Exchanging the Pity Party for Praise

READ: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)

TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: When we find ourselves swimming in all types of tests and trials, it’s easy to slip into hopelessness and self-pity. However, when we do the hard work of digging deep, to worship God during our trials, we find a strength we would never find at a pity party. This is why the Bible tells us to: “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV).

There’s no time for a pity party when you’re distracted with thanksgiving. Like light to darkness, a change in your perspective has the power to eliminate the negative emotions associated with self-pity.  I encourage you today to lose the invitation to that pity party, and start thinking on what you have to be grateful for, regardless of your situation.

PRAY: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for being with me through all my tests and trials. I pray for strength to stay focused on You and to always remember You are greater than my troubles. In Jesus’ Christ Name, I pray, Amen.

REFLECT: How has God shown Himself greater than your tests and trials?

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CONNECT: Find more encouragement from Christina Patterson at www.belovedwomen.org and download her “Worry-Free” video Bible study + prayer guide here.

© 2019 by Christina Patterson. All rights reserved.


Joy a countdown of Christmas

Joy in Human Form

When you think of the word “joy,” what comes to mind? 

If you were an Israelite living in Old Testament times, it would have looked like shouting for joy in worship, expressing delight in religious ceremonies, and reflecting with gladness over specific examples of God’s faithfulness to your people. 

Things change slightly in the New Testament. Because of Christ’s birth, joy is not only expected, it is also a praise-filled assurance that abides in you—reminding you that God keeps His promises and is working everything out for your good and His glory. Joy helps you fix your eyes on Jesus and point others to Jesus because joy fulfilled is Jesus.  

As you continue to celebrate the coming of Christmas, take a moment to thank God for the joy that entered the world the moment Jesus gave up heaven to become Immanuel, “God with us.”

Pray this Prayer: 

Lord God, with You I have everything I need. Thank you for becoming “God with us.” Thank you for being the source of our joy and the reason I worship. Thank you for choosing to become the ultimate sacrifice so that I could know you personally and intimately. Because of You, I have a reason to worship.

Give up or God

“Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.”
2 Corinthians 4:1 (NLT)

Problems kept piling up — many of which I had no power or resources to resolve. I was perpetually living in survival mode and found myself simply spent.

One morning, after another set of seemingly hopeless issues reared their ugly heads, tears began to roll. I let out a heavy sigh and in a quivering voice spoke out loud, “God, I literally don’t think I can take anymore.”

Maybe you can relate.

Maybe you’re a single parent, like me, and financial worries coupled with the emotional weight of parenting and being alone feels overwhelming …

Maybe you try to live frugally, yet money never seems to stretch far enough …

Maybe you’re unhappy at your job, but no other opportunities have arisen …

Maybe your heart longs for a husband, but you’re tired of the dating game …

Maybe you feel unloved or betrayed by someone close to you, and nothing seems to improve no matter how hard you pray …

Maybe your circumstances feel out-of-control and change seems hopeless …

The day I said “I can’t take this anymore,” I felt like giving up. Maybe you’ve felt that way, too.

But upon uttering those words and admitting my weakness, I felt a nudge to my spirit. I knew I needed to focus on God instead of my circumstances and worries. I needed to refocus on what He had done in my life, rather than what He had not yet done. I needed to believe instead of doubt Him, and place my trust in the only One who actually could fix things.

As I intentionally adjusted my focus, hope and peace slowly returned. Faith alone helped me to God-up instead of give up. Not because I had the strength to do so, but because I had God’s strength within me which pushed me forward in faith, just like the apostle Paul.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul encouraged the church at Corinth not to give up. He reminded the people they each held a treasure in their heart — the spirit of God — which was the sole reason they could persevere when they felt like quitting in the face of adversities, especially when it came to defending the gospel.

Second Corinthians 4:1 says, “Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.” We see proof that although he stumbled, Paul consistently focused on God. The “new way” he referenced meant we don’t have to follow endless laws like in the Old Testament, because we have His spirit within us since Jesus died on the cross. Instead, we can enjoy the gifts of grace, mercy, hope and strength.

We read throughout Scripture that every time Paul wanted to give up, he chose to God-up instead. He chose to depend on God’s power and strength instead of his own.

Paul’s faith equipped and inspired him to keep going to God, despite earthly, common-sense reasons to quit. Over his lifetime, Paul suffered greatly: He was imprisoned, beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, chased mercilessly by enemies, and lived fearfully in caves.

He suffered mental and spiritual exhaustion in addition to physical pain, hunger, thirst and difficult living conditions. That’s enough to make anyone want to give up! Yet despite his weakest moments, he never did.

The choices Paul made each day to God-up instead of give up filled him with strength and perseverance he could have never found on his own.

Maybe for reasons only you and God know, you’ve found yourself saying “I can’t take anymore,” too. Maybe giving up hope about that difficult situation, problem or relationship seems easier than hanging on to it. It’s okay. Everyone struggles with those thoughts and feelings at times. But like Paul, the moment we catch ourselves feeling that way we can choose to give up or God-up.

We can let our thoughts and feelings deplete us of strength, hope and joy, or we can lean fully into God and ask for Him to carry us in our weakest moments.

When we God-up, instead of give up, God will always show up.

Lord, I’m tired. And I really do secretly want to give up. Please fill my heart with peace. Help me see You at work in the situations in my life and trust You are in control. Replace my hopelessness with happiness in You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” (NLT)

For practical tips and strategies on how to change your thinking so you can learn to God-up instead of give up in frustrating circumstances, purchase Tracie Miles’ book, Unsinkable Faith: God-filled Strategies for Transforming the Way You Think, Feel and Live.

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What situation do I feel I just can’t take anymore? Have I asked God for the strength to persevere or do I feel like caving in to the temptation to give up instead?

How might my life change if I began to God-up today?

© 2017 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.