Praise – An Attitude & An Action!
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
Even the darkness will not be dark to you;
The night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts; how vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand –
When I awake, I am still with you.
If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are blood thirsty!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Last week I began writing this blog about praise, and then Paris happened. Suddenly, I thought I needed to change the topic. How could I talk about praise after such horrendous events in the world? And then in an instant, I thought how could I NOT talk about praise. Every fiber of my being needs to praise our loving God… always and in all things!
I needn’t look far to find the Psalm that hit the mark. Psalm 139 has always been one of my very favorites. It reminds me that God knows everything about me. Every awful thought and sinful action. God chose me, even before I was born, and then filled me with love, and when that love is hard to give, especially to myself, God sees me. When I want to hide, God won’t let me alone. In spite of anything I do, I cannot push God away. God is always there to guide me, even in my personal depths of hell. There, God gives me wings of the dawn to rise above the pit and holds my hand to guide me.
When the darkness threatens me, God’s light burst forth. There cannot be darkness with so much light. The darkness cannot overtake me. Those who hate my God cannot overtake me with darkness because God knows my heart. God knows my anxious thoughts. And God will lead me in the way everlasting!
Praise is an action, something we do, but it’s also an attitude that can transform anything and everything. There is no doubt about it, Paris and all terrorist events like it bring fear, hate and doubt. But in the midst of this, we are called to be thankful and to praise God!
How can we think about praise at such a time like this?
It’s about putting our trust in the Lord. Praise is about fixing our minds on the abundance of what God has done for us. It requires us to look at the blessings that occur in the midst of chaos and devilish acts of hatred, like the pregnant woman who hung from a two story window for over two minutes before being rescued; what a blessing that was!
Praise is powerful! Praise reminds us that God is in ultimate control. No matter what happens around us or to us, we have an eternal home with our Lord where there is neither suffering nor pain. God, who is in control, will have the final say on the events of this world, and so I let it go to God.
Open your heart to let praise heal. Give thanks with a grateful heart to the Lord. Let the peace of Jesus Christ rule in your hearts in whatever you do or say. In all things, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks and praise to God the Father through Him.
And as I praise my lord, my fears begin to fade – enough that they don’t rule my thoughts. Baby steps I remind myself. And going deeper into prayer and praise, I begin to feel the comforting embrace of peace as it enters in and fills my heart. Now that really is something worthy of our praise!
Let Us Pray
I have to admit, I am guilty of letting anger, fear and hate take over my mind and words at times. I cannot understand, nor do I want to understand the kind of violence that is happening. What I do know is that I cannot dwell upon those who persecute and hate. I cannot become the hate I despise.
Lord, you have given us so much, our lives and the life of your son to save us. Thank you, Lord! Help me focus on my many blessings, of family, friends, meaningful work, and my church family, a home filled with love, laughter and joy! There are so many blessings in my life.
I am so grateful, Lord. I am humbled that I should have so many blessings! Everything I have is a gift from you that I have done nothing to earn.
Fill me, Lord, with a peaceful heart. Help me to not just understand differences but to overcome them with love.
I praise you, Lord. With all of my breath and being, I praise you, Lord!