24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. – Jude 24-25 NLT
Our prayers should always contain adoration and praise for our Creator. He alone is worthy of our praise. Just as any parent wants to hear their children say “I love you”, so does our Father want to hear us say it. Take the time to sit in His presence and commune with Him. He has something to say to you, so don’t talk “to” God, talk “with” God, Speak to Him and then wait on Him to respond. Most of all, remember, not every prayer has to be a request, sometimes He wants to hear from us just because we love Him. Consider the possibility that if God answered each of our prayers immediately, He knows that He wouldn’t hear from us again until another need arose. He is our Creator, but He is also our Father. Once we have acknowledged Him as our Lord and Savior, He also wants to be our closest Friend. So, as we pour out what is in our hearts to Him, we also need to praise Him and just love on Him. He is waiting to hear from each of us.
This gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The plan of salvation and redemption was laid out before the foundations of the world were laid.
19 Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections. 20 He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time. 21 Through him you believe in God who brought Christ back to life and gave him glory. So your faith and confidence are in God.–1 Peter 1:19-21 (GW)
Jesus having fulfilled His mission here on earth now stands at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We are hidden in Christ and He abides in us. No amount of service or money could ever pay this debt. No amount of worship or adoration by mankind can ever match the marvelous love, mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly bow before Him now and thank Him! Praise Him and give Him glory forever!
23 My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise you. My soul, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully.—Psalm 71:23 (GW)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. — Colossians 3:16 NLT
The only way to have the peace of God rule in our hearts is to get the Word in us and let it dwell richly. What does “dwell richly” even mean? Rich means an abundance way beyond more than enough. To get that much Word in us, requires that we spend a lot of time meditating on the Word. Once we have meditated on the Word, it fills our thoughts. That leads us to praising God and having an attitude of gratitude. That is right thinking and that leads to right words and right deeds (actions). We will be able, by the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, to do everything in His name and for His glory. If we practice doing things in this manner, praise and thanksgiving will become as natural as breathing then Christmas could last all year long.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
If God never did another thing for us after giving us the gift of salvation, it would be more than sufficient reason for us to praise Him forever. Yet, He just keeps on giving and giving. Every breath is a gift. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above”. Those gifts come from the Father in whom there is no variation. He has always been a giver, He is a giver now and He has no plans to change. He is the Solid Rock, whatever good there is comes from Him and that will not change. Every day is a day that He has made just for us. He doesn’t need day and night, they are a gift for frail humans whose minds are too small to grasp an eternity with no seams. He gives us “a time for all things”. He is never more than a thought away from us. He is our constant companion so that we are never alone. If we were in heaven with Jesus, we would be praising Him constantly. Yet, here on earth we live every day in His presence and spend little or no time praising Him and offering up thanks for all that He does. We should praise the Lord daily for saving us and tell the world about our salvation. Our tongues should be like the “pen of a ready writer” and tell the story over and over. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
This Psalm was written by the descendants of Korah. Korah, a cousin of Moses, was the one who led the rebellion against Moses during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. He was the leader of the group that was killed when the earth opened up and swallowed all of the rebels. Not all of the sons of Korah rebelled. There was a remnant left to carry on the family name. This family had experienced both the wrath of God and His loving kindness. From these experiences, we can deduce that they understood that it is okay to complain to God as long as it is done in a respectful way. Just as this Psalm begins with how much they long for the goodness of God, then it proceeds to alternately complain and remember the blessings of God.
When we are complaining to God, it is good to mix in a little worship with the whining. It is good to recount the times He has blessed us and thank Him for those times. The writers of this Psalm question themselves. What reason do they have to be sad and discouraged ? We need to ask the same question and arrive at the same conclusion they did. If we put our faith and our hope in God, we won’t be sad and discouraged, but we will be filled with joy and praise for God and His goodness. We will long for His presence just as a thirsty deer longs for a drink of cool water. God’s presence is like an oasis in a desert of depression. Spend time in that oasis, drink deeply from the healing springs and thank Him for His goodness.
