“Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth! Sing out the honor of His name; make His praise glorious.” (Psalm 66:1-2 NKJV)
Praise is never about us.
It’s not about showing the world how God has blessed us, but declaring that He is glorious.
Recently my husband was diagnosed with cancer. If the only time I praised God right now was when I felt blessed on the surface of things, there’d be a lot of silence over here. But there’s so much more to my family’s current story than us.
This is about God, using all things for His good.
It’s about God being glorious, even in the gut-wrenching feelings.
Even when our hearts are in turmoil, He is worthy to be praised!
Later on in this Psalm, the Psalmist says, “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will declare what He has done for my soul” (Psalm 66:16 NKJV).
When God asks us to praise Him in a storm, it will not do us any good to examine our feelings or our outside, superficial circumstances. Instead we can look up and outside of ourselves at God. He is faithful, true and glorious, and that is enough reason to praise Him. And we can look deep inside our own hearts and praise Him for the work He has done in our souls.
He’s not wasting the pain and the heartbreak – He is using it to work in our very souls. And He is good, no matter the circumstantial outcome.
Hey dear TruthBytes reader. Stefani here. When I started TruthBytes, it was from a passion to help Moms connect with Jesus every morning, before signing into Facebook or Instagram. And I've been overjoyed with the response to our little devotional app. I am so thankful there are so many moms out here in cyberland who are serious about their relationship with Jesus and who are pursuing Him wholeheartedly. So, all of that makes this really hard to say: the time has come to shut TruthBytes down for good. It makes me so sad, but God is calling our family down a different path and it has become impossible to keep everything going. The app will be available and updated through December 1.
This doesn't mean we need to lose connection though! You can go to the "About Us" tab on the homescreen and subscribe to and follow every team member behind the app. And I highly encourage you to! The ladies that have written for this app are filled with the wisdom and power only Jesus can give and I know following their personal blogs will be inspiring to you!
I'll be sharing some of our favorite devotional and Bible study resources over the next couple weeks as well.
Blessings and prayers for each of you! You are so loved!
We can choose to rely on our human intuition, or we can trust the truth of God’s Word.
When we choose to believe truth and praise God in any situation, He blesses us with peace.
Trading worry for peace? Our mess for praise? Priceless.
“Father, I praise you with my whole heart. Today, I choose to clean my heart of junk and “extras” and center on You. I know that truly, the only thing that matters in this life is that I glorify You. That I plan my days after what You want, not after my desires. Oh Lord, change my perspective. I am a Martha, busy about many things - and they are important, Lord. But Your ways are higher, different, perfect. I praise you for Your mercy. You never cease to forgive my failure. I praise You for Your truth; it fights my doubt and strengthens my soul. Although areas of my life look a mess, You are working all things for Your glory. And when you don’t save me the way I expect, I will trust You anyway. I thank You for the privilege of being your child. I believe You are loving, kind, and good! Amen.”
(Based on Psalm 138 and Luke 10:41)
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9, NLT)
I believe this verse very well could have been written for parents of older teens. It can be completely exasperating and exhausting trying to raise them to become good and productive adults.
I’ve often said a child is moldable until they are 12. After that it requires a chisel and a hammer. Sadly many parents stop parenting at this point. After all, their children have reached the main milestones and are now be self-sufficient in many areas of life. The realization that they simply don’t need us like they did when they were little can be liberating and heartbreaking at the same time.
The enemy uses our weariness and feeling of not being needed to cause us to think our job of parenting a teen is not important. When we believe this lie, it is easy to leave our children to raise themselves, or at the least, become more hands-off in our parenting.
Our job is to not give up after the molding is done. Take up the chisel and hammer and continue to parent your child. You will reap the reward for not giving up even though you become weary.
Dear Lord, parenting teens is hard work. Give me the strength to not give up on my parenting role too soon. Show me how to use the hammer and chisel in a way to help guide my child into adulthood. Forgive me where I have released my child to raise him or herself. Open my eyes and help me see that they still need me. Give me the strength to finish this parenting season well as I look forward to the reward of my child becoming a productive member of society, a person who loves You and maintains a good relationship with me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” (Psalm 138:8)
Some cross-stitchers craft the back of their artwork as neatly as the front.
(I am not one of those.)
I once cross-stitched a Christmas stocking for my oldest. After viewing the backside, I quickly covered it by sewing the inside stocking sleeve.
Sometimes we view our lives like the backside of a haphazard cross-stitch pattern, just a jumbled mass of ugly threads.
