Worship Pastor / Composer Travis L. Boyd and his wife, Cynthia, provide inspiration and resources for the worship community and all believers through sharing the blessings of worship, faith, family, ministry, music, love, & life. We also share information about Worship Sounds Music, which can be found on our Worship Sounds website at worshipsounds.com ~ Downloadable Choral Anthems * Solos * Orchestrations * Worship Songs * Accompaniment Trax

Archive for the ‘* HELPFUL POSTS for Every Christian (Discipleship, Worship, & Inspiration)’ Category

Loving Mercy…

Praying handsIt can happen at any gathering on any ordinary day. You’re glad to be together and thankful for God’s provision of a meal, so everyone pauses to give thanks. As soon as “Amen” has been spoken, they make their presence known.  The “prayer police” are compelled to report their findings.  “He had his eyes open the whole time!’, one will announce.  Another “official officer of offense” makes his case by adding, “Well, she didn’t even bow her head!”   The prayer police are in the building.

prayer  call on HimOur family includes Dad and Mom and six boys who are ages 8 to 20, four of whom are still in elementary school.  There’s plenty of competition in everything, and sometimes there are far too many “reports” about something a brother has done.  If no one is hurt, we generally don’t respond to most of the picky spats of the moment.  Our boys know we expect them to work out most squabbles among themselves.  However, we draw the line at any kind of put-downs or judgements passed concerning the faults of another.  We are trying to make our home a place where we are all on the team and have each other’s best interests at heart… even when we disagree.  That’s why we have banned the prayer police from making their reports.  Sometimes they “forget” and jump back into officer mode, requiring a reminder that prayer police pronoucements are not welcome at our table.

FamilyPrayerWhen prayer police reports first began to occur in our household, we tried the obvious question, “How do you know?”, thinking that it would be enough to imply by suggestion that a totally pious pray-er would not have been able to see someone else’s open eyes or unbowed head.  However, the question alone was not sufficient with our bunch.  A total ban on prayer police reports has been necessary.  At some point, our boys will take to heart the knowledge that a person can pray with eyes open or closed and in every circumstance.  This is a truth that they already know, but my husband and I do bow our heads during prayer times with our children as a sign of reverence for God (and in recognition that in our household, eliminating distractions during prayer is desireable at this point in time).

As our boys grow in their faith and in maturity, our prayer for them is that they learn to focus on what is truly important.  The importance of a prayer posture of any kind is far less meaningful and significant than having a thankful heart.  Certainly, the focus and condition of our hearts matter most to God.  Any external posture or demonstration of reverence or piety is meaningless to Him without our true devotion and genuine gratitude.

We can see the truth about what is really important easily when dealing with our children’s spiritual understanding, but what about our own?

 

Are there areas of life, worship, and Christian growth

where we, who know the Lord,

who have been redeemed and given new life,

often focus on form and function

and on the symptoms of sin sickness and spiritual death

rather than on the heart attitudes

and awakened hearts and lives

and true love for the Lord

that are most important?

 

pleasing words and thoughtsThe answer is… YES! 

We, too, deal with a tendency to become…

the prayer police,

the sin spotters,

the style seekers,

the soapbox spouters,

the commitment captains,

and the pet peeve pronoucers.

 

Often, our tendencies to notice the behavior rather than the heart need of others (or the style rather than the substance) are revealed by what I’ll call “Hollywood Action Movie Syndrome”.  In the extreme scenarios often found in the plot lines of movies like superhero flicks, the bad guys are depicted as heartless machines whose sole purpose seems to be mayhem and pain.  Movie goers are relieved and even happy to see these bad guys “get what’s coming to them” as the hero stops the madness by destroying the bad guy.  In our own lives, we can be quick to label others as unredeemable “bad guys” with statements that get a lot of “likes” on facebook.  For example, I’ve seen several posts by sweet Christian people who state that they are “sick” of the behavior of a celebrity who seems to be seeking attention by being self-destructive or choosing to do things that many people would consider shocking.  In other words, our first reaction is often disgust and even extreme dislike rather than broken heartedness over the spiritual need that is being manifested as bad behavior.

Perhaps we need to consider God’s attitude toward us… and toward our bad behavior, as revealed through scripture.

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.”  ~ Ephesians 2:4 &5

The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  ~ Psalm 145:8

“For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”   ~  Psalm 100:5
(note:  in some translations, lovingkindness is everlasting and faithfulness endures)

“For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy to all them that call on you.”  ~ Psalms 86:5

“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”  ~ Psalms 145:9 

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost”  ~ Titus 3:5

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again to a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”  ~ 1 Peter 1:3

What, then, should be our response to people and situations that we feel are less than they should be? 

“Be you therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”  ~ Luke 6:36

 

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?

~  Micah 6:8 NKJV

 

The Creator God of the universe, who is holy and good and yet who is so often talked about disrepectfully, as people whom He loves and was intimately involved in creating blatantly choose to go against their God-given conscience and intentionally do what is wrong, loves mercy.

He wants me and you to love mercy, too.

He loves justice and goodness and holiness, but He loves mercy even more.   For a while, He is delaying His judgement and the fully realized reign of His holiness over creation…. because He loves mercy.  He is no less holy and no less just even as He is allowing the free will of man to sometimes cause pain.  He is always holy, always just, and yet, always merciful.  He wants to show mercy to us, whom He loves.  He wants us to experience and know His mercy and to choose mercy for others.  His mercies are new every morning because He chooses mercy over righteous anger.  If He did not choose mercy, all of mankind would have been consumed by the intensity of His wrath against sin, against wrong, and against our rebel hearts, which cause us to hurt others and even to hurt ourselves.  The pain of life in a fallen world would be eliminated by God’s final judgement NOW if it were not for mercy, chosen in every moment as the sun rises on another part of the world around the clock.  It is a very good thing for all of us that God loves mercy and that human beings are not our final judge and jury.

Have you ever noticed that it can sometimes be difficult to read certain Psalms?  I cringe as the Psalmist asks God to judge those who are his “enemies” or who are simply referred to as “the wicked”.  And yet, because God is the righteous judge and is no respector of persons, He is the only one who can judge with perfect fairness.  He says, “Vengeance is mine, ” not just because He will someday make everything right but also because we would never be able to be as impartial and fair and just as He will be.  He wants us to trust Him, knowing that there is still injustice in this world but that at some point He will make everything right.  And yet, God delays the final judgement… because He loves mercy.

In Psalm 73, the Psalmist Asaph speaks of being confused by the prosperity of the wicked.  He talks about how they almost seem free from care and begins to wonder whether his own efforts to live for the Lord, walk with Him, serve Him, and do what is right are all in vain.  However, he does come to his senses in these verses:

15 If I had spoken out like that, (questioning whether loving and serving God is worth it)
I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.

Asaph realizes once again the goodness of God and that fact that His mercy will not delay judgement indefinitely.  At this point, he begins to actually view the wicked with compassion, and his perspective completely changes.  He realized that he, himself, is rich in what all of money amassed by the wicked could never purchase… salvation.  Asaph realizes how senseless his earlier comparisons have been and what he has possessed all along.

When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.

23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.

How can we do anything but rejoice in the fact that God is choosing mercy even for those who have wronged us, just as He chose mercy for you and for me.  He is a merciful and loving God.

In light of God’s mercy, what are we to do?  As we seek to focus on what is really important and to lay aside our tendencies to get caught up in what we observe, what frame of mind should replace our tendency towards judgement of others?  Here’s one answer, from Romans 12:1-2.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

When we read the phrase, “in view of God’s mercy” in the scripture above, we need to think about what that really means.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters,

…even though the world is filled with injustice…

…even though people prey upon and use other people…

…even though good people will sometimes be victimized…

…even though people we love may be hurt…

…even though the thoughtlessness of others breaks our hearts

…even though the evil of this world distresses and disgusts us

I urge you… in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,

…to offer your hurts…

…to offer your confusion…

…to offer your right to take revenge…

…to offer your all… even when life doesn’t make sense…

…. a sacrifice… holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.

(In choosing to make this sacrifice, you are also choosing to trust Him with everything because you know that He is good and merciful and just.)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

So, when we feel the tendency to judge someone else without calling upon God’s mercy on their behalf and praying for their salvation…  when our expectations are disappointed…  when we have been hurt…  when we or someone we love has been victimized…  when we feel powerless over injustice…  when innocence is abused…

Let us always remember the final destiny of those who reject God, and let us desire His mercy even for these…

Because God loves mercy. 

Let us fight the tendency in our lives to focus on the unimportant, and let us be transformed through the renewal of our minds.  Let us keep moving forward in this journey toward Christlikeness, and let us choose mercy.  Let us choose God’s mercy and grace toward others rather than becoming mired in our own opinions, which would only result in continual disappointment and stall our growth as Christians.

To that end, these are the things that I want to focus on in order to avoid becoming more caught up in what I believe is right than in the mercies of God.

love is a verb*  I want to avoid assumptions, realizing that we often don’t know the challenges that others are facing.

*  I want to have the mind of Christ, looking beyond the sad and shocking and even disgusting behavior to the person in need of a Savior.

*  I want to employ grace with fellow believers, realizing that we are all in the process of becoming more like Christ and that it is a long journey for all of us.

*  I want to learn to love mercy.  When it comes to my own behavior, I am required to behave justly and “do” justice.  However, when it comes to the behavior of others, the requirement changes.  In regard to others, I am required to love mercy, recognizing my own need for mercy and the fact that I was undeserving of the mercy that I have personally been shown by God, based upon my own actions in choosing my way over His.

***  Most of all, I want to remember these things:  ***

*  Relationship with God, love for the Lord, and thankfulness are more important than any posture of prayer.

*  Connecting others with a message and an experience of grace is more important than perfection.

*  Style (in music, clothing, or anything else) is less important than the heart of worship and the hearts of people.

*  Opinions (and even deeply held convictions) will not reach hearts like the love of Christ.

*  Only God can work in the hearts of others to draw them to a place of deeper spiritual relationship and commitment.   Conviction of the heart over one’s wrong-doing or lack of love is the Holy Spirit’s job, not mine.  (I’m too busy dealing with my own spiritual mess.)

*  Finally (and most importantly), what bothers me about this world needs to be turned upside down…

love like Jesus…  so that I become

more and more bothered

by my own lack of concern

for the eternal destiny of others

than by the stinking graveclothes of sin and spiritual death

that have often prevented me

from seeing the person

rather than the actions

and words and attitudes

of a lost soul that needs Jesus

or a fellow traveller,

who, like me,

has encountered some bumps in the road

on the path to Christlikeness.

Love gives

 

Love is the cross

The Prayer of a Forgiven Heart

Lord, may my first thought be love.
May my second thought be a prayer.
May my actions demonstrate grace and humility.
May my heart be broken by the brokenness in this world… and in my own life.
May my opinions matter less than my desire to bring You glory.
May my life be given to serving others and lifting up Your name.
May my heart be given to You.
May my mind be transformed by Your Spirit.
May my time and talents and resources be committed to Your plan for my life.
And may I always be mindful that You are the Giver of all good things,
the Lover of my soul,
the Joy of my heart,
the Fountain of mercy and grace,
and the Source of pure and sacrificial love.

In Jesus’ holy and powerful name,

Amen

Carry eacvh other's burdens

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This post, including “The Prayer of a Forgiven Heart” was written by Cynthia A. Boyd.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Write a Family Praise Psalm

Praise  sing praises speak of His wondersHave you ever considered that your family could write your own praise Psalm? This would be a great thing for your family to do at Thanksgiving or at any time of year. After all, a psalm is simply a heartfelt prayer song to the Lord. Psalms are always honest. The Psalmists speak of times of difficulty in some songs, but they always come back to the fact that God is Supreme over all and that He is good and is worthy of our trust and our worship and praise. Psalms can be very personal, but at the same time they are universal in that the heart cries of the Psalmists of old still resonate with people today.

Living a life of trust and walking by faith are not always easy, so one thing that the Psalmists did was to declare their intention to honor their covenant relationship with God by choosing to be guided by God’s word or to praise the Lord every day. In addition, the Psalmists often spoke of who God is as far as His character. In the Psalms, we read of God’s holiness, righteousness, goodness, kindness, long suffering, His mercies, His everlasting love, His power and might, and His glory. The Psalmists were guided by their knowledge of who God is and their relationship with Him. In Psalms that were written in times of trial, the Psalmists call out to God because of the fact that they know He is good and loving and merciful. In good times. the Psalmists exalt the Lord because of His kindness and long suffering that has been revealed through both trials and blessings.

Psalm 100 scripture memory photo

We all have life stories and faith journeys, just like the Psalmists. Every individual story is unique, and every family has their own journey as well. In order to focus on the element of praise in your family’s Psalm, it is helpful to look at two of the most well known praise Psalms in the Bible. Both are very short (only 5 – 6 verses), and they are a good model for your family’s prayer of praise. So, here are two scripture memory photos for Psalm 100 and Psalm 150. These can be printed in whatever size works best for you and used for your family times of devotion. Perhaps your family can memorize the five verses of Psalm 100 one month and the six verses of Psalm 150 the next. Or, spend some time reading and talking about these two Psalms during a couple of your family worship times. Look at the times that are mentioned when the Psalmist praised the Lord. Look at the attributes and actions of God that the Psalmist praised. Look at the commitments to the Lord that the Psalmist mentions in the verses. What actions or attitudes have the Psalmists chosen for themselves in order to demonstrate their praise to God? How can your family demonstrate your praise and thanksgiving? At what times of day and in what places can your family express their praise? Read through the two brief praise Psalms above and below this paragraph, and then think about what your family’s praise Psalm would say.

Psalm 150 memory help photo

WRITING YOUR FAMILY PRAISE PSALM

Make your family’s praise Psalm as unique and personal as you desire. You can frame a copy for each child’s room or for your family room if desired. Just make sure that it reflects your family’s desire to praise and thank the Lord for who He is, what He has done, and what He is doing in your lives. Your praise Psalm should state your family’s intention to be faithful to God in praise as He has been faithful to you in everything. Most importantly, your praise Psalm should be true to scripture. Have fun working together with your family to figure out what your praise Psalm should say. Below, you will find a set of suggestions for writing your praise Psalm that would be easily understood by most children. This can be printed and used to guide that process of writing if you feel that it would be helpful.

