Transitions: Let Me Live That I May Praise You
One thing I think all of us have in common at some point in our lives is going through some sort of transition. Whether big or small, transitions can be hard. But life is full of them and full of ups and downs as well.
God Changed My Heart
I feel like I have also had many transitions in my life.
In college, I was sure that I wanted to teach music and live in Oklahoma the rest of my life.
God surprisingly changed my heart and led me to Germany. I spent 5 years living in Germany and serving as a missionary. It was my full time job.
At the end of the 5 years, we decided it was time to move back to Oklahoma and see what God had in store for us here. That transition was probably one of the most difficult transitions I have been through, but I don’t regret any of the experiences I had through it all.
One aspect of that transition that was difficult was the fact that I had been a full time missionary, whose job was to spread the Good News as much as possible on a daily basis. Coming to Oklahoma, I had to struggle with finding my identity and my “job title”.
Here, I was, a stay-at-home Mom and wife.
I didn’t feel like I had a specific task, besides taking care of my family, which I know is a very important task.
I felt like something was missing, though.
Then, I came to the realization that even though my official title was not “Missionary” anymore, I was still a child of God and my task on this earth was to still be a missionary wherever I was.
My name doesn’t have to be on a church bulletin under the list of Missionaries, to be a Missionary.
Same Passion, Different Location
My passion was still the same… to spread the love of God and teach the Good News as much as possible on a daily basis. It may look different than it did when I lived in Germany, but every day I have to find ways to share that love with others.
Fulling Our Passion Purpose
We as Christians, all have the same title as Missionary.
We are all here on this earth for a reason. Our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus are, and should always be, our first love.
No matter what our professional titles may be, or no matter what transitions we may be going through, the constant is our love for God and hopefully our passion to share that with others.
No matter what job or responsibilities we have to take care of, our greatest responsibility is to share our love of God with others.
Psalms: That I may Praise You
Let’s look at the Psalms and talk more about this passion for God and how we can live it out.
In Psalm 119:169, I feel like the author is praying for God to help them grow that passion and to live it out.
169 May my cry come before you, Lord;
give me understanding according to your word.
170 May my supplication come before you;
deliver me according to your promise.
171 May my lips overflow with praise,
for you teach me your decrees.
172 May my tongue sing of your word,
for all your commands are righteous.
173 May your hand be ready to help me,
for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, Lord,
and your law gives me delight.
175 Let me live that I may praise you,
and may your laws sustain me.
176 I have strayed like a lost sheep.
Seek your servant,
for I have not forgotten your commands.
Our Passion in Perspective
I just love that passage in Psalms. It really puts the phrase being passionate about our relationship with God into perspective.
Some of the words that are used could help us understand how we can be passionate about our relationship with God too.
Psalm 119:169 – Crying Out
In verse 169, the author cries out to God. In any situation, whether difficult or crying out with praise for the good things He does for us, crying out is a beautiful thing. Just like in our prayer lives and being in His presence, we should communicate our feelings to Him.
I still remember a good friend of mine sharing a Psalm with me and telling me it was ok to tell God how I felt, even in deep sadness. He showed me the examples that are written in the Psalms and how open and honest David was about his feelings.
God wants us to openly communicate with Him. It can bring us closer to Him.
Psalm 119:169 – Give Me Understanding
The second part of verse 169 says, “give me understanding.” Understanding His word, and especially searching for understanding of His word by studying it, is another way to show our passion.
How can we understand God better without being in His word and studying and trying to understand His words better?
Psalm 119:170 – Supplication
Verse 170 uses the word supplication. The definition of supplication is the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly. Similar to crying out to Him, is being in supplication.
Have you ever had a time in your life, when you were on your knees, begging for God to help you? I have, and although it was not the happiest point in my life, I never have felt closer to God, than when I was in supplication to Him, asking Him to help me in that time in my life.
Going through that was a bonding experience with God. I felt his presence at my darkest hour.
Psalm 1119:171 – Overflow with Praise
Verse 171 says, “May my lips overflow with praise.” How much do we talk about our love of God in our everyday lives?
I know at times I’m guilty of staying quiet about it, especially around others that I know don’t share my beliefs. Is that what we are supposed to do?
I know we have to use discernment in regards to talking about our faith with others. On one hand, we don’t want to bombard someone who is already cynical or negative about God or our beliefs. We could possibly cause them to put up more barriers if we’re too pushy.
Also, for someone who doesn’t even know God, it may seem like a foreign language to them. I know how frustrating and discouraging that can be because of my experience in Germany. I remember wanting nothing more than to take part in a conversation, but instead just sitting there silently, trying to understand what is being said.
