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Archive for the ‘praise’ Category

Hear this, you elders, And give ear, all you inhabitants of the land! Has anything  like this happened in your days, Or even in the days of your fathers?

Tell your children about it, Let your children tell their children, And their children another generation.
– Joel 1:2-3

When things happen- whether they be good or bad- we tend to talk them up with others. We broadcast the news. We share the latest happenings. We make a lot of noise about what we have going on.

Pass on the Good News. Let other generations to come hear about it
Let them read about it. Let our poetry, songs and other writings speak about it.

Publish it among all of the people so that it will continue to speak generation after generation.

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To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. – Jude 1:25

Jude, the brother of James and the Lord Jesus Christ, wrote these final words in his stirring epistle about contending for the faithJude wraps things up by giving glory to God.  He talked about the evil of mankind in the past, even the angels who did not keep their station and did evil, and of the evil that men would still do on earth.  He points them out, so that other believers will recognize them for exactly what they are.  Yet, after all that he says about evil, he takes the two final verses of the epistle to give God glory.

Starting at verse 24, Jude writes an inspiring conclusion to the entire epistle.  It must be inspiring.  We use it as a benediction, closing our worship hour as we echo his words with eloquence.  It stirs our spirits.  We recite the words of Jude that we have committed to memory and we share them with our congregations.  In the words of Matthew Henry, “The apostle concludes this epistle with a solemn ascription of glory to the great God.”

It fits.  The verses seem to have been laid in just the right place.  They seem fitted precisely in the perfect position.  They appear nestled in the best place possible, especially after reading of all of the horrific things done throughout the ages.

We should glorify God if we contend for the faith.  God will get more glory from our adherence to the tenets of our faith rather than the words of our mouths.  We can give God glory through what we do more than what we say.  We can profess Him by what we produce rather than what we proclaim.

Jude shared what he had to say so that others would uphold the faith.  He did not hold back one bit.  He let it fly with both barrels blazing.  When the smoke finally cleared, he gave glory to God.

Put your faith into action.  Give God the glory.

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“I fear there are some who preach with the view of amusing men, and as long as people can be gathered in crowds, and their ears can be tickled, and they can retire pleased with what they have heard, the orator is content, and folds his hands, and goes back self-satisfied.” – Charles H. Spurgeon

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. – Colossians 2:8 (NIV)

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. – 2 Timothy 4:3 (NIV)

Oftentimes, the warning of sound doctrine is shared with ministers and pastors, even missionaries, upon ordination.  Hands are laid upon these individuals and they are anointed and appointed for service.   As leaders, those teaching the Bible and indoctrinating new believers into the faith, you will see the importance of sound doctrine serving as the foundation for all that you teach others.  I think we all get that, too.

As the worship leader…?

As the choir director…?

As the minister of music…?

Yep. Yes. Yeah. Uh-huh.  Yep.  You better believe it, brothers and sisters.  We at least owe God that much when say that we are ministering in His Spirit in what we call praise and worship.  Our praise and worship selections should minister to others beyond sounding good and making others feel good.  The selections better speak of how good and how great God is to us.

Let us not fall prey to the trap of appealing to and impressing people.  We do not want to send mixed signals in the house of God.  We want sound doctrine to go along with strong voices and skilled instrumentation. 

If it isn’t biblical, how can it be part of your praise? If God doesn’t do that or do that the way that we’ve been singing it, how does that fit into our worship? We need to get with the church staff and leaders who know the Bible better than us, then assemble the music department from top to bottom so that we can teach how to minister through music and song, praise and worship, with a biblical base and a sound doctrinal foundation.  Someone other than just the drummer and piano player ought to research the songs being played throughout the service.              

It is about worship.  It sets the stage for the Word to be preached.  It ushers souls to the point of readiness to receive the Word through preaching.  It is vital to the weary soul who needs to have his or her hardened heart to be broken up and softened in order for the Word to take root.

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“If I take care of my character, my reputation will take care of itself.”
D.L. Moody
 
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits – Psalm 103:2 (NIV)
 
How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? – Psalm 116:12 (NIV)
 
Think back over the past week.  The main event of this past week was Thanksgiving. 
 
