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Posts Tagged ‘praise’

I want to begin by saying that it is good to thank God, and to do so at all times. We learn this in both the Old and New Testaments:

  • Psalm 34:1 – “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – “Rejoice always”

These verses teach us that we are to give thanks, not just when we feel like it, or when things are good – but when we don’t feel like it and when we are going through trials.

I believe we need to treat giving thanks to God as a spiritual discipline, like prayer and reading the Bible, so that we are intentional and take time on a regular basis to reflect and take note of how God has blessed us.

Thanking God in this way is important for at least these two reasons:

1. God deserves thanks

God deserves it because of who he is. Apart from anything that God does, God is simply great in character and power.  Isaiah 6:3 says, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” God is “holy,” that is, in a higher and different class than us; God is so awesome that it is beyond us to even fathom it.

God deserves thanks because he created all things. Revelation 4:11 says, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” And we exist because God chose that it be so.

God deserves thanks because he saves us. Psalm 13:5 says,” my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.” God has saved us through his Son, our Lord Jesus, the Christ. And he continues to save us and help us.

And God deserves thanks because he cares for usJames 1:17 says, “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” What good things are in your life? You have them because of God’s provision for you, whether it be talents, skills, life, family home, or whatever. If it is good it is from God.

And God can even transform our pain and suffering into something good. Romans 8:28 says, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” He gives us good, and he works to redeem the bad.

2. We need to give thanks

We were made to recognize and honor God as our Creator. When we don’t we become ungrateful or we give thanks to other things for our blessings or we take credit for things ourselves. When we lose our focus on God and thanking God it distorts us spiritually in our minds and hearts. That’s why we need to give thanks – it is for our own well-being.

Not giving thanks to God is, in fact, at the root of all human sin. Paul makes this point in Romans 1:21. He says, “For although (people) knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.”

Then he talks about how in their foolishness, they turned away from the Creator to serve what is created; they served and thanked idols or images of things God made, instead of the God who made them.

As a result, Paul goes on to say, God gave them over to their desires for sexual immorality. And finally Paul ends by noting in 1:29 that people “were filled with all manner of unrighteousness.”

What is at the root of this downward progression of sin? The failure to honor and give thanks to God.

Let me end with a familiar gospel story that challenges us with this –

Do you give thanks?

 It is the story of the healing of the ten lepers from Luke 17:11-19.

“On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.’ When he saw them he said to them, ‘Go and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ And he said to him, ‘Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’”

The message of this story is simple and clear. The Samaritan is commended because he returned and gave thanks. And we need to return and give thanks to God for who he is, creation, salvation and for his care of our lives. And I want to give you the opportunity to do this, this morning . . ..

William

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1 Thessalonians 5:16, 18

Our text today says, “Rejoice always . . . give thanks in all circumstances.” It may sound a bit familiar since we spent time on these verses last week. We’re actually breaking away from our series on 1 Thessalonians today, I am planning on finishing this up on the last Sunday of the month. But we are staying in the same neighborhood. I want to share more on the topic of giving thanks in all circumstances, specifically – why we can do this even in hard times.

Now it is easy to give thanks when God answers prayers and delivers us from our problems, although sometimes we forget to do this. But it is surely more difficult to give thanks when things are going badly for us. But it is possible. Let’s look at some –

Examples of rejoicing in suffering

The twelve apostles rejoiced in suffering. They were put in prison for their preaching but were miraculously released. Then whey they preached more, they were taken to stand before the governing authorities where they were beaten and warned to stop preaching. Acts 5:41 says, “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”

Paul and Silas rejoiced in suffering. In Acts 16 Paul cast out a fortune telling demon from a slave girl and this made the owners mad. They made money off this girl. They promptly caused a stir and got Paul and Silas in trouble with the authorities. Vs. 23-25 say, “And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison . . . into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them . . ..” They were unjustly beaten, arrested and shackled – but they were singing praises to God.

This happened just before Paul came to Thessalonica, so he knew what he was talking about when he told them “rejoice always . . . give thanks in all circumstances.”

And the Thessalonians themselves knew about rejoicing in suffering. From the time they first believed they suffered. 1 Thessalonians 1:6 says, “you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.” They suffered but they had joy.

Finally, the recipients of the letter to the Hebrews. They had undergone persecution and the writer reminds them of this in 10:34, “ . . . you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.” Can you imagine having all your goods hauled away because of your faith – your big screen TV, your new dining set, your couches? Would you be able to keep things in perspective and still be joyful?