Print this guideline to help your family write a Praise Psalm, or write the suggestions on sentence strips and give each family member one suggestion to work on as their contribution to your family’s Praise Psalm.

How to write a Praise Psalm 2

MY FAMILY’S PRAISE PSALM

Praise   Lets just praise the Lord“Praise the Lord! Praise Him wherever you are.

Praise God when you get up in the morning to get ready for the day.

Praise Him when you go to school or when you run to play.

Praise God when you are with your brothers and when you are alone.

Praise God at church; Praise God at home.

Think of God and praise him all day long.

Praise Him with a thank you song.

Praise God when it is time for slumber;

Count your blessings…what a number!

Praise the Lord! Praise Him everywhere you go,

Praise Him for all of the love that you know.

For our God is so good.

His promises are true.

His love lasts forever. His mercies are new.

Praise Him with your family.

Praise Him with your friends.

His love lasts forever. His grace never ends.

Praise the Lord!”

 

(Your Praise Psalm doesn’t have to be poetic. Ours just came out that way. Just make sure that your Praise Psalm reflects your family’s personal opportunities to praise the Lord, some reasons to praise Him, and your intention to do just that.)

Blessings to you and your family as you walk with the Lord day by day and choose to praise and worship the Lord together!

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.
http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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The missing piece…What Every Christian Should Know About Worship

SOMETHING IS MISSING…

What is the missing piece of the puzzle?

What is the missing piece of the puzzle?

Many Christians try to do what they know they need to do in order to grow as a Christian and become more like Jesus. We read our Bibles, we pray, we attend church, we sing songs of worship, and we try to be a witness for Christ through the way we live our lives as well as by what we say. Some Christians even take responsibility for sharing the good news about Jesus when the opportunity arises. Sadly, for many Christians, there is still a nagging feeling that something is missing. My personal belief, based upon years of learning from scripture, from the writings and teachings of others (through books, sermons, articles, and conferences), and from my own experience, is that true worship is the missing piece.

KEY A:  RELATIONSHIP  THROUGH  WORSHIP
True worship connects us to the very heart of God like nothing else can.

Jesus said to the woman at the well that God is Spirit and that all who truly worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)  Jesus named only two requirements for authentic worship, and yet there are many Christians who don’t feel that they really understand what it means to worship.  Others may not have spent much time thinking about worship but would admit that their corporate worship experiences seem to be lacking in some way and that their personal worship time is practically non-existant

Remember that Jesus could have spoken to the woman at the well about anything, and yet He chose to talk about worship.  Certainly, acts of service and devotion are vitally important.  So is sharing the gospel, as well as other critical elements of the Christian life, such as discipleship, fellowship with other believers, Biblical knowledge, and prayer,  And yet, Jesus chose to talk about worship   His conversation with the Samaritan woman was life changing for her.  She was confronted with the truth about who she was.  She initially recognized that Jesus must somehow be very closely related to God since He knew everything about her, and she ultimately realized that she was seeing God Himself in the form of a man.  The woman’s response to these revelations of truth (who Jesus/God is and who she was) revealed the change that had occured in her life as a result of her encounter with Christ.  She, who had been such an outcast that she ceme to the well alone at a time when no one else would be there, suddenly wanted to tell everyone what had just happened to her.  She wanted to run into town to tell them about the man she had met and what He said.  She was full of joy and excitement.  She had recognized her need, seen the fulfillment of that need in Christ, said “yes!” in her heart, and was ready to share the news!  That’s what true worship does.  It changes us, empowers us, fills us with wonder and joy, and makes us want to share what (and Who!) we have known and experienced with others.  When we see God for Who He really is, the transformation that occurs as a result of that encounter with the living God is a part of why worship is so important for me, for you, and for every Christian.

Here are some truths about worship and some practical helps for understanding your role as a worshipper.

Key B:   UNDERSTANDING  WORSHIP  BEGINS
WITH  UNDERSTANDING  WHO  GOD  REALLY  IS.

Worship is not some mystical activity that only people who have a Doctorate in Theology can understand.  God is revealed to us through His presence, through the Holy Spirit, through His word, and through the blessings and even challenges of life when we are looiking for His hand at work.

God is ... header

Simply stated, our lives, our thoughts, and the attitudes of our hearts matter to God. If we are going to seek to live a life that uplifts and blesses the lives of others and honors our Creator God through purity of purpose and a legacy of lasting (eternal) impact on the world, God knows that we must first be in right relationship with Him. He longs for us to know Him as He knows us. After we have come into relationship with God by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, this is where worship comes into the picture. When we begin to understand who God really is and catch a vision of His infinite love and mercy, our reasonable response to this revelation of truth is…worship.

Remember that God does not desire our worship so that he can become great. He is already great. He does not need to be elected as “Supreme Ruler of the Universe” by all of humanity. He is already the supreme ruler of the universe. God does not desire empty accolades or flowery speeches of devotion. He desires relationship with us.

KEY C:  THE MINDSET OF WORSHIP
We are never closer to the heart of God than when we

* see ourselves and our need for God

at the same time that we

* see who He is (our all-sufficient Creator, Savior, and Sustainer)

and then respond in true worship.

Worship God in Spirit and Truth

Worship God in Spirit and Truth

KEY D:  THE  REQUIREMENTS  FOR  WORSHIP

1. JESUS  SAID  THAT  WE  MUST  WORSHIP  “IN  SPIRIT”.
How can that happen?

What do we need in order for relationship with God to happen so that we can worship God in Spirit? First, we need a bridge of salvation from God to man so that we can accept His provision for our spiritual need and allow Him to begin to work in our hearts, minds, and souls. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior allows God to begin the process of making us holy so that one day we can dwell with Him (without making Heaven unholy). If we are going to be in relationship with Him while still on earth and in the process of becoming like Christ, we must be given spiritual understanding and spiritual life. To accomplish this, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live within us when we come to know Him. Even a child can understand that Jesus gave His life in order to pay the penalty for our sin. It doesn’t take a college degree to grasp the fact that our salvation is the beginning of a process of becoming like Christ so that we may one day dwell with God in a holy place where none of the consequences of sin can exist. However, we must move on from that beginning point of salvation to learning and growing in the deeper spiritual truths, including our understanding of worship, which we can do with the help of God’s spirit, who leads us into all truth when we are seeking more.

So, God has done the initial work of making our salvation and relationship with Him possible. He has done the important work of helping us to grow in Christ through the indwelling of His Spirit, and He has also done the work of fulfilling the first requirement of true worship through the indwelling.  We can worship God “in Spirit” when we have the Spirit of God living within us after accepting Christ as our Savior (as long as we don’t allow sin or the concerns of the world to drown out the still, small voice of God’s spirit).  Remember what Jesus said.  God is Spirit, and when we worship Him “in Spirit”, we are connecting spiritually in a unique way.  Father God who sustains us and who has provided a a way of salvation throught Jesus, God the Son, responds to the Spirit of God within us.

Worship Him2. JESUS  SAID  THAT  WE  MUST  WORSHIP  “IN  TRUTH”.
True worship comes with surrender and getting real.

What about the “in truth” requirement for worship?  What does that mean?

First, as we come to an understanding of who God is and His characteristics as the Creator and Lord of all, at some point we learn that God knows all and that He looks upon our hearts. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows us more intimately than anyone else ever could. He knows our fears, our failures, our sorrows, our sin, our hopes, our loves, and our priorities. He knows what we worship. Our job is to get real with Him.  We must come to realize that faking spiritual life or pretending to surrender to God or acting the part of a genuine worshipper will never be enough for true relationship with Him.

If we say that we worship God and yet devote most of our energy and thoughts to something else (even to all of the busy-ness of serving God that we sometimes allow to become a substitute for knowing and worshipping Him), God knows it. He does not want us to have divided hearts, and He longs for us to be spared the eventual pain that comes with focusing our lives too much on temporary pleasures or things or human relationships without seeking Him first. Since He knows our hearts and fully understands our spiritual struggles, it does no good to try to fool God with a “show” of worship. He is not fooled. We are only fooling ourselves, and we are falling into the trap of settling for less of God than He wants to give.

All to Jesus I surrender...

All to Jesus I surrender…

Secondly, we need to realize what God’s true nature is in relation to us, His children.  Jesus said that God is a giver who desires to give good gifts to His children. (Matthew 7:11)  We can never out-give God, and yet we try to hold part of ourselves back from relationship to Him, thinking that we don’t want to lose our identity. However, it is only when we are able to let go and give ourselves fully to God that He can show us what abundant life means.  He can then show us our true identity in Him (who He made us to be).  When we begin to understand the revelation of what God will do through us as we surrender to Him, we can begin the process of fully becoming every part of the whole of our true identity.  This is why Jesus said that He that tries to keep his life will lose it. While we won’t lose our salvation if we never fully surrender to God, we will lose the eternal impact that our lives were meant to have. We will lose the fullest meaning and purpose that our lives could have had. We will also lose out on abundant life.

Surrender handsThirdly, we have to get real.  It is only when we are willing to be real and honest with God (and even tell Him about our struggles to surrender fully to Him) that He can begin to work with the truth that we have accepted about ourselves and begin to teach us the joys of a life that is being transformed from the inside out. When we trust God with the truth (that He already knows) and come to Him with real desire to move forward in becoming like Christ, even though we know that we have a long way to go in that journey, that desire to bring God glory with our lives by becoming more like Christ is true worship. Our lives become the intentional expression of our desire to bring God glory through recognizing His infinite worth.* We then choose to allow God to fill us with His spiritual life as we continually surrender our mess to Him. That process is living Romans 12:1-2, our reasonable service of worship. That is living in an authentic relationship with God, worshipping Him in truth, as we continue to give Him our mess and allow Him to make our lives a message of God’s glory through a transformed life.

Romans 12

New International Version (NIV)

A Living Sacrifice

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

KEY E:  GOD  AND  JESUS  LEAD  THE  WAY  IN  SACRIFICIAL  GIVING

Remember these truths:

God is not asking us to do anything that He himself has not already done! 
He gave Himself. 

At a time when we were all takers, He gave.
We continue to take, and He continues to give.

Only true worship breaks the “cycle of taking” in our lives,
As we seek to give Him glory in all of life through living a life of worship.

Restating and expanding upon Key E:
When we worship God, we become part of an endless (eternal) cycle of giving which God began, which He continues in every moment, which He will continue throughout eternity, and of which He is always a part. 
(even when we are not in giving mode)

(i)  God began the giving.

1 Peter 1:20
“He (Jesus) was chosen (as our Redeemer, whose live would be given for all) before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”

John 3;16 (NLT)  “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

(ii)  God continues to give in every moment of time.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”  – James 1:17
(Note that God’s nature is that of a giver and that He does not change!)

22The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. 24“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”…  – Lamentations 3:22 – 24

(iii)  God will continue giving throughout all eternity.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  – I Corinthians 2:9

“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”  – Revelation 21:23

(iv)  God is always a part of an eternal cycle of giving. 

“If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  – Matthew 7:11 (WNT)

Therefore…

Key F:  WORSHIP  IS  ABOUT  GIVING  OURSELVES  TO  A  LOVING  GOD  WHO  HAS  GIVEN  HIMSELF  FOR  US  AND  WILL  CONTINUE  TO  GIVE  THROUGHOUT  ALL  OF  ETERNITY.

God givesMany people don’t realize that the pervasive attitude of consumerism in society has leached into our mindsets about worship.  If we view worship as something that should be done only on Sundays and only during a corporate worship service, we have not understood the concept of lifestyle worship (worshiping God through the way that we live our lives by seeking to give Him glory in all that we do and all that we are becoming).  If we view worship from the standpoint of how much we are “getting out of it”, then we misunderstand worship completely.  Worship is not about the occasional obligatory 25 minutes of singing that some just endure during a church worship service.  Worship is also not about consuming a commodity.  It is not a cheeseburger or a steak.  It is not about your musical preferences or mine.  It is not about seeing and being seen.  Worship is not something that we do in order to check all of the spiritual boxes.

Instead, worship can become our natural state of being as we learn more and more about our merciful God, our victorious Savior, and our ever-present guide and helper, God’s indwelling and holy Spirit (then choosing to respond to all that He is with all that we are).

THE  KEY  TRUTH:  Worship is about giving.

Giving in daily life…

Lift up His name!

Lift up His name!

If we understand that worship is about giving, we can choose to live with an attitude of true worship (though none of us can accomplish it perfectly in this life).  We can seek to continually express God’s infinite worth* through living in such a way that every part of our lives ultimately brings Him glory.  This is something that we cannot do in our own strength.  In order to continue the process of becoming like Christ as we seek to live a live that brings God glory, we need God’s help in many ways.  He gives us guidance and strength through His word, through His presence, and through dwelling within us in Spirit.  Even as we are sseking to give worship to God through living “as unto the Lord and not unto men”,  He continues to give

Living in an attitude of worship, presenting our selves unto the Lord as a living sacrifice, is our “reasonable service of worship”.  (Romans 12:1 & 2) 

To state this truth in another way.  because of all that God has done, is continuing to do, and will do throughout all of eternity, we choose moment by moment to live in such a way that our lives bring glory to God, even in the small, everyday things.

“Whatever you are doing, let your hearts be in your work, as a thing done for the Lord and not for men.”  –  Colossians 3:23  (Weymouth New Testament)

“And serve them with all your soul in love, as unto our Lord and not as unto men,”  – Ephesians 6:7  (Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

“Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  – I Corinthians 10:31  NASB

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  – Colossians 3:17

“If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”  I Peter 4:11

Giving in times of corporate worship

Worship from the heart

Worship from the heart

If we understand that worship is about giving, then we can come to a corporate worship service with a heart that is ready to give!  Whether things in our lives seem to be going well or whether we are struggling or dealing with many trials, the fact remains that both a private worship time and times of corporate worship are about giving.  Even when the cares of life are weighing us down, we can be honest in prayer and tell God that we are feeling drained and exhausted and worn to a frazzle.  He already knows everything we are facing and everything we are feeling anyway, so we are simply coming into agreement with the truth when we admit our status before Him.  Then, we can choose to give the sacrifice of praise by making a symbolic mental, emotional, and spiritual exchange.  We give our burdens to God and exchange the spirit of heaviness that had been pressing the life right out of us for that lovely garment of praise.

