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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When God is Revealed

Revelation 15:4   (KJV)   4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Revelation 15.4 - When God is RevealedWhen everything is revealed, everyone will clearly see how just and perfect God’s ways are. We don’t question God. We have the ability to but not the position to. He is so much bigger than us; His thoughts and ways are way much higher—infinitely—much higher than our ways and thoughts.

Others have a tendency to question Him especially when bad things happen to them. Many times, people can become so arrogant in the way they treat a very loving and powerful Creator. I’m happy the Lord doesn’t always put us in our place quickly. He gives us more than enough time to snap out of our rebellious ignorance and to come to our senses. Some persist in their defiance.

But in God’s perfect timing, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him as Lord. He will be revealed for Who He truly is—in His greatness, in His glory, in His splendor, in His majesty, in His holiness.  What a scene that will be. Believers and unbelievers alike will “stand” in awe—one in perfect joy, one in utter regret. All accusations hurled against God will vanish at the sight of eternal reality.

Worship: It’s Good for Us

Jeremiah 32:39   (KJV)   39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

The Lord’s command and expectation for us to worship Him, serve Him, obey Him, fear Him is meant for our good and not for evil, to bless us and not to harm us—not only us, but even our children.

Jeremiah 32.39 - Worship - It's Good for UsWe hear of others who take offense on the truth that God is a jealous God who doesn’t want us to have any other god or gods. Praise God for the understanding He’s given us. His jealousy is not due to His insecurity. It’s because He doesn’t want us to live in a lie—worshiping those not worth worshiping, missing out on our best.

We pray that we others will open their minds and hearts to this reality. God existed in absolute perfection and contentment in eternity past without us. He doesn’t need us for Him to be whole. He has much to bless us with. As for us, we’re enjoying this awesome and indescribable privilege.

Thank you Lord for giving me—us, your children—hearts of worship.

Boasting in Knowing Him

Jeremiah 9:24   (KJV)   24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.

Glorying or boasting is good if glorying is in the right thing. Having a true saving knowledge of, experience with, and understanding of God are right reasons to glory—Jeremiah 9.24 - Boasting in Knowing Himknowing His nature, His power, His ways, His will.

The more we know Him, the more we see how wonderful He really is. For Him to lovingly and graciously invite us to drink of the free Living Water, He knows that when we do, we get to taste and see how good He really is, that He really is the One we need and we’ve been looking for. He’s the only one Who really satisfies our deepest hunger and thirst. He really is the answer to the greatest longing of our souls.

Others run after this world and its seemingly grand offers. They pursue more and more money. They strive hard to share in the 15 minutes of fame—of increased power and influence. They continually look for new things that will satisfy the cravings of their tongues and stomachs, or other people and things that will satisfy their flesh. But those are not things we glory in—not temporal things that will eventually just get burned up.

What we have extends beyond the reaches of matter, time, and space. Who we have and what we have are infinitely worth more than anything and anyone. He’s incomparable, immeasurable, incalculable, and incomprehensible. That’s why we worship Him alone. No volumes of books are enough to accommodate everything that can be written about Him. No amount of words can be used to fully describe the joys and blessings of having a saving knowledge, personal relationship, and very close intimacy with such a magnificent Being.

 

“Kings” and “Kingdoms”

2 Chronicles 34:33   (KJV)   33 And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the Lord their God. And all his days they departed not from following the Lord, the God of their fathers.

King Josiah opted to live in obedience to the Lord. He did away with all the abominable ways his predecessors established. The people of his kingdom were also living according King Josiah Hears the Law II Chronicles 34:14-19to the sinful ways of their previous kings. He also influenced the people of his kingdom to follow God.

Most of the nations in the world are not in a kingdom system. Most nations are comprised of different people who have different spiritual persuasions and who subscribe to different sources as their authority. Leaders in these kinds of societies can’t dictate their constituents who to worship. But the truth remains: leaders have certain degrees of influence that others don’t. And leaders choose who they personally worship. Leaders can choose the path of righteousness.

We all are leaders one way or another. As for us believers, we opt to live our lives in complete surrender to the one true living God. We willingly submit to His Kingship. Although we’re citizens of our country, we’re first and foremost citizens of His Kingdom. We live in obedience to His will and His Words. We implore others to be a part. And we lead those who become a part to fully live the Kingdom life—with all its challenges, uniqueness, and joy. There’s no life better.

Worship and Sacrifice

2 Chronicles 11:16   (KJV)   16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.

God is the ultimate priority of true worshipers. There are no double thoughts about pulling ourselves from one place and planting ourselves to another if that’s what God wants us to do. Our hearts are set on seeking and following the LORD, and if doing so The Biblecalls for sacrificing of anything here on earth we find extremely valuable, we joyfully do so.

We don’t deny that there are those who profess to be followers of our Lord yet relegate God to one day a week worship. Their priority is their profession, or position, or recognition, or a person. Most of their precious resources are spent in earthly things instead of our Lord’s Kingdom. True worship of God is a continuing lifestyle. It’s not sporadic; it’s not selective; it’s not catered to our comfort, or our benefit, although worshipers are benefited much.

Life of worship willingly denies self, daily takes up cross, and follows the footsteps of our Lord. What seems very hard in other people’s perception is a joy to us. Our joy is found in being in God’s will. If this necessitates forsaking everything else, so be it. We ascribe to God the highest worth, that’s why He’s the One we worship. That’s settled in our hearts and mind. Everything else comes far second. And for Him, we gladly do anything.

The Magi and the Star

Matthew 2:2   (KJV)   2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

The wise men sought for Jesus. They didn’t know His Name, but they knew that the King of the Jews was born. The sign they pointed to was unusual: a “star in the east.” Their motivation was pure; their purpose was on target: they came to worship the King. Both the matthew-2-2-the-magi-and-the-startheologically astute and the critics may question one aspect of the narrative: the inclusion and promotion of what seems to be a practice of Astrology—one condemned by the Scriptures.

Here’s my humble take. The magi weren’t just magi; they were magi earnestly seeking the Lord. They were wise indeed. Wise people seek God. The star wasn’t just any other ordinary star; it was a unique star; it was especial enough to let the wise men know that it was pointing to the birth of the King of the Jews Who we now know is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We have a special God Who does special things in special ways.

This isn’t a dogmatic statement, but just a humble opinion: the Lord saw the sincerity in the hearts of the magi. They were intently and industriously seeking God. God honored them and in some undocumented manner, He communicated with them to look for a specific kind of star as a sign for the birth of the King. That’s why they knew what to look for. And although explanations were given to give a “natural” flair to how the star led them, there really is no problem for God creating a star just for a particular group in a particular situation at a particular time for a particular purpose.

God will shake heaven and earth to be true to His promise to those who look for Him: But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29).  He seeks us; we seek Him. He finds us; we find Him. He draws us; we draw near; He draws near. However the divine dynamics are, we’re just indescribably overjoyed in being closer to and worshiping the King—our heavenly Dad.