Praise when we dont want to

So World Cup fever has hit again, and there are England flags everywhere I go. My house looks a bit naked as I seem to be one of the only ones fairly disinterested in what happens and who wins. But it has made me think a bit. If England score a goal, how much noise is going to be heard in all the pubs and houses across the country? How happy will the country be? Will I hear my neighbours joyful cries and see tears if they actually win the cup?

If we can do that for a football, then why cant we do that every day to God who saved us from hell and eternal suffering? Isn’t that much more important than a game which will be forgotten in a few days? Isn’t Jesus dying on the cross and saving us with His own blood better than if Wayne Rooney lives up to his name and plays well? I know that some will say I am looking at it wrong and to let them have the fun of watching the World Cup without guilt, that I am taking it far too seriously, but I don’t think I am. I am sorry if I offend those who want to watch the games and scream and shout at the referee and cry if we score or win, but how does it offend your Maker and Father when you can’t be bothered going to church or talking to Him because the game is much more important to you? When at church you dont engage because you had a late night and just want to be back at home in bed? You don’t want to spend half an hour in the Word because you can hear the national anthem and know the match will be starting soon, or you just want to meet your mates down the pub for a few quick ones instead?

This is important.

David prayed and praised for the things God did for him, and for helping him be a good King. He also praised God for the things unseen as well. Praise is so important I can’t stress it enough, and I know very well that life seems to get in the way. Things seem to happen to stop us praying and praising. Kids, work, marriage, friends, stresses, illness, even things that happen the moment we pick up our Bibles or as soon as we get on our knees. The times you read or pray are when the Devil gets worried and he will put as much in our way to stop us as he can. He doesn’t play fair and he doesn’t play nice. He will do anything to get you away from the prescence of God, and out of that close intimate relationship you have with God.

Don’t let him. Don’t let him take your times of refreshing away from you. They might be the only times you feel like life isn’t as bad as it looks, or the only times of peace in your heart you get that day. Why let him take it away? If anything we need to fight harder for those times of praise than for anything else. There is opposition to a Christian who is growing and maturing into the person God wants you to become, and looking more and more like His Son. Keep growing and keep praising. You win a battle every time you do.

 

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Psalms are our prayers

Psalms is the only book in the whole Bible that is really written to and for God Himself. All the other 65 books are for our growth, learning and development as well as warnings of what will come and what will happen in the future. Psalms was written mainly by King David and King Solomon, and is the heart of a worshipper. It is psalms of longing and love. It is full of worship and praise of who God is and how Amazing He is.

We can use the Psalms to help us pray in a way we have never done before. We can come to God just to praise and worship Him. We dont have to always bring a list of things to say or ask for. We can just bring our hearts cry. Our longing to be with Him. To know Him more.

The Psalms are not always nice, tidy or lovely prayers. They hold cries of pain, anguish and a down spirit. They hold awesome joy and laughter. They can be cries of worship and adoration. They can be bereaved or grieving screams.

At the beginning of each Psalm, there is a title, “of David”, or “of Solomon”. These prayers can be changed to “of Peter”, “of Stephen”. They are our prayers as well. I know I can relate to many of the Psalms at different points of my life. I know a lot of us probably can.

Read the Psalms with a praying and open heart, and see how they become your very own prayers. Who knows where it may lead us.

Who I am

I know a lot of my failings, and there are many more that others can see in me or that God can see that I don’t recognise yet. They will be shown to me at the right time, or at Gods timing for my life. It amazes me that He uses me with all my failings, warts, sins and all. God loves me and uses me for His kingdom as I am right now, and not who I will be 10 years from now, because who I will be then will be a different person. I know I am on a journey, but if I stop learning and growing in God, then I won’t be any different, but will stand still. To be different, I have to grow, learn and change my attitudes and heart to be more like God, then I will change into a more Christ-like child of God.
When I look in the Old Testament at some of the old “heroes” of the faith like Samson, Solomon and perhaps David, they were never super spiritual. God used them as they were for His kingdom and His purposes. They didn’t change for God to use them, they didn’t change who they were in God. We have consequences of living a sinful life, but God made us because He loves us.
We need to pray and ask God what He wants us to do for Him; who He wants us to speak to; how He wants us to live for Him; how we follow Him.

Praise at all times

Psalm 150 is a psalm full of praise to the Lord. David was probably looking at this as something personal. It was a normal way of living to praise his God in all circumstances.
We are not asked here to praise God, but it is a commandment to praise. We are told to praise God in whatever we are doing and wherever we are. It is kind of expected for us to be doing this anyway, as it was for David and his son Solomon early in his rule of Israel.
David didnt care if his praise was loud or full of instruments or even if it was just him on his own singing and worshipping his Lord. As long as he was praising he was happy. As long as he had breath he worshipped. He wanted to praise his friend and Lord, so why dont we? Do we want to worship our Maker, our friend, our God? if not, then why not?

The reason that I live……

We have been made for worship. We are built to worship. We can choose the right worship with and in God, or the wrong worship, idols who we choose to place before the Lord. This can be anything we cherish more, love more or someone we want to be.

Out of the abundance of our hearts, what we worship we speak of. What is the first thing on our lips. What is the last thing on our lips. What do we talk about or meditate on most of all.

Worship to God is creative and we have been made to be creative. We get set in our ways and ruts in how we spend time with God at home, and this can spread to our churches.

My Pastor and husband are very good at making sure the worship in our church does not get boring or rut like. It could be a different worship leader for a week, or a different way of bringing the worship across. How about a new song, or an old song? Just because a song is old, never means that if we use it in worship, we are going backwards. The songs of old were all based on scriptures and words of wonder. They had a depth that many of today’s songs seem to struggle to achieve. Maybe try the same old song or hymn with a new way of singing, a new tune.

We like to look at the amazing words of David and his worship leaders in the book of Psalms, and see the chapters and verses that are lifting and full of life and joy. Around half of the Psalms though, are psalms of lament and sadness. We have the book of Lamentations, which is full of creative worship along with the Psalms of sadness and distress. We have been made by a creative God who feels sadness, anger and will lament over us. This can also be our worship to God, if by realising we are in a wrong place we cry out in pain to the Lord. Worship in lament then becomes worship into the joy of knowing that God never leaves us or lets us do life or situations on our own.

There are so many forms of worship. If God tells you to worship in a slightly unusual way, go with it. There will be something He wants to show you, or somewhere He wants to take you, which ultimately will be closer to Him.