bless the lord at all times

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times

[Written by Jeff Koonce]

I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
Psalm 34:1

I will bless the Lord at all times. I don’t know about you, but this can seem incredibly difficult. All times? Continually? Really? David, the writer of this Psalm, sets the bar pretty high for the rest of us. Granted, it’s easy for us to praise the Lord when things are going well when we feel good about our life and the blessings He’s given us. We are grateful for family and our health, our jobs, and our security.

What about those times when things aren’t going so well? Maybe you’re depressed, lonely, angry, grieving, upset with how the way things have turned out. Is His praise continually in your mouth during those times? We are more likely to look inward to ourselves; on our shame, fear, and failures. Or we look for someone to blame. David is a normal person. In himself, he has no special powers that we do not possess as human beings. His struggles are the same as our struggles. So how did David do it?

I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
Psalm 34:4-6

David sought the Lord and was delivered from his fears. In the midst of our difficulties and struggles, we should not look inward, but upward. We, too, should seek the Lord. For us, this means seeking him through prayer and His Word. And as we allow His Word to shine a light into the darkness of our hearts and the power of the Holy Spirit to move in us and reveal the Gospel at work in our lives, we begin to see and trust that God is good and faithful, even in the hard things. When we rest in that promise, it’s small step to bless the Lord at all times, in all circumstances, and praise Him continually.

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8

This idea of praising God in the midst of dire circumstances is the theme of a song we, the Hymn Collective, have been working on recently. “Hold on to Me” was written by Ashley Self during one of those difficult times in life when you just don’t know what to do or say. Ashley and his wife, Staci, lost their daughter, Lily Grace on the day she was born in 2012. Ashley wrote this song that night in the hospital and when we got around to recording an album we all knew that this song had to be a big part of that project.

We are happy to have a finished version to share with everyone and we hope it serves as a reminder that no matter how bad it seems, seek the Lord, rest in Him, and praise Him continually. I will bless the Lord at all times.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Hold on to Me
Words and music: Ashley Self, 2012

It’s not enough to know you love me when my heart hurts this way.
When I don’t feel your presence, I don’t know what to pray.
Right now, all I feel is empty inside and afraid this pain won’t ease.

Hold on to me;
Wipe these tears from my face in my faltering faith I cry,
Hold on to me;
In my weakness, be strong; I can’t stand or even breathe.
Hold on to me.

People try to explain it; they say she’s safe in your hands.
But I can’t help but question if this was your plan.
Right now, all I feel is empty inside and afraid this pain won’t ease.

Did you know at night that I’m afraid to close my eyes?
I see her face so clearly, and I believe the lies.
If this be a dream, awaken me that I may rise and praise thee.

“Hold on to Me” can also be found on iTunes and Spotify.