Memo to Myself: No Whining – Proverbs 24:10

no-whining“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10, ESV).

How do you handle problems when you encounter them? Do you get angry, frustrated, or depressed? Do you keep them to yourself or do you complain to your friends or family? Do you blame God for your problems? Why did God let this happen to me?

While God doesn’t cause all our problems, God does use our problems to build our character! So, if the small problems get you down, if you constantly complain about all your problems, then God probably needs to do some more character-building with you.

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Totally Praiseworthy – Psalm 103

praiseworthy“Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me” (Psalm 103: 1-2, NLT).

This psalm of David celebrates God’s perfection, compassion, forgiveness, and goodness. The structure of the psalm is an acrostic poem with one verse for each letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

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Casting Crowns – Revelation 4:9-11

Casting Crowns“The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:9-11, ESV).

The twenty-four elders may represent the orders of priests serving in the Old Testament temple or they may symbolize the unity of God’s people as encompassing the twelve tribes of Old Testament Israel and the twelve apostles of the New Testament church–like the new Jerusalem’s twelve gates and twelve foundations in Revelation 21. Their thrones resemble those of God’s heavenly court in Daniel 7.

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God’s Battlefield – 2 Chronicles 20:15

soldier_prayer“For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15, NLT).

When a vast army from Edom marched against Judah, King Jehoshaphat was frantic and pleaded with God for guidance. Jehoshaphat ordered the people of Judah to fast and pray.

People from all the towns of Judah gathered at the Temple in Jerusalem and Jehoshaphat led them in public prayer. The Spirit of God came upon one of the Levites in the gathering and these are the words he proclaimed to King Jehoshaphat and all the people of Judah.

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Be All You Can Be – Psalm 104:1,35

“Let all that I am praise the Lord.” (Psalm 104:1,35, NLT)

“Be All You Can Be” was the recruiting slogan of the United States Army for over twenty years. The slogan meant that because of your training and experiences in the United States Army you can become a successful, self-actualized individual.  It meant that the Army could start you on the path of  realizing everything that you have wanted or were meant to be in your life and your career.

But the Psalmist had a different take on success and self-actualization. The Psalmist declared that you should devote your whole self to praising God!

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Stop Complaining – Exodus 16:8

“Yes, your complaints are against the Lord,not against us.”  (Exodus 16:8, NLT)

When the Israelites escaped from Egypt, God did not lead them straight to the promised land because they weren’t prepared for war with the Canaanites: “God said, If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt” (vs. 13:17).

Instead of going north towards Canaan, Moses led them south into the wilderness or desert region of the Sinai peninsula. After three days they came to an oasis but the water there was not potable.

The people complained against Moses and he threw a piece of wood into the water, which made it drinkable (vs. 15:24-25).

Then after a month of traveling south down the Sinai peninsula the people began to complain about the lack of food: “There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron” (vs. 2). They even went so far as to say they wished they were back in Egypt.

God heard their complaints and instructed Moses to tell them that He would rain down food from heaven each day and they should gather just enough food for the day. God wanted the Israelites to learn to depend on Him to supply their needs on a daily basis.

Moses announced to the Israelites what God was going to do, including a stern warning about complaining: “In the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaints, which are against him, not against us” (vs. 7).

One of the great dangers of complaining is that it distorts our perception of reality.

The Israelites complained for the “good old days” in Egypt when they had plenty to eat, yet somehow forgot the severity of human bondage they suffered there.

Like the Israelites, God wants us to develop a lifestyle of dependence on Him to supply our daily needs–a lifestyle of hope vested in God’s provision.

When you complain, you are not depending on God to supply your needs so your complaint is really against God.

Hope is the fruit of faith while complaining is the fruit of unbelief.

Complaining focuses on what is wrong with the present and glorifies a distorted view of the past while hope focuses on making the best of the present reality in anticipation of a glorious future.

Complaining demonstrates a lack of faith or confidence that God is in control of the circumstances of your daily life and of His ability to carry you through or supernaturally intervene.

Complaining can become a bad habit. And, the best way to rid yourself of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.

Giving praise and thanksgiving to God acknowledges His sovereignty over the circumstances of your daily life and over all His creation.

So, stop complaining and start praising God!