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Archive for the ‘praise’ Category

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God
.- Psalm 84:1-2 (ESV)

Which will it be? Reverent or ritualistic? How will you approach God’s throne of grace today? Will you approach with a reverent heart and meet Him with your head held down in humility? Or, will you look at your calendar and to-do list, ready to check off or mark that you can sing “Another One Bites the Dust” to one of the many items you have listed for today?
Which will it be?
Reverence?
Ritualistic?
Will you get into the spirit of worship or not?
Will you come into His courts with thanksgiving?
Will you offer yourself in humble submission to the Lord?
What will it be today?
Which will it be?
Reverence?
Ritualistic?

For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.

Psalm 84:10 (ESV)

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Let the redeemed of the Lord say so… – Psalm 107:2

The Book of Psalms has been referred to as the prayer book of the Bible as well as the scriptural praise and worship guidebook.  The American Bible Society considers the 150 entries in Psalms as “prayers and hymns.” Psalms are literally sacred songs or poems, even hymns.  Essentially, every time that we look into Psalms, we need to understand that someone was expressing how they felt, what they came to realize or observe about God, or to help boost the spirits of others such as the poor, the afflicted, the needy, and those with broken hearts and spirits.

Psalm 107 has been debated when it comes to authorship, whether it is a  Davidic psalm or not, but its authenticity is without question.  The psalm opens with an exclamation: Oh give thanks to the Lord (v. 1).  In fact, it does not just open up with an exclamation.  It offers a twofold rationale for such a claim.  The author says: A) for He is good and B) for His lovingkindness is everlasting (v. 1).  It echoes similarities to: Psalm 33:3’s Sing to him a new song, Psalm 22:23’s You who fear the Lord, praise him!, and Psalm 34:3’s Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.  The reasoning and rationale for such praise and worship for the Lord stems from our relationship with Him and stirs up a response out of us towards Him.  Comparatively, Psalm 96:8 speaks of giving God the glory due to His name- who He is- and bringing an offering.  In essence, our worship comes from our hearts and work through our mouths, hands and feet by dancing, lifting up holy hands, and

I say praise Him.  Praise Him for who He is to you.  Praise Him for what He has done for you.  Praise Him for what He did not allow to happen.  Praise Him!

You don’t need a worship leader to stir you up.  The Holy Spirit has already started on you.  Be certain to stay in your Bible, especially Psalms.  If you can’t seem to find a way to lift your spirits for praise and worship, even that ye old Baptist midweek Bible study and prayer meeting, I suggest going back to Psalms.  Dig in and get built up.  Dive into it and experience newfound joy.  Let the words speak to you, but don’t let them speak for you.  Write your own poems, songs and “psalms.” Praise God with your own expressiveness through words. 

Praise Him in your own words.  Praise Him in your own way.  Praise Him on your own. Praise Him!

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In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.

What can mortal man do to me?- Psalm 56:4 (NIV)

 

David offers an inspiring claim in the midst of misery. David was under attack. Yet, his poetic praise states: I will not be afraid. The man was on the run and on the edge, but he stood firm in faith and faced his enemies as he trusted God and His Word.

David expressed that his enemies were after him “all day long” (Ps. 56:1-2, 5). Such a man spoke out about seeking God, even when he became afraid as others sought to slander and slay him daily. David was a hunted and wanted man, even in Gath. He pretended to be mad in 1 Samuel 21:10-15 in order to preserve himself. Look at Psalm 34 to gain more insight into how David was still able to hold on to his faith despite the forces working against him and causing him to flee for his life.

The manhunt of the mad man known as David didn’t cause David to lose his faith. Look closely at the things that push us to the edge and drive us nearly out of our minds. Think clearly about how you handle such matters and situations. Do you trust God in the midst of all of the mess? Do you maintain your faith when your world seems to get weird and go wild? Consider what the world wants you to do and realize that you do not have to react and respond like the world may want you to act. The Lord desires you to trust Him, even if you have to learn while running.

If the world makes you want to run away, be sure to run into the open and loving arms of the Lord our God.

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.- Psalm 56:3 (NIV)

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I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.- Psalm 40:1 (NKJV)

I dare anyone to say that David was  not patient.  I truly suspect that David endured enough to learn extreme levels of patience as God bought him up as a shepherd boy, a man of war and a priest-like king.  He was developed as he discovered his destiny, developing patience all along the way.