Why we can rejoice in all circumstances

– including when we suffer. As I said last week it certainly can’t be based on our feelings, these change all the time. It has to be based on something much stronger and more stable – our faith. So here are 5 aspects of our faith that show us why we can do this:

1. God is worthy of praise – period. Nothing else needs to be said. Whether we feel like praising God or not – God is worthy. Whether we are in good times or in bad times, it doesn’t matter. God is still the same – yesterday, today and forever and is still worthy of our praises.

Apart from anything God may or may not do for me; apart from whether God allows me to go through good times or bad, God is worthy of praise for who God is. God is awesome! God is holy! God is good! None of this changes based on our circumstances.

Habakkuk the prophet lived in a difficult time. The people were unfaithful to God. And he knew that judgment was coming – things were going to get worse. But he praised God anyway, because God deserves to be praised. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord . . ..” I believe that this is the purest form of praise to God because it s not dependent on something that we get from God.

2. God has blessed us in many ways. Even in the worst of times, if we are able to think about it, we can recognize that this is true.

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father . . ..” You have been given the gift of life. Also think about your abilities, your strengths, your family, your friends, your home – whatever good thing you are or have is from God.

And this includes our salvation – God’s grace and mercy to us in Jesus Christ, forgiveness of our sins, new life by the Spirit, a relationship with God, fellow believers who walk with us, strength and peace in difficult times – all these are gifts from God as well.

And so despite whatever else may be going on we can give thanks for God’s blessing to us.

3. Our hope for the future. God allows each of us to go through hard times, and a part of this is simply living in this sinful and broken world where evil is normal. But in the midst of this as Christians we have a hope for something better. This life is not all that there is. In fact, we are to live for the life that is to come, not this one.

When Jesus talked about suffering for our faith; being reviled and slandered, he said, “Rejoice and be glad” Why? “For your reward is great in heaven . . .” – Matthew 5:12.

In 1 Peter 1:6 Peter tells his readers that “now for a little while . . . you have been grieved by various trials.” Just before this he said, “in this you rejoice.” Why do they rejoice in their trials? It is because of what he had just mentioned in vs. 4-5. They have “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven . . . a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

This hope puts things in perspective for us as Christians. Yes, we will suffer in this life. But we will be blessed in the world to come.

And in fact the blessing will outweigh the sufferings. Paul says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” – Romans 8:18. Similarly he says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” – 2 Corinthians 4:17. Our suffering may well be great, but what awaits us is far greater.

4. God harnesses trials for our good. We go through fiery trials. This is an image that is used in Scripture. And it makes a point. Fire can consume or it can refine. If we go through the fire in faith we will not be consumed. Rather, God uses them to refine and purify us.

God is able to bring good out of pain, suffering and tears. This doesn’t mean that God causes the pain, only that God is greater than whatever evil befalls us.

Paul makes this point in Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God is able to work in and through all that happens to us to bring some good to us.

James tells his readers, “Count it all joy” when you suffer various kinds of trials. Why? “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4.

Along the same lines, Paul says, “. . . we rejoice in our sufferings.” Why? “knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope . . .” – Romans 5:3-4.

The world will throw hard times at us left and right. But when we endure them in faith, God brings something good out of them for us. That’s how great God is. And we can give thanks for this.

William Higgins

 

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Today we are looking at Psalm 145. This is a psalm of praise to God. In fact, it is the only Psalm with the word “praise” in its title.

Although v. 3 tells us that God’s greatness is unsearchable, that certainly doesn’t mean it can’t be talked about. Indeed this Psalm talks quite a bit about God’s greatness, and this is why I want us to look at.

Click here to read it  Psalm 145

First of all, in this Psalm . . .

God is portrayed as a great King

We see this in v. 1, which says, “my God and King” (or “my God, the King”). God is often described as a king, especially in the Psalms. And then vs. 11-13a talk about God’s “kingdom.”  God is a king who rules over a kingdom.

Now earthly kings in the ancient world were often praised for their great qualities and their great deeds, and when this Psalm speaks of God as a king, the same thing is going on.

There is much discussion of

  • God’s “works” – vs. 4, 10, 13, 17
  • God’s “mighty deeds” – vs. 12
  • God’s “wondrous works” v. 5
  • God’s “awesome deeds” – v. 6

There is also discussion of

  • God’s “majesty” – v. 5
  • God’s “glorious splendor” – vs. 5, 12
  • God’s “greatness” which is unsearchable vs. 3, 6

And there is also much said about the glory of God’s kingdom. For instance in v. 13 – “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations.”

