Friday, December 12, 2014

Every Praise

It was (last) Friday night December 5th at 8 o’clock in the evening when we received a phone call. 

I couldn’t tell who it was, but knew by my husband’s responses that the message was a good one.

“I want to thank you for the opportunity that you gave us this week in being a part of starting a soul fire in our community.  We had a blast and next year we are going to do this on our own.”
Said the woman who was part of the congregation we gave the children’s gift packs.
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Guided by the Holy Spirit
On December 8th, a card with an enclosed letter came in the mail giving praise for what the Lord had done over the past week through the gift packs. Marcy wrote:
“We know that you both wanted to bless our pastor in the bringing of gifts for them and the children, but little did you know that we needed the blessing (meaning the lady who was writing the letter and her husband).
My friend, Connie and I gave the Christmas packets to our church children, a Community Head Start Program, to another church where my brother-in-law attends and throughout the county.  Everyone was so thankful and blessed. 
Thank you for the opportunity to share these gifts of love. 
We love you, Marcy.”
After we first heard from these grateful hearts, we immediately lifted our voices to the Lord and gave Him all the praise.  We couldn’t take any of the glory for the outpouring of gratitude, because it was the Holy Spirit that guided us to that neighborhood. 

Attitude of Praise
Read what Mandy Kelly says
about an Attitude of Praise.
The attitude of praise continued throughout the week where we saw the Lord doing wondrous things of His love, while showering favor on our lives and situations. 
Things that seemed to be in the “stuck” mode simply became unstuck and we saw circumstances changing where people said nothing could be done.  Joy to the world was being manifested as the *spiritual fires continued among God’s people.
Monday during my husband’s physical therapy session I met a lady who was from the Philippines.  She is so lovely and talented.  Besides being an architect (that’s so cool in itself), she is a seamstress.  God allowed the connection because He knew I needed someone to help with alterations in my clothing.  Being petite it’s hard to find items that fit properly and here God put us in position to meet.  I love that and praise God for thinking of me! 
Wednesday our schedule was changed for physical therapy to the afternoon to compensate for another medical appointment.  I was so happy that paperwork was approved for me to also take advantage of the equipment while being there to support my husband emotionally.  I figured why not workout with him since I’m there anyway.
Praise God, forty-five minutes after the exercising I wasn’t tired and felt really good (I’m only permitted to use the machines while he is).  That night I was able to get some sleep, and for those who have been praying for me in that area I am so thankful for your continual prayers.
“Oh, sing to the Lord a new praise song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His Holy arm have gained Him the victory.” Psalm 98:1
For the past week I’ve been hearing how people have so much to do in getting ready for parties, home celebrations, baking and shopping.  I am among that group in many areas, but have to offer praise and thanksgiving to God for giving me strength and allowing me to be almost finished with all these activities.  Focusing on ways to bless others it felt like God dropped “time” in my neck of the world, causing things to “just get done.”

Where Are My Praisers?
Since last week’s lesson my heart has been full of praise.  Looking through the mail, listening to stories, reading articles or following conversations my thoughts drove me to our journey together this year. I’ve continually seen people join in on the journey while others dropped out because they haven’t seen the favor of God in their lives in their timing. 
Instead of offering a word of praise to the Lord for what He is doing and setting into motion, some have become angry and disappointed that God isn’t working fast enough.
Through all this One voice has resounded in my spirit saying, “Where are my praisers?  Where are the thankful and grateful hearts for the favor and blessings I have bestowed?”
With sincere praise I thank God each morning for His new mercies I receive each day as I rise, but it saddens me to think that I have fallen into this category at times knowing it grieved the Holy Spirit.  Although I have missed God on several accounts in my life, He is always faithful to forgive. I like how Isaiah gives voice to this in chapter 12.
[A Hymn of Praise] And in that day you will say: “O Lord, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me. Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For Yahweh, the Lord, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’ Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. ...”