Let’s also think about how people who don’t know God might feel if we were to seemingly start to speak another language. There are small ways we can let our faith be known, without putting any pressures on others or making them feel frustrated.
If we can share about how we believe God helped us through something, could it possibly pique their interest?
We can’t control if someone believes that God truly did help us, but if we show how certain we are, is that not planting the seed?
Maybe just showing our sincere faith is what they need to see in order to question their own faith.
Hopefully, we can find small ways to express our praise to God and let others know about our faith.
Also, being genuinely grateful and telling God how thankful we are for the things He has done for us is so important. We need to tell Him how much we love and appreciate Him.
If you’re a parent, you know the amazing feeling you get when your child sees the many sacrifices you make for them and then thank you for it. There have been times when I’ve gone out of my way to do something for my kids, only to be frustrated that I did them, because it either didn’t end with good behavior from them or they didn’t thank me for the lengths I went to. But when they see my efforts and thank me with grateful hearts, it really warms my heart and makes me so happy to see their appreciation.
I know I shouldn’t always expect appreciation, but it sure does feel good when I get it. I think God must feel the same way when we turn to Him and thank Him for the things He does for us!
Psalm 146:2 says,
“I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.” I want my lips to overflow with praise and I hope we can also find the many positive things that God does and thank Him for it!”
Psalm 119:172 – Sing Your Word
Verse 172 says that we “sing of your word.” As some of you know, music is very important to me. I love singing and I feel so much closer to God when I can be singing and worshiping Him. There is something special about singing praises to our Savior.
I love the verse Psalm 84:4 that says,
“Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise!”
What joy God must feel to hear His beloved children singing praises to Him! I can’t wait to sing in heaven someday with all of God’s children! I can’t even imagine how wonderful that will be!
Psalms 119:173 – Choosing God’s Precepts
Verse 173 says that I have chosen your precepts (commandments/ instructions). To choose something isn’t just to mentally decide on something, but it also means to actively choose it by following the precepts or commands and instructions.
If we don’t follow what God instructs us to do, how can we be close to Him or show our passion for Him to others?
It looks a little hypocritical if we say one thing, but do another, doesn’t it?
I know I’m not perfect and do and say things I regret all the time, but if I’m not constantly trying to correct myself and better myself to be more like Christ, then I’m not any better than the Pharisees were during the time of Jesus’ life.
In Matthew 15, the Pharisees asked Jesus why the disciples broke the tradition of the elders. The disciples didn’t wash their hands when they ate. Jesus’ answer to them was basically, “why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
In verses 7-9, Jesus calls them hypocrites and quotes Isaiah, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
It is important that our beliefs and choices are lived out through our actions and that our hearts are fully invested in God’s instructions.
Psalm 119:174 – Delighting
Verse 174 says that “I long for your salvation and your law is my delight.” This makes me think of Psalm 42:1-2.
As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Have you ever longed to see someone? Maybe your spouse, significant other, family member or best friend?
Maybe it’s been awhile or you are far away? You can’t wait to talk to them or see them and hug them.
Do we feel this same longing to spend time with God? Are we excited to get to have some quiet time in prayer and stillness with Him?
Sometimes, I forget that is the kind of longing He wants us to have in our relationship with Him. I hope that I can grow in that longing and delight in my Savior every day.
Psalms 119: 175 – Live that I may Praise you
Verse 175 is probably my favorite verse. “Let me live that I may praise you.” I pray that my whole life can be praise for God and I hope that I can always re-evaluate my life to see if that is how I’m living.
Psalm 150:6 says,
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”
Every single one of us were created with God’s breath so that we could live with Him and for Him and praise Him!
Colossions 3:17 says,
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Every moment of our lives should be lived TO and FOR Him, who has done so much for us! I love the words in the hymn “O Sacred Head” that say, “Lord, let me never, never, outlive my love for Thee.”
Psalms 119:176 – We Have Strayed
Verse 176 says we have strayed like a lost sheep. We also need to realize our faults and failures and ask God to forgive us and to please continue searching for us and bringing us back to the fold.
We need our Savior and we must realize that need.
Also, we can’t forget His commands. We may temporarily forget and make mistakes, but we need these to be in our hearts and minds and never permanently forgotten. We should continually remind ourselves of these commandments.
I hope this is a helpful reminder to always be passionate about our faith in relationship in Christ!
Prayer Over Our Hearts
Dear Heavenly Father,
We thank you so much for your goodness, your faithfulness and your love. May you help us to be unified together through your Spirit and may we all seek you every day.
We want to be passionate about you in all that we do and say every day. Help us to rekindle our passion for you and to spread it to others.
It’s in Jesus’ Holy name that we pray, Amen.