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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Celebrating God by Lynda Alsford

I recently read Philippians 4:4-9 in The Message version for the first time. I loved it. Here is it if you have never read it. 


Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Phil 4:4-9 MSG
Shaping worries into prayer
So much of this passage speaks to me. I love the idea of letting petitions and praise shape my worries into prayers. So often I let worry shape my emotions into anxiety and depression. Shaping my worries into prayers speaks of a gradual change, rather than having to switch off worry in a split second. I tend to gaze at my worries endlessly, turning them around in my hands looking at every aspect of them. I let worry take control. 


Look to who God is
Paul in this passage tells us to look to our Father God, celebrating him and filling our minds with all that is good. Look to the One who can change things, whether that is changing the situation or our ability to deal with it. 


God is there for me in hard times but I have to chose to look for Him. The picture above is one I drew (please excuse poor copy of it) when I was in the midst of a time of huge darkness but as an act of my will I chose to acknowledge that I was still in God's hands, no matter what I was feeling.

I remember hearing Francis Chan speak at New Wine in 2012. It was a powerful sermon about who God is. He looked at a number of passages describing God. He got us to focus on who God is, what his character is like, what he has done. By the end of the sermon our faith had risen hugely. I will never forget how powerful it is to look at God and remind ourselves of who he is. 

Sacrifice of Praise
It is important to note that celebrating God doesn't mean pretending everything is good in your life. It is celebrating God despite my pain. Hebrews 13:15 talks of a 'sacrifice of praise'.  Praising God in hard times feels like a sacrifice doesn't it? But it is oh so worth it. I may have pain and difficulties that feel overwhelming but I find it beneficial in the long run, if I can find something for which to praise God. It starts me focusing on him rather than my situation. And that in turn improves my ability to deal with the difficulty. 


What I'm feeling or thinking doesn't change 
the fact that I am in God's hand

God is there for me in hard times but I have to chose to look for Him. The picture above is one I drew (please excuse poor copy of it) when I was in the midst of a time of huge darkness but as an act of my will I chose to acknowledge that I was still in God's hands, no matter what I was feeling.

When I look to Him through the pain of my situations I can then say with the Psalmist, 


 "If God hadn’t been there for me, I never would have made it. The minute I said, “I’m slipping, I’m falling,” your love, God, took hold and held me fast. When I was upset and beside myself, you calmed me down and cheered me up." Ps 94:17-20 MSG

Lynda Alsford is a sea loving, cat loving GP administrator and writes in her spare time. She has written two books, He Never Let Go describes her journey through a major crisis of faith whilst working as an evangelist at a lively Church in Chiswick, West London. Being Known describes how God set her free from food addiction. Both books are available in paperback and on kindle on  Amazon.co.uk  and  Amazon.com. She writes a newsletter  and a blog both called Seeking the Healer, in which she shares the spiritual insights she has gained on her journey. Find about about these from www.seekingthehealer.com You can also find out more about Lynda at  www.lyndaalsford.com

6 comments:

  1. This felt entirely for me this week, Lynda. Thank you so much x

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    1. So glad it spoke to you. God bless you Georgie.

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  2. How right and true these words, Lynda

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  3. Difficult, but so true that it changes our thinking when we do it! Thank you! (I love The Message - so down to earth that it makes clear heavenly things!)

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    1. You’re welcome. It is so difficult- definitely a sacrifice in those times

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