A challenge

God’s been really challenging me the last couple of weeks. It seems He really wants my heart in all things, everything I do, think, speak. I’m finding it hard to do that all the time, which makes being a Christian really difficult. I can see where God is leading me and why this is happening, but I’m going through some fire right now… you might say the refiners fire. God’s called me lead worship, which makes me getting this lifestyle of giving myself wholeheartedly crucial. I’ve been reading a devotional lately on the Psalms that seems to be speaking of this very thing.

Your Song of Victory by Dr. Warren Wiersbe

Read Psalm 9:1-6
Psalm 9 is a great victory psalm. “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works” (v. 1). Notice the universals in that verse–“my whole heart” and “all Your marvelous works.” I must confess that there are times when I don’t praise the Lord with my whole heart. At times I’ve stood in church with the hymnbook in my hand, singing a great song of praise–but not with my whole heart. The best way to have victory is to praise the Lord wholeheartedly.

Granted, there are times when it’s hard to praise Him. Think of Paul and Silas in prison (Acts 16:16-34). They had been humiliated. Their rights had been stripped away from them. Their bodies were hurting. Yet they were wholeheartedly praising the Lord. God can heal your broken heart if you give Him all the pieces. He’ll put it back together again and give you wholehearted praise.

Don’t praise God only about circumstances; praise Him for who He is. “I will be glad and rejoice in You” (v. 2). Maybe you can’t rejoice in your circumstances or in the way you feel. Maybe you can’t even rejoice in the plans that are made for today, but you always can rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4). You can rejoice in the Lord today because He is worthy of your praise. “I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (v. 2).

The thrust of this psalm is simply this: If your cause is right, God is on your side. He is on His throne, and He is administering His world the way He wants to. David didn’t quite understand all that God was doing, but he knew that God knew what He was doing. So when your cause is right, you can praise the Lord, even in the midst of apparent defeat. When God is on the throne, everything turns out all right.

If your life is broken right now, be encouraged that God knows what is going on in your life and will restore you. Until He does, rejoice in Him and praise His name.

I don’t if I’m going to get what that really means anytime soon, but I know this Psalm will put me on right track. It seems the Psalms say this over and over in different ways. I see why so many people, especially worship leaders, talk about them to help you learn how to worship God. I was reading this other article on Psalm 34 today:

Psalm 34

1. I will extol the Lord at all times;
His praise will always be on my lips.

2. My soul will boast in the Lord;
Let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

3. Glorify the Lord with me;
Let us exalt his name together.

Verse 1. “I will extol the LORD at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.”

There are times when the first verse of this text seems to tower above me. When I read phrases like ‘at all times’ and ‘will always’ there’s a place in my heart that starts to become uneasy. I hear David’s call echoing out, “Regardless of cost and circumstances, worship!” “At all times”. Something we’re not always ready for, is it? It causes me to look at the patterns and habits of my own private worship and to realize that there’s so much I have yet to learn and be obedient in.

Now let me immediately qualify something. By worship I don’t simply mean singing when we don’t feel like it – or clapping at church to the fast songs when we’re a bad mood. Worship is about responding in right ways to God.

Worship is about the whole of life, right? Romans 12:1 and all that – ‘offer your bodies (meaning, the whole of yourselves) as living sacrifices… for this is your spiritual act of worship’. That’s right. True worship should happen all the time for Christians. If we have a full Biblical perspective on worship, we will see it as a 24/7 reality in response to God’s glory and grace. We should worship God by the way we drive, the way we talk, the way we work.

We live in a very self-centered world, where self-gratification, self-satisfaction, self-fulfillment, and a “what can I get out of this” attitude drives so much of our activities, and determines so many of our responses. If we’re not careful, we’ll find ourselves evaluating worship in the same self focused way.

The word used here, ‘extol’ means to ‘lift up’, to ‘praise highly’. And I believe it carries this challenge to both you and me. To take this ‘lifting up God’ & ‘praising God highly’ to every corner of our lives, regardless of the situations and circumstances we find ourselves in. We must worship God, lift Him up and praise Him highly – above all else, and at all times.

You think God’s trying to tell me something? 😉

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