But God doesn’t. His ways aren’t our ways; His methods are different. Tozer says, “God is not like anything you know.” Even God Himself hasn’t revealed all of who He is through Scripture. In fact, John 21:25 says, “ And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
Your marriage may be in shambles right now. Maybe your child has strayed from the truth. Perhaps you’re facing bankruptcy.
I don’t know the answer, but God does, and He knows it’s a perfect one. But we must trust Him. Praise Him wholeheartedly. Abide in Him.
Do you know why David mentioned God’s mercy after saying God would perfect his situation? Because he was thinking the same thing you and I are right now. “I’ve failed. I’m not perfect. I took a side road.”
“But God, who is faithful in mercy, will perfect that which concerns you.”
He waits for us to acknowledge Him in praise. He turns our threads to beauty in His eyes. And His “perfect” is not the same as ours.
Run to the Savior; confess.. He is faithful and merciful. He will not forsake the work of His hands – that’s you!
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.” (Psalm 138:7 NKJV)
How often do we rush into God’s presence with an attitude of “Help, Lord, I need this ASAP!”
The Psalmist praised before presenting his need.
While yes, there are times for SOS prayers, our daily rhythm should be one of praise: “Even though my heart is troubled, I’m centered on You and Your truth” (my paraphrase).
David was admittedly in trouble. His season was a time of unrest.
Yet he reminded Himself, repeating back to God, the Lord’s truth and faithfulness, saying, “You will revive me.” David believed it, he prayed it, and he received it.
Praying God’s Word back to Him is a powerful practice. When we don’t know how to praise, we can look to the Psalms.
When we don’t know how to pray, we can pray promises:
I will be with you.
I will never leave you.
Fear not, for I am with You.
I go behind and before you.
I am your Shepherd.
I lead you in paths of righteousness.
I will direct your paths if you acknowledge me in all your ways.
“Your right hand will save me,” David prayed. He knew Scripture, and He knew the Author.
He didn’t know for sure how God would save him from the enemy. The truth is, he knew the choice was God’s - whether to rescue from earthly harm, or take him home to glory. Either way, David would be saved.
We don’t know the outcome. But we do know the Savior. We know His promises.
And we can rest in praising Him.
“All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.” (Psalm 138:4-6, NKJV)
We get discouraged with political leadership, don’t we? Nearly every day embarrassing headlines feature powerful leaders – from presidents, to congressmen, to world diplomats.
Regardless of the truth of these reports, mankind reeks of failure – from the least of us to the greatest. Truth be told, even we moms display fickleness, sometimes letting our families down.
But not God; that’s where He differs from us. And someday, Scripture says, every knee will bow, every mouth confess His Lordship.
We see in this passage that all God’s words and ways are praiseworthy. All.of.them.
Where else will we find a flawless leader? No other’s glory is greater than His.
And the wonder is this: even though He is high and lifted up above all others, He regards the lowly.
It’s evident from the smallest seed of creation to the humble details of Christ’s birth.
There was nothing special about Jesus’ looks. Isaiah 53:2 says, “He had no form or comeliness.” The next time you feel intimidated, let this passage comfort your soul. He holds the lowly closest because they acknowledge their neediness.
Remember, the secret of dwelling in His presence is praise.
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.”
― Andrew Murray, Humility
“I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name
For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.” (Psalm 138:2-3, NKJV)
When was the last time you gushed over a work of art, a movie star, or a TJ Maxx bargain?
Often, we don’t know how to praise. “What do I say? How do I do it?”
Actually, praise isn’t that difficult – it’s just foreign to us.
Unless we’re fans.
Let’s face it – fans gush. You know how – you do it every day.
So how would praising God be any different?
The thing is, when we praise movie stars or cashmere sweaters, we know WHY we’re praising. There is an element of admiration for the item or person.
You know the reason for your praise.
Psalm 138:2-3 lists five reasons to praise the Lord.
2. For Your truth
God’s truth frees our minds from chains of doubt.
3 .For You have magnified Your Word above all Your name
God holds His Word as proof that He is Who He says, and He acts in faithfulness.
4. In the day when I cried out, You answered me
We are assured of God’s answers – even in His silence; trust is key.
5. And made me bold with strength in my soul
God infuses strength and boldness when we call to Him. The fruitful bounty of prayer is at our fingertips.
Praise God for these reasons today – hide them in your heart (or iphone notes) so you won’t forget. Daily, remind yourself WHY you praise.
