"Praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse fo the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master's service."
- Charles Spurgeon -
"O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"
- Matthew 14:31b -
“I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart;
shew forth all thy marvellous works.
will be glad and rejoice in thee:
I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most
And they that know thy name will
put their trust in thee:
for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth
declare among the people his doings.
mercy upon me, O LORD; …
That I may shew forth all thy praise
in the gates of
the daughter of Zion:
I will rejoice in thy salvation.”
~ taken from Psalm 9 ~
This morning as I was studying and meditating on God's word, I was so convicted as I read. Just in Psalms alone we are told over and over to praise the Lord, to thank the Lord, to sing to the Lord, to rejoice in the Lord, to declare His name. Our Lord has blessed us beyond words. His saving grace towards His children and all His benefits to us to innumerable! As Christians, we have no reason to be down cast. We have every reason to be full of joy and praising His name at all times. Truly, how can we not be full of joy?! May the Lord forgive us for the times when we take our eyes off of Him - for this is when we lose our joy and peace.
"For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
- Proverbs 23:7a -
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee."
- Isaiah 26:3 -
Joy is a choice. Peace is a choice. It is all in where we choose to focus - where we choose to put our minds. And we must remember that:
"Ye are of God, little children,
and have overcome them:
because greater is he that is in you,
than he that is in the world."
~ 1 John 4:4 ~
Let us choose to set our minds on praising and thanking our Lord, to have joy and peace in Him, and to declare His wonderful name and amazing works. As we look to His word and think on Him and all He has done, who can help but not praise and thank Him with a joyful heart?
May ye each have a wonderful weekend, and be encouraged and refreshed spiritually!
Recently I have been struggling with discouragement. I share this not to complain, but because I would like to share how the Lord is helping me to battle against it. If we as Christians always "look like we've got it all together" we will never be an encouragement to others and we will hinder ourselves from honest transparency and growth.
The other morning when I was really feeling discouraged, the Lord brought to my mind that I need to speak His truth to myself. I don't need to focus on the circumstances - I need to focus on truth, on God's word, on His commands, on His promises. So, praying for help and guidance, I started studying.
The first thing I did was start with scriptural commands that applied to me:
Do not fear
Do not be anxious
Sometimes we forget what God has commanded. by being fearful and anxious I am in disobedience to Him. That's not where I want to be!
Next, I started looking for passages of scripture that applied to what I was struggling with.
The Lord directed my steps to this passage in Numbers. Once I found this passage, I started thinking on application. Here is the passage, and my thoughts on it.
"And they journeyed from mount
Hor by the way of the Red sea, to
compass the land
of Edom: and the soul of
the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses,
Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for
there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light
bread. And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they
bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have
sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the
LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people."
- Numbers 21:4-7 -
The people were
discouraged because of the difficulty of the way they were called to walk.Because of this discouragement they began to
complain and speak against the Lord and the man God had appointed to lead them.The Lord punished them severely for their
When things get hard
- Make sure we are in
the way God has called and that we are following the leadership and guidelines
He has placed before us.Sometimes
difficulty comes when we are walking in disobedience.I must make sure I am not creating my own
- When things get
difficult, don’t look at the circumstances.We must keep the end goal in mind.We are pilgrims being called to another realm.The temporal is only a tool and means in His
- Do not lose
heart.Speak truth to yourself.My greatest fears come not from reality but
from what I imagine could happen.Fear
comes from the “what if” and the “how is this going to work?”God didn’t give the children of Israel a detailed plan for getting out of Egypt
to living in the promised land.He just
guided them step by step..I must be
willing to just follow His leading step by step.
- Do not
complain.We must not grumble against
the way the Lord is leading us.Everything is part of His plan, so we must take it patiently as
that.We must have faith, trust, and
obey.We must choose to be thankful for
His plan and for His guidance.We must
refuse to complain because of difficulty or uncertainty.This will keep us from becoming blinded by
- If I have sinned by
not walking in the way God would have for me, by not obeying the guidance He
has given me, or by complaining against how He is working, I must confess this
and repent of it.I must turn my heart,
and ask the Lord to turn my heart, to thankfulness and trust.Start speaking the truths of God’s word to
your heart and thanking Him for the ways He is working in the circumstances in
your life for your sanctification.
