Psalm 34:1-3 (NKJV)
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; the humble shall hear of it and be glad. Oh, magnify the LORD with me and let us exalt His name together.
My apologies to those who read the devotion called Practice Makes Perfect. Talking about Philippians 4:8-9, it occurred to me later in the day that I “accidentally left out the part of this verse that says, “Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Overwhelmed with instant panic, feeling very disappointed that I did not include what I think is the most important part of fixing our thoughts on the Lord, and feeling the need to go back and do some editing – the Holy Spirit stopped me in my backtracking. Suddenly, I realized that the Lord wanted to tell me more about this thing called praise and its very origin. So today we will look into something called “worthwhile praise.” Not everything that we say about the Lord is true and credible even if it is a good thing. Truth discovered in the Word of God must be planted in our heart by faith so it will grow in to confident hope that manifests as we live what we believe. Words are useless and empty. I can teach a toddler to repeat everything that I say, but until the little one understands what the words mean will he be held responsible for his actions or benefit from them. Some children require a life lesson associated with such guidance and instruction before they will truly understand the benefit of such information. For example, do not touch the stove. It is hot. You will get burned. One thousand times may not be enough to get their attention, but if they reach out to touch it and get burned – lesson learned. Spending the majority of my life as a parent to five fantastic children, I have watched as some have listened to our instructions and flourished in self-discipline while others choose to put their head down and charge headfirst into this world to learn such things. It is never a parent’s desire to watch their child fall down or get bruised along the way, but the wisdom that is produced often outweighs the insult or injury thank you Jesus! I will bless the Lord at all times is a statement that must be put to the test to discover the contents of one’s heart. His Praise will continually be in my mouth is reason for examination of every single word that we speak and its origin. My soul will boast in the Lord. Is your soul prospering? This is a necessity to properly praise your Creator. To magnify the Lord, the Lord must be the focal point of our life and nothing else. Unity in the Body of Christ comes when we praise God according to His Word by faith that is turning into confident hope. Then and only then will our praise be worthwhile.
Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
Let’s review for a moment the contents of our thoughts as a believer. We have been instructed to fix our thoughts. In other words, we are to capture every rebellious thought that we have that is contradictory to Jesus Christ and pull it back to our focal point which is Jesus. We are to focus on what is true (Word of God which is Jesus Christ wrapped in flesh). Noble things that are elevated and high-minded rather than remaining subject to human thoughts and outcomes. Our thoughts should be just so they must be guided by truth, reason and justice meaning we are to follow God’s Commands and do what they say. Righteousness is living equal to the Law of God. Grace is not a vigilante state of taking the Law into our own hands but allows us to become law-abiding citizens in the Kingdom of God. Our thoughts are to be pure which requires removing anything that is different, inferior or contaminating. This includes fear, doubt and worry which are contradictory to faith in God. It is to elevate every word, image and thought to the standard of Christ allow nothing that could potentially reintroduce sin to be readmitted. Lovely thoughts simply allow us to see ourselves as Christ see us rather than as the world does. We are to have beauty that appeals to the heart and mind rather than working on the outside all the time. God is looking for beauty with substance and that substance is faith. We are to focus on God’s Report which is always good news rather than accepting the devil’s lot for our life. We have the undeserved kindness of God available to us through Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:23-24) This raises our standard of living from the filth of this world to the Glorious Standard of Jesus Christ. God’s Kindness purchased our freedom to walk in His Love. His Grace is a sufficient pathway for transitioning your life beginning with your thoughts that will change your perspective as you are repositioned from death to life. Grace is God’s Favor and Goodwill. You must change your way of thinking to accept that God has a good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) He is perfecting that which concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) He turns every detail around for our good. (Romans 8:28) When you decide that God is for you and not against you, it will change your perspective in every situation. Faith is renewed. Praise is produced. The final thought from this devotion is excellence. To have God’s Excellence – we must strive to be morally excellent. The closer our thoughts line up with His Thoughts, the deeper we move into His Presence. The more intimate our relationship comes with the Lord, the wider our view of what God is doing from the top looking down rather than wandering, grasping and struggling in the midst of the vortex of His Love. If you can see just a glimpse of the outcome according to faith and confident hope, you will have the anchor you need to whether the storm until the Son comes out! To fully understand the blessings of obedience means that we must have a “right mind” or it is just another form of slavery. Now how in the world I missed praise worthy thoughts was a mystery to me until now…
Psalm 145:1-3 (NLT)
I will exalt you, my God and King and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.
Praise is to express approval and affirmation. It is to be grateful and pay homage. It is also a state of being approved. The original word “praise” comes from root words meaning to value. You cannot value something that has no worth or that you are not aware of its value. You will not have worthwhile praise without true and genuine faith because there is no substance to it. Faith is the substance of things hoped for… (Hebrews 11:1) How will you praise God every day without hope because let’s face it life is not a bowl of cherries and most days it really is the pits. Yet the psalmists boasts, “I will praise you every day. I will praise you forever.” The truth is that even those who have every reason to praise the Lord will miss the opportunity because their words are empty with no substance or foundation. The Lord is great. He is worthy of our praise every single day without fail. The Peace of God is found by those who learn to rest in His Love. He promises “perfect peace” to those whose mind is fixed on Jesus. Before you say another good thing about the Lord, it is time to discover what your heart truly believes about Him. Your very life depends on a heart and mind surrendered to the Lord no matter what your life looks like! Praise must be a produce of faith. Without faith, it has no substance.
