One of my defining moments in life came during one of my darkest seasons. I was struggling with my college classes, I had no vision for my life, I was depressed, discouraged, defeated... I didn't have much, if any, hope for a positive future.
I was sitting on my bed, reading a book called "Restoring your Shield of Faith" by Chuck Pierce, when I got to a section about praise. He was talking about praising God when you don't feel like it... well I didn't feel like it! I remember telling God how much I didn't feel like praising Him when I felt so low and hopeless. I then heard Him speak to me very clearly, He challenged me to try it out! I finally agreed after some mumbling and picked up my guitar. I have to say that I had no faith whatsoever that anything would change by doing this! It's a good thing that God is ok with my unbelief, and it's an even better thing that He challenges me so I don't stay there!
As I reluctantly started playing my guitar and singing a song that I knew, the presence of God filled my little room. I wept as the love of God broke through the hopelessness and discouragement in my heart. My faith soared as I remembered that He was real and that He really does love me! That experience has marked me over these last 10 years since I had it. It altered the course of my life forever.
I wish I could say that I had that experience every time I picked up my guitar after that, but I didn't! However, Jesus gave me a valuable key that day that continues to grow in me and continues to push back discouragement, hopelessness, despair whenever it comes against me. He really does inhabit the praises of His people! The longer I walk this out the easier it is to enter into His sweet presence and enjoy this relationship that He has so wonderfully given us! We were made for his glorious presence!
I am not saying this is a quick fix by any means because it requires a shift in our minds and hearts. It is a lifestyle that we have to develop over months and years. So if you are feeling down, discouraged or hopeless I challenge you to start praising Him for who He is and what He's done. It will shift the atmosphere around you and in you. It will align your heart and mind with heaven. Whether we feel it or not, Jesus is amazing!
I pray you encounter Jesus today and everyday as you grow in Him! Blessings!