Does praising God come naturally to you? Do you have a clear understanding of what praise is?

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A Neo-Pentecostal Catholic Organisation of Lay Evangelists/Preachers founded in Western Australia.

Guest Article:

Together we will praise him.
By Fran Thompson [B. Theol.]

Does praising God come naturally to you?
Do you have a clear understanding of what praise is?

To praise God is to glorify His actions and express our admiration. We are not saying "thank you"; we are saying, "We are in awe of what you are doing".

The praise due to God is very unique in its purpose and consequence.

Its purpose is to bring us to a deeper appreciation of what God is doing and consequently we are drawn into God's presence because God dwells in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). Thanksgiving and praise complement one another. One does not replace the other. If we really believe in the implications of the resurrection, we should be a people of praise. Our hearts should be so full of joy that the love of God overflows in our language and actions.

If you find it difficult to praise Our Lord, remember that nothing can separate us from God's love. (Romans 8:39)
here is no sin or circumstance that is more powerful than the love of God. That is good news for us, but it also means that we have no excuse if we find ourselves standing with our backs to God, unable to utter His praises. King Jehoshaphat did not allow circumstance to stand between him and Yahweh and as he and his people praised God, the battle was won by the Lord for them ( 2 Chronicles 20:1-23). We should be striving to praise God despite our circumstances.

If the praises are not flowing, we must love others more.
Our love should be evident in our speech as well as our actions. How often do we tell the important people in our lives that they are precious to us? A basic human need is to be loved. We all need to hear those invaluable words, "I love you", "you are special". The more we learn to express love in our speech the more praise will flow before God. If you are speaking the words from the lips but you do not seem to be praying them from the heart, do not be discouraged. Focus on what you are saying. Repeat one phrase over and over until you really mean it, and then add additional phrases. Remember: Praise until you praise!

When we come together in Jesus' name we can encourage and bless one another.
Paul longed to visit Rome to spend some time with Christians who were strong in their faith in order to receive encouragement (Romans1:8-12). The writer of Hebrews stressed the importance of gathering together to exhort one another (Hebrews10:19-25). We can exhort one another by our individual relationships with God. Our love for God should be evident when we praise Him and our praise should be contagious. By gathering together in the name of Jesus our relationships with each other will be strengthened.

Imagine a mountain with God at the top.
At various places around the base stand God's people (us). As we praise God we move up towards Him. The mountain's circumference becomes less as we ascend, drawing us closer to God and to each other. We are united in our praise as we move towards our King. Love should both draw us together and then send us out because as we freely receive, so we should freely give (Matthew 10:8). God is love so as Christians we should bear witness to God by loving in a hurting world. Our world is craving for an unconditional love and if Christians are perceived as uncaring, what evidence is there that God cares?

Many people detest Christianity because so many self professed Christians are no different from the rest of the world.
If our religion does not affect our relationships with those around us, it is a worthless religion. Christ repeatedly proclaimed that if we love God, we should love our neighbour also. John 21:15-17, records the conversation between Jesus and Peter which counteracts Peter's denial. Peter declared three times that he loved Jesus and each time Jesus emphasised that if he really loved Him, Peter must feed his sheep. Every time we gather together to praise God we are in Peter's position. Can we really declare that we love Jesus and refuse to accept the call to feed His sheep?

We need to identify which "sheep" we are being asked to feed.
It may be someone straying from the flock or it may be someone who has never belonged to a flock in the first place. Perhaps we know someone who is looking for a place to graze or is searching for a shepherd. There may be a call to nurse the wounded, deprived and malnourished or to tend to a whole flock. In order to identify our calling we need to know the voice of our shepherd. We will only recognise His voice through spending time in prayer. We cannot maintain a relationship without communicating.

We often fail to respond because we are acting on a false premise.
That is, we must understand and experience everything within charismatic renewal before we are fully equipped to reach out to others. We rely too much on too few people. But we are each called to share what we have and to step forward in faith. We are individually responsible before God and we will not enter Heaven on the strength of someone else's faith and works.

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