Praise Can Be Difficult (Psalm 34:1)

Some people today have received the heart breaking news that a loved one has passed away. Others may be under the heavy burden of finances or the obligations of work. Children may be a blessing from the Lord, but as you raise them, they may make decisions that absolutely devastate your life. With life as difficult as it is, is it outlandish to think that God wants us to continually praise him?

I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. (Psalms 34:1)

In order for praise to continually be in your mouth, you must have a biblical perspective of life. You must recognize that God wants to use situations in your life to either develop or display your faith. When you have this perspective on life, trials and blessings are recognized as instruments for God’s glory. Remember, how you see life determines how you respond to it.

To praise is to boast. True praise boasts on the goodness of God and it has two purposes: to magnify the Lord and to encourage others to do the same. It is intended to be public so that others will hear. When you praise the Lord, you not only magnify him, but you solicited others to do the same.

My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. (Psalms 34:2)

Praise is not an attitude that you can just conjure up. It results from acts of trust. Throughout the Psalm, David declares the works that the Lord has done for him. Occasions of deliverance, hearing of prayers and encouragements all resulted from him trusting the Lord and because of them, praise flowed from his lips.

As you face difficult trials in your life, turn your heart to the Lord. Yield yourself to whatever he wants to accomplish and as you do, his spirit will guide your heart to the treasures that he has in store and enable you to praise him.

Being Thankful (Colossians 1:3-4)

Thanksgiving is an important aspect of everyone’s life. If we stop for a moment and think, our hearts and minds will begin to touch upon those things for which we can give thanks.
The apostle, Paul, identified two things for which he gave thanks for the believers at Colosse: for their faith in Christ and their love towards the Saints. He wasn’t listing things that he received or benefits that he would experience. Paul was thankful for what he saw God doing in their lives.

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, (Colossians 1:3-4)

Stop and think for a minute. Each of the things that you give thanks, aren’t they really the results of God working in your life. The promotion at work, you stopped and gave thanks to God. The child that was born, you gave thanks to God. The long sought after answer to prayer, you too gave thanks to God. For each situation where you saw God’s hand moved, you stopped and give thanks.

Are there any situations in your life where God is not moving? If he is sovereign – and he is – he is working in every situation in your life: both the good and the bad. The death of a parent, the unexpected layoff at work, the trip to the emergency room are just examples of times when God was working when he didn’t appear to be.

If we give thanks when we see God’s hand working in our lives and God is working in everything for our good, then we should be giving thanks to God for everything. 

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

It is only when you see God working in everything that in everything, you will give thanks

Praise is Comely (Psalm 33:1)

Do remember the days back when you were dating and the whole process that you went through to get ready for the date?  I remember making sure that my favorite shirt and pants were in perfect order.  Then, I would shave twice just to make sure my face was free from nubs and baby soft.  I spent unlimited hours getting every hair in place and making sure that it stayed there.  Why did I do this?  I wanted to look appealing to the beholder or to stretch the term, I wanted to be “beautiful”.

We should do the same with God, but remember, God is not focusing on the outside of the vessel, but the inside.  Make the inside right and the outside will follow, but if we focus on the outside instead of the in, we are merely pharisaical at best.

How do we make the inside beautiful?  Our inside is beautiful when we genuinely praise God.  

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. (Psalms 33:1)

When we praise God, he experiences pleasure in the same manner as we do when gazing upon the beauty of our children or are enthralled with a spectacular sunset.

Do you want to be beautiful?  Focus on the goodness of God and then lift your heart in praise to him.  You will be stellar.

How Can I Approach God?

As a kid, one of the greatest difficulties I faced was approaching my father and trying to get him to do something for me.  It seemed like I always faced some type of resistance and a troubling discussion.  Those childhood experiences affected my perspective of my Heavenly Father.  It wouldn’t take a counselor to recognize that as a believer in Christ, I would be convinced that my father in heaven would react the same way to my requests.

It took some time to overcome, but God eventually was able to get through to me and teach me about our relationship and how to approach him.  I finally recognized that he wants me to approach him and that there is a way to enter into his presence.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalms 100:4)

In this Psalm, the writer uses the analogy of entering a king’s castle to teach us how to approach God.  The first step in approaching God should be to express thanks for whatever he is doing in your lives.  This can be very difficult for some of us, because there are many things that God allows into our lives, which are part of his sovereign plan that we may see as very unpleasant.  In order for us to be thankful, we will need to submit our will to him.  That is part of the great commandment loving God with all your heart, soul and mind.  When you express thanks to God, you enter through the gates and approach his presence.  You will not be as close as you could be, but you will be in his presence.  

After expressing thanks, you should praise God.  Praising God is done by declaring how wonderful God is and saying it to him in your own words and from your heart.  When you do this, you have entered into the court of his presence.  Once you enter this place, stay there, fellowship with him, make your petitions known to him and enjoy the splendor that you were created to experience.

Your Christian life was meant to be enjoyed.  It does not mean that all of life will be enjoyable, but regardless of what circumstances we face, we can enjoy God in the midst of them.

Satisfied In The Wilderness (Mark 8:4)

I remember several years back when I was on one of those high protein-low carbohydrate diets. My diet consisted of items such as meat, nuts, eggs, cheese and protein drinks with very little bread, potatoes and pasta. I endured for a while until my Italian urges kicked in. For days, I began to crave nothing but spaghetti. All I could think about was a large plate of pasta, covered with the family sauce and some sliced white bread. One day, I just couldn’t stand it any longer. I came home from work and began preparing the long desired meal. My daughter asked what I was doing and in a pasta withdraw tone I snapped, “I’m making spaghetti!” In just a short time, I was stuffing myself with several pieces of bread and two large plates of pasta. Finally, I was satisfied.

After three days in the wilderness, the people hungered and longed for food. With compassion, Jesus fed them with bread and they too were satisfied. They were not satisfied in the towns, but were satisfied where they were which was in the wilderness.

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? (Mark 8:4)

Remember your life before coming to Christ. You too were in the wilderness. You aimlessly wandered to and fro looking for something in life to satisfy. You found that nothing the world had to offer could fill and satisfy the longing in your soul. Then one wonderful day, the truth of the gospel came into your heart. You saw Jesus for who he is and trusted him as Savior. Immediately he satisfied you in the midst of your wilderness. Fountains of water sprung up in your desert heart and your parched soul was quenched. You too were finally satisfied.

Today, you still experience trials and they too seem like wilderness experiences. Praise be to God that his presence with us in trials is as pools of water in the desert. The trials may put your soul into extremely undesirable circumstances which try your faith, but as Jesus did with those in the wilderness and for you many times in your past, he with compassion will again satisfy your soul’s needs. Look to him, the supply is coming.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

To view other posts or to receive this blog by email, sign up at