Summer 2024

THE INCREASE: Living with Enthusiasm – J.J. Hoover

“My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your steadfast love is great above the Heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the Heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth!” — Psalm 108:1-5 (ESV)

Look at the way David is just shouting his praise to God throughout this psalm. I love it! The first half of the chapter shows David telling us about how amazing God is; there are exclamation marks at the end of almost every sentence! David truly was a man after God’s own heart and we see it here as he continually proclaims God’s glory with boldness and enthusiasm.

I think too often when we pray, we forget who it is we are praying to. We need to remember that we are approaching the Almighty God, the Creator of all things. He’s made everything and controls it all. But I think we often lose some of this reverence when we go to the Lord in prayer.

In the second half of this psalm, David talks about God’s promises, then goes on to show us how we should pray. David doesn’t jump right into his requests, he first stops to give God glory and honor. Then he brings his prayers and supplications before Him. Doing this doesn’t mean we are going to get whatever we request, but it’s the appropriate way to approach our God.

David started out as a lowly shepherd, but he was soon anointed as king. He really experienced the full spectrum of life, going from the bottom of the chain to the top. He lived the same life that we all live today, though his might have hit some greater extremes than ours. He had Saul chasing after him to kill him, he experienced heartache and loss, he struggled with temptation and sin, and he had everything at his whim and disposal as king. We watch as David experiences every bit of emotion that you and I face today, but no matter what he’s going through — whether joy-filled or heart-wrenching — he always goes back to God. We see him continually approaching God to ask forgiveness, express his love and gratitude to Him, or give Him glory and praise.

Not all the Psalms are happy, but each one is in the Bible to help us relate with past generations. The Psalms, along with Proverbs, are roadmaps for us to live by. Whether the passage is joy-filled or mournful, they always point back to God through prayer and worship.

I feel God’s presence most in the moments I etch out each morning to quiet my mind and read God’s Word. I love every moment of it. These are times when I can solely focus on what God might be trying to tell me and where He’s leading me. But when I’m working out for baseball, I also feel God’s presence because I know I’m developing the talents He’s blessed me with. When I’m working on the farm, or researching farming techniques, I feel God’s pleasure because I know that’s where He’s leading me.

In everything I do and whatever I’m working at, I want to be following God’s leading and worshipping Him through it. His will should always be at the forefront of my mind. In whatever I do, I hope I can do it wholeheartedly for the Lord.

J.J. Hoover

J.J. Hoover is a pitcher with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.

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