I was so thankful for how the Lord directed me during this time, and am continuing to study His word for truth to use. The battle is not over, but He has given me weapons to fight with, and by His grace I am seeking to win each battle as it comes. I hope that as I've shared this that it has been at least a small encouragement to some. The Lord is always with us - closer than any battle we are fighting - and with Him we can always win!
"For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world:
and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."
This December we took a mile-marker, memory-maker trip. Our first family trip to the beach! Having grown up in the Ohio/Indiana area our whole lives, ocean waves and sandy beaches are a beauty that has never been a reality for us. So... after moving to south Georgia and gaining some wonderful church family in north Florida, our sense of culture and landscape are being broadened greatly. :-) We were thankful for this opportunity, and that we got to do it as a family. Our Lord's handiwork is truly amazing! Here are some pictures from our time at St. George Island, Florida.
The St. George Island Bridge
We were a little unsure about how we would feel while crossing this four mile long bridge, but once we got to it, we decided that it wasn't nerve-wracking at all, but greatly enjoyed the amazing view over open water.
While crossing the bridge to get to St. George Island the sun was beginning to set.
Seeing the sun set over the open water was truly beautiful!
Welcome to St. George Island! :-)
Even though it was almost dark when we got there, after we checked in at our hotel we had to make a quick trip to the beach. Even in the dark it was pretty neat.
At the door to our room at the "St. George Inn".
Our first night there we enjoyed spending the evening settling into our room, eating pizza, playing cards, etc.
Britt, Bell, and Bree
a sister shot taken by Mom while playing cards
In the morning we headed to the beach.
The kids were all thrilled! (Not to mention we adults.) :-)
The endless water, the waves, the sand, the shells, were all amazing!
Bell and Ti enjoying the water.
I love their delighted smiles in this picture.
Bell found a neat little shell that looked like a butterfly. So, we had to get a picture.
There were so many shells. - We were amazed!
Everyone had lots of fun collecting them and showing each other.
The kids came home with bag fulls. :-)
Leaving the beach to head back to the Inn for lunch.
A quick pic on the dock in front of the lighthouse.
Saturday afternoon, getting ready to head back to the beach!
We were intrigued with this sign and flag at the main entrance dock to the beach. Bree had to snap a picture.
Water Closed to Public
High Hazard - (what it was the day we were there)
Dangerous Marine Life - (!? sounds interesting ?!)
A shot entering the beach.
(Bree was sweet and took this one.)
Running on the sandy beach was a neat experience in itself.
Love this one of Sarah - sweet, carefree delight. :-)
Running down to the water.
Feeling the water coming in was amazing.
Sarah enjoying the cool water and the waves.
Titus and Sarah standing in the waves as they came in.
Elizabeth, standing amazed and thrilled.
Mom and All We Girls
The little ones chasing a bird.
We were amazed at how close these little birds would come to where we were.
Of course they wouldn't let us get too close. :-)
Writing notes in the sand and watching the water gently wash them away.
Breanna enjoying the breathtaking view.
Taking a stroll on the beach.
Mom and Baby :-)
Sisters make the best friends. :-)
Though we look forward to seeing what the Lord's plans are for the future,
we are both so grateful for this precious time we have right now at home with our family.
Dad and Titus walking the beach.
Wading as the waves come in.
Dad and We Kids
Father and Son
These are some special guys. We are very thankful for both of them!
Mom and Dad
Wonderful parents, fully committed to the Lord and each other.
Bell's sunshine and shells.
Mom, Dad, and Baby :-)
I love these pictures of Sarah.
creativity, anticipation, calm fascination
We had a lot of fun building sandcastles and motes, trying to protect them from the waves coming in, but trying to get the motes to fill up with water.
Our ingenious little guy made a trowel out of a large, broken shell to dig their mote.
Dad and Bree
Britt, Bree, and Ti
We tried to go out as far as we could to feel the waves.
Family Picture Time!
We had fun with these.
All we "Alexander Girls"
Mom and Dad taking a sunset walk on the beach.
Something they've always wanted to do.
St. George Island Lighthouse
It was a full, delightful weekend of new experiences and precious family time. The ocean is such an amazing sight! It is peaceful and strong , awe-striking and breathtaking. We all enjoyed the time spent walking in the water's edge, in the waves, and on the sand, collecting shells, watching the birds, and just walking and sitting quietly in the sand looking out across the water. The handiwork of our God is truly amazing!