A Life of Praise
Posted on 07/01/2007 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.
Good morning, and welcome to Abundant Living Ministries CyberChurch. Our purpose for being here is to invite the Spirit of God to move in our lives, no matter where we may be, through this corporate gathering in the virtual world. We invite the presence of God through prayer, praise, and the proclaiming of his Word.
Lord, may everything we say and do here today glorify the name of Jesus, and may we reach out of our comfort and religion, throwing all these things aside, and may we grab hold of you and not let go.
Everyone please stand to your feet, as we approach the throne room of God together.
Lord, we ask your forgiveness for our sins. Forgive us for any actions, words, thoughts, and attitudes which are contrary to your nature and don't please you. We confess our sins to you now, and ask you to wash us clean. We turn away from those sins and choose to follow after you instead.
We pray for James, that you would heal him from the hernia, and you would heal the lining in his stomach and esophagus. Lay your healing hands upon him, Jesus, and make him whole.
We pray for the private needs for which we've been asked to petition you. We ask for healing, restoration, salvation, clarity of mind, and singularity of heart.
Touch every one here and those listening or reading later. Pour out your Spirit upon us today, as we seek a closer walk with you.
And now Lord, we stir up our hearts and souls to worship you. Let everything that is within us bless your holy name!
And we ask these things in Jesus' name.
Click-touch the pulpit or follow along with the overhead, as we worship God with song, and then turn to his Word of life.
WE BRING THE SACRIFICE OF PRAISE
We bring the sacrifice of praise
into the house of the Lord
We bring the sacrifice of praise
into the house of the Lord
And we offer up to you
the sacrifices of thanksgiving
And we offer up to you
the sacrifices of joy
I WILL BLESS THE LORD AT ALL TIMES
I will bless the Lord at all times
I will bless the Lord at all times
His praise shall continually
be in my mouth
BLESS THE LORD O MY SOUL
Bless the Lord O my soul
and all that is within me
bless his holy name
For he has done great things
he has done great things
he has done great things
He's so good to me
He saved my soul
he saved my soul
he saved my soul
He's so good to me
He is coming soon
he is coming soon
he is coming soon
Bless his holy name
Lord, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts bless you at all times. May we be instruments of praise, joining in with the saints and angels who are always around your throne singing "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty!"
Teach us now through your Word, as you bring it to life in us by your Holy Spirit.
Thank you Lord.
You may be seated.
Today's message is titled, "A Life of Praise."
We’ve talked many times about how crucial it is for us to live lives free from compromise. We see in Scripture that we do this by walking in the Spirit, so that we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. And to walk in the Spirit, it is vital that we choose to live lives of praise, thanksgiving, and surrender.
There are many things which keep us from living lives of praise -- those walls created by our flesh and the choices we have allowed it to make for us, worries and cares, and sometimes even relationships.
When Jesus tells us that if our hand causes us to stumble to cut it off and throw it away from us, or if our eye causes us to stumble to pluck it out, he isn't talking about dismemberment, but about doing whatever it takes to remove completely from our lives and far from our reach those things that would build even the smallest wall between us and the presence of God.
Last week we talked about pressing in to seek after God, and not half-heartedly, but with everything that is within us and at the expense of anything else that would stand between us and that closer place with God.
In cutting out the sin and compromise, and in turning our whole hearts to dilligently seek after God for the rest of our lives, it is vital that we live lives of praise and worship.
The Psalmist said Psalm 34:1, "I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
"All times" includes when we get a large, unexpected check in the mail, and when we get a large, unexpected bill from a collection agency.
"All times" includes when we receive word from the doctor that we don't have cancer after all, and when the doctor tells us we have six months to live.
"All times" includes when our boss gives us a raise and a promotion, and when our boss tells us to clock out for the last time.
It's easy to praise God when the sun is shining and everything is going splendidly in our lives. It's no sacrifice at all.
Psalm 107 talks about bringing a sacrifice of thanksgiving and of joy. But if it's easy to give thanks and be full of joy, how is that a sacrifice?
It's during those times we don't feel as though we have anything for which to be thankful, and it's during those times we think we have nothing for which to rejoice, it's during these times giving thanks and praise to God becomes a true sacrifice.
And it is also during these times our character is built and we receive strength and power for our journey. Or, I should say, it is during these times we have the opportunity to either have our character built, or to fall to the wayside; to either receive strength and power for our journey, or allow ourselves to be destroyed by bitterness and despair.
Living in the age of disposable contracts, disposable babies, disposable relationships, and disposable marriages, it's no wonder we see so much disposable Christianity. We rejoice in the Lord always, or at least until something happens that makes it difficult to do so.
And yet the joy of the Lord which is our strength comes after times of darkness, sorrow, mourning, struggles, battles, disasters, and great loss during which we continue to bless the Lord at all times, with his praise continually in our mouths.
So how do we live lives of praise? And what does living a life of praise really mean?
The book of Psalms was the Israelites’ song book – it was their “hymnal,” if you will, or their “book of praise.” Let’s read the 34th Psalm and talk about the references in this chapter to living a life of praise.
