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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Come hell or high water, praise!

I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with His praise.
Psalm 34:1 (MSG)
As born again children of God, praise is one of the most powerful weapons of our warfare. Although one can pray amiss, I believe that it is impossible to praise God amiss! To praise God is to extol Him, to eulogize Him, to worship Him, and to sing His praises for who He is. It is also to thank Him for what He has done for you, as well as what you expect Him to do.
Praise is unique because it is also very important to God. In point of fact, the Bible tells us in Psalm 22:3, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (KJV). What does the use of the word “inhabit” in this passage mean? Well, it means ~
§  to ~ dwell, remain, sit, abide
§  to ~ sit, sit down
§  to ~ be set
§  to ~ remain, stay
§  to ~ have one’s abode
In other words, God ‘dwells in’, ‘remains in’, ‘sits at’, ‘abides in’ and ‘has His abode in’ the praises of His people. How awesome is that?
Praise is so important in our walk with the Lord that He expects us to praise Him at all times, in all circumstances, whether we like it or not, and whether we feel like it or not! The Bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (NIV). This is a call to a lifestyle of thanks-living where you give thanks and praise to God in every situation, no matter what happens to you.
But why would God expect this of us?
There are at least 3 reasons I can think of, all based in Scripture:
§  God has the complete picture. Whereas, we only see in part, God sees the end from the beginning!Therefore, we must trust him ENOUGH to know that He is good all the time, and that His thoughts towards us are of good not of evil. Even if it doesn’t feel like that!

§  Secondly, when we’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end! He would make a way. In Isaiah 43:1-2, the Bible says, “Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you.    When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God…” (MSG).

§  Thirdly, whatever it is, can work together for our good! Romans 8:28 tells us “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV). The NCV puts it this way “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love Him. They are the people He called, because that was His plan”; while the NLT says “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them”.
Job was a hero of praise. Even when he lost all his children and everything he owned – including his stupendous wealth – he still praised the Lord. The Bible tells us of Job’s reaction to his losses in Job 1: 20-22 as follows, “Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and fell to the ground before God. He said, ‘I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be stripped of everything when I die. The LORD gave me everything I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!’ In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God” (NLT). And in Job 13:15, Job said concerning the Lord his God “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (NKJV).
Job could praise God in the face of such adversity for several reasons. Here are just two of them:
§  He trusted God – He said “though He slay me yet will I trust Him”.

§  He knew that God had a purpose for what He was going through and that it would eventually work out for his good. He said, “When He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, KJV).

Job gave thanks in everything. It is therefore not surprising that he later recovered everything he had lost!
Let me ask you, when was the last time you gave God thanks for your adversity? When was the last time you gave praise in your adversity? Ask the Lord today for the grace to develop an attitude of gratitude and the grace to live a life of thanks-living! And learn to praise Him in every situation: Good, bad, and not so good!

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