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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For His Glory

Psalm 79:9   (KJV)   9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.

Our salvation, deliverance and forgiveness are of indescribably glorious benefits and blessings to us, but it’s first and foremost for the glory of His Name. He’s the One Who’s Psalm 79.9 - For His Gloryable help and He’s always willing to.

We often find ourselves in need of His intervention. We make decisions that cause us to find ourselves in very unpleasant situations. Many times, it’s not because of our careless actions and decisions but because of the recklessness of others. But in all circumstances, we have hope.

Our God is closer to us than we can imagine or describe. We can call on Him anytime; we don’t have to wait for an appointment; His schedule is always open for us. And that’s very good; there are things and situations that can’t wait—life emergencies are real.

So we pray. It just makes sense. And for us His children, our prayers are faith-filled. We know that we know: He will always come through for us. And as assuring and comforting as that may be, us receiving His help isn’t our end desire; our ultimate purpose is to glorify our God and Dad through our experiences.

On Leaders/Teachers and Words

James 3:1   (KJV)   1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.

This sounds like trying to dissuade believers from becoming masters, leaders, or teachers. The obvious reason is given: those who are have greater responsibilities, James 3.1 - On Leaders-Teachers and Wordsgreater accountabilities, greater condemnation or stricter judgment.

The way the chapter progresses is very interesting; it’s followed by quite a strong discourse about how uncontrollable our tongues are. Connecting the introductory passage about being very cautious in aspiring to be leaders/teachers, to the context, we may say that since words of leaders/teachers matter a lot and carry a lot of weight and influence, we ought to really consider and really pray earnestly if it’s something we truly desire for ourselves and it’s a weight we we’re willing to carry on our shoulders.

For us leaders/teachers, we are all the more watchful of our tongues. We can never underestimate the damage it would cause. That’s why we avoid engaging in conversations about disputable matters. Often, those conversations lead us to speaking derogatorily—cursing—our brothers and sisters with the very same lips we praise our Lord and Father with. We are called to be humble even in the use of our words. We are to conduct ourselves with wisdom that flows from above—the kind of wisdom that’s peace-loving and gentle at all times. We ought to be peacemakers.

How sad that leaders/teachers have engendered many of our quarrels and divisions in the body of our precious and loving Lord Jesus because of our very incendiary words against each other. To the leaders, I implore: let’s watch our words. Let them be words of love, truth, unity, humility, and peace. If I’m not willing to humble myself, I would rather not lead and teach.

Soli Deo Gloria

1 Corinthians 1:31   (KJV)   31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

It makes sense for us to take pride in our Lord alone. And this is so encouraging because as believers, we want to triumph over the influence or power of pride. Ego has caused so many irreparable devastations—from individual to international level. Simply, pride 1 Cor. 1.31 - Soli Deo Gloriaawfully destroys. Others have fallen prey to its deadly tentacles; believers have been graced with power and wisdom to overcome.

Soli Deo Gloria! He has blessed us abundantly. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him; we own nothing that didn’t come from Him. We’re not perfect—none is—except Him of course, but He still finds it in His heart to call us and move in us so we can understand Him and His ways, so we can respond with faith and experience His free gift of salvation. I’ve sinned against Him multiplied times over. Even as a believer, I still do. This is not undermining the wonderful changes He has made in me. There have been changes by leaps and bounds in my life. We’re not sinless, but we definitely sin much less.

The truth is, even in our imperfections, God still works powerfully in our lives—touching us, and touching others through us. He calls us to join Him in His mission. None of us possess the knowledge of all the mysteries of God; our riches pale pathetically infinitesimal—insignificantly little in comparison to all the riches He possesses; we have very limited strength. With all those, God deems it best to bless us with His presence, understanding, power, and authority that confounds the world’s best. That’s obviously the Lord’s doing. Glory to Him and to Him alone!