When we lift up the Lord, He lifts us up, too!  We can never out-give God because He is constantly giving more and more.  There will always be an infinite number of reasons to praise Him.  When we come into a time of corporate worship ready to give the Lord praise, honor, exaltation, blessing, surrender, our lives and hearts, our focus, our struggles, our longings, and our raw need for God and for all that He is to be reflected in our lives, He will meet us right where we are and complete the cirlcle of giving (of which He is always a part).

WHAT  ARE  WE  SUPPOSED  TO  GIVE?

1.  We are to give God THANKSGIVING and PRAISE!

* Psalm 100:4   ”Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”

* Psalm 9:1 & 2   “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart: I will tell of all Thy wonderful deeds.  I will be glad and exult in Thee, I will sing praise to Thy name, O Most High.”

2.  We are to give God GLORY!

give God the glory(or, glorify Him)

* Psalm 86:12   “With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

3.  We are to give God AWE and REVERENCE, acknowledging Him as the Lord and Creator of all.

(In some verses and some translations, “the fear of the Lord”)

* Psalm 111:10   “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!”

* Psalm 86:9 – 12   “All the nations You have made shall come and bow down before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.  For You are great, and You do wondrous things; You alone are God.  Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.  I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart; and I will glorify Your name forever.”

blessed is the Lord God4.  We are to give God BLESSING.  (Bless the Lord, bless the name of the Lord)

* Psalm 103:22   ”Bless the LORD, all you works of His, In all places of His dominion; Bless the LORD, O my soul!”

* Psalm 28:6 & 7   “Blessed be the Lord!  for He has heard the voice of my supplications.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”

5.  We are to give Him EXALTATION!*  (or exalt Him, exalt His name)

From the www.thefreedictionary.com, here are the applicable definitions:

1. to raise or elevate in rank, position, dignity, etc.
2. to praise highly; glorify; extol
* Psalm 34:3   “Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”
*NOTE:  The word ‘exaltation’ sometimes gets confused with ‘exultation’, for which the definition is “to rejoice greatly, be jubilant or triumphant (or, as in triumph.  We rejoice greatly in His triumph.)  — same source

6.  We are to give Him SERVICE!
(giving of our hearts, our time, our gifts, and our lives in serving Him)

* Joshua 24:15   ”If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Worship by giving God all of you7.  We are to give Him WORSHIP!
True worship rises up from the people of God, who are choosing to intentionally express His infinite worth! **

**(see note at end of post)

You have probably noticed by now that there is some overlap in the various types of giving to the Lord.  For example, in singing praise to God, we can bless His name.  In the worship category of giving, there is overlap with all other types of giving.  All of these ways of giving to the Lord are worship (lifestyle worship) when we are giving with the purpose of bringing glory to God and expressing His infinite worth through giving our best to God in every area of our lives.

* Psalm 29:2   ”Honor the LORD for the glory of His name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.”

* Phillippians 3:3   “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”

8.  We are to give Him our songs (SING UNTO HIM)!

* Psalm 5:11   ”But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread your protection over them, that all who love your name may be filled with joy.”

* Psalm 30:4   “Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.”

* Psalm 59:16 & 17   “I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.”   Psalm 59:16 & 17“I will sing of Thy power; yes, I will sing aloud of Thy mercy in the morning; for Thou hast been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble.  Unto Thee, O my Strength, will I sing; for God is my defense , and the God of my mercy.”

9.  We are to give Him TITHES and OFFERINGS!

* Malachi 3:10   “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house.  And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

* Exodus 35:29  “The children of Israel brought a voluntary offering to Jehovah, every man and woman whose heart prompted them to bring for all manner of work, which Jehovah, by the hand of Moses, had commanded to be done.”

Honor the Lord10.  We are to give Him HONOR!

* Revelation 4:11   “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

* Psalm 96:6 – 9   “Honor and majesty are before Him, strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.  Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.  Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.  O worship the Lord in the beauty of Holiness; fear before Him, all the earth.”

* Proverbs 3:9   “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income.”

Just as we would honor a guest in our home by seeking to serve our best meal and prepare diligently so that all will be able to enjoy the best time of fellowship, we choose to give unto the Lord the best of all that we are and all that we have for His honor.   We honor the Lord by giving, just as He has chosen to honor us by seeking fellowship with us and reaching out to us through the gift of His very best.

11.  We are to give Him LOVE!

The words of Jesus Himself in Mark 12:30   “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.”

* Psalm 31:23   “Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.”

* Joshua 22:5   “But be very careful to obey all the commands and the instructions that Moses gave to you. Love the LORD your God, walk in all his ways, obey his commands, hold firmly to him, and serve him with all your heart and all your soul.”

* Psalm 116:1   “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”

Give Him your heart12.  We are to give Him OUR WHOLE HEART AND LIFE!

* I Chronicles 28:9   “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”

* Mark 8:35   “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.”

The Final KEY TRUTH:

 THERE  IS  NO  SUBSTITUTE  FOR  CORPORATE  WORSHIP  WITH  GOD’S  PEOPLE.

worship is whereIt is wonderful to have a personal understanding of worship that aligns with what scripture teaches, and it is vitally important that every Christian also begins to follow through and move forward from having knowledge about worship to actually putting into practice the truths that we have learned.  In other words, each of us must begin to view ourselves as not only a child of God, servant of God, and disciple of Christ but also as a worshipper.  The Bible tells us that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.  Through worship, we are seeking more than just answered prayers and strength or comfort.  We are actually seeking to bless the heart of God with our own desire to give Him glory.  In choosing to live all of life with an attitude of worship, we are seeking to choose in every moment to do, say, and think in a God-honoring way.  Again, we will fall short, but our effort and our heart for God will not escape His notice.  He will meet with us in those moments of focused worship, and He will bless our efforts to bring Him glory through living in an attitude of worship.

Personal worship and living a lifestyle of worship are wonderful and essential to the life of every growing Christian, but those two elements of growth as a worshipper are not enough without regular corporate worship times with your church family.  Times of worship with the body of Christ are essential for the body and for the individuals who make up the body.  Here is what the Bible says about our need for corporate worship:

“We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.”  – Hebrews 10:25 (God’s Word translation)

Seeing the scripture within the context of other verses, consider the application for such a time as this:

A Call to Persevere
23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.…

Restated:  In order to persevere in our faith, we must not waver in our commitment to be a part of the body of Christ and to worship with the body of Christ.  We must hold on with all of our might to the certain hope we have been given, recognizing God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.  We must encourage one another and work together to love each other within the church fellowship and to demonstrate the love of Christ to the world.  We must serve together, doing what is good in helping others both inside and outside of the church, in the name of Jesus.  We must learn and grow spiritually through the process of study and sharing testimonies of God’s faithfulness and proclamation of the Word.

And, we should remember that all of these things (corporate worship and all of the loving, serving, discipleship, and fellowship through the body) that can only be done by continuing to meet, worship, fellowship, and serve together as a body become even more important as time moves closer and closer to the return of Christ.

You and I cannot be who we need to be as Christians if we forsake meeting togther. 

If we are going to live in a way that honors and reverences the blood of Christ which sanctifies us, the passage goes on to say, we must demonstrate our love and commitment to the Lord through loving His body, the church, and meeting together with other believers for the primary purpose of worship and for discipleship, fellowship, outreach / missions, and service.  Verse 26 even refers back to the mention of forsaking meeting together and calls such practice “deliberate sin’, going on to talk about God’s judgement for those who have “spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the convenant, and outraged the Spirit of Grace” (vs. 29).  God does not take it lightly when those who know Him (and whom Jesus died to save) reject His body, the church.

Remember that we (Christians who make up the body of Christ) are all in the process of growing to be more Christlike, and we are all in different stages of spiritual growth.  Sometimes other Christians will disappoint or even hurt us.  We need to extend the same grace that we have been given to our fellow believers.  They may not have yet reached the point of conviction about something that they have done or are doing that is wrong or has been hurtful (sometimes unintentionally) to the body.  However, we can choose to demonstrate the love of Christ and the grace and mercy of God to them, knowing that love always hopes, always believes, and always trusts You may not be able to trust an individual, but you can trust the God who is at work in your heart and in theirs.

We are a family of brothers and sisters in Christ, and the same principles of forgiveness, moving forward, and talking through problems that you follow with your own family must also be followed with your spiritual family.  This is one of the ways that we encourage one another to good works (one of the reasons given for not forsaking the assembling together of God’s family).  Forgiveness and reconciliation, resulting in spiritual growth for both parties and in greater harmony within the body, are good works!   Don’t allow your “right” to nurse a grudge or hang on to a hurt or misunderstanding to cause you to sin against the blood of Christ.

Remember, there is no substitute for worshipping together with other believers.

May God bless you as you seek to worship Him both personally and corporately, living a life that brings Him glory and discovering that relating to God as a 24/7 worshipper is the missing piece that you have longed to find.

Colossians 1:10   “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.”

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* John Piper’s definition of worship. paraphrased.
This definition is found in the devotion titled  ”Bodies, Breakfast, and the Marriage Bed”  and subtitled  “A Meditation on Daily Worship”.
You can read the complete devotion at this link:  http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/bodies-breakfast-and-the-marriage-bed

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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You may want to read some of our other posts and pages about worship:

OUR OTHER POSTS ABOUT WORSHIP: (Our pages, like the one on Lifestyle Worship, have titles that are always visible on the blog header.  Our posts are categorized, and all of the posts on worship can be found in our category called “Worship…with Wonder!”

Music is a gift…Worship the Giver!

Worship Planning and Preparation

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For further reading, here is a link to an article called,

“What is Worship?
A Survey of Scripture”

http://www.gci.org/God/worship

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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31 Days of Praise (Scripture Devotions)

In this blog post, you will find 31 short devotions, one for every day of any month.  Each one is based upon a scripture about praise and a truth about praise drawn from that scripture, with some thoughts about praise for each day.

We hope that this post will be a blessing to you in your times of private worship as well as in your daily life.

FOREWORD to the daily devotions:  Thoughts about praise

Praise in General 

praise  good job  excellentPraise is an expression of something good.  When we praise another person, we tell them something good that we have observed about them or something good that we have experienced as a result of our relationship to them.  Sometimes people we’ve never personally met inspire us with stories of strength and courage; and we could choose to respond to that with praise, sharing our good thoughts in some way (telling others, writing a letter to the person, etc.)  Sometimes, our praise takes the form of saying something good about someone to others, even though the person we are praising is not present to hear our words.  I can praise my husband or children even when they are not around by sharing something good about them verbally or in writing.

Praise has an object.  There is something or someone that we are praising.

Praise also has an audience.  We either speak or write our praise directly to the person or group or family or organization we are praising, or we speak or write to others about them.

When we praise someone directly, that person is the object of our praise and also is the audience (if no one else is present) or a part of the audience (if others also hear our praise for them).  Praise for others is at its best when the motivation for it comes out of the overflow of our love and/or respect, resulting from the impact a person has made upon our lives.  Sometimes people have other motives, and praise can be meaningless or empty or even a part of a personal betrayal or an attempt to influence the actions of another person.  However, even though, as with every other human behavior, there is the potential for harm when praise is done for the wrong reasons, praise is still generally a beneficial expression that can be very meaningful and can even change someone’s life.

Praising God

Praise God   colorful lettersWhen we praise God, He is both the object and the audience (or part of the audience) for our praises.  He hears our praise, even though we don’t see Him visually.  We are speaking or singing directly to God as well as about Him.  Because of this fact, words of praise to God are some of the most important words that will ever come out of our mouths.  Praise is not something to ever take lightly.  When our praise for God is genuine, we are expressing the overflow of our hearts and sharing good things about our God.  We are telling or writing or in some other way (music, dance, art) expressing a clear message about who God is and/or what He has done.  Our praise can be part of a testimony of what God has done and is doing in our lives.  Praise can be one brief statement, or it can be a more lengthy expression.  We are sharing with others the news that God is good and at the same time telling Him that we know He is good We do need to be careful about expressing praise only when something happens that we are happy about.  God is good all the time.  He is worthy of our praise. 

All of us have to be intentional about praise.  We have to choose to become people who make a commitment to express praise to God and to others about God.  We have to choose to be both vulnerable and strong in expressing praise to God within the congregation.  We lay aside any concerns about what other people are thinking or doing, and we simply focus on praising God with all of our hearts.  Praise opens our hearts to God as we focus on Him alone.  He inhabits (dwells within or manifests His presence within) the praise of His people.  It’s so amazing that God chooses to meet us and transform us with His presence when we make the choice to praise Him!

Praise is also necessary for the heart of every Christian even when we are feeling down, disappointed, or crushed by grief.  In the midst of our deepest valleys, we still recognize that God’s goodness and faithfulness are praiseworthy.  Because our praise opens the courts of the Lord, He will meet us there.  When we are willing to give to God the sacrifice of praise, knowing that He is good and merciful even in the midst of our trials or suffering, we give Him an opportunity to minister peace and comfort to our hurting hearts.  No matter what is happening in our lives, our God is worthy of praise.

Have a beautiful month as you praise Him each day!

Memory Challenge: 

As part of this month of praise, I hope that you will commit to memorize 2 short Psalms.

*  If you read through and speak out loud the 5 verses of Psalm 100 each day as part of your devotion time, you should have it memorized very well by day 17.

*  On day 18, begin to do the same thing with the 6 (shorter) verses of Psalm 150.

You’ll be surprised how many of the verses you already know.  You will always be glad that you memorized these 2 Psalms of praise, and they will be a blessing to you throughout your life.

Memorization helps:  In order to make the memorization easier for you, we have included printable versions of Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 in this post.

