CAN YOU PRAISE GOD TOO MUCH????

Spiritual Blog - Praise

Psalm 113:3 – From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised.”  NASU

I would contend that based on any reasonable understanding of this passage you cannot!  The Psalmist is addressing the work day not to exclude the night. He is suggesting, in my view, that we should make a conscious effort to Praise the Name of the Lord all the time and in all things.  Praise is a conscious choice and if we do not focus our hearts upon the Lord we will become too involved in the activities of life to offer genuine praise to the Lord of Hosts.

I find this passage to be in the same category as the directive of Paul in Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing.”  It may be impractical for us to engage in what most would consider prayer ‘without cessation’ but we can have an attitude of prayerfulness all the time.  Likewise, we can have an attitude of praise all the time without stopping what we are doing to do what most consider praise.  We pigeonhole and have predetermined ideas of what constitutes praise and prayer and fail to understand that God hears our hearts as well as our words spoken aloud.  God hears the thoughts in our minds, not just the words that pass our lips.  We can and should develop an attitude of gratitude in which we consistently and continually commune with the Lord and offer to Him praise and thanksgiving.  From the time we wake in the morning until we go to sleep at night, our heart should be praising and thanking God.

A minister holding a meeting for the church I was leading was asked how much he prayed and when he prayed.  He looked them squarely in the eye and said, “I am a walking prayer.”  They wanted him to be in the church for ‘x’ number of hours per day engaging in what they deemed to be prayer.  They had not learned that prayer is as much a condition and attitude of the heart as it is time spent on your knees or prostrate before the Lord crying out aloud.

So back to the question, “Can You Praise God Too Much?”  I would have to answer in this fashion, YES, IF you shut down everything you are responsible for to do what is commonly identified as Praise.  NO, IF you develop a mindset and attitude of praise in your heart and allow your entire being and life to become on continual praise to the Lord!  If you neglect your duties and responsibilities to engage in the religious activity called ‘praise’ then are you really praising the Lord?  If you fail to do what you know you are supposed to do are you bringing honor to His Name?  But, if your heart is filled with awe, love, and appreciation for Him at all times and out of that attitude you live, work, speak, and love then you cannot praise too much!

So as you go through this day go with a song in your heart and let your mind be filled with His awesomeness.  Let your heart strings be strummed by the Holy Spirit offering a sweet aroma to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

FOR THE BIRDS?

Spiritual Blog - Ravens

Luke 12:24-25 – “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!” NASU

 

You’ve heard the saying, “This is for the birds” and it was meant to speak negatively about whatever was being discussed.  If we consider what God does for the birds and recognize that He values us more than the birds how can we not be lifted up in our spirits?  Of course, there are those today who believe that we are not more valuable than the fish, fowl, mammal, or vegetation life but clearly, Jesus did not agree with that and I’ll go with what Jesus said.

Consider the ravens they do not produce one thing to sustain their lives.  They make zero preparation for retirement and yet God takes care of them providing food.  We work laboriously to produce our sustenance either through gardens, labors, or something and spend a significant amount of our time thinking about and often worrying about “retirement.”  Jesus said to consider the ravens and told us what they did not do and how God took care of them.  I would suggest that while it is good to prepare for the “golden years” it is better to prepare for “eternity.”  I am not suggesting that you do as we used to sing at youth camp – “Here we sit like birds in a wilderness waiting to be fed” and thought it was very funny.  Life requires more than just sitting back and waiting on the provision from God.  If you do that you just may find that there is no provision.  Yet, if we follow the directive of our LORD in verse 31 – “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you” we will be on the right track.

I believe that we should be actively engaged in every facet of life but should always realize that we have a LIFE that is the sum of all the facets.  Our primary focus should be GOD and His Kingdom.  We should not spend our time fretting over what we are going to eat, drink, wear, or drive.  We should do what we know to do and be involved to change things wherever we can but the ultimate and primary focus of our hearts MUST BE God!  It is first the spiritual and then the natural in all things.

May God be with you as you go through this day!

MAKE THE CHOICE TO REJOICE…

Spiritual Blog - Rejoice

Psalm 95:1-2 – “O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation.  2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.”  NASU

 

I love the Psalms for they are filled with wonderful spiritual nuggets that lift my spirit and elevate my view far above the turmoil of this life.  Today I have been struggling with what is happening in our world and the condition of the heart of man, as I see it.  Then in my reading, I turn to this Psalm and immediately I heard the Holy Spirit ask, “Are you going to just read it or do it?”  I made the Choice to Rejoice and my spirit is soaring!