I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps round about those who fear him, and delivers them.
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man who trusts in him.
O fear the LORD, you his saints: for there is no lack to those who fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
Come children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Which one of you desires life, and loves many days, that you may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry.
The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
The LORD is near to those who are of a broken heart; and saves those whose spirits feel sorrow for their sins.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken.
Evil will slay the wicked: and those who hate the righteous will be desolate.
The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of those who trust in him will be desolate.”
Let’s read that chapter again, and talk about how each part relates to our every-day life of praise.
"I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad."
The psalmist says he will bless the Lord at ALL times. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, "Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
Do we seek to bless the Lord at all times? Do we seek to glorify him with our every action, word, thought, and attitude? Corinthians tells us that if we’re eating, we should eat to the glory of God. If we’re drinking, we should drink to the glory of God. Whatever we do, say, or even think, we should seek to glorify God.
The psalmist then says, "…his praise shall continually be in my mouth…" How often do words come out of our mouths that do not praise God?
Luke 6:45 tells us, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
So we see that for praise to continually be in our mouths, it must continually be in our hearts. Are we always making melody in our hearts to the Lord?
Our life is a song, and those things we say, think, and do, are the notes. Is our life, and every moment of our life, a song we sing to the glory of God? The more we choose to live our every moment as a song of praise and honor to God, the more our mouths will produce words which bring honor and praise to him.
The psalmist then says, "My soul shall make her boast in you, the humble shall hear thereof and be glad." We know that pride comes before a fall, and isn’t the first area in which we fall, our praise to God?
When we boast, our boasting should be in God. When our soul boasts, when we think we have done something great, or when we notice a bit of goodness that comes out of us, we need to humble ourselves by giving thanks and praise to God, for in our own selves there is no good thing, but every good and perfect gift comes from God.
"O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!"
Worshiping with other believers is of the utmost importance. That’s why we’re commanded in Hebrews 10:25 to not forsake the assembling together with other believers. It is vital that we find a body of believers who exclusively teach God’s Word and who worship God in spirit and in truth, and then gather with them regularly.
Praising God with your family, with other believers, and every single day in private, will strengthen your spirit man and will help strengthen your every-moment life of praise.
"I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears."
A common fear is, “If I surrender everything to God and start living this life of praise and surrender, I’m afraid that…” (and you can fill in the blank here).
It is indeed a frightening thing to surrender our everything to Jesus, because our flesh, that part of us that wants to destroy us and everyone around us, doesn’t want to die. And yet the death of that fleshly nature is the only way we can have true life. And if you ignore that fear of death to the flesh and press on to seek God with your whole heart, knowing that he is good, that he wants only good for you, and he never makes a mistake, then he will deliver you from this and every single fear you may have.
"They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed."
You will not find darkness and confusion in God. And you will not live in shame if you live a life of praise and boldly proclaim God’s goodness to those around you. Keep your eyes on Jesus, and your life and your path will be bright and clear, and you will not be ashamed.
"This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles."
The Lord hears us when we cry out to him, and he will save us out of ALL our troubles. We will have troubles, that is certain, but if we turn to the Lord for the answer, he will deliver us out of them all.
"The angel of the LORD encamps round about those who fear him, and delivers them."
Wouldn’t you like to be surrounded by a shield of supernatural protection? Fear God, and his angel will set up camp all around you, and will deliver you from and out of evil.
This doesn't mean nothing bad will ever happen to you. It simply means that God will not allow you to be destroyed. He will fight on your behalf. He will raise up a standard against the enemy, and no weapon formed against you will prosper. You will abide under the shadow of his wing, and he will hide you in the secret place, the cleft of the rock, where no matter what happens all around you, you abide in the shelter of the most high.
"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man who trusts in him."
If you think God isn't completely good, you simply haven't had a real taste of him.
The more you taste of the Lord, the more you will want of him. The more of his presence you have in your life through living a life of praise, thanksgiving, and surrender, the more of him you will want. And as you put your trust in his goodness and in his never-failing, all-powerful, all-wise hand, the more of his blessings will overtake you.
"O fear the LORD, you his saints: for there is no lack to those who fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing."
Even the most powerful suffer lack. Mankind’s great knowledge, his great technologies, his great resourcefulness, cannot save him from lack, especially lack of the spirit and soul; but those who live their lives seeking after God will not lack ANY good thing.
Sometimes we think we lack. But then again, we always compare what we have with what someone else has who has more than we do. If we could get only a glimpse into how much of an abundance we have of every thing that is good for us, and of what good things God is doing in us through those times we seem to lack, we would not be able to contain our thanksgiving and praise.
"Come children, listen to me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Which one of you desires life, and loves many days, that you may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it."
If we want to have life, if we want to live long, and if we want good things, we must fear God, keeping our tongues from evil words, gossip, insults, and words that tear down, and keeping our lips from speaking anything but the honest truth in love; turning our backs on evil, those things that do not please God, and instead doing good, those things that DO please God, pursuing peace. And we will have a long life, life in abundance, and will see good things.
