Posts Tagged ‘Praise

20
Jun
17

Praying And Singing

As we go travel along our journey of faith, we are going to have both times of trouble and times of joy and happiness. James tells us what to do in either situation. He writes:
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. – James 5:13 (NIV)
How often do we fail to pray to God when we are in trouble? How often do we fail to sing songs of praise to our Heavenly Father when things are going well? We must not forget God! When we’re in trouble, we think that we have to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and do it ourselves. Or when things are going well, we’re quick to pat ourselves on the back thinking we’ve done something great to deserve such blessings. This should not be the case. We need to pray to God when life is hard and we need to praise God when things are going well. He is the One who can get us through the difficult days and He is the One who blesses us with joy and happiness. May your day be free from trouble and full of happy moments. Blessings to you!
21
Nov
16

4 Keys To Pleasing God

The ancient city of Colossae was located on the south bank of the Lycus river.  It was an important city first mentioned in writings in 480 BC.  There is evidence, according to scholar F.F. Bruce, that the Colossae was still a major city in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.  There was a large Jewish population in Colossae.  Perhaps this is why Paul wrote so much about who Jesus was and what He did in this letter.  Paul did not start the church in Colossae, but had heard about what was going on there from Epaphras who had visited Paul while he was imprisoned.
Here in chapter 1, Paul and his young scribe, Timothy, tell the Colossians that they are praying for them.  They are asking God to fill them with knowledge and understanding that comes by the Holy Spirit (verse 9).  What was the goal of this prayer?  Look at verse 10:

“…so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.” – Colossians 1:10 (NIV)

Paul then goes on to tell how they could live a life worthy of the Lord Jesus and how to please Him.  There are four keys to living this kind of life:

  1. Bearing fruit in every good work (verse 10)
  2. Growing in the knowledge of God (verse 10)
  3. Being strengthened in all power by God’s might so that they will have patience and endurance (verse 11)
  4. Giving thanks to the Father (verse 12)

This is what being a Christian is all about.  This is how we please God – bear fruit, grow in faith, patiently endure trials and suffering, and be thankful.  Which of these four areas do you need to work on today?  Are you bearing spiritual fruit by doing good works or are you living to please  and serve yourself?  Are you growing in your faith or are you stagnating?  Are you patiently enduring the trials and tests of life or are you bitterly complaining about them?  Are you a thankful person or do you take God’s blessings for granted?

It is so vital that we strive to please God.  After all, as verses 13-14 say:

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. – Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV)”

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for Your Word. I want to be a thankful person today, giving You thanks for all You have done. Thank You for all that You are doing in my life and for all of Your promises still yet to be fulfilled. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Colossians 1:1-14 (NIV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

Thanksgiving and Prayer

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace. You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow servant, who is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

12
Oct
16

The One Worthy Of Praise

Psalm 18
For the director of music.  Of David the servant of the LORD.  He sang to the LORD the words of this song when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.  He said:
I love you, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.  He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies. — Psalm 18:1-3 (NIV)

In the Psalms, the word “worthy” appears four times in the NIV.  In each instance, it is part of the phrase “worthy of praise”.  In each instance, it is referring to God.  We see from the Psalms that God is deserving of praise.  He is praiseworthy.  We heap praise on quite a few things in our world (the brownies I made last night were quite delicious, but not necessarily praiseworthy).  There is only One who is truly worthy of praise.

Two Reasons To Praise God

First, because of what God has done.  That is what David did in Psalm 18.  God had rescued him from his enemies.  David feared for his life and God delivered him.  He, in turn, praised God for what He had done for David.

Secondly, because of who God is.  David praised God because of God’s attributes.  God was his strength and shield.  God was his deliverer and fortress and refuge.  He could hide and take shelter in God.  He could call to the Lord and find salvation.

The Same Goes For Us

We need to discover God’s worthiness of praise in our own lives for the very same reasons.  How do we answer these two questions:

  • What has God done for us?
  • Who is God?

How has God rescued you?  From what has he saved and rescued you?  How have you seen His attributes displayed in your life?  Have you called on the name of the Lord Jesus for salvation (Romans 10:13Acts 22:16)?  He still saves and He is still our refuge and He is still worthy of praise!

PRAYER: Thank You, Father, for saving me. Thank You for all You have done in my life this week. I praise You, O God, for who You are. You’re a mighty God and a good Father to me. I love You. Amen.

08
Sep
16

In Spirit And In Truth

John 4:19-24 (NIV)

“Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.”
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

