FIRST Thoughts

What comes to mind when you hear the word 'praise'? Maybe it is associated with church, or sport, or family. For many, at least in church circles, praise is most often associated with singing or making a joyful noise to the Lord for His blessings upon our lives. Praise is the only thing that God does not provide for us on this earth that when given from a willing heart unlocks an abundant blessing from God.

The book of Psalms overflows with praise and thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30,32 is an example of our response to God's person. "I will praise the name of God with a song and will magnify Him with thanksgiving...the humble shall see this and be glad and you who seek God, your hearts shall live."

I mentioned the importance of humility yesterday in our time together from God's Word. Here is another example by way of a reminder for this Monday morning of what God said from His word yesterday. "The humble shall see this and be glad, and you who seek God, your hearts shall live." Notice the proud do not experience, nor do they enjoy the benefits of praising God from a humble heart. The proud simply refuse to bend to such activity or participate. It is often described as unnecessary in a church setting. Consequently, the proud miss the blessing in the process. What have you forfeited of late from God because praise seemed foreign to you, if not down-right foolish. Who in their right mind would behave in such a way in public as though God was all that mattered in the moment? Genuine praise makes the proud around you uncomfortable. On the other hand, praise of their own 'god' or for other 'gods' of their choosing in a stadium far, far away from church on any day ending in 'y' is deemed quite acceptable by the proud. So much so that a person is considered 'odd' if they are not standing on their feet for three hours and shouting to the top of their lungs for the 'god' of their choosing. I guess praise boils down to what you and I really prize.

Tim Anderson from Clements Baptist Church in Athens, Alabama expands on that thought with the following-- "Praise is expressing admiration for a person or a cause. When we praise someone, we are celebrating his virtues or his accomplishments. However, praise to God is much more than this. The English word praise means (get this) 'to prize'--so to praise God is to prize God.

I have been a pastor long enough to know that when a child of God cannot offer up praise, there is something wrong. Charles Wesley had been saved one year when he wrote the hymn, 'O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing (My Great Redeemer's Praise). Now, most of us are not Charles Wesley, but that song gives us an example of how we should have the praise of God on our lips.

Think of what a witness it would be if each of us had this type of testimony on the job and in our communities. Even better, can we begin to think about how wonderful it would be if our churches were filled with this type of praise on Sunday mornings? The preacher would not only preach better, but rest assured, the people would leave better. Someone has said that praise is fuel for the soul, and if our souls are not flourishing, it is because our praise is not flowing." end

The Word of God is filled with praise. Are you?

Remember, we praise what we prize in our heart!

Who or what have you stood up for lately?

Who or what have you given a 'shout out' for lately?

For His glory,

Pstr K

Psalm 27:1

(Johnny Hunt devotional ref. 'The Heart of Worship' --Tim Anderson, Clement Baptist Church--pg 225)