Sometimes we could say things that aren’t right, and even deceive others, and no one besides us would ever know. No one else, that is, except God.
"The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth."
God sees everything and everyone, both those who follow after him and those who go their own way.
In Matthew 10:28 Jesus tells us, "And do not fear whose who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell."
We should fear God, knowing that ultimately we will all give an account to him for every idle word that comes out of our mouth.
As Jesus says in Matthew 12:36, "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment."
It is God we should fear, and the fear of the Lord should keep us from speaking words we know are not pleasing to him, and from speaking words that deceive, for he is listening to every word that we speak.
If we seek after righteousness, God is watching us and listening for our cry, to deliver us from evil and to surround us with his glory. If we go our own way and do our own thing, living life for ourselves, he is watching us and, if we continue to walk away from him, will cut off even our memory from the earth.
Do you think the dictators throughout history who brutally tortured and killed innocent souls will never be forgotten? A time will come in which the only people whose names are even remembered will be those who humbly serve the Lord and follow hard after him.
"The righteous cry, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who are of a broken heart; and saves those whose spirits feel sorrow for their sins."
Notice the psalmist did NOT say, "The Lord saves those who do not sin," but that he "saves those whose spirits feel sorrow for their sins," which can also be translated, "who are of a contrite spirit."
We will not be made perfect until we see Jesus face to face. We are now in the process of being transformed, from one level of glory to the next, into the image of Jesus. And as we seek after his righteousness and choose to live lives of praise, thanksgiving, and surrender, we will feel sorrow for those things we do, say, and think about, that are not pleasing to him.
Because of this Godly sorrow and brokenness of heart which leads us to repentance, God is near to us, and will deliver us from that which would have us bound and bring us to ruin.
"Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil will slay the wicked: and those who hate the righteous will be desolate. The LORD redeems the soul of his servants: and none of those who trust in him will be desolate."
We know that Jesus is our example for living life on this earth. He was tempted in all ways just as we are, but without sin.
How did Jesus live? He lived life in the spirit, and as Scripture tells us in Galatians 5:16, "live according to the spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh."
Jesus lived a life of praise, thanksgiving, and surrender.
To find out what it means to praise the Lord at all times, take a look at the life of Jesus.
He said that he does not say anything except what he hears from his Father God.
John 8:38, "I speak that which I have seen with my Father…"
John 12:49, "For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father who sent me gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak."
John 12:50, "And I know that his commandment is life everlasting; whatever I speak, therefore, I speak as the Father has said to me."
We know that Jesus did a lot of speaking. We know that, being made as a human being, Jesus must have made “small talk.” And yet even in that, he spoke only what came from God and therefore glorified God.
"Whatever you do in word or in deed, do all to the glory of God."
In John 5:30 Jesus tells us, "I can do nothing of my own self. As I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me."
And in John 14:10 he says, "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak of myself: but the Father who dwells in me, he does the works."
So whatever Jesus said or did, he heard and saw from God. He did not do his own will, or what he thought was right, but he waited upon God, getting up early in the morning to pray, keeping that constant communion open between him and his Father God, and he used that constant communication, that unceasing prayer, to guide everything he said and did.
In John 14:12 Jesus says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes on me, the works that I do will he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to my Father."
If we begin every day seeking God, reading his Word, seeking for his direction and for his presence, asking for him to teach us by his Holy Spirit how to live in constant praise, thanksgiving, and surrender, he will teach us and his glory will begin to overshadow us.
The life of praise is a life of constant communication with God. When we say and do only those things which come from God and therefore glorify him, we are praising him.
What glorifies God? Those things which display his nature.
What praises God? Those things which display his goodness and righteousness.
Do you want to live a life of praise so that you can live in the spirit instead of in the flesh, and live a life free from compromise?
Then stay in constant fellowship with God, starting each day with time spent seeking his presence and surrendering fully to him, and you will begin to feel his heart and know his mind, and you will begin to know which things please or displease him.
This is what he desires of us, and this is living a life of praise.
The altar workers can come to the front, as we close this service with prayer and ministry.
Lord God, thank you for giving us your Word, and for giving us the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. Thank you for giving us so many blessings, and for giving us more reasons to rejoice and give thanks than we could ever even begin to declare.
Let the seeds of your word take deep root in us, as we seek you daily for the power and direction to put them into practice.
This altar is open. If you'd like to step forward as an act of dedicating yourself to live a life of praise, come to the front. If you need prayer or ministry, instant message one of the ministry team.
If you don't know Jesus, if you don't have a personal relationship with him as your Lord and Savior, then please come talk with someone. Jesus says to you in the book of Revelation, "Behold, I stand at the door of your heart and I knock; if you will hear my voice and open the door to me, I will come in, and together we will have a great feast of joy." Accept Jesus now as your Lord and Savior, asking him to forgive you for your sins and to walk with you, and he will make you a brand new creation.
As you are ready to leave, please make your way to the room on your left for our time of fellowship.
Now may God bless you with more of his presence, more of his cleansing fire, and a song of praise in your heart that flows through your mouth, your mind, and your life. Amen.