*  Just right click on the photo to choose the print option and then the size that will work best for you.

*  Place your memory photo page in a place where you will see it and work on learning it each day, or place it with your Bible for your devotional time.

*  Below, you will find the Psalm 100 printable.

*  The one for Psalm 150 is located between the devotions for Day 17 and Day 18.

*  You could also choose to simply stop at the photo verse each time to work on memorizing the verse (either before or after scrolling down to read the day’s praise devotional).

May God bless you as you praise Him and memorize His word.

Use this scripture memory photo for the 5 verses of Psalm 100 to read it aloud each day and memorize this passage by Day 17.

Use this scripture memory photo for the 5 verses of Psalm 100, to read it aloud each day and memorize this passage by Day 17.  You can also print it to use as a memory helper.  (Photograph of beach by Carol Roberts)

THIRTY ONE DAYS OF PRAISE

1*  Day One  *

Praise truth #1:  Praise takes determination and commitment.

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.”   — Psalm 7:17

Notice that the Psalmist makes a statement of his intention and his commitment to thank and praise the Lord.  He says “will give thanks” and “will sing praise.”  He also shares the reason for his thanksgiving, the Lord’s righteousness.  Our God loves goodness and justice, righteousness and truth.  We can trust that He will ultimately make everything right.  (Romans 8:28)  Praise Him today for His righteousness, and determine that you will make every day be a day of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord.

Memory Challenge:  Remember your memory challenge with the reading of Psalm 100 (just above this devotional).

2*  Day Two  *

Praise truth #2:  Praise is job #1 for the Saints!

“Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.”   — Psalm 30:4

As those who have believed in Jesus and experienced salvation, His saints, it is our duty as well as our joy and privelege to sing praises to the Lord and give thanks to Him.  Praise God today for His salvation and for giving you so many reasons to be thankful.  Bless His name today.  Speak aloud of the goodness of our God.  Sing praises to His holy name.

Memory Challenge:  Don’t forget to speak the verses of Psalm 100 aloud each day!

3*  Day Three  *

Praise truth #3:  There is no doubt that God wants us to sing His praises and delights in the praises of His people.

“Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a Psalm.”   — Psalm 47:6 & 7

How many times are we told to sing praises to the Lord in these two verses?  Five times!   He is the King of all the earth!  Sometimes we praise people more than we praise God.  Would we be more excited to meet an earthly King than to be in the presence of the King of all the earth?  Would we spend more time getting ready to appear before someone who is an earthly leader for a few years than we do in praising the King of all eternity?  When we begin to truly understand who God is and the incredible truth that He loves us and knows us and wants us to know Him, how can we keep from singing His praise?  Praise God today for His sovereignty over all of Creation.  Praise him specifically for all that He is and all He has done.

Memory Challenge:  How many verses of Psalm 100 can you say without looking?

4*  Day Four  *

Praise truth #4:  Praise is far-reaching.

“We have thought of Thy steadfast love, O God, in the midst of Thy temple. As Thy name, O God, so Thy praise reaches to the ends of the earth.”   — Psalm 48:9 & 10

When we spend some time thinking of the steadfast love of God, right in the middle of our lives of busy-ness and inconstancy, our natural response to His faithfulness and unchanging love is praise!  Praise reaches to the ends of the earth.  It reaches the heart of God.  It reaches inside our own hearts and changes our perspective.  As important and as supreme as the name of God is, praise reaches just as far!  Praise accompanies God’s name.  We will never run out of reasons to praise Him, and He will never tire of hearing our praises, dwelling within them, and using the praises of His people to speak to the hearts of men. Praise God today for His steadfast love, and spend some time remembering His faithfulness in your life.

Memory Challenge:  Praise him with the Psaltery as you speak Psalm 100 aloud.

5*  Day Five  *

Praise truth #5:  Praise is expressed verbally.

“O Lord, open Thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Thy praise.”   — Psalm 51:15

The Psalmist prays to God and asks that his mouth be made a vessel of praise.  He surrenders himself and his lips to the Lord and asks that God will allow them to be open for the purpose of praise.  What do I need to surrender in order that I may show forth His praise?  Clearly, I need to be willing to praise God verbally and openly.  I need to be committed to bringing God glory through my life.  I need to be passionate about sharing His praise verbally and through singing, and I need to be asking God to help me praise Him all the more. Pray the prayer of abundant praise today, asking God to take control of your heart and mind and lips and cause you to praise Him all day long.

Memory Challenge:  Psalm 100 time!

6*  Day Six  *

Praise truth #6:  Praise can be joyful and glorious.

“Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth; sing the glory of His name; give to Him glorious praise!”   — Psalm 66:1

What constitutes a joyful noise to God?  Singing of His glory!  When we sing of the majesty and splendor and glory of God and praise Him with our whole heart, we are bringing Joy to the very heart of God.  Knowing that we can give something in return to the One who has given us everything we have ever had and ever will have is a joy for us as well.

Make a joyful noiseJoy in Heaven and Joy on earth,

Songs of His glory and His infinite worth.

This is the way we should spend all our days,

Making joyful noise in glorious praise.

–  Cynthia A. Boyd

Memory Challenge:  The words of Psalm 100 make a joyful noise, too!  Speak them as to the Lord.

7*  Day Seven  *

Praise truth #7:  Praising God is for all nations and all peoples.

“Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for Thou dost judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon the earth. Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee!”   — Psalm 67:3 – 5

Although God has chosen the people of Israel to be the ones that would proclaim His salvation through their history and through the coming of Jesus, He is at work within all peoples and nations.  He deals fairly and judges equitably.  He guides the nations in ways that we can’t fully understand.  This verse is a call to praise for people from all nations, tribes, and tongues.  We have reason to be glad and to sing for joy.  Our God is the righteous judge who loves the world and sent His Son to serve the sentence of death for all of mankind.  (John 3:16-17)  Praise God today for His work among the nations and for the fact that there are people in every country in the world who know Him, as well as those who will come to know Him.

Memory Challenge:  Can you say all 5 verses of Psalm 100 from memory yet?  Speak them out loud.  Saying them at the same time you are hearing yourself say them helps you to memorize them.

8*  Day Eight  *

Praise truth #8:  It is important that we set aside the concerns of the day when we choose to joyfully praise the Lord.

“Let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy! Sing to God, sing praises to His name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds; His name is the Lord, exult before Him.”    — Psalm 68:3 & 4

Remember who God is.  He is the Lord who rides upon the clouds.  We have read that we must enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.  If we desire to commune with God, we must begin with thanksgiving and praise.  We must set aside the burdens and worries of the day as we give thanks and joyfully sing praise to Him.  Yes, He cares about every part of your life and about your heart and every concern that you have.  Since the Bible makes it clear that He cares for us and about us, we can lay our burdens down.  Think of your time with God as though you are visiting a friend (What a friend!).  You would not rush into your friend’s home and immediately begin listing all of your troubles and your requests for help.  Instead, you would greet your friend joyfully and let them know you are glad to be in their presence.  Later in your conversation, there will be time for deeper sharing.  When you choose to express thanksgiving and joyful praise first, you demonstrate that you trust the heart of God and know that He is already aware of everything in your life.  You are deliberately coming into God’s presence as someone who loves and cares for Him and is mindful of His infinite love and care for you.

[Be sure to notice all of the “joy words” in these 2 verses for day 8:  joyful, exult (definition:  show or feel elation or jubilation), be jubilant with joy, exult (again).  Place a joy reminder in a place where you will see it each day.]

NOTE:  Sometimes an immediate crisis in our lives allows for only a one word plea for “Help!” or a short phrase or sentence spoken as a prayer,  God hears all of our prayers and knows the cries of our hearts.  He knows each situation.  He desires that His children seek Him with all of our needs, and He places His love for us above any formula for prayer.  Just as a small child would do when afraid, sometimes all we need to do is run to the Lord (in prayer) and call out His name (just as the frightened child would call out, “Daddy!”).  The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our prayers, giving voice to the deepest “groanings” of our soul that are so profound we cannot even put them into words.  (Romans 8:26)  We also read that Jesus is right beside the throne of God, interceding (making requests on our behalf, praying for us).  (Hebrews 7:25)  So, when we are too exhausted with grief or pain to seek God with clarity, He knows, He helps, and He prays for us.

However, any time that it is possible for you to seek God in prayer and come to Him first with thanksgiving and praise, do so.  When you thank Him (knowing that He is good and that He cares for you) and praise Him (knowing that He is the Source and Sustainer of everything good and the Redeemer of your soul), your heart becomes open to His presence and aware of our loving Father God who is always there.  God can then manifest His love for you, His comfort, and His presence (His very “being there” for and with you) in heart to heart communication that is pure peace.

Memory Challenge:  Share Psalm 100 with your family today.

9*  Day Nine  *

Praise truth #9:  The heart attitude is most important in praising God.

“I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.”   — Psalm 69:30

Singing a song of praise doen’t necessarily  mean that you are praising God as you sing.  The attitude of your heart determines whether the words you are singing match your audible expression of a praise song.  If the intention and commitment of your heart is to give God praise and thank Him wholeheartedly, then you are truly praising God when you sing.  Here, the Psalmist states his intention to praise the Lord and magnify His name through thanksgiving.  To magnify means to make something appear bigger.  God’s name is already supreme, so  how does our thanksgiving make His name appear larger?  In our own hearts, thanksgiving reveals God’s true nature and His goodness.  His name is always big, but we are more aware of who He is when we are thanking and praising Him.  Our sincere praise and thanksgiving can also impact the hearts of others and allow them to have a bigger picture of who God is as well.  So, intentionally express your praise to God with words and with song, and cause His name to be revealed as BIG with your thanksgiving.

Memory Challenge:  Repeat the words of Psalm 100 as you do something good today.  Whether you are are exercising or wrapping a gift for a friend, do a pleasant task with praise.

10*  Day Ten  *

Praise truth # 10:  Praise is our heartfelt and intentional response to the revelation of who God is.

“I will praise Thee with the psaltery, even Thy truth, O my God. Unto Thee will I sing with the harp, O Thou Holy One of Israel. My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which Thou has redeemed.”   — Psalm 71:22 & 23

The Psalmist reveals his thoughts about who God is as he declares his intention to praise God in response.  He mentions God’s truth, God’s commitment to personal relationship with us (“O, my God”), God’s holiness, God’s commitment to the nation of Israel (as keeper of promises and covenant, redeemer, refuge, sustainer); and, most importantly, he mentions God’s salvation (“my soul, which thou has redeemed”).  In response to the revelation of who God is in character and who God is to him personally, the Psalmist declares his intention to respond by using the Psalms (psaltery) to praise God verbally.  He also states that he will sing praise with the harp and that he will do so while greatly rejoicing.  The Psalmist realized that he had been greatly blessed and given grace, mercy, and salvation by a personal, holy, true God who is a keeper of promises and who has become his Redeemer.  His response is declaring God’s praise with his whole heart.

Memory Challenge:  Declare the praise of the Lord with Psalm 100!  You are doing exactly what the Psalmist did.

11*  Day Eleven  *

Praise truth # 11:  Praise comes with blessings!

“Blessed are those who dwell in Thy house, ever singing Thy praise!  Selah.”   — Psalm 84:4

Notice that the Psalmist speaks of dwelling in God’s house and singing God’s praise continually.  For us today, I believe that this would refer to those who seek to stay in fellowship with God and who guard their thoughts and try to focus on thanksgiving and praise.  Blessings are many for us when we choose to allow God to work in our lives as we surrender our fears along with our hopes and our failures along with our strengths.   Singing God’s praise reveals the truth of His goodness and our need for Him.  When we allow Him to become our sufficiency, we do not lack any good thing.  We are living under the sheltering roof of God’s provision for our emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical needs.  As we continue to praise Him, our eyes are opened to more and more of what He has done and is doing in our lives.  The Amplified Bible translates the word ‘selah’ as “pause…and think of that”.   So, abide in His presence, rest in His provision, praise His faithfulness, and see that the Lord is good.  Now, pause and think of that.

Memory Challenge:  Psalm 100!

12* Day Twelve * 

Praise truth #12:  When we praise God wholeheartedly, we bring glory to His name.

“I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart; and I will glorify Thy name forevermore.”   — Psalm 86:12

Once again, the Psalmist declares his intention to praise the Lord.  He addresses God personally (O Lord my God) and commits himself to hold back nothing and praise God with his whole heart.  The promise of forever is as real as the present moment to him as the Psalmist makes his own promise to God.  He promises to glorify God’s name forevermore.  His life has become a testament to God’s glory as he pours himself fully into an offering of praise.  This well of praise will not run dry thoughout all eternity because the Psalmist knows that he could never out-give God.  There will always be a reason to thank and praise God, because God will continue to give and bless and love as only He can.  It will be so exciting that we will know the blessings and love of God fully, with complete understanding.  We will no longer need to walk by faith and trust God even in what seems to be a time of darkness.  Faith and trust will be replaced by complete knowledge when we know Him even as we are known.  Glory to God forever!

Memory Challenge:  Praise Him with Psalm 100.

13* Day Thirteen *

Praise truth #13:   When we praise God for His faithfulness and His wonders, we are joining the heavens in congregational praise.

“The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, O Lord; Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.”   — Psalm 89:5

As we meet together for the purpose of worship, we enter into a praise party that is already happening.  The heavens are already praising God.  In ways that we can’t fully fathom, His wonders and His faithfulness are being praised in our midst by the hosts of Heaven and even by His creation.  What a tragedy it is when we fail to join this chorus of praise.  Like the Psalmist, we must choose to joyfully commit ourselves to praise, knowing that God is so good that the Heavenly realms are spilling their praise all over, even as we are meeting together.  Praise the Lord, Saints!

Memory Challenge:  Psalm 100!

14* Day Fourteen * 

Praise truth # 14:  Praise is a good thing… all day long!

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O Most High; To show forth Thy lovingkindness in the morning, and Thy faithfulness every night.”   — Psalm 92:1 & 2

Oh, yes!  We trust God to get us through the day with His strength and His lovingkindness as we thank and praise Him in the morning and throughout the day.

