Girlfriends in God - Nov. 22, 2012

November 2012
The Power of Praise Part 1
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD (Psalm 150:6, NIV).

Friend to Friend
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 me, my Bridegroom to delight in me.

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

In just a few days, 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 with family and friends is revisited and then tucked away as a precious gift of strength for uncertain 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. It is because we do not understand the true meaning of praise, and 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.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.”

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.

Psalm 43:4 “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.”

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.

Let’s Pray
Lord, teach me to praise You. Help me 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!  In Jesus’s name, amen.

It’s Your Turn
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.

When you hear the word “praise” what comes your mind?

Do you really believe your life can bring God pleasure? 

Read Psalm 139.  How does God see you?

More from the Girlfriends
Need help learning how to live a life filled with praise? Check out Mary’s book, Escaping the Stress Trap, or her MP3 download, Celebrate Life.

Looking for a Bible Study? Check out Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey and learn how to deal with the anger in your life. (Join now and have access to all lessons covered in 2012 including a study on the armor of God, how to tame your tongue and how to live a balanced life.) Be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

Seeking God?
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Girlfriends in God
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Matthews, NC 28106

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.

Originally published Thursday, 22 November 2012.