Encouragement 11-25-04


November 25, 2004
Encouragement for Today

The Power of Praise - Part One
Mary Southerland, Director of Development, Speaker and Author

Key Verse:

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.  Psalm 150:6 


Thank you, Lord of Heaven and earth,
For your perfect love and abundant goodness.
You are gracious and compassionate,
Full of loving kindness, ready to forgive,
Patiently considerate, and generous beyond imagining.
I rejoice that you have chosen me
And brought me near to you, to dwell in your courts.
Thank you that you are my God, my King, my Friend,
My Refuge in trouble and danger,
My Father to care for me,
My Shepherd to guide,
My Bridegroom to delight in me.

Because Thy loving kindness is better than life,
My lips will praise Thee.

Today, families all over the world will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, my favorite time of the year. It is a simple holiday; one that seems to have escaped the death grip of materialism and side-stepped the greed that often permeates the holiday season.  Laughter and love fills homes and hearts swell with fresh hope as families gather around mountains of food to remember and celebrate all God has done.  The rich heritage of relationships - family and friends - is revisited then tucked away as a precious gift of strength for the days ahead. 

Man set aside one day to be thankful.  God set aside a lifetime.  Yet, I find few Christians whose lives are filled with thanksgiving.  I think I know why. Because we do not understand the true meaning of praise, we do not understand the accessibility of thanksgiving.  Many Christians neglect praise entirely because they are afraid, shoving it down into a dark corner of their spiritual journey.  On the other hand, some Christians base their entire faith on praise, neglecting the bible and leaving service to someone else while they are busy praising God.  Both viewpoints are wrong and out of balance.  The truth is that praise and thanksgiving are acts of spiritual obedience and should be practiced by every believer. 

Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.  I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name, I will lift up my hands.
Psalm 63:3-4 

Praise is not optional for a fully devoted follower of God.  It is essential to a vital faith and a command from Him!  Praise is more than spoken words; it is the natural fruit of a heart wholly devoted to God and bound by a love relationship with Him.  Praise is powerful and can alter life's parameters to include trust and acceptance in the face of a crisis.  The power of praise can also make this holiday season one of true celebration and new meaning. To understand the importance of praise we must first recognize the power of praise.

Praise pleases God.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

The thought of bringing pleasure to God tilts my world just a bit.  Nevertheless, we belong to Him and just as we are pleased when our children obey us, God is pleased when we obey Him.  Obedience to God is simply determining and doing the will of God. An obedient life is praise in action and brings God pleasure.

Praise deepens our trust and joy.

Then will I go to the altar of God, to God, my joy and my delight. I will praise you with the harp, O God, my God.  Psalm 43:4

Praise turns trials into faith-builders as we learn to measure our problems against His limitless power, transforming the stumbling blocks of today into stepping stones for tomorrow.  Praise frees us from having to understand our circumstances.  Chuck Swindoll says: "The sovereignty of God is the Christian's security blanket."

Make this Thanksgiving be a time of celebration and praise in your home and in your heart.  God will be pleased and you will be blessed.

Tomorrow:  The Power of Praise - Part Two

My prayer for today

Lord, teach me to praise you.  Help me to see and understand the power of praising you in my life.  I want to bring you pleasure, Father.  I praise you for your love and faithfulness to me.  Your presence in my life changes everything, empowering me to live each moment of every day, content in knowing you are in control.  As I face today, Lord, remind me that no matters what happens, I can praise you!  Amen

Application steps:

Begin your "Joy Journal" by recording the daily blessings He gives.  Remember to add the "small" miracles as well as the "large" ones.  At the end of the week, have a private praise service - just you and God.  Thank Him for His presence and power at work in your life.

Reflection points:

When you hear the word "praise" what comes to your mind?

Do you really believe that your life can bring God pleasure? 

Read Psalm 139.  How does God see you?

Power Verses:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.  Colossians 3:15a

I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.  John 10:10

Be joyful always!  1 Thessalonians 5:16

O Jehovah come and bless us!  Satisfy us in our earliest youth with your loving-kindness giving us constant joy to the end of our lives.  Psalm 90:13

The joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

Additional resources:

P31 Woman Magazine

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

Originally published Thursday, 25 November 2004.