Ps 28:7 The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy, I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.
Years ago, a study showed that people, especially those with devastating or terminal illness responded better to medical treatment if they laugh. I want to take it one-step further to praise. Praise can be as simple as a compliment or approval of a coworker for a job well done or admiration of a friend who did something nice for you like sending a get well card.
As Christians, we know that praise used against spiritual warfare is effective. Satan can use any negative thought or action to bring us down but, complete focus on and praise to the one who controls everything is the power that breaks all those chains. Unbelief is another that can sneak in. When life is trying to bring you down, go to your quiet place, even if is only in your mind, and praise God for everything in your life. Think about all that he is doing for you every minute and PRAISE him.
So many times working in NICU, having a bad day would cause me to stop and think about what was really going on. Perhaps a medication dose needed to be changed or maybe the noise level of the room was overwhelming the baby. Taking a minute or even a break to clear my mind, I started praising God and thanking him for all the times, he brought me through worse situations. Before long I would go back not only feeling better but also have the ability and strength to complete the task that was causing so many problems. As I reflect on my career, I just have to praise him again for all the times he helped me and realize that he was with me every day as I cared for his tiniest little sheep.


Ps 22:1-2 My God, my God, why have you abandoned (forsaken) me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.

David gives an amazing description of what would happen to the Messiah hundreds of years later. Jesus spoke the first part while he hung on the cross. At either time, day or night, were these words spoken in hopelessness or in hope? David was going through a great test or trial, but with suffering, he gained victory. Feeling hopeless but praying in hope is the key to that victory.
David felt hopeless. Sometimes Christians are taught we will never endure hopelessness and if we do, it is because of failure, sin in our lives or lack of faith. David demonstrates here, that believers do hurt. Sure, we may have a problem with sin or lack of faith, but if Jesus endured feeling forsaken and hopeless, why shouldn’t we? From experiences, David knew God would fulfill his promises.
Just as verse, one and two express the hopelessness of life, verses 3 and 4 validate all the hope that we can receive. David realizes that God already answered his prayer because our ancestors had received the answer. Therefore, hope was alive and he held onto that hope throughout his life. Can we do any less? Jesus died for us all and gives us hope every day.


Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer.
Think about your life. Did the sun rise or set? Did you see a flower or a rainbow? Did that moment “speak” to you? If so, these are the words of God because he made everything on earth for us. He speaks to us in a language of love.
Have you ever said something and then regretted it? I have. Once, while working, a conversation about Disney World “gay week” occurred. When asked if I would go, I said, absolutely not! Several friends were offended and questioned me about God’s love for all people. At first, I was at a loss. I remembered the above scripture and asked God for the correct words.
I wanted to explain that God loves everyone but there are times God is not pleased with people’s actions. Several became defensive and asked “why”. I knew that God examines every word and thought so I regretted getting into this discussion. I wanted to explain God’s words on homosexuality but knew this was not the time or place. Instead, I said that in all fairness when Disney sponsors Christian week then we could talk about it again.
Human effort rarely works, but God will give us wisdom to control the tongue. When I realized that God judges on thoughts and words, I summoned extra effort to think and speak more positively, be non-judgmental and try to avoid gossip.
Controlling our words can be a daily contest but remember who is standing with you. Starting each day knowing that God is present to help in everything makes it easier to choose our words wisely, to smile a little more, be patient in a long line and even sing songs of praise in traffic. Every day, I pray God’s love and wisdom will guide my words and thoughts to be the best I can for him.


Ps 18:1-3 I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise and he saved me from my enemies.
Being a military man David described God in symbols known to him. A rock, a fortress, and a shield. However, he also knew God personally, from his experiences of past victories. He names God as my strength, my savior, my place of safety and the power that saves. Even though most of us have no military background, we need God in all these aspects of life to feel secure and safe.
God is our foundation of rock, a starting point to build our lives. He is our fortress and a shield to protect us from harm. His power gives us the feeling of safety and security throughout our lives. We need these not only to survive but also to thrive.
Survival means to live or exist in spite of danger or hardship. Fear of death is what helps us survive this life. There were times in my life I felt my survival was in question. Each time I survived adversity, whether pain, loneliness, fear or danger, I tried harder, pushed through and thrived. Every time the Lord rescued King David, he prayed, pushed through and thrived in God’s plan.
God created us for a specific purpose and will gives us the tool needed to be our best, do our best, and live for him. In other words, he wants us to not only survive but also thrive as we fulfill his plan. So today, will you merely survive or will you thrive?