Consider what he said: 

  1. Let us sing for joy to the LORD.  (A definite decision for us to do something.) 
  2. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. (I realize that might not be dignified but I’ve been having a bit of a spell shouting to the Lord here alone in my house and feel good about it.)
  3. Let us come before His presence with Thanksgiving. (As I sang to the LORD and shouted to the LORD my heart was filled with thankfulness.)
  4. Let us shout joyfully to Him with Psalms.  (Yep that’s just what I did!)

 

You have at least two choices every day and in every situation.  You can turn it all inward and become depressed or you can look outward and upward and make the choice to rejoice.  I have done both in life and can testify that the latter is the better of the two choices.

So as you go through this day – Rejoice with singing to the LORD, shout to the LORD, come before Him with a THANKFUL HEART and just let go singing and shouting the Psalms you might just be amazed at how therapeutic that is.

May God be with you as you go through the day!

THE SPEAKING GOD….

Spiritual Blog - God Speaks

Genesis 1:1-3 – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said…” NASU

 

If I counted correctly nine (9) times in Genesis 1 we find “Then God said…”  Nine times he spoke something into existence and almost that many times the Bible tells us that “God saw…”  In these two descriptions, we have a clear revelation that God is ALIVE, SEES, and SPEAKS.   Even in the New Testament we find the words of Jesus in John 10:27 where He declared that His sheep ‘HEAR’ His voice.  Yet, many today look at you as if you fell out of a well if you say, “God told me” or “God said to me.”  Can I ask one simple question, “When did God stop speaking?” 

Jesus told the disciples that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter would come and He would teach them all that Jesus had said.  I don’t know how He was to teach but one of the most used methods of teaching is SPEAKING and I do believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to people today.  I am not telling you that I hear audible voices but I hear God clearly in my heart and know that I am hearing God and not just me or something or someone else.  I have learned the voice of Jesus and the voice of the Spirit of God.  Any voice that contradicts Scripture is immediately rejected but when God speaks and I know it is God, I LISTEN!

Who would you rather teach you what is in the book, the author or a commentator about what the author meant?  Who would you rather instruct, you in life the one who sees the end from the beginning or man who sees the beginning from the end?  Who would you rather guide your life, the one who created all things or someone who has limited experience as do all humans?  If God is the creator of all things, and Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent why do we relegate Him to speaking only through the Bible or Preachers?  I do not suggest and would reject any notion that God would say anything contradictory to the written Word of God.  But, as Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and follow Me.”

I desire fellowship with God and when I have fellowship with any human being there is some talking that takes place, so why would it be different with God?  In my prayer time I talk and I listen.  Sometimes I hear that still small voice in my deep inner man and sometimes I hear a much bolder voice in my heart but I HEAR GOD!  You HEAR GOD and probably much more than you think you do.  I content that God is “always speaking” but we are not “always listening” so we need to learn to listen more and we need to expect to hear more.

As you go through this day go through it expecting to hear God speak to you in guidance, counseling, and comfort.  He wants to communicate with you and will guide you through the maze of life.  Blessings as you go through your day!

FORGET DIGNIFIED I NEED A MIRACLE…

Spiritual Blog - Miracles

Luke 18:35-43 – “As Jesus was approaching Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the road begging. 36 Now hearing a crowd going by, he began to inquire what this was. 37 They told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. 38 And he called out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 39 Those who led the way were sternly telling him to be quiet; but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 40 And Jesus stopped and commanded that he be brought to Him; and when he came near, He questioned him, 41 “What do you want Me to do for you?” And he said, “Lord, I want to regain my sight!” 42 And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”  43 Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him, glorifying God; and when all the people saw it, they gave praise to God.”  NASU

 

I have had people sternly rebuke me for not being “dignified in church” and even had one person tell me that emotion had no place in a worship service.  Bartimaeus, the blind man, had people around him trying to force him to follow proper decorum and be proper but he would have none of it.  He had heard of Jesus and when they told him that this miracle worker was coming by he immediately begin to make a scene and got loud trying to get Jesus’ attention.  Oh, how we need to allow ourselves to lose our rigidity and get God’s attention in our time of need.  He was successful and when Jesus stopped and addressed him with the question, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  Bartimaeus unlike the lame man at the pool of Bethesda was specific and clear about what he wanted.  He said, “I want to regain my sight!”  Jesus received that as an expression of faith and declared “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”  Bartimaeus went from there seeing again!

