Stand Up and Praise God

Nehemiah 9:5   (KJV)   5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the Lord your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

The leaders of the congregation of Israel, in an important time of national commitment to God found it in their hearts to lead their people in praise and adoration to God

Nehemiah 9.5 - Stand Up and Praise GodI’m grateful that I got introduced to this important facet of Christian life very early in my walk with the Lord. I enjoy it. I enjoy it when I’m alone, when we’re praying as a family, or when we’re lifting up our voices altogether as one of His particular assemblies.

It’s interesting; when asked to volunteer for specific prayer “categories,” there are those who quickly chose to lead in repentance, in thanksgiving, or in requests, but many believers still don’t feel comfortable leading in praise. It can be learned. In fact, it’s tremendously comforting and uplifting praising our great God and Father.

I remember the song “Praise the Lord” popularized by Russ Taff or the group Imperials; it’s worth recalling repeatedly:

When you’re up against a struggle that shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan’s manifested schemes
And you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fears
Don’t let the faith you’re standing in seem to disappear

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seems to bind you
Serve only to remind you that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Now Satan is a liar and he wants to make us think
That we are paupers when he knows himself we’re children of the King
So lift up the mighty shield of faith for the battle must be won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen so the work’s already done

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Preach to the “Choir”

Luke 4:44   (KJV)   44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.

Luke 4.44 - Preach to the ChoirJesus preached outside of the walls of the synagogues; He also preached in the synagogues. Implied: there were people in the synagogues who needed to hear the Good News.

Going out to all the world and preaching the Gospel rings very loudly from our pulpits and that’s very good, but it will be a huge negligence on our part if we forget that there are people sitting on the chairs or pews Sunday after Sunday who still need to be preached to.

It’s important for us to declare God’s message of salvation to the lost. Most of them do not come to our places of worship. We go where they are. We also recognize the obvious truth that not everyone who gathers together with us for worship and the preaching of the Word is a believer.

There have been many times when I heard testimonies of our very own church people share how they got saved long after they’ve started attending our church gatherings. Praise God for that. That’s why we preach the Good News and we teach God’s principles; we evangelize and we disciple. We do this when we gather together as a local church in a particular place, and we do this when we part ways and go as individual churches to our personal spheres of influence—our own “worlds,”—our own mission fields.

At times, it’s worthwhile preaching to the “choir;” so let’s continue preaching in our “synagogues.” There’s a big probability that some of those in attendance may be with us bodily—geographically, but not yet a part of us as a church spiritually.

His Name, Our Unity

John 17:11   (KJV)   11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

The Father has given His wonderful Name to the Son. It’s His very same Name that keeps or protects us. And one of the reasons His Name is keeping us is the oneness of His John 17.11 - His Name, Our Unitypeople—the church. The kind of oneness or unity he desires for us is that which is very intimate—as close as the oneness of the Father and the Son.

The unity of the church is very important to our Lord Jesus. It’s something I personally treasure, pray for, and pursue. Churches, preachers, and teachers talk about this, support and uphold this truth. But many of the actions I see seem to be very different.

An attack against the unity of the church is an attack against the Name of the Father. Our Father loves the Son, the Son loves His church—it’s His body. The Lord told us He will destroy those who destroy His temple. That’s completely understandable; we take that seriously. We pray that others humble themselves and honor the Name that protects them. As for us, we’re committed to it. We may not be as numerous as the needed voices, but we’re not silent.

Doing our Part

Ephesians 4:16   (KJV)   16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

There are no misfits in the body of Christ. God put us all together “perfectly.” We all have a part to play. We affect each other. How faithfully or unfaithfully we do our part Ephesians 4.16 - Doing Our Partdetermines whether or not we help each other grow in His love and likeness.

We serve others well; we serve others the best way we can. We don’t serve just for the sake of serving. This isn’t something we do just for the sake of fulfilling our obligation. If that’s the case, we would settle for the easiest ministry in the church. No; we pursue what we believe God has called us to. We seek out the best and greatest way we can serve the church—not for our own personal aggrandizement, enrichment, or popularity, but for the benefit of His children, His kingdom, His Name.

