Friday, June 20, 2008

Let's Just Walk Through Some Scripture

Read With Me: Psalm 134:1a,2 Attention! Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord...Lift your hands toward the sanctuary and praise the Lord! Psalm 138:2 I will give you thanks with all my heart; before the heavenly assembly I will sing praises to you. I will bow down toward your holy temple, and give thanks to your name, because of your loyal love and faithfulness, for you have exalted your promise above the entire sky. When I cried out for help, you answered me. You made me bold and energized me. Before the answer has arrived to my earthly eyes I choose to praise my God who will send it. Before the rains will dance on dry ground baked by weeks of sun, I choose to praise the God who will pour it down. Before my lost family member returns to the safety and shelter of God, I choose to praise the God who will "snatch them away from our enemies" (Ps. 136:24) Before rest comes to a weary body, I will praise the God who energizes us until our heads hit the pillow. Preemptive praise allows us to walk in the victories God will bring before they ever arrive. What if complaining about the ache in their stomachs, the Israelites had begun singing the praises of the God they knew would feed them? How much more incredible would it have been for them to see that manna floating to the ground after they had already insisted He would provide? Instead of having to admit their doubt and lack of faith they would have been able to dance and run and rejoice in the evidence they had not seen before but chosen to believe. Psalm 111 (This is a passage that always removes my feet from the quicksand of doubt and firmly cements them in truth--a perfect platform for praise) "Praise the Lord! I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the godly and the congregation. The Lord's deeds are great, eagerly awaited by all who desire them." (notice the deeds are great before they've been received--the author counts on the greatness of God even while He is eagerly awaiting it in his life) "His work is majestic and glorious, and his faithfulness endures forever." (Remember his reputation is on the line here... He'll do things for the sake of His glory) "He does amazing things that will be remembered, the Lord is merciful and compassionate. He gives food to his faithful followers;" (Are you hungry? Some here in our area of literally hungry and need work simply to provide food for their families, but there are still others whose hearts have become emaciated with hunger for the truths of God in their lives) "He always remembers His covenant." (Always. Count on it. Bank on it. Pre-praise Him for it. He has NOT forgotten.) "He announced that He would do mighty deeds for His people, giving them a land that belonged to other nations." "His acts are characterized by faithfulness and justice; all His precepts are reliable." (Do you live like you know this to be true in your life? Do you live like you have been adopted by a Father who is known for His faithfulness and reliability?) "They are forever firm and should be faithfully and properly carried out. He delivered His people; He ordained that his covenant be observed forever. His name is holy and awesome." (When you call on the name of Jesus you are calling on a name above every other name--set apart--different than anyone else you could call on. He will never leave, never forsake. Believe it. Stand tall and firm knowing you are crying out to a God who hears and a God who moves and acts.) To obey the Lord is the fundamental principle for wise living; all who carry out his precepts acquire good moral insight. He will receive praise forever." (The old hymn Trust and Obey comes to mind because this is the basic framework in our relationship with God. Trust His character to be what He says it will be and then obey--live your life like you know you can count on the God who has given you operational instructions. Obedience always follows trust, and blessing follows obedience. Before any of it, may we begin with praise for all that we know to be true--the evidence always follows.)

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