Thanksgiving is a compound word, combining  “thanks” and “giving.”
 
How much giving and thanking did you do last week?
 
Black Friday came and went with all of its eventful lore.  Cyber Monday has already started. 
 
Give thanks by giving back.
 
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. – Psalm 107:1 (NIV)
 
Get ready for the “giving season” that has plenty of opportunities available for you to give back.  Think about all of the gifts that God has already given to you. Give thanks by giving back during this winter holiday season.  Prepare to celebrate Christmas with great joy as you offer thanksgiving through what you do along with what you say.
 
The day of  Thanksgiving has already passed, but the opportunity  to share is still available to you. 
 
 Search for volunteer service opportunities in your area.  Use Urban Ministry to locate such seasonal opportunities.
 
Give thanks.  Give back.
 
Give thanks to the LORD and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. – Psalm 105:1 (NLT)

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 3 But you, LORD, are a shield around me,
   my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
4 I call out to the LORD,
   and he answers me from his holy mountain.

– Psalm 3:3-4

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Think on it.  The Lord ought to be something to you.  He should be something personal to you.  He reside in heaven, but he presides over all the earth.  He may appear to do something for everyone, even those who seem to only half-heartedly believe in Him, but He surely has done something good for you.

Take a brief moment to consider and contemplate all of what God has done on your behalf.  Before you utter a prayer, build up your arsenal of praise for what He has already done for you.  Forget about going to God with your cares and concerns.  Give Him some adoration and praise for His already-answered blessings bestowed upon you. Call on Him and acknowledge what He has done for you and how He has come through for you.

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Kindle Bible - The Holy Bible Formatted for the Amazon KindleGenesis Record, The: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Book of BeginningsSo Joseph died, being 110 years old. They embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.- Genesis 50:26 (NIV)

The last word in the book of Genesis is Egypt.  It seems appropriate that this book of the Bible would end in such a place.  Right after the death of Joseph, one of the final figures of the first book of the Old Testament, the book of Genesis ends right there in Egypt.

Joseph & His Brothers (Hanna Barbera the Greatest Adventure Stories From the Bible)The Life and Times of AkhnatonThink about Egypt’s history and how the coming of the Hebrews changed its social structure.  A famine throughout the world caused people to come from all parts of the world to Egypt.  God placed Joseph there through some extreme circumstances.  Yet, Joseph was placed in a position of power.  God used him to smooth things out when the shepherds from Canaan came to Egypt to buy grain.

Praying God's Word: Devotional JournalPromises to Keep: Daily Devotions for Men of IntegrityThe Christian may not see the blessing found in Egypt.  Jacob reunited with his son in Egypt. Joseph forgave his brothers and wept with them in Egypt.  Joseph and his kinsmen stayed in Goshen in Egypt.  Joseph had favor with Pharaoh and his people throughout the land of Egypt.  God had shown Joseph favor in Egypt.  Perhaps, as believers, we need to see where are the places that God has helped us to reunite with family and friends.  We need to rethink about how God allowed us to forgive othersThank God for giving us a place to stay.  Praise God for granting us favor

I believe we all have our own little “Egypt” when it comes to this walk of faith.  Thank God for leading you through this far to your Egypt.

Joseph in Egypt, Animated Stories From the Bible

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But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works. – Psalm 73:28 (NASB)

 This psalm speaks of man’s lack of understanding the things observed and obsessed over in this life.  The pressure of life is what emerges from the psalm when the writer speaks of being “plagued with problems all day” in verse 14.  Pressure can cause a lot of things to happen with us and within us. Does your pressure lead to your praise of the Lord?

Being under pressure can cause us to stress, strain and struggle.  We can seem to barely make it.  Some of us just don’t make it.  The pressure seems too great to keep going on and dealing with it.  Pressure can be positive when it produces something beneficial.

Yes, I am serious.

When your pressure produces praise, there are some direct benefits as a result of such pressure.  Am I right? Look at the psalm again.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. – verse 23, NIV

You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny– verse 24, NLT

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – verse 26, NIV

 . . .I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.- verse 28, ESV

What does your pressure produce?

Pain or promise?