 

Gifted for Service

1 Corinthians 12:7    (KJV)   But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Every person is a recipient of many gifts from God. No person can live without them. God is the Source of every good and perfect gift. He immensely enjoys blessing us. He’s a very generous God. Believers and unbelievers alike enjoy the graciousness of our God. All of us 1 Corinthians 12.7 - Gifted to Serveenjoy air, sunshine, and rain just the same. Of course, there are special callings, giftings, and endowments that are for believers only. We are definitely and humbly grateful to Him.

God’s spiritual gifts are priceless. They’re gifts; we don’t work for them. He chooses which gifts to give to whom. They are very helpful for our personal growth and ministry. But more than that, we help, encourage, and strengthen each other. Why is it important to be reminded of this? It’s because others easily get carried away and lured by personal interests. This is true even with believers.

We delight in serving the Lord and serving our brothers and sisters. His gifts allow us to go beyond the limitations of the natural. This is so good because there are many problem situations that natural resources can’t solve. We continue to look to our Father; always worshiping Him and giving Him the glory because without Him, we’re nothing. And one expression of our gratefulness is treasuring His gifts and using them, especially in serving His children with all He’s blessed us with.

Nothing to Fear

Luke 12:32   (KJV)   32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Our precious Lord Jesus commands His flock—His children, not to fear anyone but God. One of the most important assurances He gives us is our heavenly Dad’s desire to give us His kingdom—whatever that may exactly mean. But that says a lot. Simply though, He’s luke-12-32-nothing-to-fearsaying we don’t have to fear anything because there’s no reason to. The cause may be material; it may be ideological; it may be social; His assurance is, He’s got us completely and safely covered.

Sure, there are things we don’t know about. We’re not sure how all details of our lives are going to play out, but God definitely guides us in areas where the choice is non-negotiable. There are expert schemers, and deceivers; some people in power may take advantage of us, but God is our vindicator; He’s in control of everything. Some people may succeed in hiding their insidious intents, but God has a way of eventually having their pernicious secrets whispered only behind the closed doors of their hearts to be shouted from the mountaintops for all to hear.

Some of us are threatened with death, but even the worst murderer can only touch our bodies; our God can do worse, and even throw the wicked to hell. Some of us may be threatened with lack, but we’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor their seed begging for bread. He loves us so much that He makes the resources—even the power and authority of His Kingdom, available to us. We will be persecuted; we suffer the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms, but through it all, we worry not; we fear not; we live in the eternal, inexhaustible sphere. That’s where we wisely invest our treasures in; there’s where our hearts truly are. Our Dad is pleased for now to give us a foretaste of its reality; and even just this glimpse, its power and riches already blow our minds. We can only wonder about its wonders when it comes in the fullness of its power and glory.

Fire for the Lukewarm

Revelation 3:20   (KJV)   20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

It’s always gratifyingly comforting to know that our precious Lord Jesus wants to be constantly with us. He gave us His word: He will never leave or forsake us: He will be with us to the end of the age. People don’t always have the same level of appreciation for this. revelation-3-20-fire-for-the-lukewarmThere are those who don’t believe His existence; there are those who prefer Him not to exist; there are those who pursue morality, but they reject Christ.

Then there’s the church. In the church, we find those who still make wrong decisions and who pursue wrong priorities. Our best will still fall short. God will always be true and faithful; the church wants to be but isn’t always. There are those who lose their steam, their fire, their passion. Somehow, they get taken over by different interests, like material possessions, or even immoral desires.

Ungodliness belongs to the world, not the church. We fall; God knows and understands we will; He knows our frame; He knows our weaknesses. But He’s not pleased when we sit (stay) in the seat of the scornful. He’s particularly clear about this: He spews out the lukewarm. We don’t ever want to find ourselves in this dangerous state; we don’t want to face the Lord and realize that we’re wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. Our eyes our set on true riches: the Pearl of Great Price. And our feet are set on the straight and narrow.

For those who humbly find themselves in this fearfully risky stage of lingering in wrong priority and desire, linger no more; there’s hope. Jesus, in His amazingly enduring patience and love, is knocking. It’s best to open the door, let Him come in, and let Him take His rightful place seated on your life’s throne. He will kindle the fire of your godly passion once again.