Then, we thank and praise Him every night because He was faithful to do just that (get us through the day)!  Once again, His lovingkindness guided and comforted us all day long.  What better equation could describe our day?

_      God’s  lovingkindness______     —-    the foundation for praise!

undergirded by His faithfulness

Memory Challenge:  You ought to really know Psalm 100 by now!  As you have continued to speak these words in praise to God, you are taking the time to commit them to your life-long memory.  You’ve learned these 5 verses to the extent that they have become part of you.  Praise the Lord!

15* Day Fifteen *

Praise truth #15:  Because God is great, He should be praised greatly.

“O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless His name; show forth His salvation from day to day. Declare His glory among the heathen, His wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised.”   — Psalm 96:1 – 4a

God is great.  He is greater than we can imagine.  He is worthy of our songs.  He is so great that His name should be blessed.  He is so great that His glory should be declared to those who do not know Him.  He is so great that those who have experienced His salvation should live in such a way that their lives “show forth” from day to day.  (Some days may be easier than others, but the clear implication is a daily testimony of a transformed life!)

God…is…GREAT.  And, in every way that we can, His people should declare His greatness:  verbally, through songs, through our lives, and through praising Him for who He is and for all that He has done.  Praise the Lord greatly today!

Memory Challenge:  You are declaring His greatness by hiding His word in your heart.  You have treasured it enough to learn it.  Speak Psalm 100.

16* Day Sixteen *

Praise truth # 16:  Praise for the Lord is celebrated joyfully with music.

(Note:  He also sings joyfully over us.  See Zephaniah 3:17)

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth; make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with a harp, with a harp and the voice of a psalm.”   — Psalm 98:4 & 5

How important is it that we should use music in praising the Lord?  Notice that these 2 verses mention musical praise in several different ways:  a joyful noise, a loud noise, rejoicing, singing praise, singing with a harp, and singing with the voice of a Psalm.  God made us, and He knows that there is something about music that speaks to our hearts like nothing else.   He also knows that music can express deep emotion and help us to remember and to celebrate.  Music can unite our hearts in an expression of team loyalty or holiday wishes or patriotism.  Music can have special meaning within relationships of friends or loved ones.  The combination of poetry and melody can be very powerful as a means of expression.  The highest use of this powerful expressive tool that we call music is to use it in praise to the Lord (genuine, heart-felt praise).  The style of music you prefer does not matter to God.  It’s your heart and the expression of your true praise that He values.  So, make a joyful noise in praise to the Lord.  It’s music to His ears.

Memory Challenge:  Really look at Psalm 100.  What do you see?  Tomorrow, you may see more in these verses than ever before.

17* Day Seventeen * 

Praise truth # 17:  Praise opens the “courts” of intimacy in our relationship with God.

“Make a joyful moise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.”   — Psalm 100 (all verses, 1 – 5)

I love Psalm 100!  These 5 short verses are a prescription for a life of thanksgiving and praise!  Here we have the “why” of praise.  Why do we praise God?  Because He is good…   Because His mercy is everlasting…   Because His truth endures to all generations…   Because we are His people…   Because He is like a Shepherd to us…   Because the pasture is His (we dwell within His creation)…   Because He is God…   Because He made us…   Because anything we have as far as abilities and gifts came from Him (we didn’t make ourselves)…   Because He allows us to come into His presence…   Because He wants to be in relationship and fellowship with us, so He tells us that thanksgiving and praise are the outer and inner gateways to communion with Him…   Because He wants us to be glad and to be joyful.

Did you see those 12 reasons for praise in the 5 verses of Psalm 100 before?  I have read this Psalm hundreds of times in the 35 years since I became a Christian, but I don’t think I saw all of the reasons for praise until I started looking for them.  Do you see them now?  THAT’S WHY WE PRAISE HIM!   He is great, He is Sovereign, He is personal, He is a loving and caring Shepherd, He claims us as His own, He wants us to know Him, He is a God of truth, He is merciful (FULL of mercy), He is a giver, He is generous (desiring our joy!), He has our best interests at heart, and He is powerful.  He is God

Knowing the 5 verses of Psalm 100 can be a lifelong reminder of the reasons to praise Him.  There’s something else in these verses as well.  We not only have the “why” of praise in Psalm 100.  We also have the “how”.  So, how are we to praise the Lord?

Praise God as the Source of all blessingsWith a joyful noise,

*  with glad hearts as we serve Him,

*  with singing,

*  with the reverent recognition of who He is

*  with thanksgiving,

*  with blessing for His name

*  with knowledge that praise is the password to His presence

*  with the desire to go deeper in seeking and knowing Him

Good medicine!

One other thing to consider about the prescription for praise found in Psalm 100 is the benefits of praise.  Unlike prescriptions for medication, praise has no harmful side effects.  The benefits of praise are spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical.  Here are 10 of the benefits of praise.

*  Praise focuses our attention on the eternal and causes us to let go of our earthly concerns for a while.

Praise reminds us why we love and trust our great God.  It reminds us who He is.

*  Praise helps us to remember that God’s salvation goes beyond meeting our greatest need (for Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior) to meeting our everyday needs through all of the ways that God shepherds and cares for us and helps us to grow in grace.

*  When we praise the Lord specifically for all that He is and all that He has done, we are confronted  with God’s sovereignty, Jesus’ glory as the only begotten of the Father, and the Holy Spirit’s comfort and guidance.

*  Praise brings peace to our hearts because it reminds us that He is our peace.

*  Praise makes us glad as we remember that He is the joy of every longing heart.

*  Praise gives us eternal perspective and helps us hold on to faith in God, even when things don’t seem to make sense.

Praise allows God to meet us where we are and minister to us at the point of our deepest need.  

*  Praise takes our eyes off of ourselves and focuses them on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Praise allows us to give something of eternal value to the Giver of all things.  We can give something of eternal value only because God invested Himself in us when He chose to die for us.  He can redeem us through the power of His great love and make us into eternal beings who will see His glory and become worthy of His presence through the shedding of His own blood.  He gives value to our weakest effort.  His strength is perfected in our human weakness.  As we praise Him, we recognize and affirm His infinite worth and supreme glory as the God of all creation.  He, in turn, lifts us up with the knowledge that He cares for us and values our lives, our souls, and even our human efforts to live in such a way that our lives bring Him glory.

With results like that, this prescription for praise should be administered daily!

Memory Challenge:  If you have memorized Psalm 100, continue to say it out loud every day during your private time of worship and praise.  Then, begin learning the 6 short verses of Psalm 150.  Here is a memory verse photo for Psalm 150 to help you learn the passage.  This can be printed or used as a reference when you are learning the verses before or after each day of praise devotion.

NOW,  IT’S  TIME  TO  BEGIN  MEMORIZING  PSALM 150.   HERE  IS  YOUR  MEMORY  HELPER  PHOTO.

Use this Psalm 150 memory photo to help you the 6 verses of Psalm 150 by saying it aloud each day, days 18 through 31. The photo can also be printed in the size that works best for you.  (Photograph of an Oklahoma sunset by Belinda Graham)

Use this Psalm 150 memory photo to help you memorize the 6 verses of Psalm 150 by saying it aloud each day, days 18 through 31. The photo can also be printed in the size that works best for you. (Photograph of an Oklahoma sunset by Belinda Graham)

18* Day Eighteen *

Praise truth # 18:  God was thinking of us long before our generation, longing for us to know His compassion and mercy for us so that we might be set free and be given new hearts of praise.

“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn* may praise the Lord:
That He looked down from His Holy height, from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, To hear the groans of the prisoners, To set free those who were doomed to die: That men may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, His praise; when peoples and kingdoms gather together to worship the Lord.“   — Psalm 102:18 – 22

* (or, “yet to be created” in some translations;  in other words, these truths were recorded for us!)

It is important for every generation to take responsibility for sharing the truth of God’s love and mercy with future generations.  Knowing what God has done and that he is a God who looks upon us with compassion and mercy allows future generations to choose to accept God’s mercy and His invitation to be free from the condemnation and the prison of sin.  People need to know that God has the power and mercy and love and grace needed to transform our lives from the inside out.  He will create within us hearts that long to praise and worship Him… because His goodness to us is so great and His life within us is a beautiful promise of the eternal life to come.  People need to know.

Memory Challenge:  Praise God today with the words of Psalm 150.

19* Day Nineteen *

Praise truth # 19:  It is impossible to reach the limit for praise.  There is no limit.

“Praise ye the Lord; O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the Lord? Who can show forth all His praise?”   — Psalm 106:1 & 2

Who, indeed, can utter the mighty acts of the Lord?  He is constantly acting on our behalf in ways that we don’t even know.  There is no way for us to speak praises for all that God has done because He is constantly doing more.  There is no end to His goodness and mercy, and there is no end to praise.  Though our praises may be incomplete, they are sweet gifts to our Lord.  So, praise ye the Lord!  Keep giving him thanks and showing forth His praise.  He’ll be showing us His love and mercy for all of eternity, and we will respond with praise.  Why wait?  Praise Him right now!

Memory Challenge:  Today, read Psalm 150 aloud twice as you praise the Lord.

20* Day Twenty *

Praise truth # 20:  We fail to praise God as often as we should and as publically as we should.

“Oh, that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.”   — Psalm 107:31 & 32

These verses are a lament and a plea for praise.  Here’s a paraphrase:  “Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His care (wonderful works!) in our lives!”  How would our perspective change?  How would the hearts of others be affected?  How would God use our praises to draw others to Himself.  Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”  (John 12:32)  How much would our praises free the Lord to act in our lives and in the lives of others?  Let’s find out, people!  Let’s exalt (hold in high regard, elevate, raise, glorify, praise, honor) Him in the congregation!  Let’s praise Him anytime that we assemble to worship, to fellowship, or to serve Him in any way.

Memory Challenge:  Have some fun with praise!  As you speak the words of Psalm 150, beat a rhythm on a makeshift cymbal.  A pot lid and wooden spoon will do just fine.  Hold the pot lid by it’s handle and have some sounding cymbals to accompany the words of the Psalm.  If you have children, get them involved, too.  Give them each a line to say and something to make noise with as they speak their line (to the rhythm of the words, though…not with such wild abandon that they can’t even hear the words).  Everytime you do this, you add to your memory (and theirs).

21* Day Twenty One * 

Praise truth #21:  Living an intentional life of praise takes a steadfast heart.

“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast! I will sing and make melody!  Awake, my soul! Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awaken the dawn!  I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, I will sing praises to You among the nations.  For Your steadfast love is great above the heavens,  Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let Your glory be over all the earth.”   — Psalm 108:1 – 5

Notice that the word “steadfast is used three times in these 5 verses.  The first two times, the Psalmist is referring to his own heart commitment to God.  The second time, the Psalmist refers to the steadfast love of God himself.  Notice also that even though the Psalmist has stated his clear intentions to live a life characterized by steadfastness and praise, the actions that follow his commitment are not always easy.  He tells his soul to wake up!  He wants to awaken his instruments of praise.  Then, the Psalmist reminds himself why it is so important to continue singing praises among the peoples and among the nations:  He is secure in the steadfast love of God.  His own resolve may waver, but he knows that God’s love for him is unwavering.  When he remembers God’s love and faithfulness, the Psalmist is ready to exalt and praise the Lord.  He is ready to see God’s glory spread over all the earth.  He wants other people to be secure in the love of God, too.  Praise God today for his steadfast love and far reaching faithfulness, which are greater than all of the incredible expanse of space and time and heavenly realms of which we are now aware and greater still than that which we will only know in eternity.

Memory Challenge:  Speak the words of Psalm 150 without looking, and see how much you have already learned.  Read the part that you haven’t learned yet at least twice.  Praise the Lord!

22* Day Twenty Two *

Praise truth # 22:  Thanks and praise always seem to go hand in hand.

“With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord; I will praise Him in the midst of the throng.”   — Psalm 109:30

Praise  Stand every morning to thank and praiseThe Psalmists repeatedly talk about thankfulness and praise together.  Usually, thankfulness is mentioned first.  When we begin to count our blessings and say thank you to the Giver of them all, the next step is naturally going to be praise to God as the Source of all blessings.  Because God is good and because, as Jesus said, God loves to give good gifts (Matthew 7:11), we have much to be thankful for and plenty of reasons to praise God (in the midst of the throng and anywhere else we may happen to be).  Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise today, as you worship the Giver and Source of all blessings.

Memory Challenge:  Praise God with the words of both Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 today.

23* Day Twenty Three *

Praise truth # 23:  As we grow in our Christian life, we begin to discover that we no longer think of praise in terms of an obligation.  It is pure privelege.

“Praise the Lord. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the company of the upright, in the congregation.”   — Psalm 111:1

The Psalmist knows that praising God is not just something that we do.  Praise flows out of who we are becoming.  Notice that the congregation is referred to as “the company of the upright”.  Because God is at work in the hearts and lives of His people, transforming us from the inside out into a reflection of God’s own righteousness and making us more like Jesus, the Psalmist expresses his praise as an outflow of what is in his own heart.  The Psalmist’s gratitude for God’s salvation and his knowledge that God is good and that He is at work for our good produces a whole-hearted response of praise.  What does that mean for today?  Because we have been deeply and infinitely loved by God, because He has provided a way of salvation, and because our hearts are becoming more and more aware of God’s mercy and His transforming power, we have the privelege of expressing our love and gratitude to Him through praise.  Praise the Lord!

Memory Challenge:  Praise God with the words of Psalm 100 and Psalm 150, and then praise Him for everything else that comes to mind.

24* Day Twenty Four *

Praise truth # 24:  Genuine praise flows from a heart that knows and fears the Lord and takes delight in knowing and obeying God’s word.

“Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments!”   — Psalm 112:1

Do you remember the hymn, “Trust and Obey”?  Here are some lyrics (by James H. Sammis) from that great testimony of faith:

“When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His word,

What a glory He sheds on our way.

While we do His good will, He abides with us still;

And with all who will trust and obey.

(Refrain)

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus…

but to trust and obey.”