We can be thankful that we have such a great King with an everlasting kingdom, unlike the world where rulers come and go (and you never know what you are getting), and where nations rise and fall. Our king will always reign in his kingdom forever and ever!

Next we look at the true nature of God’s greatness . . .

God’s greatness is related to his mercy

Kings are those who have power and they are known for their conquests over enemies, their wealth and the territory they control. But not so here. The focus in this Psalm is squarely on God’s acts of mercy and compassion.

This is how God differs from earthly kings and rulers.

  • God is almighty and has amazing power – more than any earthly king.
  • But God’s true greatness lies in his character traits; his deeds of mercy and compassion.

Lets look at these:

1. God forgives the sins of his people. v. 8 says, “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger . . ..” This is from God’s own mouth, from when God passed before Moses on the mountain. It is God’s description of himself in Exodus 34:6. It says, “The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness . . ..’”

This really gets at God’s core character; God’s moral makeup. And it is repeated in many places in the Old Testament, which helps us to understand what these phrases mean.

  • “Slow to anger” means that God is slow to judge us. God is patient with us, even when we do wrong.
  • “Gracious and merciful” means that if we repent and turn from our sin, God is merciful and willing to forgive.

So, God is great in that he forgives the sins of his people.

2. God is faithful to his word to us. This is also from v. 8 and is from Exodus 34:6, the last phrase – “. . . abounding in steadfast love.” It means that God will not easily give up on us. God has made a covenant with his people and even we break our commitments to God, God is patient with us, keeping his commitments to us.

This same idea of faithfulness also shows up in v. 13b – “The Lord is faithful in all his words.” God is great in that God keeps his promises to us.

Now what we have looked at focuses on God’s covenant with his people, but v. 9 expands this out further. And this is our third description of God’s greatness . . .

3. God is merciful and good to all people. v. 9 says, “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” God, as king over the whole earth, is merciful and good to all people.

This same idea shows up in the twin phrases, God is “kind in all his works” in vs. 13b, 17.

4. God is righteous.  v. 17 says, “The Lord is righteous in all his ways.” God does what is right. This is God’s moral character and God’s greatness. And this is unlike so many earthly kings and rulers.

5. God helps those who are weak. v. 14 says, “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Although God is high and all powerful, God looks down on those who are weak and low and is moved in compassion to help them.

God is truly great in that God cares for the lowly.

6. God provides food for people. vs. 15-16 say, “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Food is mentioned and we also have the phrases, the “eyes of all look to you” and  “open your hand” which in Psalm 104:27-29 refer to God providing food.

This is talking about God providing harvests year after year from the earth. In this way God provides food for all people. God is great in that he is generous and thoughtful of our needs.

7. God is near in times of trouble. v. 18 says, “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” God is not too busy or buried in bureaucracy or hidden behind handlers so that we don’t have access to him, like earthly rulers. God can hear us and come close. God is our king and also our companion.

8. Finally, God is great because God rescues people from danger. vs. 19-20a say, “He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love him . . ..” God is attentive to those in crisis. God not only hears us but saves us and preserves us.

So this Psalm gives us many wonderful descriptions of God’s greatness, all focused on God’s character as one who is merciful, kind and compassionate.

But it also helps us to see the . . .

Proper responses to God’s greatness

We are to meditate on God’s greatness. v. 5 says, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.” To meditate means that we keep God’s greatness before us, we think about it, we ponder it, we let it soak into us.

  • And we do this as we read the scriptures and see God’s greatness displayed before us. As we see who God is and what God has done.
  • And we do this as we gather together and hear and tell all that God is doing in our lives today.

Second, we are to offer praise to God for his greatness. vs. 1-2 say, “I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.”

When we truly understand God’s greatness, how amazing God truly is – especially as it relates to his mercy and care for us – how can we not lift God up in praise “forever and ever”? If we are not praising God, it is simply because we do not understand who God is. We haven’t got it yet.

Finally, we are to tell others about our great God and king. v. 4 says, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” We testify to God’s greatness to all who will listen. We share about who God is and what God has done. And others learn to know him. Both those around us today and the generations that are up and coming – our children.

William Higgins

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We are continuing to look at worship today, specifically our praise and adoration of God.

Last week we talked about why we should worship God:

  1. God is amazing, stunning, awe-inspiring. Our praise is simply a ‘natural’ response to this.
  2. God has a right to our praise since he created us and everything good about us comes from God.
  3. We should be grateful for all that God does for us – caring for us, saving us and  hearing our prayers

Today we look at how powerful the practice of worship is, that is, how it can transform us to worship God. But first we begin with some background.

