When I Don't Feel Like Rejoicing by Athena Ramsey
Oh hey, short on time? No worries! I'd love to join you on your commute or daily walk/run, or shoot, even while you take care of that to-do list. We can't let these things get in the way of this friendship. It's just starting to get good! Click below to listen to the blogcast.
August, for me anyway, always serves as a reminder that summer has an expiration date. Part of me welcomes this, eagerly awaiting a change in temperatures and relief from the sweltering Oklahoma heat. Part of me sighs, knowing the longer days will become short once again.
Being the optimist that I am, this reminder energizes me to make the most of the time we have for this season - maybe even revisit that Summer Bucket List. Today, my new friend, Athena Ramsey is sharing a childhood memory she shared with her brother and helping us see how one summer bucket list activity in particular can provide us with fun memories and strengthen our faith at the same time.
Athena is a wife and mother of four lively boys who range in age from college-age to preschool. Originally from Queens, NY, she now lives with her family in North Carolina. Through her hard-won wisdom raising her family, she serves as the co-host of the podcast: Torn: Finding a Mom Life Balance. Additionally, she is the author of small group studies and founder of Esperanza ministry. Through this, she desires to equip women with knowledge of the word of God so they can be encouraged in their daily lives and extend a hand to walk in unity + love with other women in Christ.
We lay side-by-side staring up at the dark summer sky drawn to its brilliance. The trampoline tarp holding our elementary school-aged frames between earth below and heaven above. We stare. We wait. My brother and I trying our best efforts not to blink. What if we missed the shooting star?
The velvet sky, decorated with bright shining jewels. We stare amazed. Night after night, hurrying after dinner and sunset to lay and wait for the night sky to leave us in awe.
My comprehension, dark as the night sky, hampered my curiosity about who or what created or held those balls of gas in place. I simply praised the stars because of their beauty. Never once considering their origin or purpose.
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! - Psalm 148:3 ESV
Oh, how I treasured those nights with my brother. Laying still with our mouths gaping wide open at the vastness of the sky and all that it contained. Unbeknownst to me then but I now acknowledge we were engulfed by praise. The stars shine in their brilliance to praise their Creator. The moonlight all rays of praise.
Let them praise the name of the Lord! For he commanded and they were created. - Psalm 148:5 ESV
I missed the opportunity as a child to praise the One who commanded and brought forth the created. But no more! Now I see. Now I hear. Now I feel. Praise. Praise all around me. Whether we look up or down creation is praising Him! The praises of creation surround us on all sides. Creation catches our attention not to draw praise from us for themselves, but rather to invite us to praise the Creator alongside them.
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! - Psalm 148:11-12 ESV
Creation invites us into their song!
We, deemed by the Creator the most pleasant of His creations, are invited to sing.
Let them praise the name of the Lord, For His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven. - Psalm 148:13 NKJV
Let us the Redeemed join in with the song of creation! Let us praise the name above all names! Let the Creator’s name inspire our praise!
Jesus, the name who saves the souls of men, for
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. - Romans 10:14
Jesus, the name when prayed causes Father God to respond, for when we ask it in Jesus name He does and glorifies the Father (John 14:13).
Jesus, the name when spoken demons tremble, for Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name! (Luke 10:17).
Today, creation beckons us, “Praise, the Lord!”
Is the song within you stifled? Pause, dear friend, and look at the heavens above and the earth below for inspiration. Pause. Notice creation acting in natural form. Stars twinkling and shining forth their light! The moon lights the path of the night by reflecting the sun. No striving. No performing. Simply praising the Lord through being His creation.
Creation invites us again today, “Praise, the Lord!”
Let us respond naturally. No striving. No pretenses. Purely praise!
Purely praise of the name of Jesus rolling off our lips!
Praise because God, The Holy Spirit, and Jesus commanded, and we were created in the image of the living God.
Today I choose to join in with creation! I sing!
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! - Psalm 148:1
Join in with your song. Your Creator waits.
Now, It's Your Turn!
Before opening God's Word, take a moment to pray and ask God to meet you there. Then...
Read Psalm 148 a couple times. Highlight what stands out to you.
Circle verbs or specific wording you notice.
Then, write down a bullet point takeaway based on this. "I-statements" help make this personal. Think of this as a challenge statement.
When I feel the song of praise stifled within me, I can look at God's creation for inspiration.
Then, jot down a question or two to think about today. You don't have to have the answer to this question now. And yield to the Holy Spirit - prayerfully ask God to search your heart and lead you to more truth and grow your faith through the Holy Spirit.
How can I be intentional to praise God today? What changes within me as I speak the name of Jesus over my day and my circumstances? How can I join creation in its song?
Again, we don't have to be Bible scholars and talk only in the thou's and art's of King James version to read this book. ...because when we pray before we read, we are not alone. The Holy Spirit is with us, guiding and teaching us.
Praise God for this!
And praise God for refreshment as we are intentional to spend a summer in the Psalms together, for if we want His truth to ever be on our lips, it must first be planted in our hearts.
Our strength grows as we rely on strength from above. Our joy grows as we see God transforming us from the inside out. Our peace grows as we spend time in God's presence, and we find rest when we intentionally seek the Lord first in our lives, for the Lord is ever our portion.
The good life, well it starts with a good day. Then another. Then another. Let's choose to live #TheGoodDay one day at a time.
I love hearing from you, so go ahead. Leave a comment. Be brave. Maybe your comment will speak life into someone else!
*Commenting is reserved for site members. Already subscribed but not yet a member? No problem. Becoming a member is easy! Just click "Log In / Sign Up" in the actions at the top of this page. Then, you can quickly and easily add comments!