Saturday, August 20, 2011

Deserved Praise!!

Just how much do you praise the Lord through out the day? How much publically? I fear that many Christians fail to praise the Lord enough! He has done so much for us. Just think of His grace in providing salvation for us. But He has done so much more than just that for us. He showers us with so many blessings. Even through the difficult times of life He is there for us and encourages us through His word.

In Psalm 30 David can't help but to praise the Lord. The context for the Psalm is probably 2Samuel 24 & 1Chronicles 21. David grew prideful through his successes. He decided to take a census to see how mighty his army was, but unfortunately, that was displeasing to God. David was to trust in the Lord and not in his strength. The Lord had to chastise him and the Nation and He did it through a plaque. The Chronicles account tells us that 70,000 men died. David realized quickly that he sinned against the Lord and repented. God stopped the plaque and spared David along with the rest of Israel.

Take your Bible and read Psalm 30. In v.1 David cries out "I will extol Thee." He gives the reason why; "for Thou hast lifted me up." The Hebrew idea is pictured in lifting up a water bucket out of a deep well. David felt like he was sinking in a deep well that he could not get out of. V.3 continues this thought; "O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit." David thought that he was doomed. After all, he knew he sinned greatly against God, But God in His grace removed the plaque and spared David's life once he repented.

David was so thankful that he cried out in v. 4 "Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness." Notice what David says in v.5; "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." God's anger does not last forever. When God's children repent He forgives and restores them to fellowship with Himself. Notice that David says that "weeping may endure for a night." The Hebrew word for "endure" has the idea of "lodges" as an overnight visitor who leaves very early in the morning to continue on his journey. The whole picture here is that in grace God forgives and restores us. What a comfort to David, and what a comfort to us.

Spend some time in this great Psalm and think through God's grace. No wonder David ends the Psalm in v.12 by stating that he could not keep silent, but that he would sing praise to God. (Psalms 30:12) "To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever."

As I stated in the beginning, I fear that we fail to praise our great God enough. Are you silent? Praise the Lord loudly! Shout out His praises so that those around you realize that you love the Lord. Shout out His praises as a testimony of the greatness of God. You never know how God may use your praise as a way to lead others to Himself!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Giving of Ourselves

Our Churches today need more than just finances; we need people to give of themselves. For a church to survive the people must also give of themselves and practice their spiritual gifts. For any church to thrive, the people must play an active part. 2 Corinthians 8:5 explains that the Macedonian believers first gave of themselves to the Lord and His work and that is why they pleasantly surpassed Paul’s expectation at Corinth when they gave sacrificially to the Jerusalem church. Commenting on v.5, Murray Harris writes, “…the reason the Macedonians exceeded Paul’s expectations was that they did not restrict their contribution to financial aid. On the contrary, ‘in keeping with God’s will’ they dedicated themselves first and foremost to Christ but also to Paul for the performance of any service in connection with the collection (v.5).” As believers mature spiritually they realize that God has a purpose for them and wants to use them.

1 Peter 4:10 informs that every believer has received a spiritual gift and Peter commanded that the believer be a good steward and use his or her gift for the benefit of others. Paul teaches the same thing in Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4:1-16. The passages are clear that God has equipped His children to serve in the local church. In his commentary on Ephesians 4:7, Harold Hoehner teaches that, “Each believer is to function in Christ’s body by God’s enablement, proportionate to the gift (spiritual ability) bestowed on him, no more and no less. This means that a variety of gifts will be exercised, as seen in verse 11; Romans 12:4-6; and 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.”

It is imperative that pastors teach believers their responsibility to serve in the local church. No church will function well in God’s eyes when the members of that church fail to see the need to serve as God has equipped them. Ephesians 4:12 clearly teaches that each believer serves, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Every believer needs to understand that he or she is needed in the work because God has ordained it that way. Paul says it best in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

Comparing the congregation to the human body, Kent writes, “Now, the proper functioning of all interrelated parts is necessary for normal growth in a human body. Any overactivity of one part may result in a misshapen, monstrous organism. In the same way each member of Christ’s body…is to exercise his ministry (4:11) and thus contribute to the upbuilding of the whole church. If even one Christian fails todevelop spiritually, the church as a whole is not as strong as it ought to be.”

We need to understand the importance of every believer learning to give of themselves and not just their tithes and offerings. How about you my friend? If you are reading this blog post, have you given of yourself to God? Are you exercising your gifts and abilities in a local church?