Pity or praise?

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1 Praise the LORD, O my soul;

all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the LORD, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits-

3 who forgives all your sins

and heals all your diseases,

4 who redeems your life from the pit

and crowns you with love and compassion,

5 who satisfies your desires with good things

so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

There are some things about God that are just so good that we should never forget them.  Some of these things come to our remembrance and we just have to bless the Lord and praise the Lord because they are so good.  They are so good because they come from Him who is so good- the Lord Himself.

He forgives.  He heals.  He redeems.  He crowns.  He satisfies.  He does countless things to bestow blessings upon us.  He does so much that we should readily praise His name.
David tells us “forget not all his benefits” (v. 2).  He calls us to give praise and bless the Lord, joining him in adoration and acknowledgement of the Lord and His goodness (vv.1-2, 20-22).  He offers an open invitation for others to join in the praise.  He says for us to give praise to the Lord by blessing His holy name with the “inmost being” (v. 1).  In other words, give Him all that praise that is due to His name with all that you have within you.
 
You don’t owe it to the worship leader.  You don’t owe it to the pastor.  You don’t owe it to anyone except God.  You owe it to Him because He’s good to you.  You owe it to Him because you have witnessed how good He has been to both you and others.  We owe Him all of our praise, every ounce that we can muster.  Praise God.

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46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:46-47

Christian churches are known for their fellowship.  In fact, it seems like there must have been a daily potluck of sorts after Pentecost in Acts 2.  We see the early church had a common faith that led to a communal fellowship.

In days like today, we need to come together in a similar fashion.  Think about ways that your congregation can share with one another in the joyous fellowship of Christian love and unity.  Let it be casual and comfortable.  Make it just a gathering that allows you to break bread and share praise and praise together. 

Have every family bring a dish with a message of praise placed near it.  Display the messages prominently so that all can see them.  People will not only praise Sister King for her potato salad but also for overcoming the challenge of losing her husband in faith.  They won’t only see Brother Gilbert as an excellent Sunday school teacher but a mighty good barbecue cook as well.  Fellowship together, sharing your praise for the Lord as one.

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I  will sing a new song to you, O God; . . .I will make music to you– Psalm 144:9 (NIV)

Poet or psalmist? Which is it? Oh, yeah… spoken word, poetry or psalms?

Today, much like in the past ages, people are caught up in titles.  They live by labels.  For some people, they are precisely who or what they think their titles say that they are to everyone else.  Even if it doesn’t fit them, they attempt to live up to the title by what they wear or drive and how they talk as well as who they hang around.  That’s just how some people go about it.

I am an author who writes poetry among other things.  As an author, I am convinced that some people will call me whatever they care to call me because of what I do.  Some will say that I am a poet, while others will simply call me a writer.  Then, as with most things, there are those folks who fully dress it all up and make it into a big deal by calling people like me: “inspirational writers” or “spiritual scribes.” The one that caused me some alarm was psalmist.  I had to do some more research before I could even stand to hear it come from another person’s lips.

Psalms are defined as “sacred song; a hymn” or ” a sacred song or poem used in worship.” Imagine one of my pieces used as a call to worship.  Or, if possible, picture a choir swaying and rocking in their elaborate and ornate robes as I clutched the mic and spit a flow of one of my more upbeat poems to a raucous drum beat with a twinkling piano and an eerie organ piped in as we praise God. Would that be a psalm? Would that make a psalmist? Or, would I still be a poet?

David and Asaph were psalmists in my mind.  Moses and Solomon were even credited with composing at least one psalm.  Marvin Sapp has a release entitled “Diary of a Psalmist” and many other gospel artists call themselves psalmists.  Even though the definitions of psalmist tend to loosely define the title as a composer or writer of a psalm, I just can’t see myself using the title.  If someone called me a psalmist, would I stop in the midst of praise and worship to correct them with my personal reservations about why I don’t prefer to be called one? No.  I don’t have a lot of time for that.  Would I refer them to this post to get my opinion or views on the title? No.  I will just praise Him and keep on praising Him as a poet, writer, author or psalmist.  No matter what they call it, I call it praise, worship and expressive joy.

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