Determined Praise

Key Text: Psalm 40:1-16
Why Praise God? The Hebrew word for “Jew” (Est. 2:5), is a derivative of “OWDEH”, meaning to praise. Gen. 29:35.

1. Because no other creature but humans can sing as an expression of love & thankfulness.

2. Because when we patiently cry, He hears & answers! Psalm 40:1

3. Because God not only answers, but He delivers us from trouble on earth, delivering salvation in heaven! Psalm 40:2-3.

4. Because He put a new song in our heart and has given us a new name. Psalm 40:3, Isa. 62:2 & Acts 11:26, 26:28, 1st Peter 4:6

5. Because God not only delivers salvation, but He also blesses us in countless ways here and now! Psalm 40:5-10, 16, James 5:13

6. Because God views our praise as a fulfilment of prophecy in the body of Christ, Heb. 2:9-13, Psa. 22:22.

7. Because God views our praise as a sacrifice! Hebrews 13:15

8. Because God can teach us when we sing, Colossians 3:16.

9. Because God uses our praise to strengthen our resolve & help continue growing in His Spirit, and win over sin! Mat. 26:30, Mk.14:26, Acts 16:25, 2nd Chron. 20:17-22, Ephesians 5:18-20.

For all the reasons above and probably more that I will learn of in the future, I will forever fix my will daily, to praise Him. When evil days come that I feel even God is against me and I want to give up. I will try to plead my concerns to Christ my intercessor. Why? So that I might build up in my heart a new desire to praise Him. Remember Job 13:15.

Decisive Prayer

Key Text: Matthew 6:5-15 

We all need to be decisively determined to pray with confidence. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time, Hebrews 4:16. If we lack confidence to pray, it is probably because of a lack of discipleship to the prayers of Jesus. Matthew 6:5-15, is one of the best passages to start working on to develop our lifestyle of prayer.  After all, if we feel spiritually powerless, it may likely be that we are faithless in our prayer, or absent of prayer altogether. One of the greatest needs of Christians is to be devoted to prayer, Colossians 4:2. We indeed may be ignorant about what answer to expect and what exactly to ask for, but we should not be ignorant about the need and act of prayer itself, Romans 8:26. We should be determined to ask, as the disciples asked, “Lord teach us to pray”, Luke 11:1. The person who does not pray, is really no better off than Christians who do not know how to pray. Having some kind of method or discipline of prayer, is better than having none!

Jesus gave us a starting place in Matthew 6:5-15. Notice the brevity of this prayer, Matthew’s account gives 64 words, and Luke’s account gives us 37 words. Firstly we learn that whatever method of prayer we use, it should be straight to the point and understood. If we don’t really know why we are saying what we are saying, we will either quit, or keep going aimlessly. The religiously pious people Jesus saw and derided, were on street corners getting rewarded for their prayers from men, Mt. 6:5, so obviously our method of prayer should not reflect an outward appearance, but rather we should be praying in such a way, that reflects an inward humility and sincerity. Do we search in our prayers, to be rewarded by God, and not men? Hebrews 11:6. This an obvious goal in prayer. Mt. 6:9 is filled with reverence because of the holiness of God the Father, which Jesus wanted to impress upon his disciples, Lev. 19:2 & Isa. 6:3. His name represents His power, and without God’s strength, we are helpless to live holy lives. This address in verse 9, is a type of praise, and helps us keep our hearts open for his strength.

 Jesus prayed publicly, and also taught his disciples to pray privately. The place of prayer isn’t real important to God, it’s the attitude that counts. Jesus prayed at his baptism, (Lk. 3:21), before crowds (Lk. 9:16) and on the cross (Lk. 23:34), but also privately on the mount being transfigured, (Lk. 9:28) and in the garden of Gethsemane (Mt. 26:39-44), and all night before selecting his twelve apostles (Lk. 6:12). Therefore he didn’t condemn praying for a long time, what he condemned was the meaningless repetition. If we follow His example, our private prayers should be longer, and our public prayers should be short. But the effect will be lasting on and on…

Disciplined Disciples

Key Text: Proverbs 3:1-12 & 34 

BIND MERCY & TRUTH AROUND YOUR NECK, v3Mercy & Truth are virtues which are like keys, you don’t want to be without, keep them on your body to use at all times. They can also be compared to a soldiers I.D. tags around his neck, so that he can be identified anytime, anywhere. Jesus reminded religious people to never forget mercy as a weightier matter that they cannot afford to lose, Mt. 23:23. He grew in Mercy & Truth, before He could bring these qualities of perfection to the world, Lk. 2:52. The boy Jesus knew what it was like to learn about them, put them on, EVERYDAY, so that he grew in wisdom. God never expects us to do something He wasn’t first willing to do Himself. How do you wear Mercy & Truth? If you don’t wear them all the time, you can fall out of favor with God and lose a good reputation with your neighbors. This is one of the first steps in becoming a real disciple. 

TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, v5When we hear the truth from the words of Jesus, we should put our trust in Him and not trust our own version of the ‘truth’. God’s opinion is far better to trust than our own in any subject, Eph. 1:12-13. In order to win God’s approval and look good in His sight, we need to prayerfully study God’s word so that we can correctly understand the word of truth in the right context, 2nd Timothy 2:15. When we deliberately do something that we know God says is wrong, we have immediately placed our trust in our self, instead of Him. This is discipleship in action. Faith without deeds is dead, Jas. 2:17. Our heart is a tablet God can write upon, 2nd Cor. 3:3, will we submit it and let Him write? 

DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, v11The New Covenant of Jesus only records this act of God once in the entire New Testament, which proves that chastening is not a priority of God, but rather a necessity. A little of the Lord’s disciple if taken in the right way by ourselves, can go along way, and have great affect. Hebrews 12:5-6, is a divine commentary on this proverb. God disciplines us because He loves us, and since He is full of justice and practices righteousness, His discipline is always perfect, Jer. 9:23-24. Never forget the truth of Prv. 17:10, when enduring the pain of any event which you feel is the Lord’s chastening, the truth sets us free and embellishes the God’s lessons of life on our heart. The fruit of holiness is worth the price of the pain. 

HE SCORNS THE SCORNFUL, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE, v 34

James 4:6-10, Any exhaltation is pure grace, because none of us deserves to be exhalted by our Omnipotent Creator,  God the Father, please read 1st Peter 5:5-6.  If we  believe that He exhalts so highly so as to keep our name written in the Lamb’s book of life, and that He truly cares for us personally, then there is no enemy evil enough to make us fall, not even the roaring lion himself, 1st Peter 5:8-9. However, the Lord’s view of people who mock Christianity is dim, see Psalm 138:6. We need always to consider how near or far we are in God’s sight. He is Omniscient, but His personal recognition of sinners, is dim towards people who won’t get personal with Him. Associating with the humble, will help us remember our place before God, Romans 12:16.