In these uncertain times, we all could use hope. And the only way to find true hope is through Jesus.

I pray you have a blessed Easter!

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Worshiping the Lord

A few days ago, the governor of my state ordered everyone to stay at home, unless they needed to go out for something essential. For the most part, many people across the globe have already been doing this. I am thankful to say that I have been working from home for the last couple of weeks. The only times I have gone out was for something like groceries. I know this lifestyle is hard on many people. For me, I haven’t minded it a bit. I am a homebody and always enjoy staying home. I’ve had more quality time with my husband. My dogs are very happy to have me here too. And I have spent more time with Jesus.

As you know, churches have been closed as well. Some churches are offering online options these days, which is great. But there is something that has been weighing heavily on my heart about this, especially with Easter approaching. The enemy would love for people to not worship on a regular basis, especially on Easter, the holiest day. So I am writing today to ask you to PLEASE continue to worship the Lord in any way possible. You can watch a sermon on television, choose an online option, or even hold your own worship service with your family as you sing praises and read from the Bible.

As Christians, we have to take a stand against the enemy. We cannot let him win this battle. He would love to see us all just shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh well, we will just go to church some other time.” We cannot have this mindset, today or any day. We must take a stand in the name of the Lord. As Christians we have to be strong and courageous. We cannot weaken in our Christian walk. Rather we must persevere and strengthen our relationship with God. We must put on the armor of God every single day (see Ephesians 6:10-18). The enemy wants to devour us. So we have to be alert.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

As a matter of fact, during this season which we are all in, we have an opportunity to grow closer to God than ever before. We should be turning to Him in the midst of all that is going on. We should look to Him for strength and purpose as each day brings us new surprises. Many of us have extra time on our hands. So we can use that time to read the Bible, pray, listen to praise music, and just spend some quiet time in His presence. If it feels like you have less time now, because you are home with children, then make it a priority to carve out time with God every single day. This season can bring us all rich spiritual growth, if we walk through it with God by our side. In case you missed my post on the Christians Read blog from last Thursday, you can read here how we can all cling to the Lord during this pandemic.

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. – Psalm 34:1

The enemy doesn’t want us to cling to God during this season. He wants us to worry and fret. He wants us to watch the news and have fear. He wants us to put church and God to the side. But we cannot allow that. Let’s take a stand and continue to worship the Lord and praise His holy name!

The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 9

I can’t believe we have reached the end of the Whole Heart Challenge. I have enjoyed walking through this with you, and I hope you have enjoyed it too. I hope reading through Giving God Your Whole Heart has given you a new passion in your spiritual walk.

When I originally planned to hold this challenge, I had no idea that the whole world would be walking through uncertain times. But God knew. He knew we would need to draw closer to Him in this storm. He knew we would need to learn to seek Him, to trust Him, and to give Him control of our lives. I truly hope that walking through this challenge not only helped you draw closer to God, but also gave you comfort through this difficult season.

One of the things I touched on in the final chapter of the book was that we have a decision to make. Will you give God your whole heart? This, in fact, might be something we will have to decide each day. Or perhaps from one moment to the next. Giving God your whole heart is a lifelong journey. But I can promise you that you will never regret it. You will have a sense of peace in your life because you will know that you followed the right path. And you will come to fully realize just how much God loves you, which in turn will only make you want to give Him your whole heart even more. You cannot lose when you give God your whole heart. He longs to have a relationship with you. He wants to be in your life. Once you fully surrender to Him, you will feel freer than you ever have before. He will bring happiness and contentment into your life. He loves you and cares for you, and only wants what is best for you. So I hope you will decide to give God your whole heart!

Share in the comments: Was there something from this chapter of the book (or from the entire challenge) that resonated with you?

Don’t forget to listen to today’s song. I never get tired of this song. It is a favorite of mine. Walk With Me by Jesus Culture

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The Whole Heart Challenge – Chapter 8

Today we are discussing chapter 8 of my book, Giving God Your Whole Heart. This chapter is about allowing God to lead in our lives. I believe what we discussed in chapter 7, trusting God, is an important step towards allowing God to have control in our lives. In our society, it can be especially difficult to allow God to have control. Many of us are used to handling life in our own strength. We might feel as though if we can’t control things, then everything will go wrong.

Once we learn to embrace God’s love and to trust Him, we realize that His plans are always better than our plans. Things might not always go the way we want. But we can rest assured that whatever God brings into our lives is always for the best. When we hand God the steering wheel, He will never lead us down the wrong road. We will always arrive at the best destination. God loves you so much and will always have your best interest in mind.

Share in the comments: Was there something from this chapter of the book that resonated with you?

Don’t forget to listen to today’s song. I really love this song! Keeper of My Heart by Avalon

(If you want to join the Whole Heart Challenge, then I invite you to grab a copy of my book, Giving God Your Whole Heart. We will meet up here each Tuesday and Saturday throughout the month to discuss each of the nine chapters in the book.)

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