Every Praise in One Accord
This week we have been cat sitting (at least it isn’t chicken sitting again), and during our work I have observed many things that I have failed to praise God for in my own life on a regular basis, or to instruct others in the things of the Lord.
Acts 4:24

How clear it came to me that as a worship leader who is supposed to be teaching God’s people about praise, I overlook some of the smallest things to give God praise and glory for each day.  Here are a few examples of how short we come in our praise offerings to God.
The Lord is our *Everlasting Emmanuel who is always with us, yet we let the cares of this world overshadow His presence. *Matthew 1:23
Are we lifting up every praise to Jesus our Savior, who has made us the righteousness of God through salvation? By faith we have received favor from God through His grace, mercy and loving-kindness. (Titus 3:1-7 NKJV)
Every praise rightfully should be given to God our *Healer.  Millions have taken the flu vaccine and relied on it to heal or save them from sickness, yet this manmade drug has failed this year.  Jesus never fails, because He is the true healer. *Exodus 15:26

Every praise needs to be offered to God who delivers us from our enemies.  He sees the beginning to the end and knows what to do in every course of the battle.
“O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing (not speak) and give praise, even with my glory.” Psalm 108:1
“Then David spoke (not sang) to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.” 2 Samuel 22:1
Do we sing and speak praises to our God?  Every word of praise that comes out of our mouths needs to be lifted to Him in song, singing (and speaking) glory Hallelujah to our God. 
This means we actually have to vocalize our praise privately and publically so others can hear it.
“I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; Yes, I will praise Him among the multitude.” Psalm 109:30
“I will  praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” Psalm 69:30
“Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 96:1
Every word of worship that is uttered should be in one accord with His Word and with one another, especially during worship.
This is how souls are saved; people are healed and delivered from whatever is driving them away from a Sovereign Lord. 
[A Song of Praise to the Sovereign Lord] “The Lord reigns; Let the earth rejoice; Let the multitude of isles be glad!” Psalm 97:1
[A Praise Song of God’s Majesty and Love] “I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:1
“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, and His praise in the assembly of saints.” Psalm 149:1
So, if we know all this, why aren’t we offering the sacrifice of praise to our God?
“And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” Psalm 27:6
“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.” Hebrews 13:15

My prayer for this week’s challenge is that everyone following this blog offers up a sacrifice of praise before the Lord continually.
“Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.” Psalm 145:2
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6

This Week’s Challenge:
Give Every Praise to God
Our challenge this week may seem too easy, but believe me it’s not. 
Even though the world may see Christmas as a time of giving, it’s more of a time of stealing when we take praise and glory for things God has allowed or permitted in our lives. 
I’d like us to do two things for this challenge.
For the first part, which hopefully becomes part of our daily walk and journey with Christ, is to defer praise back to the Lord.
We are in a season where people are feeling generous and many times they express their gratitude with a gift and words of praise.  When someone offers up their voice in praise for things you have done, defer the praise to the Lord giving Him credit for allowing you to be the vessel He could use.
Every Praise Changes "Every" Thing!
Wherever and in whatever situation you find blessings and favor, immediately offer praise to God.  In doing this you will see that the Spirit of Joy of the Holy Spirit will be manifested in your life regularly. 
It will be physical so others can see it, because you are being obedient in giving God praise.
The second part of our challenge is for us to do right now as we complete the reading.  Is your praise so powerful it will stop traffic, in a good way?
I’ve placed this specific video in which all praise is being directed to God.  Besides joining in on the song of praise in the clip with Pastor Hezekiah Walker, while offering your sacrifice of praise take notice of the people standing by watching what the pastor did in that city. 
You will see that by the end of the song people who didn’t know it were joining in on the praise, there were smiles on faces and lives were being changed by praise in one accord. 
There’s a true spirit of joy in those participating in the singing of praises to our God and it doesn't have to be just at Christmas time.
So the next time you are in a service where people are singing take notice of their faces.  True worship is followed by the appearance of joy; the spiritual gift of God.  It’s contagious and visible.
Are their lives being transformed as they offer praise?  If not it’s not a true sacrifice of praise or worship before the Lord.  Be determined that no matter what others are doing or not doing, that your praise will be true worship and continual.  It won’t be long before God blesses you with His favor for the praise that comes from your heart and mouth.

“Every word of worship is to our God

Sing glory Hallelujah to our God.

Every praise, every praise is to our God!

God my Savior, God my healer, God my Deliverer.”

Until next time, favor God with your praise!

“Have you any praise for Me?”
Jesus Christ

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Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible.
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Image:  Opportunity  Thank You Letter  Attitude of Praise  Praise Him  One Accord  God My Savior Every Word of Worship Praise Changes Things
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