We do not have to be perfect in order to genuinely praise the Lord, but we need to be in the process of becoming more like Christ through walking in fellowship with the Lord.  Blessing comes from walking with Him, and then thanksgiving and praise naturally follow.

Memory Challenge:  Praise the Lord with the words of Psalm 100.  What gives us the confidence to trust Him and obey?  “For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.”

Praise the Lord with the words of Psalm 150.  What reflects His glory?  His mighty deeds, His excellent greatness.

* Day Twenty Five *

25Praise truth # 25:  Intentional and heartfelt praise should characterize our daily lives from sunrise to sunset.

“Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord! Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more! From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised! The Lord is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens.”   — Psalm 113:1 – 4

The servants of the Lord should live in an attitude of worship (intentionally giving glory to God in all of life) that creates a constant awareness of all that God has done and who He is.  In these 4 verses, the Psalmist mentions several characteristics of God.  His name is blessed, he is high above all nations, and His glory is above the heavens.  God is held in supreme regard because He is supreme over all.  Because of who He is (His character, His person) and because of who He is to us (Father, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, Shepherd,…), we praise Him at the beginning of each day and all the way through until the end.

Memory Challenge:  Try to say the words of Psalm 150 without looking.  If the Psalm is not yet memorized, take some time to work on that, visualizing the instruments and forms of praise that are mentioned (as an aid to memory).  If you can already quote Psalm 150, praise God with the words of Psalm 100 as well.

26* Day Twenty Six *

Praise truth # 26:  The best time to praise the Lord is:  every moment that you can!

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have being.”   – Psalm 146:1 & 2

Again we see that the Psalmist speaks of praise in terms of the depth of his being (O my soul).  His praise is whole-hearted and soul deep.  The Psalmist intentionally expresses his praise to the Lord every day, and he is determined to continue to do so for the rest of his life.  He commits himself to praise.  He sings the praises of the Lord with the very breath that God has given.  He has decided to live a life of praise as long as God allows him to live on the earth, and he makes no mention of circumstance.  He does not say that he will praise the Lord only on the good days or when things go his way.  He does not say that he will praise God while he is feeling good.  He says that he will choose to praise God as long as he is alive.  Sometimes, we don’t feel well; and sometimes life is tough.  Still, we can choose, as the Psalmist did, to be alive in Christ and alive in praise….as long as we have being.

Memory Challenge:  Look once again at both Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 in print.  Notice all of the truths about God and his deeds that are praiseworthy.  Praise Him for all of these things.

27Praise   Lets just praise the Lord* Day Twenty Seven *

Praise truth # 27:  A song of praise is pleasing to God.

“Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for He is gracious, and a song of praise is comely.”   — Psalm 147:1

The Psalmist uses the word “comely” in describing a song of praise.  The definitions that I found for this word were:  pleasing, attractive, appropriate, and suitable.  Certainly it is appropriate and suitable to praise our God.  He is worthy of praise.  But singing praise goes beyond appropriate.  I believe that it is pleasing to God.  The phrase “sing praise” is found 129 times in the Bible, and “sing praises” is found 104 times.  I will say it again.  I believe that it is pleasing to God when we sing praises to Him.  Singing praises would be good (pleasing), as this scripture says, for that reason alone.  However, there are other benefits as well.  Singing praises to God can encourage and strengthen us.  Singing praises to God causes us to focus on Him rather than on problems.  Singing praises to God brings us into His presence.  Singing praises unites the hearts of a congregation in one common focus (the Lord) and intention (bringing Him glory).  So, why should we sing praises to our God?   Because He is gracious, as the verse says; because it is pleasing to God, and because singing praises strengthens, encourages, and unites us as a congregation. with Christ in our midst as we gather in His name.  It is good to sing praises to our God!

Note:  “The adjective “gracious” is applied in the Old Testament to Yahweh, as indicative of His favor and mercy, His long-suffering and ageneral inclination of favor, compassion, and kindness.”  (Bible dictionary definition by Walter G. Clippinger at this link:  http://classic.net.bible.org/dictionary.php?word=Gracious )

Memory Challenge:  Try something new with the verses of Psalm 100 and Psalm 150.  Reading from the text, alternate saying one verse of each Psalm in the manner shown below.  You may want to have a family member or friend read the verses of one Psalm while you read the other, alternating like this:

(Psalm 150, verse one)  – “Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him in His mighty firmament!”

(Psalm 100, verse one)  – “Make a joyful moise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

(Psalm 150, verse two)  – “Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!”

(Psalm 100, verse two)  – “Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.”

(Psalm 150 verse three)  – “Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp!”

(Psalm 100, verse three)  – “Know that the Lord is God; it is He that has made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

(Psalm 150, verse four)  –  “Praise Him with timbrel and dance;  Praise Him with strings and pipe!”

(Psalm 100, verse four)  –  “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”

(Psalm 150, verse five)  – “Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals!”

(Psalm 100, verse five)  – “For the Lord is good: His mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures to all generations.”

(Psalm 150, verse six)  – “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”

Note:  Now that you have read the Psalms in the intermingled form, recite them both separately so that they don’t get mixed up in your memory.

28* Day Twenty Eight *

Praise truth # 28:  A new song of praise can give us a fresh revelation of who God is and how much He loves us.

“Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the faithful!”   — Psalm 149:1

As the wife of a songwriter and someone who has occasionally been given a melody and some words of praise, I am very aware of one way that writng a Christian song of praise differs from writing any other kind of song.  It is very apparent to me that the writing of a song of praise to God flows out of our relationship to God and what we are learning in fellowship with him,   In other words, a song often comes when there has been a new revelation of truth or a new perspective that we have seen concerning a truth that we already knew.  As long as God is active within the hearts and lives of His people, new songs of praise will continue to be written.  Any time that you hear a new song, remember that it is a result of God seeking fellowship with man and His desire to reveal Himself to us.  Now that is another reason to praise Him!  Sing a new song in the assembly of the faithful, and declare His praise with the breath of a fresh revelation of His love for you!

Memory Challenge:  If you haven’t yet shared Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 with a friend or family member, do that through recitation, e-mail, or a note to encourage someone with God’s faithfulness (Especially with the message of Psalm 100).

29* Day Twenty Nine *

Praise truth # 29:  “Praise the Lord!”  is not a suggestion.  It is a command.

The message of Psalm 150:  Praise the Lord!

“Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament; praise Him for His mighty deeds!  Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!  Praise Him with trumpet sound; praise Him with lute and harp!  Praise Him with timbrel and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe!  Praise Him with sounding cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!”   — Psalm 150:1 – 6  (all verses)

Ten times in the six verses that make up Psalm 150, we are told to “praise God”, “praise Him”, or “praise the Lord”.

The “why” of praise that is mentioned here (for His mighty deeds) is certainly reason enough to praise God with all that we are.

We are told how to praise Him:  “according to His excellent greatness” and with all of the instruments and the implied exuberance that are mentioned in the Psalm.

We are told where to praise Him:  “in His sanctuary” and “in His mighty firmament”.

The two locations that are mentioned for praise to God are interesing because I believe that these locations represent the dwelling place of God.  When it comes to our own praise, the physical location for our praise could certainly be inside a house or center of worship  (church), which would correspond to one interpretation of  the word “sanctuary”.  The playing of all of the instruments mentioned here may also indicate that the Psalmist is talking about praising God in a corporate worship time, which we certainly need to do as well.  However, since God is everywhere and is, at the same time, on His throne, the location of His presence is a rather mysterious concept.   Most importantly, our praises should be genuine and thereby reach the heart of God no matter where we are.

Whether you are in a workplace, your home, in a public gathering place, or in a place of worship, your genuine praise glorifies the Lord.  His presence is with you in that place, and His presence also fills the mighty firmament.  God can remain on His throne while also fulfilling His promise to be in our midst any time that we gather in His name.  The heart of our praise is always most important and matters much more than our physical location or our understanding of where God is.  Like a parent who is pleased when His child expresses appreciation for parental love and care, God is pleased when we praise Him more for what our genuine praise says about who we are becoming than for any other reason.  When our understanding of God’s loving heart allows us to genuinely praise Him, we become more like Christ, whose most important task was to bring glory to God through fulfilling the divine purpose for His earthly life.

4  “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5  “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”  – John 17:4-5

The Psalmist also speaks of playing instruments and even dancing for joy as well.  If there are instruments that you can play in genuine praise, do so.  My husband often plays guitar and sings praise songs in our home.  Others may want to sit at the piano and play a hymn or sing along with Christian radio in their car or with a CD at home.  Whether an individual is praising the Lord in any location or whether we are meeting together for the purpose of corporate worship and praise, we obviously are supposed to praise God with enthusiasm.  We should not be more excited about a win by our favorite team than we are by thinking about God’s power and mercy and grace and patience (long-suffering) and His infinite love, so freely given.  So, praise Him with joy and abandon (even dancing with joy!… you know, your happy dance!).  Praise him with your whole heart and being.  Make some noise!  Praise Him because He is great and because He does great things.  Praise Him in congregational worship and family worship and private worship.  As long as you are breathing, praise the Lord!

Memory Challenge:  How are you doing on memorizing Psalm 150?  Are you still saying both Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 every day?  Put in a little extra time, and make sure that you have both Psalms (all 11 verses) memorized by the end of the month.  You can do it!  When you have them memorized, begin working on Psalm 100 in your family worship times so that your children can learn it, too!

30* Day Thirty *

Praise truth # 30:  Praise is happening all around the world at all times!

“They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord: in the coastlands of the sea, to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One.”   — Isaiah 24:14 – 16a\

Do you hear it?  The praises of the saints are being sung and shouted and expressed by people all over the world who love the Lord and have experienced His salvation.  They are lifting up their voices, singing for joy, and shouting over God’s majesty,  Our awareness of this worldwide symphony of praise in countless languages comes with a condition.  “Therefore”… our response should be…to “give glory to the Lord, to the name of the Lord”.  Join in the song of Heaven’s choirs.  Join with the voices of people all over the world, from the ends of the earth.  Sing songs of praise and of glory to the Righteous One.  Praise Him for His majesty today.  Praise Him for the people He has redeemed.  Praise Him for his goodness.  Praise the Righteous One.  Praise the Lord!

Memory Challenge:  Recite Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 as you praise the Lord today.  Think about what your praise Psalm would say if you were to write a personal prescription for praise for yourself or for your family.

My family’s praise Psalm might go something like this:

“Praise the Lord!  Praise Him wherever you are.

Praise God when you get up in the morning to get ready for the day.

Praise Him when you go to school or when you run to play.

Praise God when you are with your brothers and when you are alone.

Praise God at church; Praise God at home.

Think of God and praise him all day long.

Praise Him with a thank you song.

Praise God when it is time for slumber;

Count your blessings…what a number!

Praise the Lord!  Praise Him everywhere you go,

Praise Him for all of the love that you know.

For our God is so good.

His promises are true.

His love lasts forever.  His mercies are new.

Praise Him with your family.

Praise Him with your friends.

His love lasts forever.  His grace never ends.

Praise the Lord!”

(Your Praise Psalm doesn’t have to be poetic.  Mine just came out that way.  Just make sure that it reflects your personal opportunities to Praise the Lord, some reasons to praise Him, and your intention to do just that.)

31* Day Thirty One *

Praise truth # 31:  When we praise the Lord for what He has done, we are also praising Him for His promises and plans that are yet to be fulfilled on earth, knowing that they are already settled in Heaven.

“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will praise Your name; for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and true.”   — Isaiah 2

It is such an incredible privelege to know the God of all creation.  He is our God.  He has given Himself to us in the person of Jesus and in His Word and His promises, which will all be fulfilled.  He has given Himself for us as Christ emptied Himself of His majesty to come to earth as a baby and live a sinless life, finally laying down His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all.  He continues to give all that He is through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in our hearts and through the fulfillment of every promise of and plan of old, faithful and true.  Unchanging in His love for us, He has continued to do wonderful things in the world and in our hearts and lives.  The scope of His care for us and for all of creation will be fully revealed when we see all of those plans and promises fulfilled.  In Christ, all of the promises of God are already “yes”and “amen” (2nd Corinthians 1:20).   The resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of fulfillment for every promise of God.  Only when we see all of God’s promises fulsilled will we fully know all of the “wonderful things” for which we praise God even now.  We praise Him for the past, for the present moment, and for the certain promise of an eternal life that is beyond human imagination.  He holds all of time in His hands, just as He holds you and me.  Exalt Him, and praise His name!

“For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes

in Him [Christ]. For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him [in His Person and by His agency] to the glory of God.”  – 2nd Corinthians 1:20, Amplified Bible

Memory Challenge:  Praise the Lord with the words of Psalm 100 and Psalm 150.  Praise the Lord!

Note from the author of the 31 devotions:  Bless you for your commitment to praise!  I hope you have a clearer picture of how much you are loved and of how much our love and praise, returned to God, means to Him.  Continue in praise from day to day.  The Lord will bless your commitment to Him and meet you there.

Praise   sing praises bird header

PRAISE  AND  AMEN… let it be so!

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting; and let all the people say, “Amen.”  Praise the Lord!”   — Psalm 106:48

Thank you for your faithfulness in choosing to worship the Lord and seek Him through these 31 days of praise.  Let praise continue!

“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.”   – Hebrews 13:15

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The devotions for “31 Days of Praise” were written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Note:  You can use these praise scriptures and devotions as part of your personal worship at any time.  The devotions were completed in time for use in October of 2013, but they can be used in any month.  Just double up a couple of devotions in the shorter months.  Make every month a month of praise!

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You can also use any of our other resources for praise, thanksgiving, and worship.  God bless you!  Praise the Lord!

*  Our “30 Thankful Verses” post has 30 days of brief devotions based upon 30 scriptures about giving thanks.

30 Thankful Verses

*  Our “Lift Your Voice” page has an extensive collection of worship scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments, in chronological order.

https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lift-your-voice/

*  Our “Old Testament Worship Scriptures” post contains the same worship scriptures for the Old Testament found in “Lift Your Voice”.  (We added them as a post also so that we could tag the post and make it easier for people to locate these resources.