Hosea 4:6 (NKJV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
People are disappointed, discouraged, distracted, delayed and destroyed every day for a lack of knowledge. Sadly, even the church has rejected true knowledge of God twisting His Word to meet their current needs rather than using it as a means to secure eternal salvation. The Lord invites us to “call those things which do not exist as though they did.” (Romans 4:17) So why are we asking for money and stuff all the time when all we need is more faith that will produce productive praise? A lack of knowledge perhaps. We do not have made up minds? Surely, we are on the right track. Well, sadly in most cases, God’s People accept the lie of the enemy as the truth because in this world he is very animated and loud. (Romans 1:22-25) We have become worshippers of created things rather than the Creator and use His Good Favor called Grace to approach the Throne of God for things that we can see rather than pursing more faith and hope which remains unseen. We must discover the true character of Jesus Christ. Decide to put our faith and hope in Him which means a solid pursuit beginning with knowledge that can be quickly turned to wisdom which will make ready soil for productive faith and cultivated hope that will produce powerful praise in our life. Praise that is worthy of our Creator and forgets about created things. We will discover the great worth of our Master and learn to serve Him with gladness.
I Peter 1:6-9 (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen[a] you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
As I share these thoughts with you, I am praising God. His Word is working in my life in a mighty way. He is perfecting all that concerns me as He prepares to release His Purpose and fulfill His Plan – our family will be blessed by His Promises. But we are still in the same situation as before. We have exhausted all insurance appeals for authorization. We are awaiting the final appeal to my husband’s employer for assistance. I am being pushed and pulled to fight back but the Spirit of the Lord tells me to wait. Human nature is to fight for my son’s life and his right to appropriate healthcare but all that is within me is telling me to stop and wait on the Lord so that is what I am doing. I have had to wait so many other times, but for some reason this time is different. I can feel the Lord’s Hand in front of me gently but firmly keeping me still. I can see the angels posted next to my son with giant swords and not a feather out of place. I feel the overwhelming battle being fought far from where I can see it or hear it yet I know it is there. The enemy wants my faith. He will stop at nothing to have it. My confidence in the Lord is spiritual worth where God is concerned. (Matthew 25:14-30) In the Parable of the Three Servants, note that each time the master called a faithful servant to make an account, he did not take away the increase but allowed the servant to keep it. God is not trying to strip you of everything that makes this life comfortable just anything that is keeping you in complacency regarding faith and hope in your life. Lazy servants are not rewarded. In fact, they are stripped of what they do have because of a lack of knowledge. “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.” (Matthew 25:24-28) In order to praise the Lord and receive His Promises, you must have faith backed by knowledge. You must determine who God is and that He is worthy of your praise or it is empty. Tested faith results in willing obedience because you come to know and understand that God is for you, He wants to bless you and will stop at nothing to perfect you in the process. Yes, His Anguish has been good for me! (Isaiah 38:17-19) I have learned that there is nothing…not a single thing…of greater worth than faith in God and confident hope in His Great Love. Trials test our faith to make our praise productive and worthwhile in processing all God’s Promises in this perfect life full of imperfect life. It is time to stop accepting the enemy’s lies and take hold of the Truth. You must know it. You must study it to know it. You must use it to call it wisdom. You must do it to make it real and credible belief that prospers our soul. Are you willing to invest a little time to produce worthwhile praise? The benefits will add up quickly for those who do!
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (Message)
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
Let’s face it, it’s not hard to praise God for all the good things that He does. However, many times we take for granted that every good gift comes from God focusing on what we do not have rather than what the Lord has already done. Amen?! But who has time to thank God when their life is being torn apart, death seems imminent, hard times of struggle plagued by fear of lack, and so many other chaotic circumstances rain down on our life and then the dryer goes out. Who has time to praise God in that moment? Who would even think to do so? Those who have faith and confident hope that His Grace is all that I need. In fact, we cannot boast in our own successes from this position because in our weakness is where we have found strength. Such a moment produces monumental praise that will move mountains and open the windows of Heaven – not because it was extravagant or eloquent but because it came from a heart and mind fixed on faith and confident hope of a person who has changed their mind about the Lord fully accepting His Mercy, Grace and Love. Is that person you today? Do you need a break from the chaos? Do you need an anchor for the storm? Fix your thoughts on God today. His Character reveals His Sovereignty and that is enough for me. No other person, place or thing including the rulers of darkness can every separate me from His Great Love. So I will praise His Name forever. I will praise Him every day. I will let my mouth tell the secrets of my heart as it reveals the faith and confident hope that I have found in You, Lord! Your grace is indeed sufficient for me so I will boast about that today! God is great all by Himself. He has given His Son Jesus all power and authority over the earth and everything in it. God is in control. Jesus has all power over my life. My heart is fixed on Hm. My thoughts secure in such a revelation. Now my mouth can speak something of worth to the awesome God who I serve gladly in all things at all times. This is worthwhile praise.
I Peter 1:2-4 (NLT)
God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.