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Music:  I Praise You, My Father  from Songs of Praise
  Copyright ©1998 by Elton Smith and Larry Holder

"Praise Is Not Something We Do,
Praise Is Something We Are!"

Without in any way taking away from the teachings of prolonged praise in the congregation of the saints, I would like to emphasize our total life as being one continual praise unto the Lord.

An important parameter of praise and worship is stated by Jesus in,

John 4:24; "God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."

David failed in his first attempt to recover the ark from the Philistines because rather than worship God in truth, he consulted those around him. They felt they were doing the proper thing to move the ark of God on a new cart. This was contrary to God's rather detailed instructions as to how the ark was to be handled(Deut. 10:8).

Because of the failure of their first attempt to move the ark, David earnestly sought the Lord. He then instructed the Levites as to the proper methods of moving the ark, not the least of which was personal washing and sanctification before the Lord. Because they had not sought God as to the due order (I Chron. 15;13), they suffered disaster, and all their efforts at praising God in music and singing were for nought.

After placing the ark in a special tent (Tabernacle of David), and instituting practices that foreshadowed New Testament spiritual worship, David wrote a Psalm of praise found in I Chron. sixteen which he gave to Asaph to be used in worship before the Lord. This psalm contains guidelines for our continual praise of God. We are to give thanks, call upon His name, make His deeds known to all the people. We sing psalms and hymns to Him from our heart, we tell of and rejoice in His wonderful works. we glory in His name, and seek His face continually.

We are told to be mindful of His covenant, to a thousand generations. The covenant is fulfilled in Christ, who is the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, a child born and a Son given to sit upon the throne of David to rule and receive the praises and worship of His people, as described in Isa. 9:6-7.

We the Gentiles are commanded to praise and laud God, because of this root of Jesse who reigns over us, and in whom we trust. Because of His Spirit with which He has filled us we are filled with joy and peace, and abound in hope.

Romans 15:11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people.
12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.
13. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

The apostle Peter told us that we reflect God's praises.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

While many of the modern praise songs are taken directly from the Psalms, and speak of the glory and magnitude of God, I believe it best to always remember the covenant, and to center my praises of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, who extended the covenant to me.

2 Cor. 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Because of what God did for me in the person of His Son, I must always praise the glory of His grace. Because He determined after the council of His own will to gather together all things in Christ, I am acceptable before Him, and I ever will praise Him for it.

Eph. 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

I praise God most effectively when my words and deeds magnify the mighty name of Jesus. When I speak of the name, it is not some simple incantation by which I induce God to act, but it is a remembrance of God in Christ Jesus reconciling the world unto Himself, at the cross of Calvary. When the apostles were commanded to cease speaking in His name, they spoke all the more boldly of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Col. 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

As I remember what God did for me at Calvary, through His great redemptive name, my heart is overwhelmed with praise. I desire to express this praise to those who do not know Him. By conforming to and identifying with the death of the Lord Jesus, I show forth and demonstrate the praises of the living God who resides in my mortal body by His Spirit, to those outside the assembly.

2 Cor.4:10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

It is outside the camp, as I walk among my fellow man, that I need to identify with the death of the Lord Jesus. I must walk as a living sacrifice, and bear His reproach wherever I go. I can bear His reproaches gladly, and wear them as a badge of honor. I can ever sing of His goodness to me, which He showed at Calvary. I must never forget to do good to those who are outside the camp, and to communicate to them the message of the cross.

Hebrews 13:13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.
14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name.
16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

It is without the camp that we go to our fellow-man who is sick, naked, or in prison. When we go to these people, bearing the reproach of the Lord Jesus, we give the high praises of God. When we minister to them, we minister to Jesus. Men then see our good works, and glorify our Father in heaven. As we bear in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus, His life in manifested through us. God spoke at Christ' baptism that He was well pleased in His Son. When we manifest His life to others, there is no higher form of praise, and God is well pleased with us. Jesus said that if we give a cup of water in his name, we would not lose our reward, and that God was glorified by our deeds, and this is reiterated by Paul in Philippians.

Philippians 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

Jesus gave us a perfect example of our duty to praise God in all circumstances. He praised God, in the midst of great trial and tribulation. He was made perfect by the things that He suffered.

Hebrews 2:10. For it became him, for whom [are] all things, and by whom [are] all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified [are] all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

When we follow Christ's example to declare the name of the Lord, whether without the camp or in the midst of the brethren, we do so with all our might, and by the Spirit we speak as the very mouth of God. In so doing we glorify God through Christ to whom is due our eternal praise and honor.

1 Peter 4:11 If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Likewise, our faith is sometimes tested. it may be by affliction, or some other fiery trial that we do not understand. By remaining faithful in the face of trial, we bring glory and honor to His name, which will be rewarded at His appearing.