Old Testament Worship Scriptures

*  Our “New Testament Worship Scriptures” post contains the same worship scriptures for the New Testament found in “Lift Your Voice”.

New Testament Worship Scriptures

One benefit to having the New Testament scriptures posted by themselves is that there is no need to scroll through all of the Old Testament worship scriptures to get to them.  In addition, we posted these scriptures as separate pages so that we could tag them and make it easier for people to find these separate resources in their search results.

*  Our “WORSHIP…with wonder!”  category of posts

https://worshipsounds.wordpress.com/category/worship-with-wonder/

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This post, including the devotions for each day of praise, was written by Cynthia A. Boyd

The daily devotions can be reprinted (one at a time) in your weekly worship e-mail to team members if the author’s name and blog URL are included.  The entire post may not be published or reprinted without permission.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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When illness gets you down…

sick guy cartoonAt some point in our lives, all of us will deal with significant or ongoing illness for ourselves and/or in the lives of those we love. Many individuals have the blessing of general good health for most of their lives. Sometimes we take that for granted. For others, dealing with injury or with a medical condition of some kind is a life-long challenge. There is a refining of the soul that seems to happen sometimes when one faces constant physical illness or challenges. I have known many such individuals who had at some point made the choice to live lives of extraordinary grace and strength, with God’s help. Choosing to see the blessings of life and even the blessings of illness or of injury or other medical and physical issues is not easy. Our natural instinct seems to be a very keen awareness of our own suffering and a desire for that suffering to be removed. After all, who doesn’t love to feel wonderful? And yet, we must remember that we have only one life, and the “sick days” or even the on-going health issues are a part of it.

Sorry u r under the weather woodstockHow, then, can we deal with illness? How can we cope with our own suffering or the suffering of someone that we love? How can we make the most of life when illness or injury or a medical condition seems to limit our time, our energy, and our enjoyment of life? In a way, I feel unqualified to answer this question. After all, I have enjoyed general good health for much of my life. And yet, I have had experience with both illness and injury, and I’ve definitely known the heartache of experiencing sorrow and pain with loved ones who were suffering. There are many wonderful books about the theology of suffering or the spiritual, emotional, and practical considerations of dealing with physical challenges. There are many stories of amazing people who have refused to let physical challenges or illness define them. I’ve read many such books, which cover these issues much more comprehensively than I will attempt to do here. All that I can offer is a simple observation, born out of my own recent experience.

Snoopys mind wanderingI have been dealing with a health situation for some time that has greatly affected my ability to function as a wife and mother and to plan ahead. I never know when I am going to have a bad day. I have recently been very frustrated by the frequency and duration of my health problems and how they affect my family. Last week, I was up very late one night. I didn’t want to try to sleep because I felt so nauseous. This was on a Wednesday night (actually early Thursday morning). Because I was feeling so sick and could not sleep, I had a lot of time to think about how my illness was impacting those I loved. I had missed church due to my illness the previous Sunday, and then I’d been forced to miss church again on that Wednesday night. I had felt okay for most of the morning but started having symptoms around before lunchtime. Often, when that happens, symptoms progress so quickly that I am not able to meet the bus carrying our little boy who has special needs when it comes at 3:00 p.m.; so I have sometimes been forced to call my husband and have him come home from work to meet Logan’s bus. (His bus must be met by an adult). On that Wednesday, symptoms were progressing a little more slowly, so I was able to meet Logan’s bus myself and be downstairs when 3 of Logan’s brothers arrived 30 minutes later.

On that day, I thought that if my symptoms would hold off for a couple of hours, I could get our 5 school-age boys to church for the Wednesday night meal so that they would not miss Children’s Choir or Missions, but I knew that I was in no shape to stay. In addition to feeling awful and knowing it was going to get worse, I didn’t want to be around food since I hadn’t had anything since breakfast and the thought of eating made me sick. So, I made sure the boys got their homework done and then took them to church at around 5 p.m., with my husband, Travis, planning to meet us in the parking lot. I pulled our Suburban around to the back of the building, near the fellowship hall where the meal is served, and then I pulled to the right beside a row of cars in the parking lot to let my boys get out and meet their Dad.

Be careful signI didn’t expect any difficulty with safely dropping off the boys since I’d called my husband as soon as we arrived. He was on this way out of the building to meet us. In addition, due to homework and needing to wait for our Middle School age son, who arrives home from school much later than his younger brothers, we were almost 30 minutes later arriving for the meal than most people who eat at church on Wednesday night. I thought everyone else would already be in the building. However, as it turned out, I almost got one or more of my boys run over that day, just because of being sick. I had gotten out of the Suburban myself and was supervising the boys as they were getting out of the car on both sides when a sweet lady who had come up behind our car decided she would drive around us. I had five boys ages 7 & 7 (twins), 8 (special needs), 10, & 12 around the car on both sides, was pulled over to the right obviously unloading, and was out of the car trying to get all of the boys safely across the parking lot to the sidewalk, and yet I could not see where all of my boys were right at that moment. If she had waited for one more minute, I would have had all of the boys safely on the sidewalk and Travis would have been there to get them inside, but she must have felt she couldn’t wait. I had pulled really far to the right, but she came around us on the right, with hardly any room between vehicles. Even though I was out of the car trying to make sure all of the boys got safely to Travis and trying to watch the boys on both sides, I was unable to keep my boys safe. If one or more of the boys had come running around the front of our vehicle right into her path, they would have been toast. From the moment that the woman began to pull around my car until the moment when she could have hit one or more of my boys if they had happened to run around the Suburban was just a couple of seconds. It had happened so quickly that I could not get in front of her and was powerless to stop this upsetting and potentially lethal incident, and it was all because of me being sick. The thought of what could have happened completely undid me.

Charlie Brown sighLater that same night, after Travis got home with the boys and they had all gone to bed, at one point my hubby wanted to talk about Spring Break and what our plans would be. He wanted to do a short trip, and I had to tell him that I am not in any shape to do it. After all of these incidents had taken place in just a few days, I was feeling very frustrated. My illness has not just affected me. It affects my family in many ways. It’s even more frustrating since I have already had lots of tests and scans but still don’t have a firm diagnosis. In fact, my Doctor referred to me at last week’s appointment as “a mystery”. So, I had gotten pretty down and had no problem at all thinking about all of the things I dislike about being sick. I had quite a mental list going. I might not have been outwardly griping around my family, but I certainly was feeling frustrated and upset inside.

cartoon checklist photoIn this state of mind, a thought occured to me. I should make a list of all of the good things about being sick. I honestly did not expect to get very far. I thought that I would be doing well to come up with 3 or 4 things and that even those reasons might be a bit of a stretch of the imagination. I decided to call this exercise my “Top Ten List of Good Things About Being Sick,” and I began to think things through. My original thinking was that after I’d named 3 or 4 lame reasons that being sick can be good, then I would put down the same phrase for all of the other slots to round out my top ten list, “Sorry. That’s all I’ve got.” At least I was thinking about the subject with a little bit of humor, but I certainly can’t say that I was optimistic. Perhaps what I was really looking for was an excuse to stay in my frustrated mindset and proof that there really was nothing good about being sick. However, a strange thing happened. When I began to think about things that I could be thankful for about being sick (even though my effort was half-hearted at best), suddenly all sorts of reasons began to occur to me. Before I knew it, I had a list of 8 things that can be good about being sick. (Although, honestly, I’ll take wellness any day). I thought for a little while more and could not come up with any additional good things, so I did end my list the way I had planned, with “Sorry. That’s all I’ve got.” I put my list on my facebook status, with my little attempt at humor as my closing statement. Just a few minutes after I posted my list of 8 good things, two more reasons really did come to me. I added them to my status as a comment, surprised that I really had come up with a list of 10 good things about being sick.

For me, the whole exercise was a lesson. Here’s what I learned:

Snoopy lights a candle1. It’s okay to acknowledge feelings of frustration and spend a little time analyzing yourself and figuring out what was most upsetting to you and why. (For me, the root of the greatest frustration was definitely not feeling that progress was being made toward getting better and, primarily, the negative impact on my family.)

2. After taking some time to think about what you are feeling, there is one thing that seems to begin to turn things around and change an attitude of frustration, fear, or doubt (that there could be anything good in the situation). The simple cure is very effective. It is thankfulness. Even though I didn’t feel thankful yet when I began making my list of good things, I soon began to see my own illness and even sickness in general through a new lens.

3. When I began to make even the slightest effort to see things differently, it was as though God met me right where I was and opened a window so that I could briefly see the (sometimes) hidden value of things that are hard to experience in the here and now.

4. I surprised myself, but it really was God surprising me all along. He promises to work everything for good in the lives of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28) Could that possibly mean even nasty germs or cancer cells? Could it include tragic injuries or even lifelong medical conditions?

Yes.

The answer is … yes.

It’s not that those things are good in themselves. After all, when we reach Heaven, illness, injury, pain, and physical limitations will not be there. The truth that we hold on to is He will take even these things and cause them to work together for good. What a promise that is!

Snoopy doctors woodstockAm I a completely reformed grouch? Well, perhaps I am semi-reformed. I can’t say that I will never wish something hard or painful or yucky would just go away. I know that many times in my life, the removal of a trial will be my fervent prayer. But what I do hope to remember is that if I look for reasons to be thankful, I will find them. If I look for the good, it will be revealed. I still won’t understand everything, because God’s ways are higher than my ways. Now, I know I see through a glass darkly; but someday, I will have full understanding. Right now, one of my main questions might be, “Isn’t there some other way I could learn this?’ Then, in Heaven, when I suddenly know even as I am known, I believe that all of my questions will be answered before I can even ask them.

So, here is my list of the top ten good things about being sick. (What was written on that sleepless night is in italics below.) This really is so much more than just a list. For me, it was really an exercise… in thankfulness and trust.

Cindy’s List of the Top Ten Good Things About Being Sick
Snoopy thank you dance1. Being sick makes you really thankful for the times when you are feeling good so that you don’t take health for granted.
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2. It is really something to be thankful for that most illnesses don’t last very long. (With all of the germs around us, how miraculous it is that we are so often well!)
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3. Being sick helps one to appreciate the amazing complexity of the human body and the capacity for healing.
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4. Beling sick can slow one down long enough to re-focus priorities.
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5. I’ve heard people say that they would not choose to have missed what they have learned and experienced through an illness or injury. (not sure I’m there at this point, but I’m thinking about it)
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6. When you are sick, the people who love you are always there with a prayer or some other kind of caring. You love and appreciate them already, but the experience of ministering to one another bonds hearts like nothing else.
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7. When you are sick, you realize again how amazing it is to never be alone and to have God’s presence with you through everything. It is a comfort to know the hope of healing, the hope of Heaven, and the hope of tomorrow (and to have peace when nothing makes sense because you know that your life is held in loving Hands).
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8. When you are sick and you look in the mirror, you realize that your normal look is not so bad after all (compared to the bleary-eyed stranger staring back at you).
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9. ?….? I’ve got nothing.
(Note: this is the way I originally wrote the list. I had nothing here, but God was not finished teaching me yet.)
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10. Hey, I was doing well to come up with 8 good things, don’t ya think?
Just a little humor. Gotta keep smiling, right? 🙂
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At this point, I thought that my list was finished. I certainly did not think that I could not come up with anthing else to add. I was ready to give myself and “E” for Effort. However, it wasn’t even five minutes before I had added the following:
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Okay, I thought of 2 more, so here are my amendments to the list:
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9. Going through any kind of struggle (including being sick) can make one more compassionate.
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10. Going through trials helps me grow as a Christian. “…the trying of your faith worketh patience…”
The bad part is that now everyone knows for sure that my patience needs work (as if anyone was fooled in the 1st place).
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The funny thing is that when I started typing the list I had only thought of 3 or 4 good things, so it was going to be more of a joke to only go that far and then say, “I’ve got nothing” for the rest. But, when I started out with thankfulness, the other good things just kept coming to me. This thankfulness thing really works! 🙂
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Pollyanna glad game quoteIt may seem simple, and some people may label me a Pollyanna; but I have discovered again and again that being thankful is the way to go. What’s the alternative? Being miserable. Sometimes I may spend a little time in misery land, but I don’t want to stay there. If I’m going to be dealing with something difficult, at least I can recognize that there is still beauty in life, there is still good in life, and that I am never alone through any of it. Choosing to see the good and to be thankful is not rocket science. We all know that keeping a good attitude and staying optimistic is important. Sometimes, illness just squeezes the life out of our optimism, and we need a reminder to take back our mental, emotional, and spiritual power over frustration and despair by choosing to look for the good and be grateful. So, when illness gets you down, take a step of faith by choosing thankfulness (even if you don’t feel like it), and then wait on the Lord. He will lift you up!
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there is always something to be thankful for“Blessed be the Lord! for He has heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts; so I am helped and my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him.”
– Psalm 28:6 & 7
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“Do not be over-anxious about anything, but by prayer and earnest pleading, together with thanksgiving, let your request be unreservedly made known in the presence of God.” Phil. 4:6
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This post was written by Cynthia Boyd
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Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Singing a New Song

Sing to the LordWhat does the Bible have to say about new songs or new music, and what can new songs mean for us?

Here are some scripture verses about a having a new song and some thoughts about how new songs can bring new life.

A new song, wherever you are!

Sing a new song to the LORD.  Sing His praise from the ends of the earth, you people who sail on the seas and all the creatures that live in them, you coastlands and all who live on them.

–  Isaiah 42:10

God has given us the gift of music so that we might creatively express thoughts and feelings with a depth of emotional and spiritual meaning that goes beyond what mere words can convey.  He has given music as a tool whereby we might respond and communicate with each other and with Him.  He has given us the ability to appreciate and enjoy music.  And, He has given us the ability to create music.

When we return a new song to God in praise, we have completed a circle of giving.  He gives the capabilities to hear various pitches, to internalize rhythms, and to understand the meaning of lyrics.  He has created, and He gives us the ability to create.  God has given to us a revelation of truth or a new way to express truth that becomes the message and style, melody and rhythm, harmony and expression of the new song.  Together, these elements form the whole of a gift that we can then give back to our Father God as we worship Him.

