Shout Happily

Psalm 100      GW

Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth.

Serve the Lord cheerfully.
Come into his presence with a joyful song.

Realize that the Lord alone is God.
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people and the sheep in his care.

Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving.
Come into his courtyards with a song of praise.
Give thanks to him; praise his name.

The Lord is good.
His mercy endures forever.
His faithfulness endures throughout every generation.

Here is an admonition to praise God, sing to Him, serve Him, and thank Him. My question is, “Why?”  Why does this author exhort us to enter into the gates with thanksgiving and the courtyards with a song of praise?

This song is an expression of His joy and thanksgiving for who God is. He had a revelation in his spirit or an experience which caused his heart to move to praise. Finally, at the end of the song he resorts to reasoning. God is worthy of praise because He is good, merciful and faithful to every generation.

Sometimes we need to convince our minds that God is worthy of praise, but I like the notion that we do not need to be persuaded to praise the Lord. We might praise Him just because He is. It sounds like that is the psalmist’s sentiment. Praise the Lord because He is God. He is the Lord and He alone is the great shepherd and our maker. Praise the Lord and glory in that praise. Enter into His presence with joy which erupts in gratitude and praise. Praise the Lord with a happy shout!

Sacrifice

Hosea 6: 6

For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

I have been thinking about Lent a lot this year. Often, we think about what we might give up for Lent. Some people give up a particular food. For others it might be giving up a sport or recreational activity or even television for a time. Those sacrifices are about moving things out of the way which may interfere with devotion.

In the same vein, but perhaps the other side of the coin, I have been thinking about what we might pick up rather than what we lay down. I very much believe this is the wind of the Holy Spirit and the calling He is issuing to us. I have had several people speak or write to me about their Lent experience for this year and it is exactly what I have been thinking about. So, let’s think about what we can pick up for Lent this year.

The first thing many of us will think about is an increase in prayer. Prayer not only changes circumstances, it changes us, and I very much believe it is an extremely healthy activity.

Second, maybe in your time with the Lord you feel Him leading you to spend more time in the Word. Oh, hallelujah! You know I love that. I know that when you spend meditative time with the Word, it grows you. Problems receive answers. In fact, you might even find answers to problems you didn’t even know how to pray about. The Word is restorative and invigorating.

Third, speaking of meditative time, I hope you will consider spending some quiet, meditative time with the Lord every day. It is how you hear from the Lord. It is how I find out what to write about and what to write. When you give time to hearing the Lord, it is amazing how loquacious He can be.

How about singing or writing. Journal what you hear the Lord speaking or write to Him your thoughts. It is very fun to record your dialogue. When you begin to write your thoughts, He chimes in and directs those ruminations. Write that down! Sing a song to Him. Did you know that Dad and I have a song? Do you remember when you were young and falling in love? Most couples have a song that became important to them during the courtship. Imagine my surprise when one day Dad told me to sing “our” song. I said, “I didn’t know we had a song.” Immediately a song came to my mind and my response was, “Oh.” If you and Dad don’t have a song together, get one. Which one do you want to sing to Him?

I am sure you can find other ways to pick up something for Lent that will serve your relationship with the Father. As you see from today’s verse, He really is not looking for sacrifice but rather relationship. He wants you to get to know Him better and better so that you can trust Him fully. That is what we can take away from Lent this year.

No Problem

Psalm 40: 1 – 4

I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord.

I found this today while I was searching out another topic and thought it was the sort of good news you may be happy to hear. It is all good and reassuring but what struck me was that the writer, David, waited patiently for the Lord. Maybe that is where I miss it sometimes.

His patient waiting is an indication of his trust in the Lord. Despite the circumstances, regardless of the fear and worry raging in his heart, David learned how to stay at peace and trust that God was going to make an appearance. It worked too. David waited and God showed up and took care of all of the problems. The next thing we hear from David is that he is singing praises to the King.

David’s example can be an example to us all and that is what David expected. Many will read his words and, through him, experience the grace of God. Through this vicarious encounter with God, we can all learn to trust in the Lord.

I know you have struggles. If you are breathing, there are still challenges to be worked out. No problem! We have a God who specializes in problems. We just need to learn to roll the care of all of those situations over onto Him and then in fullness of trust, wait patiently for our savior to work it all out. Our part is to believe, trust and sing. I think I can do this. How about you?

So Glad

1 Chronicles 16: 8 – 9


O give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples. Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; speak of all His wonders.


Now there is a beautiful picture of praise. Here speaks the voice of one who is truly grateful for all the Lord has done and for who he is. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of all that the Lord has done for us so that we can be just as jubilant as was David in the above passage. I have to remind myself but once I get started I find there is an infinite well from which I can draw. Then it becomes easy to speak of all that He has done in your life. His wondrous deeds begin to bubble out of you. Sometimes when you begin to think of what the Lord has done it is hard to get past the blood of Jesus. That alone can fill you with praise. Think on all the things you have and all that God has done for you and then sing praises to Him.

Silenced Songs

Psalm 27: 6       NIV                         Index Card 9

I will sing and make music to the Lord.
This one is a little personal to me but certainly you can adapt it to your situation. The reason this verse is so important to me is that although I love to sing, I am embarrassed by my voice, so I tend to keep it to myself. It is quite deep and I rarely let anyone hear my true voice. Because I was embarrassed by my voice I said no to my pastor when she asked me to join the praise team. I have regretted that for 30 years now. I hate singing rounds because my voice stands out so much. This is my promise to the Lord that I will not reject His invitations anymore. I will sing and praise Him and let the chips fall where they may, even in public.

Now in truth, I have a decent voice, well, at least I can carry a tune. There are folks who don’t sing to the Lord because they don’t like their voices or think they can’t sing well. I at least sing to the Lord when I have the house to myself and Dad likes it. Sometimes He will even ask me to sing to Him. With a chuckle I comply. Some folks, though, won’t even sing when they are alone because they think their voice so bad. I have learned that God loves your voice. Do you know that even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket it still sounds beautiful to the Lord. I don’t know how it works, maybe it undergoes a metamorphosis as the sound waves travel through heaven, but it sounds good when it reaches His ear. And brother, if you are singing praise from right out of your heart then even Pavarotti doesn’t sound any better than you. You have the ability to bless God’s heart so sing and make music to the Lord.

Serenade for the King

Psalm 14: 6

I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Sometimes we really do not slow down enough to take account of all the Lord has done for us. When the world is swirling around you, it can be very difficult to notice all of the kindness your Father has shown on you. When you really do take account of your life and all that you have, you will see His fingerprints on many things. You will see many blessings and many times He has protected you. You weren’t just lucky, you were blessed. When you really stop and take notice of Him in your life, you will find plenty to sing about. You will find plenty to praise Him over. That praise and thanksgiving brings you closer to the Father and you will find more and more to praise Him over.