Miserable but Motivated

Great for personal Bible study or small groups!

Each chapter is followed by a page of discussion questions.
Suggested answers to the questions are found in the back of the book.


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Sometimes worship comes easy. When life seems to be sailing along smoothly without any significant troubles, it may seem natural to burst out into spontaneous praise to God. What are we to do then, when things are not going well? Difficulties arise, plans are thwarted, and life goes into a tailspin. In the midst of all of this, we know that we are supposed to worship God. How can we do such a thing when He has allowed misery to overwhelm our lives?

It is within those darkest times that we need to remember why God deserves worship. If we focus only on what He has done for us recently, it may be impossible to summon up the desire to offer Him praise. There is a secret, however, that serves as the key that will unlock the doorway of worship. That secret is found in His names.

Come along on this journey with Ben as he combines a biblical study of the names of God with personal examples to help you discover how to be motivated to worship God even when you are miserable in your circumstances!

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Why can’t I be like that? I wonder how many times those words cross my mind as I peruse flowery books penned by authors who present themselves as saintly supermen. Every spiritual discipline in which they engage provides feelings of pure ecstasy. Each morning they wake up with a song on their lips, audibly praising God for a beautiful new day. Although they admit to some struggles along the way, the difficulties pale in insignificance when compared with the inner delight they find in constant fellowship with God. They are, for all practical purposes, perfect.

Then there are the rest of us. When the alarm clock mercilessly wrenches us out of a blissful coma in the morning, we come perilously close to heaving it across the room. Any brave soul who dares offer a “good morning” immediately gets etched into the black list for the remainder of the day. More often than not, when we sit down to read the Bible, our minds begin to wander. When we glance into the mirror, no holy glow frames our reflection. It’s just not fair. Why do some folks get all the joy that causes them to break out into spontaneous praise to God while the rest of us are bogged down with the difficulties of life?

If the truth were known, I think most of us would fall into the second category. Sometimes we feel excitement about God, and it seems natural to offer up praises. Other times, however, the feelings go AWOL. It may be that God dared to do something that did not meet our approval. Or it could be that we’re just having a bad day. Occasionally our circumstances in life may cause us to feel downright miserable. It is against our nature to praise God when we feel this way. So what are we to do?

Here is the answer: praise Him anyway. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? If you think so, give it a try. Next time you are tempted to crawl under a rock and disappear, try to hum a happy little tune. It doesn’t matter which one. Try one you learned in Sunday school or church. Hum a few bars of “Jesus Loves Me.” If you really can’t ratchet up any spirituality, go for Barney’s theme song or the latest country hit. Just sing something. Not easy, is it?

David, the celebrated king of Israel, knew what it was like to have trouble. He also knew what to do about it. To his own soul (yes, he was talking to himself), he exclaimed, “Bless the Lord . . . bless His holy name!” (Psalm 103:1). Did he always feel like worshiping God? Probably not. Fortunately, we do not have to feel anything to worship. However, we do have to know something. We have to know who God is and what He is like. He deserves worship when He opens the windows of heaven and lavishes gifts on us, but He also deserves worship when He seems distant and uncaring. It is His character, rather than the favors that He bestows on us, that makes Him worthy of worship.

If God wants us to worship Him based on His character, it stands to reason that He would describe Himself to us. One of the ways He accomplishes this is by revealing names that illustrate certain aspects of His character. If we understand His names, we understand Him.

Have you ever considered what life would be like if we did not have names? That sounds silly, I know. But humor me for a moment and consider how difficult life would be. Without names, we would be forced refer to each other by some vague, descriptive term. We would quickly tire of calling everyone “Hey, you!” Some of the sanctity of my wedding day would have been lost if in making vows to my love, I would have gazed into her eyes and pronounced, “I, twenty-five-year-old man with dark hair, take you, light-haired woman, to be my lawfully wedded wife . . .” It just loses some of the intimacy, wouldn’t you agree?

Names are intrinsically bound to a person. At the mere mention of a name, a massive database of information comes flooding to our minds. For example, if I should mention George Washington, most likely your mind would immediately conjure up an image of a man sporting a hideous wig, bravely crossing the icy Delaware River through a thick blanket of fog. Your mind would also wander to the bloody American Revolution, and you may even contemplate the greatness of the United States that we know and love today. All this because of the simple mention of two seemingly innocuous words. These words, however, describe a man and all that he represents.

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