“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 4 These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joyand thanksgiving among the festive throng.
5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and 6 my God.
My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar. 7 Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. 8 By day the LORD directs His love, at night His song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?” 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?” 11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. Psalms 42:1-11 NIV
King David was a man who was hungry and thirsty for God. He had a great reverence and respect for the presence of God. Even when he became a great king, he continued to humble himself before the Lord and give God all the glory and honor. He went through hard times just as all of us do, but he kept his heart right before the Lord. He made mistakes and wrong choices, he even committed murder in his quest to cover his sin of adultery, but he was quick to repent when God confronted him.
Through his lifetime, he endured a lot of persecution and hardship. Even though he was God’s anointed, he had to run for his life – first from Saul and then from his own son – and live in caves. There were many times when he felt miserable, abandoned and neglected. However, he maintained his relationship with the Lord by praising and worshipping Him and by rejoicing in His Word and His goodness. Because he continued to praise God in the good times and the bad – God protected him and delivered him – even though he was chased and threatened, his enemies never could get the victory over him. He knew Who his Rock was – he knew Who watched over him, protected him and provided for him on a daily basis.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 NIV
We need to encourage each other and ourselves in the Lord. We need to remind each other that, as we honor Him, God is on our side. We need to tell our soul – our mind, will and emotions – how they feel and not allow them to dictate how we feel. We need to control our feelings and not let them control us. Your feelings are inconsistent and unreliable – they change with the weather; they get offended; they don’t naturally display the fruit of the Spirit. Your Spirit needs to take control over your flesh and your feelings and tell them what to do and feel. Tell yourself to be joyful and cheerful. Tell yourself to rejoice. Begin to praise the Lord and your feelings will come into line.
Even if you feel bad, if you make your face smile, you will already feel better. Doctors say that smiling and laughing causes a chemical reaction in your body that makes you feel much better than you did before. But God already knew that a long time ago. He knows that as we praise Him and as we rejoice, we will begin to throw off our mourning clothes and put on robes of rejoicing. As you praise your feelings feel better. You were created to praise God and that is why you feel so good when you do it. God inhabits the praises of His people. When you praise, He shows up and when He shows up, the devil departs in a hurry. He cannot hang around in the presence of God – he cannot function in an atmosphere of praise.
Why do you think that he tries so hard to prevent you from praising God? He tries to convince you that you can’t do anything unless you “feel” like it. He tries to make you feel shy and embarrassed about praising God. But when you get a revelation of how much God loves you and that He is on your side – even when your circumstances are really, really bad – you can begin to praise Him and see His hand move on your behalf to change your situation. Don’t wait to feel good before you choose to praise God. Tell your feelings what they should feel, begin to praise God, and then see His mighty works in your life!