Tag Archives: Anne Graham Lotz

A Path Into God’s Heart (Part 3): Powerful Praise

Praise is the switch that turns on the light of joy in our lives even when its dark outside.”—Anne Graham Lotz

Today has been a very rough day…more disappointments, more struggles, more questions about why things happen as they do…not only in my life, but in the lives of those I love.

It is ironic that my subject for this post today was praise.

Then again, it’s actually perfect…because it is so easy to praise when the sun is shining…but to do so during the rough times is often a sheer act of the will.

As Anne Graham Lotz writes: “The highest form of genuine praise is not necessarily a sentimental feeling with tears streaming down your cheeks…genuine praise is the gut-wrenching affirmation of faith uttered in the darkness of desperation as you cling to Him alone.” Pursuing More Of Jesus  pp. 52-52

Praise is one of the most powerful weapons we have.

Psalm 22:3 declares that the Lord is enthroned by our praises.

So, when troubles come, we have a choice: will we choose to enthrone our problems in our hearts…or will we enthrone Jesus?

I can rehearse my problems…which dims His light in my life and drags me deeper into the darkness of self-absorption….or I can recount the multi-faceted wonders of my Savior and His great and precious promises to me.

When Jesus has me on a wild ride and He takes a detour that I had not anticipated—nor wanted—I have learned to soak myself in a particular Scripture that gives me great encouragement. This verse refers to Abraham and his astonishing faith.

God had promised Abraham that He would make him the father of multitudes. There was only one small problem…Abraham was 100 years old and his wife Sarah was in her 90s. Abraham could have easily only focused on the impossibility of his circumstances. Twenty-five years had passed since God gave him that promise. He could have given in to despair…yet he did not allow himself to go down that road. Instead, Scripture tells us what he did:

No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) the promises of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied  and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His Word and do what He had promised.”–Romans 4:20-21 (Amplified Version).

Abraham had no reason for human hope. Sometimes, neither do we. However, Abraham’s hope was not in other humans or improved circumstances.  His hope was in his  God. He had two anchors for his faith: 1)the goodness, power, and trustworthiness of his God; and 2) the reliability of God’s promises.

The same things are available to me. So, when I feel shaken, I can reach for this Scripture and say, ” Lord, I will not permit myself to operate in unbelief. In Your strength, I  will not waver in my determination to trust in You and Your promises. I will not doubt You or question Your goodness.”

That is the first shot fired at the enemy as he seeks to fill me with fear and knock me off balance.

Then comes the knockout punch as I follow Abraham’s lead. Notice what the above verse  says gave Abraham strength and power despite his dispiriting circumstances: PRAISE.

The enemy cannot abide listening to God receive praise.  It is the best way to get rid of him and his incessant taunts and lies. I like how Tony Evans puts it in his book The Battle Is The Lord’s: ” How do we get some R & R from Satan? By praising God. In fact, the stronger the opposition, the more you need to praise God in the midst of your opposition. Satan can’t handle praise. He is allergic to worship. He has to flee, because when we praise God, He shows up to enjoy our praises. And Satan cannot abide the presence of God. So if your adversary is opposing you hard right now, it’s time to praise! When we praise, we resist Satan’s opposition.” (James 4:7), p. 181 

I have learned to begin listing (usually out loud if I can) all the beautiful attributes of Jesus. I praise Him for all that He has done  for me in the past and promises to do in the future. I praise Him for the incredible gift of His Word. There are times when I just open the Psalms and make the psalmist heartfelt praises my own.  And I always thank Him for saving me, for writing my name in the Book of Life. Truth be told, if He never did anything else for me but save me from the hell of eternal separation from Him, that is enough. 

Sometimes, all I can do is whisper His Name over and over again.

Without fail, praising calms my heart, as Jesus draws near and reminds me that He is in full control, regardless of what I see. Praising Him draws me out of myself and into His heart. It reminds me that this life is not about me…it is only and always ultimately about Him. (Colossians 1:15-17)

Praise reminds me that He is able!  :

*to bless you abundantly so that in all things, at all times you have all you need (2 Corinthians 9:8)

*to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)

*to guard what you have entrusted to Him (2 T imothy 1:12)

*to help you when you are tempted (Hebrews 2:18)

*to keep you from stumbling and to present you before His glorious Presence without fault and with great joy (Jude 1:24)

What can you praise Him for today…even in the midst of your trials?

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…(James 4:8)


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The Beautiful in the Ugly

The other day, a dear friend and I were having a heart-to-heart talk.

We are both wrestling with the “whys?” as we each endure a long season that can sometimes sap a soul of strength.  Even when one is surrendered to the sometimes- mysterious- but- always- faithful ways of Jesus, there are still times of weariness.

Prior to our conversation, I had been re-reading One Thousand Gifts  by Ann Voskamp. In chapter 7, Ann recounts a day that was marred by anger, sin, and ugliness. She asks, “How do I  fix this?  Them?  Me?”  

In the messy, Jesus whispers, “What do you want?” and in the ugly, I cry, ‘I want to see YOU…

He speaks soft, “Seek My face.”  