“I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.” (Psalm 138:1, NKVJ)
Imagine if the Psalmist had said, “I will praise you with half my heart.” And yet – sometimes we do. Flying through Scriptures in the morning, dashing off prayers thinking, “Oh yeah – ‘ACTS!’” (The acronym for Adoration, Confession, Thankfulness, Supplication.) We think along these lines, “A is for Adoration; I’d better insert praise in this prayer.”
“God, I praise you for your goodness, kindess, and mercy. You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Also, please help my kid not to flunk his Algebra exam today and keep my daughter safe during her driver’s test, Amen.”
Praising with a whole heart means willingly shoving scattered thoughts not just in the corner, but out the door.
Think of it this way: pretend your heart is a room. Jesus knocks and you say, “Come in!” But first, you shove excess junk under the bed. He enters, and you welcome Him. But He notices the junk you nervously nudge with your foot, calf resting against mattress.
He’s standing right in front of you, yet you fidget and turn around to peek underneath the bed.
“I will praise you with my whole heart.”
As moms, we are the Master Multitaskers.
But even we can find time during the day (or even on our beds while shuffling through more thoughts) to praise Him with our whole heart.
Speaking of multitasking - God dwells in the praises of His people. Here’s the thing - we can remain in an attitude of praise all day long!
But first, focus. Find time to trade whatever task is in front of you for whole-hearted praise. Start there. Practiced, focused praise births an attitude of praise.
In crisis mode, during dinner prep, and even the dreaded bed time routine (with fifteen requests for water).
When we focus now on praising with a whole heart, we take one more step towards a lifetime of praise. Try it!
"I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment...fully to enjoy is to glorify. In commanding us to glorify Him, God is inviting us to enjoy Him." C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms
“His steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 100:5)
So, this Jesus thing. Or this being a Christian woman thing. What's it all about, anyway, especially as the holidays come to a start and the year comes to an end?
How to live Thanksgiving when other things come to an end and things you don't want to embrace begin?
What are we all about, and what is our identity?
My home, husband, kids, and other things dear to my soul have been altered. Tonight I'm opening the fridge with tears streaming down my face, staring at the container of frogs left on the counter by my little boy when he left for a day and night at his dad's house. (“His dad’s house.” I never thought those words would be uttered in this home.)
If Jesus Christ wasn't the dearest thing to my soul, I'd lose hope and wander into no-man's land this very night. No-man's land is that place of lostness or even apathy when we lose our anchor.
Sisters, you may have a perfect home and life, but is Jesus your anchor? Are you a living, vibrant, engaging soldier in the kingdom or have you been breathing your own air for so long that your soul is no longer rich with God?
The only One we can't live without is Jesus Christ. Why do we sometimes trade the One we can't live without for all eternity for those we actually can live without for a short span of time? And if your earthly loves are taken, will your soul be barren?
Or are you rich in your soul because Jesus abides there with His sweet presence, and He stays there when other things are taken from you?
Thank Jesus that He is the Ultimate Gift, and all other gifts are meant to lead us right back to Himself! Having been led back to Himself, we are then anchored when lesser gifts fade right out of our lives.
His glory never fades. This November, allow your soul to be a hallmark of praise!
“His faithfulness endures to all generations.” (Psalm 100:5b)
Today I'm thankful for spiritual mothers. I sat in one's office today, crying, laughing, and praying. She got me to the core and wrapped her arms about my shoulders during this tough season of life.
She's helping me stay afloat. Ah, sisters, do you have someone to help you stay afloat?
I challenge us to reach out today. What are we burying, hiding, and wishing we could toss?
What thing in our lives renders us helpless when there are others to lift us up and help us know what to do? And why, sisters, do we stay hidden?
Nothing hidden comes to the light, and that's where the best and worst places of our lives need to be lived--in the light. I wonder why we slink about in the dark when we profess to know the Father of Lights who has asked us to let His light shine.
How can we shine when we're so busy hiding we don't have any light left? And why, soul, do you have the excessive need to be well thought of, approved of, and admired? Don't you know that when people see your dark, they can see Christ's light?
It isn't your light, after all.
Jesus is the Admirable One. All eyes on Him means all eyes are full of light. No one can serve two masters—that is, no one can be pleasing man and yet have their eyes on the Giver of Light.
Refuse to linger hidden in any place where His light in not shining. Come out, and thank God for spiritual mothers who will help you do so! Cast off your fear, and walk in the most brightly lit halls that exist, in Jesus' name.