A testimony/mini-teaching I shared with a church in Santa Rosa, Panama in January 2015:

My mother raised my sister and me in a non-Christian home.  I had heard of Jesus through my grandmother and my best friend, but He wasn’t someone I was interested in.  I believed the life of a Christian was for someone other than me; it didn’t seem to fit at the time.  So I carried on with my life; I went to school, I had fun with friends and did my own thing.

As I got a little older, life didn’t seem so fun anymore and I began to question my purpose on earth.  I had friends who were Christians and I started asking them questions.  They told me about the man who had given them new life, who had a purpose and a plan for everyone; the man who loved us so much that He gave His own life for us.

After talking with my friends for awhile I accepted the truth: that I was a sinner, Jesus is my Saviour and through Him I have received forgiveness and eternal life.  I believed my life would be (fairly) problem free, but of course that wasn’t the case.  Along with many blessings from the Lord I still faced trials and had days when nothing seemed to go right and I struggled in my relationship with Him.  When things were good I would praise Him, but when things were not going well I couldn’t praise Him.

Psalm 71 v6 says: ‘By You I have been upheld from birth, You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You.’  Our praise for God should never be about our circumstances.  When King David’s life was in danger he continued to praise the Lord, when Paul was imprisoned he continued to praise God.

Who the Lord is should always be our first reason for praising God. Psalm 148 v13 says, ‘Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and heaven.’  Even when things in my life don’t seem to be going well, I am reminded that Jesus is Lord of my life and that who He is has not changed: He is my Saviour, He is my Friend, my King and my Lord.

We should also praise God for what He has done. After Daniel was saved from the lions in the den even a gentile king praised our God, his exact words were: ‘He is the living God and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall endure to the end.’ (Daniel 6 v26)

God doesn’t ask us to be circumstantial praisers, he asks us to praise Him in everything: when we have good relationships with our family and neighbours and when we don’t, when we have enough to eat and when we don’t, when money is scarce and when money is plentiful, when we are in good health and when we are unwell, when we are celebrating and when we are in mourning.  As psalm 150 says:

‘Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. 

Praise Him with trumpet sound;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!’