01 Nov PRAISE
The truth about God, however you have experienced Him, is still the truth about God. His character never changes, He is still the same, yesterday, today and forever. Our perspective and understanding of the Lord is what often impacts our ability to praise Him. So what perspective do you have? Are you looking for God to do something to make your life better or change your circumstance? Are you missing out on the blessings He has already given you and has planned for you? Do you realize your worship is your weapon against whatever comes against you? (the words of Pastor Steven Furtick)
There is life in praising God. Read more to see what I mean. Webster’s Dictionary describes praise as “a warm approval or admiration of.” There are three Greek and nineteen Hebrew definitions for praise relating to similar definitions for rejoice, jump for joy, sing, dance, hold in adoration, and celebrate. Can you perhaps understand what David means when he writes in Psalm 34:8, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”?
We were made to praise the Lord! Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor 3:16) John writes in 1 John 4:13, “This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit.” Did you know we are filled with the same spirit as Jesus was, in Acts 17:24-27, Paul tells us that God made the world and everything in it, that He Himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else, for in Him we live and move and have our being! God is the ultimate Provider, Healer, and Father. He satisfies all of our needs when we turn to Him and see Him for who He is.
In scripture, even Jesus is documented praising God. We read in Matthew 26:30, at the Last Supper, Jesus sings along with His disciples! After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus knew His Father and was praising Him, even knowing He is soon to be crucified on the cross for each of us, but trusting fully in God’s promises. Turn your eyes toward the Lord, fully trust in His promises, and allow your heart to hear from His tender mercies and lovingkindness. Then you too will be able to praise Him.
Jesus is described in Revelation 5 as the King of Praise (Judah translates in Hebrew to “praise”), the Lion and the Lamb. This passage goes on to explain that Jesus, the perfect Lamb with perfect wisdom, perfect power, and the perfect spirit of God, was slain and His blood purchased you for God. Jesus was worthy to open the scroll described in this passage because He was perfect! We have been redeemed – reclaimed for your original purpose as a child of God through believing in Jesus. In Rev 5:11, thousands upon thousands, ten thousand times ten thousand angels loudly proclaim, “Worthy is the lamb, who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise.” Then every creature in heaven and on earth and in the sea proclaimed in verse 13, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever.” This passage gives us a glimpse of the purpose angels were created for – to praise God. They only see the perfection of Jesus and in praise they loudly proclaim that truth. What will it take for you to see the Lord this way? Jesus was perfect and the work He did on the cross is finished. There is nothing else we can do to achieve salvation, freedom, or redemption apart from trusting and embracing the finished work of our Savior.
1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” How amazing is that! We have an inheritance, but have we accepted it? Lift up your (proverbial) hands and let your whole heart praise Him for who He is (perfect, loving, Savior, Provider, Healer, Father) and what He has already done (died for our sins, mistakes, choices that did not go well for us and brought us back to God as His children). Praising God is an act of gratitude for all that has been done for you. Just you and Him; no one else. Can you think of something (or many things) to praise God for today?
When we can actually believe that all things are from Him and through Him and to Him, (Romans 11:36) we can accurately give God the glory. Even when things are not exactly like we want, we can rest and have peace, knowing that God gives all good things and He always keeps His promises. He is with us and His Spirit dwells in us.
Here are some lyrics that describe what I am talking about.
Love So Great – Hillsong Worship
Your love so great
Jesus in all things
I’ve seen a glimpse of Your heart
A billion years
Still I’ll be singing
How can I praise You enough?
You are the Lord Almighty
Outshining all the stars in glory
Your love is like the wildest ocean
Oh, nothing else compares
All to the Saviour
We are alive for Your praise
In earth and sky, no one is higher
Our God of wonders, You reign
Not to us, but to Your Name
We lift up all praise
A friend was recently sharing part of her spiritual journey with me and she explained that when she heard the lyrics of Ever Be, a song by Natalie Grant, she was finally able to feel connected with God and her heart was inclined to praise Him for the first time in a long time. She was in a place of dependence and gratitude with the Lord, as she reflected on all that the Lord had recently done in her heart. She admitted that there were plenty of things in her life that still weren’t the way she wanted, and was even grieving much loss. But she felt in that moment of worship, in hearing these words, she could praise Him.
Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold
Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old
Your love is enduring through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon with mercy for today
Faithful You have been and faithful you will be
You pledge yourself to me and it’s why I sing
For us to truly believe the words above, our hearts have to be connected to the Lord. We have to fight for this sometimes when we are struggling through hardships or heartbreak, but the truth of who God is, regardless of my current circumstance, allows me to praise Him – no matter what I am going through. He doesn’t leave us in the hard places; rather He wants us to draw near to Himself and show us our utter desperation for Him. “You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7.
Is your heart open to hearing the faithfulness of God and what He has been doing in your life? Can you take a few moments to turn off the distractions, whether in quietness and rest or in worship and song, and hear from God enough to praise Him?
You Father the orphan
Your kindness makes us whole
And you shoulder our weakness
And your strength becomes our own
Now you’re making me like you
Clothing me in white
Bringing beauty from ashes
For You will have Your bride
Free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame
And known by her true name and it’s why I sing
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
You will be praised You will be praised
With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord