Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Geared to praise

We human beings are geared to praise. Sometimes it doesn't seem that way but we really are. The Bible tells us over and over to praise God. It tells us not to take His name in vain. It tells us to love Him.

I'm not an expert in other religions but I suspect that Buddha and Allah do not ask for our love as much as Yahweh, The Judeo-Christian God does. He doesn't only want us to obey. He wants us to love Him.

Love is such a wonderful thing and love is wonderfully interwoven with praise. How can we not praise what we love? Although we are commanded to obey God, mere obedience to God doesn't cut it. Joyous appreciation of His love, joyous overwhelming happiness at His care, guidance, provision are things a Christian should be aware of. And when we become aware of this, we cannot help but praise.

There are three things that are anti-praise, things that deny God true praise:

First: Whining and murmuring. The Bible warns us often not to do this. Whiners imply that God isn't taking care of them, that He is unaware of them, that He is unloving.

Second: Praising the wrong things or praising in the wrong way. The human heart can be so manipulated by the media, human sinfulness, wrong priorities, that often we end up praising the wrong thing. How shallow it is to praise clothing, human medicine, cooking, and yet not to go further and praise the God who made all these things. Furthermore... loving the beat of a song or the "beauty" of a song or the artfulness of a song is not really praising God. It's aesthetics. A lovely church service does not mean that your heart has worshiped.

Third: No praise at all. Some folks simply do not praise God. They don't praise anything. Heaven knows what their problem is. Maybe they think God already knows how they feel about Him. Maybe they are self-conscious. Maybe they weren't praised as kids and so they find it hard to simply say, "God, you're amazing. I love you so much." Whatever the problem-- emotional issues or human wilfulness-- it's like pulling teeth to get these folks to praise God even in the privacy of their own bedroom.

Fourth: Listening to praise songs. Okay, I understand all about soaking music. And I understand the use of choirs...but really I can't think of any verse in the Bible which tells us to listen to songs. God's people are always commanded to join in with the praise and singing. We are all commanded to sing praises to God. Praise comes when both the heart and mouth are moved. Praise has power when both the heart and mouth are moved. If one simply sits and listens to praise songs, no matter how moved one is in the heart...praise isn't happening. The mouth must be opened, the mouth must join in with the praise. If you can't talk, God will understand you can't sing...but even so... try to sing along.

Fifth: Never singing to the Lord a new song. God has commanded us to sing a new song to him. This is not about tradition. I love old hymns and new songs. But when we are in our house and we spontaneously sing a new song to God, we are showing a new understanding of God in our life. New revelations of God's love and power should lead to new songs.

Well folks. It's ALWAYS the Christmas season. It's always RESURRECTION DAY. A time when God sent his son to live as one of us. What an amazing and lovely God and what a wonderful plan to make us understand what our God is really like. Praise ye the Lord.
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