Our praise is the path into God’s presence

There is actually an analogy between coming before God as our king and how people in the ancient near east came before their kings.

  • First of all, it was a really big deal to come into the presence of a king. And, of course, it is even more weighty to come into God’s presence, who is a great king. Indeed, the king of the universe.
  • Second, when you came before an earthly king, part of what you would do is offer up praise or acknowledgement of their greatness – as a way to honor the king. This was the proper protocol. With God as king we are to offer up praise and honor as well. This is only fitting for the true king of all things.
  • Finally, when you honored an earthly king, they would receive you and have an audience with you. When we offer up praise and honor to God as our king, he receives us as well. We come into God’s presence.

Psalm 100:2, 4 says, “Come into the Lord’s presence with singing! . . . Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!”

But wait, isn’t God always present with us?

Now there is a sense in which we can never get away from God’s presence. Right? Psalm 139:7 says, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” God is everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we are always in God’s presence, or that we are aware of God’s presence.

It is also true that God’s Spirit is present within us, if we belong to Christ. Romans 8:9 says, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” But just because the Spirit is within us doesn’t mean that we are always in God’s presence, or that we are aware of God’s presence.

By entering God’s presence I mean that we need to intentionally seek God out. And what I’m saying this morning is that when we seek God out with praise and thanksgiving, something special happens – we come into God’s presence in a focused and discernable way.

This has something to do with our giving our attention to God. When we do this we become more aware of God’s presence with us. But this also has something to do with the fact that God is pleased when his people worship him. And reveals himself to us more powerfully.

So let’s look at –

What happens when we are in God’s presence

1. We experience close relationship with God. If we know the Lord, we have a relationship with the Lord. But it’s something like being married. You have a relationship, but if you want to have a good relationship – you have to spend real time together and communicate.

Well, when we spend time in God’s presence, we are drawn closer to the Lord.

  • we get to know God better
  • our relationship is strengthened
  • we can be secure in our relationship with God

I ask you this morning, how good is your relationship with God? Do you take God for granted? When was the last time you had real quality time with the Lord? Enter God’s presence with praise and adoration – and experience a deeper relationship with God.

2. We are made whole. Isaiah 6:1; 5 says, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. . .. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!’”

Being in God’s presence can be a powerfully transforming experience. As with Isaiah, we come to see ourselves more clearly with all of our weaknesses and brokenness.

But God doesn’t leave us there. vs. 6-7 say, “Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: ‘Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.’” God works in us to transform us and make us whole. Isaiah’s sin is dealt with. And when we come into God’s presence, God can heal our brokenness and give us peace.

So, if you are struggling, don’t run away from God! Seek God out. God is the source of your renewal and wholeness and you can find this in his presence.

3. We find true fulfillment. We talked last week about the overwhelming, powerful presence of God, that can even be lethal. And we did this to show how amazing God is.

But God is merciful and doesn’t overwhelm us when we seek God out in worship. God’s presence is gentle and refreshing – giving us a sense of joy and fulfillment. Psalm 16:11 says, “in your presence there is fullness of joy.”

We were made to relate to God and be in God’s presence, and because of this, we only find true satisfaction and peace in God’s presence.

If your life is empty and feels meaningless, get to know God! Be in God’s presence. This is where you will find joy and meaning.

4. God hears our prayers and blesses us. Just as with a king, his servants come to ask for help, and so we come before God with our needs and concerns. And God is a great King and helps those who come before him.

Psalm 34:10 says, “The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

  • We come with our weights, concerns and discouragement
  • But we leave with strength, renewed faith and encouragement

Bring your burdens to the Lord, cast your cares at his feet, and he will care for you (1 Peter 5:7). Come into his presence and make your needs and concerns known, and he will hear you and give you the good things you need.

Finally, 5. God gives us guidance. When we come into God’s presence, God can speak to us and give us his word to direct us, or  tell us what we need to do.

Isaiah 6:8-9 says, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then I said, ‘Here am I! Send me.’ And he said, ‘Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’” God spoke to Isaiah when he was in God’s presence and he was given direction to know what to do. He was even given an commission for ministry.

If you are looking for guidance in your life, you don’t need to look to self-help books or self-proclaimed gurus – come to God! The king who made you. See what God says you should do.