 
It appears that the worship wars started many years ago. The Jews and Samaritans were at odds over the proper place of worship. Jesus says that it isn’t the place of worship that counts. It’s something else entirely. He says that true worshipers must worship in Spirit and in truth. Spirit-filled worship of God does not take happen in just one place, such as a mountain or a temple. True worship of God takes place in the heart of every born-again believer in Jesus. True worship is more than just words on a page or a screen. Spirit-filled worship emanates from our souls as we express our gratitude for what God has done and our admiration of who He is.
I think that fighting about worship, whether styles or locations, is about the dumbest thing we do as followers of Jesus. How foolish is it that we think that God is contained in our little worship box? As though there is only one kind of music God likes? As though God can be limited to being worshiped on a Sunday morning at 10:30 (in your particular time zone) in a church building? When we gather for worship, the important thing is not the songs we sing nor the place where we gather with brothers and sisters. It is the attitude in which we enter into worship. Are we there to express our thanksgiving to and admiration of Almighty God? It’s an honor and a privilege to come before Him! We’re beggars and paupers coming before the King in our filthy rags of self-righteousness and we’re going to fight with each other about how we’re dressed or the proper way to sing His praises? Ludicrous! Let us seek to honor and worship Jesus in Spirit and in truth that we may be unified in awe and wonder as to who He is and what He’s done.
PRAYER: Forgive me, Father, for my wrong attitudes regarding worship. I want to worship You in Spirit and in truth. Help me to know the truth and to be filled with the Spirit so that my worship may be pleasing to You. You are good and kind. You have provided all that I need. You are most worthy of praise! Accept my offering of worship and praise today in the name of Jesus, amen.
13
May
16

Confessing Your Praise

He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. — Proverbs 28:13 (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. — 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word that is translated as “confesses” in Proverbs 28:13 is a word that is most often used in connection with praising God with a Thanksgiving offering.  It is used to confess what God has done and to thank Him for all that He has done.  In the New Testament, the word translated “confess” in 1 John 1:9 is also connected with praise.  How can this be?
I believe that the confession of sin (the fact that we are sinners and do, in fact, sin against God and others) and the merciful forgiveness of sin is instantaneous.  We do not take a number (confess) and wait for God to call that number (forgive us) like we are waiting in line at the deli.  God mercifully forgives us over and over and over again.  His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).  The immediate response to our confession is immediate forgiveness and our immediate response should be thankful praise.  There is no going to our room to think about what we’ve done while we wait to see of God will forgive us.  God doesn’t need to think about it!  He is ready, willing and able to forgive in mercy!
Perhaps our prayer of confession should look something like this:
Father, I am a sinner and I have sinned against You.  I thank You and praise You for the forgiveness that I now receive through Your Son, Jesus Christ.
What about you?  Do you have a hard time accepting God’s forgiveness?  How do you confess your sins/sinfulness to God?  How does the intersection of confession and praise work in your life?
27
Apr
16

Clothed With Joy

Psalm 30

New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 30

A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will exalt you, Lord,
for you lifted me out of the depths
and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
Lord my God, I called to you for help,
and you healed me.
You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead;
you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said,
“I will never be shaken.”
Lord, when you favored me,
you made my royal mountain stand firm;
but when you hid your face,
I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”

11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

In Psalm 30, David writes about how God was able to take his broken heart and replace it with joy.  Look at what he says:

…weeping may stay for the night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5b (NIV)

and

You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy… – Psalm 30:11 (NIV)

When we are in the thick of sorrow and pain, we need to cry out to God for help.  Jesus, on the night before His crucifixion, was in agony and anguish.  He cried out to His Father for help and strength.  God hears our cries and He heals our broken hearts and wounded souls.  He is able to carry us through the darkest times of our lives.  What is our response to His healing?  It is to be praise:

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people;
praise his holy name. – Psalm 30:4 (NIV)

 and

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. – Psalm 30:12 (NIV)

So when your healing comes, do not forget about the Lord.  When He forgives your sins, do not forget about the Lord.  When He shows you mercy and gives you joy, may you rejoice in the Lord.  Let us praise His holy name forever.
PRAYER: God, I need Your healing in my life. I need Your joy today. My life and situations and circumstances grieve me. I need You and I need joy. Remind me of Your faithful love and forgiveness so that I may have true joy today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
21
Mar
16

Are We Any Different?

Luke 19:28-40 (NIV)

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.29 As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 30 “Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

32 Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. 33 As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying the colt?”

34 They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

35 They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. 36 As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road.

37 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

38 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

 

Luke makes an interesting distinction about those who gathered to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem just before Passover.  He says that those who were shouting, “Hosanna!” were His disciples.  Not necessarily the twelve, but a large crowd of followers who had accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem.  People flocked to Jesus because of the mighty things He had done.  Everywhere Jesus went, large crowds followed Him.  This day was no different.

But the jubilation and joy of Palm Sunday soon gave way to the darkness and gloom of Good Friday.  Not only did the crowds turn on Jesus, but nearly everyone abandoned Him.  He rode into Jerusalem with such popularity and adulation.  Within five days, He was being nailed to a cross.  We wonder how this could have happened.  We like to think that we would have remained faithful to Jesus, but would we have been any different?  Would we have shouted for Jesus and not for Barabbas?  Would we have shouted for Pilate to set Jesus free instead of, ‘Crucify Him!”?

I do not believe that we would have acted much differently.  We find ourselves ready to give up on our faith when the slightest hint of difficulty comes our way.  We’re ready to walk away from Jesus when situations and circumstances don’t go the way we think they should.  Yet Jesus still intercedes and pleads with God on our behalf, “Father, forgive them.”

Let us not be too hasty in judging those who followed Jesus into Jerusalem on the original Palm Sunday and yet turned on Him in less than 5 days.  If we take a good look at ourselves, we’ll find that we are not much different than they.

PRAYER: Father, I ask for Your forgiveness for the times that I abandon You in doubt, fear or anger.  I want to praise You with all of my heart, but I fall so short.  Thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for Your love.  Thank You for Jesus.  In His name, amen.




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