Praising God is important.
We know that, right? But praise music and singing is the least favorite part of church for me. I feel guilty about that sometimes. To be honest, I have never been a music person. I don’t have to have it playing in the background or in my ears like so many do, and I most certainly don’t know the lyrics of any song, even ones that conjure up warm emotions from a happy time in my life.
My favorite part of Sundays is the learning component found in the sermon and smaller classes that invite further discussion and teaching. I also enjoy the social component — seeing people and keeping a pulse on matters so I can pray and navigate relationships wisely.
Praise is not music.
Music is part of praise, but praise comes in other forms too, like from our lips in prayer. We can tell God He is wonderful as we go face down on the carpet in humility and surrender or while lifting arms high in glee while in the kitchen. In either case, music is not playing. It is also true these things can be done because we are asking God for something or thanking Him for something He did instead of who He is.
Praise is not thanks.
I am big on thanks. I have kept a thank you journal for years and write in it nearly every day of my life. I find it critical in keeping track of all God is doing in my life so the difficulties of life don’t swallow up the good things and make them disappear from my mind.
Praise is about God.
I have been reflecting for quite some time on why I thank God and serve God and share about God before I praise God for who He is. I am disturbed that I can still roll out of bed in the morning without being in awe that I get to have a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Someone told me about Jesus; I am not enslaved to sin; I am going to heaven; But I can still have a “bad day” if my car breaks down. Praise has not yet saturated my being.
At some point last year I told God I was embarrassed and I asked Him to work on this praise issue with me. I am happy to report that He has been answering that prayer, though I have a long way to go! I am more likely to think of God immediately when I first open my eyes. I am more confident now that any day is going to be amazing simply because I have Him. He is not just enough, but astoundingly more than enough.
Someone has helped me.
God has put the longing for more praise in my heart, but God has used Francis Chan in my life to tutor me in this area of praise specifically. This summer I began reading his book, “Until Unity” and his Introduction starts right in and cuts to the core. It was FABULOUS.
I thought you might enjoy it too — here it is.
Be honest: How much time did you spend praising Jesus this morning?
Asking for things doesn’t count. I’m asking, How much time did you spend staring at Him and telling Him how amazing He is?
We were God’s enemy, destined to face His wrath. Let that sink in.
Jesus was tortured on the cross to appease the wrath of God. Does that truth still move you?
You are now reconciled with God and adopted as His child. How do we go a day without praising Him for this?
God now abides in you! Don’t just give this a head nod. Marvel at this!
Put this book down and worship Him. You are breathing now because God is giving you breath. Use your next breath for its intended purpose. Bless Him.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
(Francis Chan, until unity, pages 13 and 15)
This week, may God watch us STOP to turn off the computer, shut off the phone, mute the television, turn off the vacuum, let the laundry sit, or delay our exercise….to bless his holy name.
My husband and I traveled recently to celebrate a daughter’s birthday and graduation with a Master’s degree in Psychology. We are so proud of her and her husband and kids who supported her!
On the way to the ceremony she showed us her cap and explained that her dad had given her a refrigerator magnet with this saying on it when she got her first home. That magnet has been on every refrigerator in every home since, and this year made it to her cap. Such a tender story. It is also a reminder that we never know the far-reaching effects of even our smallest gestures of kindness.
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