Praise the Lord!

Praise.

What is it and why should we praise God?

According to the Merriam- Webster’s dictionary, the word praise means to say or write good things about (someone or something), to express approval of (someone or something) and to express thanks to or love and respect for (God).

To praise the Lord is to say good things of him, give approval of who he is and what he does and to express our thanks, love and respect to our Father God.

Praise is vital in our relationship to God. We should praise him first and foremost because of who he is. God is our Creator. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to die a horrible death to atone us of our sins and he raised Jesus from the dead so we can have eternal life. God is amazing. He is always with us. He cares about us. He enjoys our presence and wants to spend time with us. He is a good God and a good Father.

We should praise the Lord at all times. The Bible says to praise the Lord 377 times! That is more than every day of the year!

Yes, I know it is easy to praise him when things are going well for us. We are healthy, happy, family life is wonderful and things could not get better.

But what about when things go wrong. Illness strikes, circumstances are difficult, a marriage breaks up, a loved one dies, there’s no money in the bank and you can’t pay the bills, etc.? Why should you praise then?

Praise puts the focus on God not on our circumstances! 

It is not easy to praise the Lord when things go wrong in our lives. However, it is imperative that we do.  Praise helps us to focus on God and who he is.  Praise puts God first in our lives. God is still in control. God is still good.  He did not cause the problems in our lives. We cannot and should not blame him.

We live in a sin filled, fallen world. God does not give us troubles. Satan does. Instead of blaming God for our problems, let us praise him for goodness.  Praise him for his presence in our lives. Praise him for the good things that are happening. Take time to write down things you are thankful for, for at least a week, even simple things such as a hot shower, and you will quickly find things you can praise the Lord for.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says we are to be thankful in all circumstances.  I know this seems very difficult but it can be done.  Last year, 2015, was a year of thanksgiving for me. I wrote in a little notebook, every day of the year, things I was thankful for. Doing this gave me a fresh new outlook on life. I was happier in my spirit and I found many reasons to praise the Lord.

Being chronically ill and suffering from mental illness as well sometimes takes its toll on me. At first I was angry, even angry at God for allowing this to happen to me and my family.  However, when I started to give thanks to God for the simplest things, I began to realise how awesome God is.

I have found praise helps me to focus on God instead of the physical pain or frustration of not being able to do things like everyone else. I have also found that praising God boosts my mood and I sense his presence with me. Praising him really has changed my outlook on life.

When I am down and feeling rather low, I put on praise music.  I sing (even if I’m out of tune sometimes or even have no voice) songs of praise to God. I even begin to thank him for who he is.

I have heard so many people say it’s hard to praise the Lord.  Their circumstances are too difficult. They say I have a gift which enables me to praise God no matter what.

My friends, everyone can praise the Lord. If you struggle to know what to say, have a look at the Psalms. Start by praying one of them, such as Psalm 100.  Listen to hymns, praise and worship songs, and/or contemporary Christian music to help you to focus on God. Listen to the words sung. If you know the words, sing along. If not, Google the words, as most every song out there can be found on Google (you would be surprised what you can find).

When you begin to focus on God and not your circumstances, your heart will be changed.  Your relationship with God will grow stronger. You will be able to weather any storm.

Life here on earth is temporary. Our relationship with God is eternal. What is more important to us?

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequalled greatness! Praise him with a blast of the ram’s horn; praise him with the lyre and harp! Praise him with the tambourine and dancing; praise him with strings and flutes! Praise him with a clash of cymbals; praise him with loud clanging cymbals. Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! -Psalm 150

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