So, Ann begins to count her blessings: “Thank You for here and now. Thank You that You don’t leave us in this mess.” 

Then she writes, ” I look for the ugly-beautiful,  count it as grace, transfigure the mess into joy with thanks.” (pp. 125-127).

And a day is transformed as His grace and love liberated a soul from the suffocating shackles of self.

My mind turned to this passage and I felt as if I was being issued a divine invitation. So I suggested that the two of us make that day a quest to find the beautiful in the midst of the ugly.

The risen Jesus is indescribably beautiful (Revelation 1:10-16). Since He is always present, beauty can always be found.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I prayed, “Lord, open my eyes to see the beautiful in this ugly.”

Almost immediately, the  title of an Anne Graham Lotz book popped into my mind: Pursuing More of Jesus.  I found it easily and began to read.

When I got to chapter 3, I knew I had found the main answer to my prayer, as Anne poured out thunderous praise from a heart full of passionate love for her Savior. Here is what she wrote about Jesus:

He is enduringly strong. He is entirely sincere. He is eternally steadfast.

He is immortally gracious. He is imperially powerful. HE is impartially merciful.

He is the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizons of the globe.

He is God’s Son. He is the sinner’s Savior. He is the captive’s ransom.

He is the breath of life. He is the centerpiece of civilization. He stands in the solitude of Himself.

He is august and He is unique. He is unparalleled and He is unprecedented. 

He is undisputed and He is undefiled. He is unsurpassed and He is unshakeable.

He is the lofty idea in philosophy. He is the highest personality in psychology.

He is the supreme subject in literature. He is the unavoidable problem in higher criticism.

He is the fundamental doctrine of theology.

He is the cornerstone, the capstone, and the stumbling stone of all religion.

He is the miracle of the ages.

He is the key to knowledge. He is wellspring of wisdom. He is the foundation of faith.

He is the doorway of deliverance. He is the pathway to peace. He is the roadway of righteousness.

He is the gateway to glory. He is the highway to happiness. His office is manifold and His promise is sure.

His life is matchless and His goodness is limitless. His mercy is enough and His grace is sufficient.

His reign is righteous, His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

He is indestructible. He is indescribable. He is incomprehensible. 

He is invincible. He is irresistible. He is irrefutable.

I can’t get Him out of my mind and I can’t get Him out of my heart.

I can’t outlive Him and I can’t live without Him.

The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him but found they couldn’t stop Him.

Satan tried to tempt Him but found He couldn’t trip Him.

Pilate placed Him on trial but found no fault in Him.

The  Romans crucified Him but  couldn’t take His life. 

Death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him.

He is the Lion and He is the Lamb. He is God and He is Man.

He’s the seven-way King:

He is the King of the Jews…that’s a racial King.

He is the King of Israel…That’s a national King.

He is the King of righteousness…that’s a moral King.

He is the King of the ages…That’s an eternal King.

He is the King of heaven…that’s a universal King.

He is the King of glory…that’s a celestial King.

No means of measure can define His limitless love.

No far-seeing telescope can bring into visibility the coastline of His shore-less supply.

No barrier can hinder Him from pouring out His blessings…

He forgives and He forgets. He creates and He cleanses. He restores and He rebuilds.

He heals and He helps. He reconciles and He redeems. He comforts and He carries. He lifts and He loves.

He is the God of the second chance, the fat chance, the slim chance, the no-chance.

He discharges debtors. He delivers the captives. He defends the feeble. He blesses the young.

He serves the unfortunate. He regards the aged. He rewards the diligent. He beautifies the meek.

He guards the young. He seeks the stray. He finds the lost. He guides the faithful. He rights the wronged.

He avenges the abused. He defends the weak. He comforts the oppressed. He welcomes the prodigal.

He heals the sick. He cleanses the dirty. He beautifies the barren. He restores the failure. He mends the broken.

He blesses the poor. He fills the empty. He clothes the naked. He satisfies the hungry.

He elevates the humble. He forgives the sinner. He raises the dead!

He supplies strength to the weary. He increases power to the faint. He offers escape to the tempted.

He sympathizes with the hurting. He saves the hopeless. He shields the helpless. He sustains the homeless.

He gives purpose to the aimless., reason to the meaningless, fulfillment to the emptiness, light in the darkness, comfort in the loneliness, fruit in the barrenness, future to the hopeless. life to the lifeless! –(pp. 43-50)

When I finished reading that, I felt like time had stopped as I just sat in the glorious Presence of Jesus, soaking in all of His beauty and magnificence.

He is everything.  

He makes all things beautiful and because He lives, He will always transform the ugly into the beautiful if we invite Him into those places.

That moment opened up the floodgates. Everywhere I looked, I saw the gifts Jesus had lovingly placed along my path…right there in the midst of the ugly. Nothing had necessarily changed in my situation, but my perspective had shifted entirely.

Please don’t be afraid to ask Him to do the same for you today. He will be faithful to do it.

By the way, Anne adapted those words from S. M. Lockridge, who originally shared it. Here’s a video of “That’s My King” with the original words spoken by Lockridge. Enjoy and be blessed.


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