 

In all these ways, being in God’s presence powerfully transforms us. When we are done, we have not only blessed and honored God, but we are not the same person that we were before. And God gives us permission to come before him regularly to be in this kind of relationship with him.

William Higgins

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I want to start a series on worship today and have us look at this theme for a few weeks.

 I shared from Psalm 95 in our praise time. Now I want to read the first seven verses. You can follow along. It’s a beautiful call to praise and worship.

Psalm 95:1-7 – “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!  For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.”

Worship is a big word. It can really cover every area of our lives – how we act, talk – all of our obedience and submission to God. But I want to use it more specifically to refer to praise, adoration, thanksgiving, acts of devotion, and expressions of love that we offer to God. Whether we do this through prayer, saying things, silence, raising hands, bowing down, etc..

Today as we begin our series on worship I want us to focus on why we should offer up worship to God.

1. God is amazing, stunning, awe-inspiring

Psalm 95:3 says, “For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” Deuteronomy 10:17 says, “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God.”

Not only is God awesome, God is beautiful. Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

There is an amazing scene of God’s throne in heaven in Isaiah 6:1,4. This passage says, “I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple . . . And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. “

As we see from Isaiah 6 and also Revelation 4, all around the throne of God there is the constant chorus, “holy, holy, holy.” Holy means incomparably different & better than anything else around. This is what God is.

To get a sense of the awesome greatness of God, when people see just a glimpse of God, it is overwhelming (and more than a glimpse can be fatal). Here are some examples:

  • Israel: In Exodus 19–20 God appeared in clouds, smoke, fire, thunder and lightening. God shook the earth and there was the sound of a trumpet. Then in chapter 20:18-19 the people were afraid trembled and stood far off. They said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
  • Moses: In Exodus 33:17-23 God showed him his glory. But Moses had to be put in a protective place – the cleft of a rock. And he had to have his face covered by God’s hand. Only then could he look at God’s back, lest he die.
  • Temple priests: 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 tells us about the dedication of Solomon’s temple. As the gathered crowed praised God, God appeared and filled the temple as with a cloud, “so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.”
  • Peter, James, John: In Matthew 17 the story is told of Jesus’ transfiguration. These there disciples were able to see Jesus’ glory. Peter was confused. And then God appeared in a bright cloud that overshadowed them and spoke. It says that they “fell on their faces and were terrified.”
  • John: In Revelation 1:17 John saw the glorified Jesus. And he fell down as if he were dead!

Nothing and no one compares to God! If you have not experienced the presence of God – God’s beauty and awesome power, well you have to experience it to know what I’m talking about. It is truly mind blowing. When you do experience it, you cannot, not acknowledge the greatness and beauty of God, as you are awed and overwhelmed.

2. God has a right to our praise

Psalm 95 also helps us see this. Vs. 4-6 say, “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his.” If we ask why is it his? It goes on and tells us, “for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.”

Then it comes to us: “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!” God is our Maker. And so God has a right to our worship as our Creator. Since God created us, every gift we have, every talent we possess and every good thing about us comes from God.

I Corinthians 5:7 says, “What do you have that you did not receive?” that is, from God. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” But even more basically, we should give thanks just for the chance to live and breath and experience life. It is not owed to us, God did not have to make us. It is a gift from our creator. We literally owe God everything. And so certainly we owe our worship – our thanks and praise.

3. We should be grateful for all that God does for us

God is not just amazingly awesome, not only does he deserve our praise for creating us, he deserves our praises because of all that he does for us:

Once again Psalm 95 gets us started. Psalm 95:1 says, “Come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!” We praise God because God saves us in our times of trouble. He is our rock of salvation.

Psalm 145 describe some of God’s deeds, and his character revealed in his actions toward us.

  • v. 8 – “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
  • v. 9 – “The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”
  • v. 14 – “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.”
  • v. 15 – “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.”
  • v. 17 – “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.”
  • v. 18 – “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”
  • v. 19 – “He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.”

God is not only good to us, God is good to us beyond what we deserve because of our sin, rebellion and lack of concern for God. Yet God cares for us, provides for us, and hears our prayers.

 

So for all these reasons:

  • because God is amazing,
  • because God created us and we owe it to our creator,
  • and because God blesses us constantly with kindness and goodness.

we should praise God!

But remember this, God is so great, that even if we fail to do what we should, creation itself will have enough sense to pick up the chorus. As Jesus says in Luke 19:40,  “I tell you, if these people were silent, the very stones would cry out” in praise to God. (Psalm 19). We don’t want to be outdone by rocks!

William Higgins

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