No matter where we are, we can live in relationship with God in a way that allows Him to give us a song.  Whether your song is one you recently discovered, written by someone else, which expresses exactly where you are on your spiritual journey or whether God used your gifts to write the song 6 minutes ago, He knows when our hearts are pouring out a new message of love and thankfulness to HIm.

Sing to the Lord a new song all the earthA new song as a personal expression of worship

I will sing a new song to You, O God; Upon a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You.

–  Psalm 144:9

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At its highest and noblest purpose, music can be a vehicle whereby we communicate the truths of God’s word or His character and lift that message up to God in worship, with the purpose of bringing glory to Him, encouraging the body of Christ, and sharing a message of testimony and truth that God’s Spirit can use to draw hearts to the Lord.

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A new song as congregational praise

Praise the LORD!  Sing to the LORD a new song.  Sing his praises in the assembly of the faithful.  

–  Psalm 149:1

sing a new song to the LordThere are times when we need a new song.  Perhaps the songs we already know don’t say exactly what we want to say.  Perhaps God has given inspiration for both melody and words to say something new or to share a well-loved truth in a new way.  Every song begins with an idea, whether that idea is a musical idea or a lyrical one.  However, songs that are written to bring glory to God begin with something more profound:  a revelation.  God speaks to the heart of the songwriter or lyric writer through His Spirit, through the Word, through something that someone says, or a book or article, or even through His creation.  A revelation of spiritual truth can also come through the lessons in a time of trial or even in a time of victory as we learn to trust God in all of life.  All of these kinds of experiences can be used by God to inspire someone that He has gifted with songwriting abilities in the creation of a new song.  This song in turn can become a vehicle for the writer and sometimes for the praise of the congregation or for multititudes of congregations.

A new song as a hymn of praise and a powerful testimony that draws others to the Lord

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see what he has done and be amazed.  They will put their trust in the LORD. 

–  Psalm 40:3

Sing_to_the_Lord_a_New_Song  header

In our experience, the music that Travis has been inspired to write has been a chronicle of our spiritual journey and what the Lord has been doing in our hearts along the way.  Many of these songs were born out of a moment of recognition or revelation when a spiritual lesson was beginning to become a clear guiding light of recognizable truth that God would use to move us further along down the road to becoming more like Jesus.   Many of these spiritual life lessons are truths that we thought we already knew.  However, God has allowed us to experience them in a deeper or more profound way that has changed our perspective, focused our efforts, and refined our character.   For example, we had always heard and read and known intellectually that God is faithful.  However, through some rocky experiences over a long period of time and the simple fact that we were able to hang in there and keep hoping until we saw the faithfulness of God manifested in various situations, God taught us again to trust His faithfulness.  We learned once more that we could choose to trust Him even when we had no understanding of why things happened as they did and even when every fiber of our being was desperately crying out for resolution to pain and crisis NOW!  We learned that we have the easy part (if you could call waiting in desperation easy) of just holding on, while God is not only working throughout the situation but also working in the hearts of we who are struggling to believe while knowing that we must believe even when belief seems contrary to every indicator of reality.  How patient He is with us as we learn the same lessons over and over again, hopefully at a deeper level of spiritual understanding and growth.  Out of such experiences came songs like Travis’ “God is Faithful,” “I Am Here,” (the assurance of God’s presence) and “Much More Than a Song” (the recognition of the fact that God is worthy of praise in any circumstance).

Sing a new songA new song as a Psalm of thanks for what God has done.

Sing a new song to the LORD, for he has done wonderful deeds.  His right hand has won a mighty victory; His holy arm has shown his saving power!

–  Psalm 98:1

The fact that God continues to give “a new song” is an encouragement for individual Christians and for the people of God.  It means that God is still at work in the hearts of His people.  It means that God is still “with us” and is striving to complete His work in our lives, as He has promised.  It means that God’s patience (long-suffering) is still delaying His judgement of this world because of His mercy and grace and His great love.  Like a sermon or a book that someone has been inspired to write and to proclaim, a new song means that there are still lessons to learn and souls that need to be saved.  As long as God continues to inspire new songs as messages of His love, His faithfulness, His mercy and grace, His plan for our lives and for all of creation, God’s people are reminded through another means that God is still working to accomplish His purposes.  His Spirit is working in our hearts, His Word is instructing us in righteousness, and the messages that God inspires men to write or speak or act or paint or sing or sculpt (and, especially, to live!) for His glory are testimonies of God’s faithfulness in all of these things.

A new song for everyone!

Oh sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth! 

–  Psalm 96:1

sing of the mercies of the LordSome of the songs that individuals feel inspired to write may never be heard by many people.  The purpose of a song may be as an individual expression of praise to God.  This kind of new song is very personal to the writer as a part of their spiritual journey and may exist only to serve as a vehicle of praise for that person.  Someone who has never thought of themselves as a song writer may even find themselves singing to the Lord in worship with lyrics that are uniquely their own.  A song does not have to be sung by millions in order to be a valid expression of praise to God.  He knows when your “new song” expresses the praises of your heart or speaks of a lesson learned or a truth that has been understood in a new way.  In essence, every time we sing any song of praise to God, it can be a “new song” of praise to Him when it becomes the very real and sincere praise of the present moment, when our hearts cry out anew in thankfulness and awe.

A new song in Heaven

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain; and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. 

–  Revelation 5:9

Our God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.  But His creation continues to change even as He creates newness in hearts and lives.  The heartbreak of pain and loss will not always be with us.  All of the trials of this world are temporary.  Someday, He will make all things new, just as He is now making our hearts new.  The process of His work on our spiritual creation gives us some new songs to sing along the way.  Is is a joy to know that someday we will sing of His victory in a place where there is no more to overcome.  We will have overcome all things through the blood of the Lamb, through the giving of our lives to Him, through the Word of truth, and through the word of our testimony.  Our songs of trusting God when we don’t understand will become obsolete.  Finally, we will know Him even as we are known, and God will give us a new song of thanksgiving and praise for all of eternity.

Sing HallelujahA new song of joy

Sing a new song of praise to Him; play skillfully on the harp, and sing with joy. 

–  Psalm 33:3

For now, we will continue our songs, both old and new.  We will sing of God’s salvation and power.  We will sing of His faithfulness and love.  We will sing of God’s mercy and His amazing grace.  We will sing with joy, for we know that we are not the only ones who are singing.  Our God rejoices over us as his dearly beloved children, and He sings over us as well.  He is with us.  He is mighty in power and yet tender and gentle in His patience, renewing us with His love until that day when we will dwell with Him and the former things will all pass away.

His song for you and me

The LORD your God is with you. He is a hero who saves you. He happily rejoices over you, renews you with his love, and celebrates over you with shouts of joy. 

–  Zephaniah 3:17

My husband, singing his song, “Much More Than a Song” (available as a Vocal Solo or Choral Anthem on http//:www.worshipsounds.com )

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Looking for answers for yourself or for a friend?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page.  We hope that it has been helpful to you.   If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”.   The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions.   Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”:  http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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Faith in the One True God

FAITH  block lettersIt is impossible to live without having faith. When we eat something, we have faith that what we are eating will nourish our bodies and alleviate our physical hunger. When we walk across a floor or sit down in a chair, we have faith in the strength of the structures that support us. When we trust any part of our hearts in relationships with others, we have faith that the individuals we are choosing to trust will not disappoint us. A quarterback must have faith in the other players on his football team in order to think clearly and pass or carry the ball.

Sometimes, things happen that shake our faith.

A structure collapses.
A friend betrays.
A relationship falters or dissolves.
What we had thought we could count upon is suddenly proven unreliable.

The world is constantly changing.
People change.
Your life will change.
Relationships change.
Economic reality changes.

However, there is one thing that you can count upon that will never change:

the character and person of God!

“I am the LORD, and I do not change.”   Malachi 3:6a

Change occurs with a new season or stage of life, with realization of the need for improvement, or with deterioration or calamity. But, God is eternal. God does not need improvement. His ways are perfect. He has no need to change. We can place our faith and trust in Him with the sure knowledge that the God we trusted in the past will be trustworthy today and throughout all eternity. The most critical decision a person can make is in whom or in what one places faith. Most assuredly, you and I can rely on God, no matter what happens in our lives. Everything around us may change, but He will not change. He is not given to act on a whim or impulse. His character, His essence, His being is the same…yesterday, today, and forever!

Here is what the Bible says about Who God is:

God is Love.

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” I John 4:8

God is Good.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

God is Patient.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. II Peter 3:9

God is Perfect.

“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:30

God is Holy.

“There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” I Samuel 2:2

God is Faithful.

“He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4

God always keeps His promises.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” II Corinthians 1:20

God works all things together for our good.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

We have a God who loves us, who cares about everything in our lives, who hears our prayers, who provided a Savior to meet our needs, and who has prepared a place in Heaven for us. Until we reach that home in Heaven, we live by faith in the One who is unchangeable and perfect in holiness. Here are some scriptures and quotes about faith to encourage and inspire you in your faith journey.

faithVerses about Faith

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2: 20 (NKJV)

“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith brings out endurance and steadfastness and patience.” James 1: 3

“That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1: 7 (NKJV)

“Therefore we also pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power.” 2 Thessalonians 1: 11 (NKJV)

“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.'” Romans 1: 17 (NKJV)

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10: 17 (NKJV)

Faith is being sure of what you hope for“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11: 1 (NKJV)

“For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.” Galatians 3: 26

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2: 8 (NKJV)

“Fight the good fight of the faith; lay hold of the eternal life to which you were summoned and [for which] you confessed the good confession [of faith] before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6: 12

“For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5: 4

“Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 2

“Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5: 2 (NKJV)

Walking by Faith“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5: 7 (NKJV)

“For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.” Galations 5: 6

(Note: the scripture verses above were copied from http://www.heavensinspirations.com/word-faith.html )

1 Thessalonians 1:3 We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 3:22-26 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

(Note: these scripture verses were copied from http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/faith-bible-verses/ )

Philippians 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from {the} Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which {comes} from God on the basis of faith,

Faith bannerHebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

(Note: these scripture verses were copied from http://hopefaithprayer.com/scriptures/faith-believe-doubt-unbelief-scriptures/ )

Philemon 1:6- (NIV) I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:6-7 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.

Ephesians 6:16 (KJV) Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Acts 15:8-9 And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith.

faith in GodRomans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

2 Corinthians 4:13-14 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

Quotes about Faith

“Faith expects from God what is beyond all expectation.” ~ Andrew Murray

“Faith makes all things possible… love makes all things easy.” ~ D.L. Moody

“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to God alone; Laughs at impossibilities, And cries it shall be done.” ~ Charles Wesley

“To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” ~ George Mueller

Scriptures and quotes above are from: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-faith-20-popular-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2J3wHOXJW

Larry Huggins – “Faith is confidence in the veracity of what God has said.”

faith is the bridgeJoni Erickson Tada – “Faith isn’t the ability to believe long and far into the misty future. It’s simply taking God at His Word and taking the next step.”

Rex Rouis – Faith comes alive when the Word read from the page becomes the Word heard in your heart.

Dwight L. Moody – “A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul.”

Oswald Chambers – “Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”

Martin Luther (Preface to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans) – “O, when it comes to faith, what a living, creative, active, powerful thing it is. It cannot do other than good at all times. It never waits to ask whether there is some good work to do…”

Saint Augustine – “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”

Scandinavian Saying – “Faith is like a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.”

Faith is knowing Who   scriptCarter Lindberg – “Faith enables persons to be persons because it lets God be God.”

Blaise Pascal – “Faith is different from proof; the latter is human, the former is a gift from God.”

Shoemaker, Samuel M. – “Eternal life does not begin with death; it begins with faith.”

Stott, John R. – “Faith is a reasoning trust, a trust which reckons thoughtfully and confidently upon the trustworthiness of God.”

Corrie Ten Boom – “Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

(Note: the quotes above can be found at http://hopefaithprayer.com/faith/faith-quotes/

Billy Graham’s answer to a question about struggling to hold on to faith while dealing with doubt:

“God wants us to trust Him completely and totally—and when we doubt, we aren’t trusting Him as we should. The Bible warns that the person who constantly doubts God and fails to trust Him “is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does” (James 1:8).

"Oh, glorious Victory, that overcomes the world!"  (from the hymn, "Faith is the Victory," with lyrics by John H. Yates and music by Ira D. Sankey)

“Oh, glorious Victory, that overcomes the world!” (from the hymn, “Faith is the Victory,” with lyrics by John H. Yates and music by Ira D. Sankey)

At the same time, God understands our doubts, and the most important thing I can tell you is that He wants to take them away and increase our faith. Do you remember Thomas, who was one of Jesus’ closest disciples? When others told him that Jesus had been raised from the dead after His crucifixion, Thomas refused to believe it. He declared, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it” (John 20:25).

How did Jesus respond? He didn’t rebuke Thomas or tell him just to have more faith. Instead, Jesus came to him and showed him that He was alive. The response was immediate: “Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” (John 20:28). Tradition says Thomas became an evangelist and preached the Gospel as far as India.

When doubts come, don’t let them take root in your soul. Instead, turn them over to Christ. Most of all, saturate your heart and mind every day with the truths of God’s Word, the Bible. Satan will try to turn you away, but in Christ “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19).”

The above response by Billy Graham can be found at http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?ArticleID=4409

Additional quote by Billy Graham on the importance of faith:

Billy Graham  living by faith“The greatest legacy you can pass on to your children and grandchildren is not your money or the other material things you have accumulated in your life. The greatest legacy you can pass on to them is the legacy of your character and your faith.”

The source of the above quote is http://www.mariashriver.com/blog/2011/10/qa-billy-graham-his-new-book-nearing-home-life-faith-and-finishing-well
(from a recent interview, which is quoted in full at the link above)

C. S. Lewis: “I gave up, and admitted that God was God.”

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”

(C. S. Lewis quotes above are from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/c_s_lewis.html )

Faith is

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The scriptures and quotes on this page were compiled by C. Boyd from the sources noted. Original thoughts at the beginning of this post were written by C. Boyd.

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