Saturday, June 03, 2006

Praise God

1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.

2 All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.

3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.4 Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.5 All glory to God forever and ever! Amen (Galatians 1:1-5; NLT).

In this evil world in which we live it is hard to lose our focus. Bad things happen to us or people we care about and we wonder where God is in all of it. Tragedy hits our nation and we wonder why God didn’t protect us. When we are honest with ourselves we realize that there are times in our lives that it is just plain hard to worship God.

I have been there. In trying to understand what God wanted me to do with my life I began questioning Him about every little thing that came along. I was frustrated because God continually seemed to set Himself against me and prevent me from doing what I wanted to do. During this time praising God was the last thing on my mind. Instead I was giving Him the silent treatment.

Have you been to a similar place? Perhaps you are still loyal to God and you fulfill your commitments to the church, but you don’t praise God like you should. You go through the motions because you know it is the right thing to do, but you sure don’t feel like praise God because He seems to be, at the best the source your trouble and at worst apathetic about your condition. During these tough and dark times of life we need a reason to praise God.

The Apostle Paul gives us one good reason why we should praise God no matter what else happens in our lives. Our faith is exposed in how we respond to God in the bad and tough times in life. It is easy to praise God when everything is going our way because it seems like God is right there beside us blessing us each step of the way. When trials come we have a tendency to blame God because He didn’t protect us like He should.

Why should we praise God no matter what? We should praise God because Jesus gave His life for our sins. This was God’s plan from the very beginning. God planned to show us His love through the sacrifice of Jesus. Not only does Jesus’ sacrifice show us God’s love, but it also rescues us from this evil world in which we live.

True we still feel the effects of this evil world, but the difference is that now we have hope. Hope that one day all this will be destroyed and God will come and make all things new. Things will be how they were intended to be.

If God never gave us another blessing He would still deserve our endless praise because of this fact. Not only did God create us, which is another reason we should praise Him, but He did what was necessary so we could be saved from evil and find life in Him. Glory be to God forever.

I know that during those tough times in life this reality is very far from our minds. That is why we need to have some spiritual disciplines in our lives. Disciplines that help us get a proper perspective on things. Let’s face it, the reason we don’t praise God is because we are focused on the wrong thing or person. To often we focus in on our lives and circumstances and we lose sight of God and what He has done for us. Spiritual Disciplines are designed to reorient our thinking so we will have the right perspective on things.

If you feel like praising God take some time and thank Him in word or song for all the blessings He has given to you. If you don’t feel like praising God, even though you know you should, get to a quiet place and think. What has God done for you? Why have you praised God in the past? What hope do you have for the future? Make a list of all those blessings and just praise God. Just do it. Sometimes we have to tell our feels to shove off and just do what needs to be done. We won’t always feel like praise God, but we do know that He deserves it. So do it.

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