Praising God

Psalm 150:2   (KJV)   2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

There are more reasons to praise God than we can enumerate and describe. He is praised in the heavens; He is praised here on earth. God is incomparably great, no other being—real or imagined is greater than Him. The greatest of man’s wisdom borders only on His psalm-150-2-praising-god-2“foolishness.” He’s the creator of this vast universe, the extents of which we don’t even have the capability of illustrating. Who and what can compare with the Incomparable?

Here’s a touching song I remember: “How big is God, how big and wide His vast domain. To try to tell—these lips can only start. He’s big enough to rule this mighty universe, yet small enough to live within my heart.” That’s one of the wonders of our God and heavenly Father. He’s so great, yet He’s so near, transcendent yet immanent. We feel for those who don’t see His grandness, beauty, and love; they’re missing out on the greatest and best.

Others argue about His existence; others doubt His power; others question His love. We believe—reasonably, deeply, and steadfastly. His greatness is obviously displayed and seen all around us. The enormity, the order, the design, the complexity, the intelligence, the beauty—it’s wisdom to recognize: none of these came together accidentally. The universe isn’t; we aren’t. Everything, including us, is carefully and wonderfully designed, with wonderful purposes. It’s necessary to note: joyful and exuberant expressions of praises aren’t confined in a denominational box. Our God is praised in the mighty heavens, He’s praised here on earth; we take part in the joy and pleasure of offering our utmost praises to His Highest. For all He is and all He’s done, we find it only fitting and a delight to praise Him—with all we are, all we’ve got, anywhere we are, all ways we can, and all means we have.

Humbly Glorious

Luke 2:12   (KJV)   12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

Of all the signs that could have been, God in His wisdom chose this. He could have been born in a palace among the royalties; He could have been born from the family of the high priest; He could have been born from the family of greatest wealth; any of these could have been a more acceptable sign and a more impactful entrance into this world. But no, He chose the path least expected: a baby wluke-2-12-humbly-gloriousrapped in strips of cloths, lying in a manger.

Didn’t He itch? Didn’t He have rashes? Wasn’t that cruel for a Dad and Mom to do? Was that the best they could do? I would believe, given the situation, it was. But it didn’t matter. Where He was didn’t change Who He is. God isn’t insecure at all. His Son is God’s Son. The manger didn’t pull Him down; He lifted the manger up. Why is that manger the most celebrated birth scenario in the entire world in all generations? It’s because of the One born there. Jesus brought glory to it.

That’s what God does, and that’s what He did in us. When Jesus came into our personal world, when He came into our hearts, He brought glory and honor in us that no one and nothing else can ever accomplish. That’s why our status in society doesn’t change our value and worth even a bit. The Creator and owner of all creation lives in us. It’s in Him where we find our value, and there’s no value greater than what He brings. Why? It’s because there’s no one and nothing of greater value than Him. That’s explains why the seemingly extremely humble event was punctuated by a majestic array of angels, in praise, proclaiming: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” That’s why in everything, anywhere, anytime, we worship.

Heavenly Surprises

Revelation 4.8 - Heavenly Surprises

Note:  Grateful for the pic, but the actual will definitely look so much more majestic and awesome.

Revelation 4:8   (KJV)   8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

The eternal, supernatural realm transcends even the limits of our imagination.

No verbal or visual form of communication is sufficient to perfectly describe all that heaven is like.

We children of God, citizens of the Kingdom, despite all the special blessings of wisdom, understanding, insights, illumination, and revelation we receive from our Father, are still in for a huge indescribable pleasant surprise.

If we all draw some of the heavenly beings based on how we understand and picture them, there’s a big probability that we’ll all come up with very different images. Oh, heaven will be weirdly awesome.

Being in God’s presence, we’ll be surrounded by sounds of praises emanating from all of heaven’s inhabitants and reverberating all throughout. Praise is one of the most heavenly acts we can do.

We will have a totally different praise and worship experience in heaven. It won’t be an event, if will be a consistent, constant, and continuing lifestyle.

God’s holiness, almightiness, past, present, and return are more than sufficient reasons for unstoppable and unending worship and praise.