David is a shining example of patience in practice.  He didn’t just offer lip service about waiting on the Lord.  He exemplified faith as he held on, awaiting and expecting God to respond to him. 

He developed patience as he was developed by God.  The patience that he would need to restrain his men from tearing Shimei to shreds would come about over time.  The patience that would allow him to mourn for his wayward son Absalom was developed years prior to losing his throne to his son.

Look at Psalm 40.  David was in a “horrible pit” and God delivered him, but the Word does not say that it was an overnight deliverance (v. 2).  The Lord even put a new song in David’s mouth according to verse 3.   Yet, David shows that he learned some things along the way, experiencing newfound endurance as he waited on the Lord. 

David learned what God desires out of those who seek the Lord earnestly.  David learned more about the truth of worship rather than the tradition of worship.  David was able to look at God’s abundant mercy and blessings and his own utter unworthiness. 

David saw that being picked up out of the pit was only the stirring up of genuine praise (v. 2).  David got fired up for praise so much that he began to sing that “new song” (v. 3).  David got so caught up in worship that he started filling the assembly of God’s people with wonderful words like: tender mercies, faithfulness, righteousness, lovingkindness, and salvation (vv. 9-11).  David was speaking from an experience that was birthed as he awaited the Lord’s response.  He went so far as to say that he did not restrain his lips (v. 9).  David learned the benefits and blessings of putting patience into practice.

But I am poor and needy;  Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.

Psalm 40:17 (NKJV)

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I will bless the LORD at all times;  His praise shall continually be in my mouth.– Psalm 34:1 (NASB)

There’s plenty of room for boasting when it comes to the Lord.  We call it praise.  It involves worship, blessing the Lord with the “fruit of your lips.”   Beyond what we say, it involves our very spirit in coordination with the Lord’s Spirit.  We can be lifted up in the midst of someone else shouting praises to His name as another pours out tears of relief from pain and another cries out His name in acceptance of His answers to the confusion of life.  Each of these people offer the Lord what they have to offer Him, and they offer it from the heart and in the spirit and truth.

What are you using to worship God? What about worship? Are you in it or into it?

The Book of Psalms is the Holy Bible’s hymnal of sorts.  It’s a book of praises and poems.  In several instances, it reveals that the entire volume is suitable for the wide variety of needs within the congregation on any given day.  Yet, Psalm 34 opens up with a proclamation and profession that should ignite contagious worship.  It opens with blessing the Lord at all times, praise continually in my mouthThe psalm continues to speak of how the writer will boast about the Lord so much that the “humble and afflicted [will] hear and be glad.”  Then, in verse 3, the psalm writer provides an outright and open invitation to worship together  Imagine how uplifted that congregation would be after that declarative opening  and the opportunity to get lifted up and join in the blessing.

 David wrote this psalm out of the pure inspiration of the Lord showing Himself as his protection.  David had pretended to be insane before Abimelech.  He truly was at his wit’s end at that point.  There was no real guesswork once God had delivered David from his enemies.  He could boast about the Lord.  He had earned some bragging rights about the God he served and the God who saved him. 

We don’t use extol like it appears in the King James Version.   We do understand that we can boast of the Lord’s goodness and grace.  We do know that we can brag about His mercy and His might.  We do know that we can bless the Lord for His loving kindness and His peace.  He’s done so much already for us.  There’s so much we can offer Him.  Let’s start by submitting and surrendering to His Spirit within us so that we can spark some blessing and boasting among us.

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“. . . And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”
Joshua 4:7 NKJV

The children of Israel needed these stones. They didn’t need them erected as an idol. They needed these stones to serve as a reminder, a memorial of what God had done on their behalf. These stones would not simply serve as a conversation piece. Joshua shared: They will be a sign among you. In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these rocks mean?’ These stones would allow the children of Israel to share their testimony with their children and their children’s children.

It’s one thing to have testimony, but many of us need to have lives that serve as a voiceless testimony of God’s goodness to us. People need to see God in our lives as much as they hear about Him from us. We need to demonstrate and display the change that God has made in our lives. People will see it. Although they may not recognize it, they will see it as something different that sets us apart from others.

Proverbs warns us not to remove the landmark set in place by our forefathers. In Proverbs 22:28, the Word teaches that the landmark was set in place for a reason that was given to those who came before us. Let us learn about that reason before we set our hearts and minds on removing it. In Proverbs 23:10, greed is addressed by warning people not to remove the ‘ancient landmark’ or oppress the poor by taking their land. Our obsession with accumulation may make us oblivious to the way we treat others, even our ancestors and their legacy.