When we look around us and we see that we are facing troubles and trials above and beyond that which we are capable of handling because of our human weaknesses and frailties, that is the time that we must muster all of our faith and courage and trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and minds. God has a reason for every trouble that He allows satan to bring into our lives. Sometimes it is to bring us closer to Him, to increase our faith in Him and to teach us that we can never live independently from Him. Sometimes, it is discipline for bad decsions we have made either in our speech and/or in our actions. Either way, our repsonse should be the same as the people of Judah here in this passage. When the circumstances and situations say there is no hope, we must turn to our Hope. The times that we don’t “feel” like praying, praising and singing are the very times that we need to pray, praise and sing the loudest. This lets us, satan and the world know that we have placed our faith in the one and only true Living God and that we know He will deliver us. Our part in the battle is to be obedient and praise the Lord, He will win the battles for us. Fighting with satan is a battle that we can’t win, but we serve a Lord who can’t lose. So, when satan comes against us, we need to stand, sing, shout and watch as Jesus wins the complete victory.
If we take any time to read the testimonies of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted by being imprisoned, our hearts will break at the stories of their cruel treatment. Sleeping in hot containers in the blazing sun or on cold ground in winter time. Being allowed only one set of clothing with no laundering facilities for months. Being fed one meal a day (on good days) and that being nothing but gruel. Being given the worst of the chores, such as shoveling out the latrine pools and carrying the waste away in buckets. Being beaten for witnessing to the other prisoners. When these brothers and sisters are interviewed (if they survive), they each have amazing stories of how God was gracious to them, providing supernatural spiritual, mental and physical strength. But there is one common theme that runs through their stories. When asked the quesiton; “How do you survive such cruel treatment for such a long length of time?” They tell stories of singing the spiritual songs they have learned while serving Jesus. Some are old hymns, some are psalms and other Bible verses set to music, some are words that God has given them for just such a time. Helen Berthane tells her story of imprisonment in the containers in Eritrea in her book, “The Song of the Nightingale”. In her book, she tells of many songs that Jesus gave to her. In our own lives, though we certainly have never tasted such cruel punishment for our Christian beliefs, such songs can get us through the hardest times. Take the time to commit some Spiritual songs to memory and the next time, satan shoots his fiery arrows at you, repel them with your favorite songs and verses. He will flee.
God tells us that giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Him. We are also told to offer a continual sacrifice of praise to God, to do good and to share with those in need.
15 Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.16 And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. — Hebrews 13:15, 16 NLT
We need to take time each day to praise God. It not only pleases God, but it is uplifiting to our spirits as well. Praise and thanksgiving feed the spirit and the soul. After we have read His Word and prayed, we still need to just rest in His arms and give Him glory for all that He does for us each day. Jesus loves to sing over us and He loves to hear us sing to Him.
17 For the Lord your God is living among you.He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” — Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
A part of doing good to others is encouraging them and cheering them up. Nothing can cheer us up like hearing a great song of praise. Rest and let Jesus sing you a love song.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me! — Psalm 66:16-20 NIV
There are thousands of books written in an attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. Do this and get rich, do this and influence people, do this and look better. Money, power and good looks do not come with bags of joy that can be opened at any time we need to feel good. All of these things are external and have nothing to do with the real problems of today.
The changes we need are from the inside out. It isn’t our natural diet that makes us who we are, contrary to what we have been told, we are not what we eat. The diet that determines whether we will be full of peace and joy is our Spiritual diet. Be filled with the Holy Spirit! The third person of the Trinity really is a person. He abides inside us to give us all the peace, joy and hope we need or desire. He knows our every need and is waiting patiently to give it to each of us. He weeps with us and when our hearts are broken, so is His. He feels the pain that we feel and He wants to restore our joy and hope when we are down and out. We need to learn to praise God and tell others what He has done for us. While we are praising Him, we will find that our joy will start to flow out from us to those around us. Praise and pray! God hears the praises and the prayers. He will not reject our prayers or withdraw His love from us. Eat your fill of Spiritual food each day, it is non-fattening, fulfilling and it purges us, pushing out all the sadness, worry and fears. Start with a taste and soon you will find that it takes a lot of Spiritual goodness to keep you satisfied!
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. —Psalm 34:8