Personally, I feel like David when he danced before the ark of God and his wife criticized him from not being dignified declared, “I will be more vile (undignified) and will be base in my own sight…”  He was unmoved because of his love and appreciation for what God had done and meant to him.  There are times when we need to stop worrying about being dignified, proper, or following some man-made rules of how to act in God’s presence and determine that we are going to “touch the hem of His garment”.  I guess it depends on how desperate we are and how much we desire the miracle as to how much we are willing to become a spectacle before God.  When I need the touch of God I do not care what anyone around me thinks I want God to touch me.  If that means crying loudly in public, I will.  If that means dancing as David did, I will.  If that means acting as Bartimaeus, I will.

When we need a miracle that only God can provide, receiving His touch should be our number one priority not how people perceive us!  Know what you want and be willing to reach out for it.  Jesus is passing by and it only takes a touch of His hand or a word from His lips to turn your mourning into dancing.  I’m not telling you that you have to have major outward demonstrations to receive from God, only that receiving from Him and touching Him should be your focus not people’s opinion of you.

May God be with you as you go through your day!

THINKING OF OUR MORTALITY….

Spiritual Blog - Mortality

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.” NASU

 

When I was young in my teens and even in my twenties (after I returned from Vietnam) I never thought about my mortality.  I was ten feet tall and bulletproof, at least that is how I lived.  As I had children of my own, lost my grandfather and then my father I began to realize that I’m just passing through this life and will one day pass from this life.  Some people resist making arrangements in advance for their funeral thinking it too morbid and some have told me that they don’t want to invite “bad karma” by doing so.  The Bible clearly tells us that it is appointed unto men “once to die and then the judgment.”  We WILL all depart this world via death should Jesus tarry His coming.

Paul addresses the reality of losing loved ones and friends in this passage and it has long been a comfort to me and an encouragement.  He addresses the fact of our mortality and the Promise of the Lord to return for us.  He identifies the scene of the Lord’s coming for those who are alive and remain.  He tells us that the Lord will bring back those who have preceded us and as He descends from heaven He will give a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God and at that time the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then those of us who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and that will begin our eternity with God.  He concludes by saying, “Comfort one another with these words.”

Mortality is a reality that none of us can avoid.  You are not invincible in your mortal flesh.  In reality, once you are born you begin the process of dying and you cannot change that.  You cannot take enough HGH or anti-aging creams, rubs, or pills to avoid the absolute eventuality of the end of your mortal existence on this planet.  IT WILL HAPPEN and there is nothing that any of us can do to stop it. What we can do is prepare for it spiritually and if you so choose financially for those you leave behind.  I have had friends who completely planned their memorial services, picked out their burial plot, and purchased their casket.  They had determined what clothes they would wear and everything was settled long before they departed.  Most of the loved ones in those situations have said to me they appreciated it but some have said they felt restricted in what they could do and the honor they could pay because of it.  That is a family thing and I won’t touch it but spiritually preparation is not an option it is a requirement.  So, I do not hesitate to remind you that you are MORTAL and you should begin thinking about that reality today.  Today is the day of salvation!

May God be with you as you embark on today’s leg of life’s journey! 

THE VALUE OF THE INSPIRED WORD OF GOD…

Spiritual Blog - Inspired

2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” NASU

 

In Paul’s teaching of his son in the faith Timothy he gives us a most eloquent and powerful explanation and revelation regarding the value and power of God’s Word.  In these two short verses, we have a treasury of knowledge stored up.  In this passage, there is a virtual “gold mine” wherein we can extract powerful life truths that better enable us to walk this Christian walk on planet earth.

He begins by asserting that ALL SCRIPTURE is INSPIRED by God.  Although it was written by men it was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that it was penned.  It has life and power that can penetrate even the hardest heart and gives guidance for life like no other piece of writing found among men.

            He declares that this inspired scripture is profitable and then lists some of the many things for which it is to be used:

  1. TEACHING
  2. REPROOF
  3. CORRECTION
  4. TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS

 He tells us that the end of this profitability is that the man/woman of God may be “adequate” or as the KJV says “perfect”.  The Greek is “artios” which signifies an integer or whole number in mathematics, to which nothing needs to be added to make it complete.  The idea is COMPLETION and he clearly identifies that in saying, “equipped for every good work.”  The Inspired Word of God teaches, reproves, corrects, and trains us so that we are complete and capable of doing that which God assigns us in this life.  It is quick and powerful and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  It is a light to our pathway and a lamp to our feet as Psalm 119:105 reveals.

If we do not spend time in the Word of God we rob ourselves of light, equipment, training, correction, and guidance that would enable us to walk more complete in Him and make this journey much more profitable and palatable.  Do not rob yourself of one of the most valuable resources you have in life – GOD’S INSPIRED WORD.

So as you begin your day today why not take a few minutes of your time and drink of the nectar of spiritual truth that is available in the fountain of God’s Inspired Word?  May God be with you as you go through your day!