With a lifestyle that respects the past, people will see us as blessed and ask what does it mean and how did we arrive at such a place in this life. We will be able to share about His goodness and His mercy towards us. God wants to work through us to reach others. Let the ancient landmark serve as a reminder to us that our lives our on display before the entire world. Keep it as a memorial.

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It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
– Ps. 119:71 (NASB)

 Trouble comes your way.  You may not have done anything in particular.  Trouble found its way to you and now you have to deal with it.  That’s part of how things go down in life.  You may or may not be the cause of your trouble, but it’s right there in your face with your name on it in bold.

The writer of this psalm helps to understand how some people have to be broken down in order to be built up.  Some have to be humbled before they are ready to accept help.  Others  have to be hindered in order to just stop where they are and see that they are in need of help.  In other cases, some folks have to be hurt before they can ever be ready to receive anything that resembles help.  You may not have experienced all of these different changes before God stepped in on your behalf, but I would suspect that you have at least experienced one of them.  Let’s be honest about that.

The issue isn’t whether you had to experience any of these.  The true burning issue is whether you learned the lesson or not.  The psalmist said that his affliction provided an opportunity to learn God’s statutes, His decrees, His Law.  We are not told whether he went into deep, secluded personal Bible study and devotional time during this period or whether he meditated on what he could recall of the Law of the Lord, but it does say that he learned God’s statutes at this point due to being afflicted.  Did you learn your lesson? Did it drive you to seek out His Word? Did it lead you to Him? Check the record today.

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Praise be to God,
       who has not rejected my prayer
       or withheld his love from me!-
Psalm 66:20 (NIV)

It is easy to see that we need to praise God for what He has done in our lives.  That’s pretty much a given.  We pay homage to God with honor and glory and show Him reverence that is due to His mighty and powerful name as Lord, Creator and the Almighty.  We should praise the Lord.  He deserves our praise for all that He has done, reserving all of His blessings and benefits on our behalf.

But do we remember to praise God for what He has not allowed?

Thank Him.  Praise Him.  Let it be known to the worldGod didn’t allow something to happen that could have happened, so let your voices lift up praises to the Lord.  Praise God for what He has not allowed to happen to you.  Remember that He could have rejected you or held His love back from you.  Yet, He did not allow such things to happen to you. 

Praise Him!!

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Depend on the Lord in whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.
(Proverbs 16:3, NCV)

Lord, I pray for Your help with totally depending on You.
My way is not working.
Let my works glorify You as well as my words.
Be Lord over all that I have
And get as much glory as You can stand to gain from me
And what I have to offer.
Bless You, Lord. Bless You.

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Check out Blue Fish’s Never Too Early video on Tangle.  The message touches our youth and children as well as young adults.  It is never too late.  Yes, Moses was at least 80 before he led the children out of Egypt and Abraham and Sarai were advanced in years before they had a child, but God is not a respecter of persons. God can use whoever whenever and however He chooses to do so.  He will use whoever He calls.  Let us use such videos and other items to share with our children and youth on answering God’s call for service.

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You search the Scriptures, because you think you will find eternal life in them. The Scriptures tell about me. –John 5:39 (CEV)

Where do you “search” for the Scriptures? There are some places where I believe you can search the Bible and get deep into your study without going deep into your pockets for software.

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Praise the Lord.
I will extol the Lord with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly
Psalm 110:1 (NIV)

When the psalmist says: I will extol the Lord with all my heart, what he is saying is that he will praise the Lord highly and lift Him up with all that is within his entire being. 

Extol:

1. (v. t.) To praise highly; to lift up; to elevate; as to extol one’s virtues.

2. (v. t.) To elevate by praise; to eulogize; to praise; to magnify; as, to extol virtue; to extol an act or a person.

That’s what the psalmist says.  Can you echo the same excitement when it comes to giving God praise? When you praise Him, do you lift up His name with joy and thanksgiving or is it some half-hearted, “just because I made it to church today” thing that you got going on? Think over what God has brought you through and out of over the days since you were last in the assembly of the saints of God.  Take a long hard look at the things that God disallowed and prevented in your life as well as the favor that God allowed you to be shown among men and women of this world.  God doesn’t want our praise from our lips alone.  He wants our hearts.  He want us to put our all into praising Him.  When you make it to the house of the Lord this weekend, get into praising Him with all that you have for all that He has done.  Start with your heart, and then move from there.

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