Christianity 201

September 26, 2015

Take a Praise Break!

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:38 pm
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This is our third time sharing some content from Dwight L. MacPherson at the blog of Son of a Parson Ministries. We’re so thankful for writers who, when we check back a year later, are still faithfully posting new material; and who graciously allow their material to be shared here.

We also made another discovery there which follows in today’s 2-for-1 devotional special! Click the title below to read at source:

Praise Break

We just completed our reread through the  Book of Psalms for family Bible study. One of the many things I love about this book is that no matter what David (or another psalmist) is going through, there in the very shadow of darkness, their minds turn to praise. “I’m about to be torn to pieces by my enemies, but praise God that He rescued me last time!” Now… that’s a MacPherson paraphrase, but you get the idea. Even when things look their bleakest the psalmist remembered what God had done and thanked Him for who He is all He’d done in the past and would continue to do in the present and in the future. .

I think we could all benefit from the habit of taking praise breaks. Yes, some days you just want to crawl under your bed in the fetal position, clench your eyes and cover your ears… but is that bringing glory to God or real peace to your heart? I think not. Stop the “worst day ever” mindset and start setting your mind on praising Him in the midst of the trial. When we take our focus off our setback and put it on God, it is amazing how our outlook changes. Rebecca takes her “Praise Breaks” during her break time at work. She has a lake complete with ducks, birds, and squirrels behind her office, so she sits on the benches and thanks God for the beauty around her, and thanking God that He has made it possible for her to work every day.

I take my Praise Breaks throughout the day as well. Whenever I am too focused on a trial I begin praising God for past deliverance, for His unconditional love, and that He is forever faithful. It’s amazing how a short time of praising the King can completely change your attitude outlook.But don’t take my word for it.  If you’re not taking regular praise breaks, why not start doing that today?

“You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” – Psalm 22:3

So as we were looking around Son of Parson Ministries website, we discovered that Rebecca MacPherson is also a gifted writer. Again, click the title below to follow their writing and their family journey.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

This verse was in our family Bible study last night. After we finished reading and praying, Dwight and I went out on the porch to discuss this particular verse. Both of us have had dreams come true–for Dwight, it was seeing his first comic book on the shelves of bookstores, and for me, it was seeing my name in the rolling credits of my first big budget film production. Both were life-long dreams of ours, and yes, it inspired us to move further along with our goals. It solidified what we had been wishing for and praying for; it was the confirmation of our belief in ourselves. We knew we could do it and we did!

Our boys each have their own dreams, and we support and encourage them to work hard at achieving their life-long goals. We don’t shy away from telling them that there may be many obstacles along the way. Dwight could write a whole blog post about how many things went wrong before Dead Men Tell No Tales went to print. But our sons need to know that things in life don’t always come easy and it is not mommy and daddy’s job to make everything happen for them. That is not our role as parents, and it is not realistic. It sets them up for failure if we are always hovering over them, pulling strings to make sure they get everything they want. Because the minute they are really on their own and don’t accomplishment something, their whole world will come crashing down. They will feel like complete failures when, in the grand scheme of things, it might not be that big of a deal. Our goal as parents is to help equip our children for lives on their own. Parents who refuse to cut the umbilical cords are actually retarding the process of our kids becoming adults. And why would we want to do that? My “need” to be a mom should never supersede their need to grow up. My dream is not their dream, so I am not pushing my own agenda on them.

God bless you, and we hope you have an amazing week! God is good all the time!

“The soul of the sluggard craves, and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.” Proverbs 13:4


November 27, 2010

Laughter is a “Surprise” Reaction

Today’s post is written by Randy Bohlender, a blogger I once linked to at Thinking Out Loud, but had lost track of.   This is a longer post, but a must read.     It appeared at his blog under the title, Laughing When It’s Not Funny

We use humor or laughter to try to cover a multitude of things.

When children say something particularly cutting and then realize they’ve stepped over the line and someone’s feelings were truly hurt, they throw the smokescreen of ‘just kidding’.

Adults, on the other hand, use the laughter escape hatch to avoid dealing with their own pain. “Did I dream that? Was I hoping to accomplish that? That’s a joke. I never meant it. I’m fine. No, really…”.

Most of you know that I’m on this Bible reading kick, my second 90 day lap through the scriptures. I’ve been overwhelmed at the number of people who’ve decided to do this at the same time – I wish I’d kept track, but my guess is I’ve heard of nearly fifty people from across the nation and faith spectrum. I’m loving it.

I couldn’t help but think of those people this morning as i read about Sarah, hiding behind the curtain, listening to her husband entertain heavenly guests. When they spoke to him about Sarah having a child in her old age, she laughed.

It was ludicrous, wasn’t it? It was silly. It was unheard of. So she laughed. Besides, laughter was easier than tears, and there had been so many tears over this issue.

She and her husband had been married many long years but no child had been born to them. It wasn’t for lack of desire. In a culture that very much understood the power of family lineage, it wasn’t just a desire, it was a necessity. To have a child was to have a future. To grow old without children meant a miserable existence. She’d longed…and hoped…but to no avail.

It’s not hard to identify with her. We’ve all wanted something so badly that it hurt – often times things that God would desire us to want. We’ve all dreamed God dreams in the dark of night and wondered if the dawn would ever come. Sarah had decided that the night season was her lot in life. A child was not coming. It was easier to laugh than it was to cry because it helped her keep up the facade that it didn’t really matter. She was fine, really. What a hoot – a child in her old age.

Except that it wasn’t fine.

The ache was still there.

It might seem cruel to stir the dead dream of an old woman…unless you’ve got the power to bring it to pass. God had watched her hope, He had watched her pray, and He had watched her give up. Now, He watched her laugh….laugh at the thought that He might be true to His word, not because she thought it was funny, but because it was her only ‘out’ from under the weight of the dream.

Of course, a few chapters later, much to her shock, her dream lives. A little boy is born. The realization of her dream is so much more than she ever imagined. She holds him close at night and she remembers the day she laughed and the countless nights she cried. In that moment, she knows better than anyone where life comes from and who brings dreams back from the dead.

A vast percentage of people on this Bible reading journey are laughing to cover tears over a dead dream. Let Sarah’s story be a lesson – God has the last laugh.

If it was His dream, it didn’t die. In the fullness of time, it will be all He promised. You can laugh if you want to.

In addition to being a husband and father, Randy Bohlender and his wife Kelsey founded The Zoe Foundation, which uses various means to help facilitate adoption, which makes this particular Bible story, I’m sure, all that more relevant.