Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God, saying, "Glory to God…" Day and night they do not cease… -- Luke 2:13-14, Revelation 4:8
Angels praise God without ceasing. But sometimes this AnGeL finds it requires intentional focused effort to maintain uninterrupted praise. Especially when life unravels and I’m hit with multiple problems at the same time. Let me share just a few of the ones that occurred within the two months leading up to Christmas…
At the end of October, my husband was hospitalized, then my father was hospitalized. My father was released in time for his 95th birthday, and I drove the four hours up to his home in order to celebrate. I returned to my husband, who then was also released and came home. Two days later I left him in the hands of a daughter and friends, and drove to the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove where I led a four-day intensive seminar for leaders. The day the seminar began, my husband had an emergency which I helped to manage with several long distance phone calls and consultations. I completed my responsibilities at The Cove; then on the return trip home, I received a call asking me to turn around, as my father was being readmitted to the hospital. I declined, knowing I had to get back to my husband. I spoke with my father’s doctors by conference call that night. The next day, I once again found myself sitting with my husband in the emergency room. He was sent home, but the following afternoon, I had no option but to put him on an ambulance ninety minutes before I stepped up on a platform to address 1200 people at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes fundraiser. While I was speaking, he was readmitted to the hospital with the help of dear friends. At the same time, my father was released, but this time my husband remained for twelve more days. As I write this, I am sitting in my husband’s room at a rehabilitation center where he is trying to regain his health and strength. In addition to all of the above, I had other ministry responsibilities to complete…and major decisions to make… and Christmas to celebrate…
I share these things not to provoke sympathy, but to relate a lesson God taught me in the midst of the turmoil. One morning, in my devotions, I was meditating on Matthew 26:30. Jesus and His disciples had finished their last supper. Jesus knew He was being betrayed by one of His best friends at that very moment. He knew He was facing imminent arrest, trials, torture, crucifixion, and death. He bore the eternal weight of responsibility for fully completing His Father’s will and redeeming mankind from sin. If ever there were multiple reasons for praise being interrupted, Jesus had them on that Thursday night. Yet Matthew 26:30 says that He sang! That was stunning to me. And the thought was not encouraging…it was deeply convicting. If He maintained His praise under that kind of monumental pressure and stress, why don’t I? Surely, it’s a choice.
With sincere repentance and deep humility, as I drove to sit beside my husband once again, I silently began to sing. There was no tune. Just words of praise for the faithfulness, strength, grace, presence, lovingkindness, and tender touch of the One who will never leave me or forsake me. The One whose everlasting arms are beneath me. The One who upholds me with His righteous right hand. The One who has given me the bright hope for a heavenly future. As I pulled into the parking lot of the rehab center, I found that my spirits had lifted, and the smile on my lips was coming from my heart.
As you and I face the New Year that will surely contain many problems, crises, and challenges, would you join this AnGeL in giving glory to God by choosing to praise Him? Then keep on praising Him…
For His glory,
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NOW AVAILABLE AS A CHILDREN'S BOARD BOOK
Heaven: God's Promise for Me
Thank you for writing the book, Heaven: God’s Promise for Me. My granddaughter, Caylee, died from brain cancer. She was 37 months old. Her favorite book during her last two months of life was yours. The pastor who led the funeral called the children up front and read parts of this wonderful book. What an amazing tool to share the Gospel!!
I read Heaven: God’s Promise for Me to my grandchildren (ages 9, 8, and 5) this past Monday and they all wanted to pray the special invitation to Jesus to come into their hearts! What a blessing this book is! They also loved the art and finding the angels in the pictures! Praise God! Good Lord willing, I also plan to share it with my children’s church children (all boys!).
Two more little children accepted Jesus today after reading your book. Loved the story, thank you so much. One tearfully happy momma.
. . . We eagerly anticipate blessing from the same content published as a board book for small children ages 1 to 5.