Saturday, September 24, 2011


These past few weeks have been crazy at work. I've felt overwhelmed with demands.  As I drove into work one morning, I found myself practicing a very effective stress relief technique: very slow deep breaths, exhaling to the slow count of five.  It helps me every time to counteract the stress hormones causing my blood pressure to increase, my muscles to tense, or my stomach to knot.  This time I found myself transitioning from the deep breaths into singing praise songs.  Guess what?  Singing does the same thing as the deep breathing.  It makes you take those deep breaths and let them out slowly over the verse, but with one extra important benefit: you focus on God!  My praise songs put my mind on the source of all peace, all strength, all hope, and all love!  By time I pulled into the garage, I was smiling.  My circumstances were just as pressured, but my blood pressure was down, and my mood was completely transformed.  Focusing on God's greatness and love reminded me that no challenge is beyond His reach. Nothing will come at me that He and I can't handle together. What a difference!  I just had to pass this one on to you--- sing praises whenever those pressures pile up.  The physical, emotional, and mental health benefits are enormous!  Then again, that's just how God works! - Peace, always-  JB

Monday, September 5, 2011

Praise Reports

I find I tend to focus on the things I'm worried about, even in prayer.  I'm often too slow to bring my concerns to God. I often stew about them before it even occurs to me to pray about them!  Yet, once God answers my prayers, I say "Thank you" and move back to my next problem!  It's so easy to be focused on the broken stuff in our lives rather than the blessings!!  Melissa shared the same thought in one of her prayer poems: "I'm slower to say "thank you" than I am so say "please". There is actually a whole body of psychological literature finding the importance of training our minds to the positive, but this is an old Biblical principle- Phillipians 4:8.   When I was in college, our Christian fellowship packed a small dorm room full of students at 9:00 pm each night for a 15 minute prayer meeting.  We started with "praise reports and prayer requests."  What a great way to train our minds to remember the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord!  Although I have written recently about my daughter's trip to Asia, I neglected to report that she not only returned in one piece, but with amazing self-confidence and loaded with new talent and skills!  God more than answered my prayers!  So, when we focus on how the Lord has been faithful to us in the past, our minds are fortified for trusting God in the future!  We serve a faithful Creator, a Loving Shepherd, a Trustworthy God.  So, I will continue to write down five blessings for which I am grateful every day, first thing in the morning!  Hope your day is filled with praise! - Blessings, JB