1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

While we certainly must always praise and worship God in the assembly of the saints, we must be careful not to develop just another empty ritual. It is to no avail to sing in the sanctuary of the saving grace of Jesus, if I can't share that fact with my neighbor. My praises in the assembly will be hypocritical if my every word and deed outside the camp, does not lift up and magnify the Lord Jesus Christ. God let some people know in the first chapter of Isaiah just what He thought of their elaborate rituals. They had become a weary abomination to Him. There was nothing wrong with the rituals, God had ordained and instituted them. The problem was that the people were separating the ritual from the substance of what God had commanded. The thing that would please Him would be to sanctify ourselves before Him, and then learn to do well, to relieve the oppressed, the fatherless, and the widow.

Isaiah 1:11 To what purpose [is] the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.
12 When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?
13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; [it is] iniquity, even the solemn meeting.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear [them].
15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
16. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Because of Christ' work at Calvary, I have the liberty to approach the throne of God, without feeling unworthy, or having to go through some elaborate ceremony. I come to the throne of God boldly as a son and heir of God. To do so is not to be presumptuous, but to recognize what He has done for me, and the position He has given me in Him, because of faith in His work at Calvary. I come to the throne of my Father with confidence that He will give me the good things that I ask of Him. Because I abide in Him, and He in me, I ask according to His will. When I ask in faith according to His will, as revealed in His word, He hears me, and I have the petition I desire of Him.

Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Paul spoke of coming in liberty to the throne, beholding the glory of the Lord, and being changed progressively into His image.

2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [is], there [is] liberty.
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This happened to Isaiah, who was forever changed after seeing the glory of the Lord, and the Seraphim continually praising His glory by crying "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Host."Isaiah was never the same again, and we won't be either. When we behold the glory of the Lord and cry out for cleansing just like Isaiah did, He cleanses us. We then from a grateful heart join in the angelic chorus singing, Holy, Holy, Holy. When we have this holy confrontation with Him, our being is changed. We don't talk like we used to talk. We don't go where we used to go. We bless instead of curse, and do good rather than evil. Our neighbors and co-workers see the change and inquire what happened. When we began to tell them of the wonderful things God has done for us in Christ, we are filled with the high praises of God. The words that we speak glorify God, and bring Him praise and honor.

Isaiah 6:1. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory.

If when I come to behold His glory, and there seems to be a difficulty, perhaps the Spirit is speaking that I have done or said something that has offended my brother. I can't praise through this. Raising my volume won't accomplish anything. I must seek my brother out and settle the issue.

Matthew 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

If the thing that my brother brings to my attention involves sin, I must confess it to God knowing that I have Jesus as my Advocate. I have the promise of cleansing by His blood, if I walk in His light. In my approach to God for his blessing, I cannot harbor unforgiveness towards anybody. Jesus told Peter he had to forgive four hundred and ninety times a day. He told us that if we didn't forgive our brother's their trespasses, we couldn't expect God to forgive us. When we are in this position, our praises bounce off of the wall, and don't go any higher than the ceiling. Jesus said, to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who despitefully use us. When we dwell upon the hurt caused to us by another, our praises are hindered. By dwelling on the hurt, our mind moves on into evil imaginations, suspicions, hatreds , etc. God cannot draw near us in this condition. I have found from experience that when I prayed for and forgave the one who had hurt me very deeply, the praises and blessings of God began to flow.

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Another hindrance to my praises releasing the glory of God is anxiety. Anxiety is contrary to the teaching of Jesus, and is really an expression of fear. There is no fear in the love of God, because His perfect love cast out fear. If I fear I have not been made perfect in the love of God, but I have only to cast all of my cares on the One who cares for me to remove this hindrance, and approach the throne.

Matthew 6:25. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

I can waste a lot of time and effort worrying about things that I can't do anything about, and have my prayer and praises amount to nothing, or I can totally rest in the Creator who loves me, and knows what's best for me. When I do so, there is no hindrance to my praise. I can began to praise Him out of the depths of my heart for Who He is, and what He has for me and the rest of the world in Christ Jesus.If I give His kingdom and His righteousness first place in my life, He'll take care of everything.

Matthew 6:27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more [clothe] you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof.

Indifference is a sin that eats slowly like a cancer. I may think it not important to raise or clap my hands, or to sing praises to Him . This indifference is really a form of self elevation, not much different than Lucifer saying, " I will ascend, I will be like the Most High." I must take care to never tread lightly on the things of God, or to let familiarity breed contempt of Him.

1 Peter 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning [here] in fear:

I will praise Him in the sanctuary., I will sing psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs to Him wherever I am. I will demonstrate His praises by showing the change He has made in my life. I will go to the man in prison, and tell him of the Savior, I will visit the sick, the fatherless and the widow. I will exalt, extoll, and magnify the mighty name of Jesus in every word and deed. I refuse to be ruled by anxiety, fear, and worry. I refuse to have Satan bind my lips, because Jesus has overcome and made an open show of him. I will cast all of my cares on the One who cares for me. I will seek His kingdom on this earth, and talk of His salvation to all who will hear. If I do these things, I can praise Him freely, and enter into His presence, and commune with Him. I can then look forward to the day when we all join at the throne and give praise to the prevailing Lamb.

Rev. 7:12 Saying Amen: Blessing and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.  Don Spooner

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Last modified: 02-01-2017
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