Choose Wisely

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. (Psalm 34:1-3)

As with all actions, praise is a choice. As Paul tells us, "...let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name." (Hebrews 13:15) I don't think it is unusual for us to allow circumstances or situations outside of our control to influence our choices - we all likely do it on occasion. There is one choice that must be made with a full awareness of what is involved in that choice: Praise. We are determining to praise no matter what difficulty we face - we will not allow those things to control our attitude. Could it be possible that praise is really an attitude? It just might be!

Life's tough issues are bound to come to all of us and what we choose to dwell upon in those times will determine how we face them and how well we come through them. We can choose to grumble, complain, and almost grow bitter over them, or we can look at them as an opportunity. As someone once told me, God only disturbs our present in order to improve our future. When we begin to see the difficulties through that lens, we might just see it differently, choosing a much different attitude as we walk through those hard times. Are we tempted to grumble because it is hard? Yes, but we also could choose to turn that 'grumble' into praise - getting an attitude adjustment in the process.

The same individual pointed out to me that there was absolutely no way for me to choose another person's attitude. I could only choose mine. That meant I was not responsible for how another may face the circumstances at hand, but I could choose how I would. Too many times, I think we feel like we are responsible for how another acts, but they choose that attitude, and that attitude choice determines their actions. Our own attitude choice determines our response to the issues at hand. This is another important aspect of praise - we keep current with the issues. Too many times, people get into a grumbling and complaining attitude because they 'nurse' the past problems right along with the present ones.

God asks us to bring our cares (concerns, issues, troubling circumstances, doubts, worries, fears) to him. Nothing affects our attitude more than remaining current! We don't want to 'dwell' upon the stuff that was hard. We want to celebrate how much we know God is with us even when the issues are difficult. We can allow the issue to dictate our attitude, or we can allow God's promise to keep us, care for us, never leave us to influence our thoughts and actions. Choose to praise God with a genuine trust in his love for you and the circumstances may not change, but your attitude toward those circumstances will. Just sayin!

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