I Thes. 5:18. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Even during this virus??? Even when we’ve lost our jobs? Even when someone we loves dies?Give thanks in all circumstances—-period.
Of all my tasks at the camp, traveling long distances, like Asia or Africa, is what I appreciate the least. And yet in the past I knew that I had to go on these trips for the life and health of our “international” camp. Those days are over, at least for a while, but I do look forward to the day when someone else handles all the foreign travel.
My last trip was a bit more complicated and stressful than normal. I had just left and was hopeful that there would be no major issues at home, but after being gone just a few hours “meltdowns” began to occur with two of the boys and my iPhone began ringing and the texts descended upon me. I was not there to solve the problem, referee the fighting, or put an end to the quarrels… and I felt more hopeless than I have in a long time. Not only could I not solve the dilemmas for them, I could not even evaluate what the problem was. I have learned in these desperate moments to do one thing: To praise the Lord. Its seems counter-intuitive, I know, but when I can’t fix it, stop it or help it, praising Him always works.
Why praise Him in these troubling situations? Because that’s what He told me to do….. and it puts me at ease. I praise Him because He is worthy of it 24/7, regardless of my little disasters; I praise Him because I was designed to function at my best when I praise Him; I praise Him because His supernatural power and His miraculous intervention is released when I praise Him in all places, in all situations, regardless of how much I hurt, how hopeless the matter is, and how much I am despaired. He does His best work when we are unable and give Him the praise…
We were CREATED to worship and praise Him. We will never function at our full capacity, nor will be come close to comprehending that incredible sense of belonging and purpose until we learn to Praise God. To be alive and not worship and praise God is akin being a Ferrari and only playing the radio. It makes fine music, but it was not created for that purpose! The nice Alpine stereo is one very tiny part of the extra packages you get with a Ferrari—-but not it’s sole purpose! My raison d’être is to praise and worship Him! His unbreakable and incomprehensible
Promise to me is that if I do this, if I seek to honor and worship Him, He will take care of the rest! Talk about an offer you can’t refuse!
We were made to behold His beauty—-to see His majesty in nature and His divine interventions in our lives! From the beginning the enemy has tempted us to behold our own beauty. We were NOT created to worship ourselves or surf the internet or watch Fox News—none of these things will give me the peace joy and make me feel the satisfaction for which I was created. I need to worship.
Psalms 148, 149 and 150 tell us how we should praise the Lord our God: Praise the Lord; Sing to the Lord a new song; Praise Him in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty heavens; Praise Him for His acts of power; Praise Him for His surpassing greatness -- Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
And there are benefits that we can enjoy as we learn and decide to praise Him.
Many years ago, right after the fall of the USSR, I traveled to Russia with some friends. We went from Kazakstan to Russia on a domestic flight on a Friday evening. When we arrived in Moscow I prepared to present all five of our passports to passport control at the immigration counter. But the passports were missing. I checks my pockets in my overcoat, sports jacket, pants pockets and my backpack again and again—-but there were not there.
I knew that without the passports would not get passed the menacing and heavily armed Russia security staff! We would have to stay in a holding cell over the weekend and then contact the U.S. Embassy on Monday. This was not a very pleasant thought, but I knew that there was nothing I could do. I must have left those passports with the immigration personnel in Karagandi, Kazakstan earlier that day. I was disgusted with myself for the predicament I had put five of us in. But then, instinctively, I raised my hands to heaven and said, “Praise God”. I reasoned that He wanted us to spend two nights in the little jail cells at the airport and that there was a purpose for our situation and that somehow God would be glorified. So I praised God and then put my hands into my pockets————and there they were—-all five passports. I had just checked those pockets a minute earlier, but now they were there. I said “praise God”, I surrendered my weekend to Him, I gave up any hope of finding those passports, I laid my life and the lives of my friends in His hands——-and then those passports materialized in my pockets! We boarded that Aeroflot flight very happy!
If there is a “magical sentence” in all the universe, it’s this: “Praise the Lord!”
“As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” II Chron. 20:22
Praising God, when all hope appears to be lost, does something! It releases the supernatural power and presence of God. And by praising God we are reminded that it is all about Him—-not our own despair and pity. We need Him—-it’s not the other way around—-praise Him throughout the day no matter what!
By praising Him miracles will happen and people will be brought to Him. Consider the story in Acts: “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened.” Acts 16:25-26. They were praising God and miracles followed!
The truth is we all worship and praise something or someone. Again, we might worship our own bodies, or the some celebrity, or even something that’s not alive—-such as with the Israelites. Do you recall that when Moses came off mountain he found that the Israelites had made a golden calf. He asked Aaron, “What in the world is wrong with you? How could you have allowed this?” Aaron lamely responds, “We just threw the gold into the fire and out pops this golden calf.” They were worshipping a cow for crying out loud! And one that they made with their own ignorant hands.
Moses exploded! He broke the stone tablets to pieces, berated the Israelites, ground the calf to powder and made the Israelites drink this “golden cool-aid” and then, on top of all this, ordered the Levites to take a sword and kill thousands of those that took part in the idolatry.
Point: God chose Moses and loved Moses because of his incredible passion to honor and worship the living God. The man got mad about the right things! Do we have a governor like that? Or congressman or folks in White House or our representatives in Danbury or Dobson like that?
Do you and I have passion like Moses?
Moses saw the immense danger of what the Israelites had done and made a big deal about it. Do we in our churches or in our nation? Have you ever noticed the things that are “BIG” to God, are usually not such a big deal to us? (Just ask listen to the news from Raleigh or Washington, DC or the UN in New York.)
It was the idol that got under Moses’ skin—-i.e. anything that would cause the people to praise and worship or place their trust in anything other than God Almighty. How stupid to worship a golden calf, or a fish (like some people in the promised land did) or a totem pole or anything other than living God! We must be careful in Christian camps and church life to not any good thing that keeps us away from the “best” thing.
Moses saw the difference between good and best. He understood the danger of looking to the wrong things for protection and deliverance and purpose. He properly got really mad when those he loved did something that dishonored or offended God.
Later, after Moses calmed down he asked God to please be patient with the Israelites and to continue to lead and protect them. And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know your by name.”
Wow! That passage from Exodus 33:17 rocked me. I will do everything you ask because I am pleased with you and I know you by name! The Israelites were saved because of one man’s holy petition to God. Think about that the next time you intercede in prayer for someone——it might be the prayer that changes the course of history.
Praising Him opens up channels of His blessings and His Holy presence within our lives
Obey God by praising Him and watch the enemy flee!
I want Him to be pleased with me—-but it’s a decision I must make each day. But because of Jesus interceding for me, I can be sure that He hears me, and because I have received the broken body and spilled blood of Jesus to cover my sins and I have confessed and turned away from sin, He knows my name! Praise be to God—-He knows my name!
Is He pleased with you, have confessed and turned away from sin….does He know your name? If so, pray boldly and know that He will hear your petitions and give you the desires of your heart…
Trying praising God today and each and every time things seem hopeless. See what happens.