WILD, CRAZY . . . PURSUIT . . . ! What Shall We Pursue? (Part 2)

What Shall We Pursue? Part 2
WILD, CRAZY . . . PURSUIT . . . !


Psalm 100:4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

Angels listen to your songs for your voice rises to the heavens when you praise Me. (Frances J Roberts) Many of us have spent the past week focusing on thanking God for all He has given us, for all He does. Now, let us enter His courts as we begin to praise Him, simply for Who He is. Praise moves something in the spiritual realm and, somehow seems to open a pathway to His heart. I heard a story once about a dad who came home from work and his daughter ran to sit on his lap as he was trying to relax, unwind and read the newspaper. He asked her what she wanted. She replied “Nothing . . . I just want to be with you.” So, he welcomed her as she climbed up onto his lap, hoping to hold her as he continued to read the newspaper. But, she cupped his face in her hands and said “Look at me” and she looked him in the eye and said “I just love you so much, Daddy. You’re my favorite dad in the world. You’re the best dad in the world!” She, then, threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. He hugged her back and looked her in the eye and said he loved her, too. He again asked her if she wanted something and she assured him – she just wanted to be with him. In this case, he grabbed her up and took her to Toys R Us (!) . . . (and maybe that is what God would do for us, too) . . . but the point is when we draw near to Him – He draws near to us. He loves it when we love Him! How close we feel to those who love us, who just want to spend time with us, to those who tell us how wonderful they think we are.

So, let us praise Him! Through praise we enter into the courts of God, even closer to Him, now . . . and into the realm of deep pursuit of that greatest commandment . . . to love Him with all our heart, and all our mind and all our soul. Many of us, especially in America, don’t understand praise. Often, we confuse praise with thankfulness or we don’t know what to say. And what is the difference between praise and worship anyway? Many of us are not used to praising . . . anything. It may even feel fake, as we are not accustomed to it. But it is time we understand it, grasp it . . . do it. To love Him.

What, then, exactly is praise and how do we do it? A synonym of the word praise – glorify – may help clarify it. To glorify means, to cause to be or treat as being more splendid, excellent, etc., than would normally be considered; to honor with praise, admiration, or worship; extol (raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.), venerate (to treat with reverence), celebrate!

In the Bible we see that God’s people praised Him in many ways. They spoke it. “We praise you, Lord.” “He is good.” “His love endures forever.” “I will praise you forever.” “. . . for Your name is good.” “O LORD, Our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.” “He is good.” “We bless your name, Oh, Lord.” “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in all the earth.” “You are beautiful, Lord and Majestic.” “You created the mountains and the oceans and all that exists.” “You are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.” “It is only because of you that I move and breathe and have my being.” “Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry.” “We bless You, Lord.” They praised Him for – His acts of power, His surpassing greatness, His mercy, His creation, His intervention, His character . . . for anything and everything. They gave a shout of praise. They praised Him with the sounding of the trumpet, the harp and the lyre. They raised their voices in song. They sang with the instruments. They lifted up their hands. They clapped their hands. They praised Him in the assembly; they praised Him, quietly, in their beds. They praised him when together. They praised Him when alone. They praised Him in public and in the closet. They praised him as they walked in the byways. They praised Him before he answered their cries for help . . . they praised Him after He answered their prayers! They praised Him when they were afraid, distressed and in great sorrow. They praised Him when they were successful, when they were blessed, as they danced for joy! Praise Him!!!!

Many are the songs and words of praise written by David in the Psalms. All words in the Bible were written for our learning. His words of praise can be spoken or read aloud unto the Lord or used as a springboard until our own words come to our hearts. Let’s go to the Word for help! We will quickly begin to feel comfortable and praise will begin to flow naturally from our own lips. Our hearts will engage and we begin to long to praise Him more. As we praise Him, we begin to sense and feel His presence more and come to understand His mighty power . . . which leads us then to worship and adore Him.

Then . . . we will fall to our knees and worship God, Most High, the Holy God of the universe, who created all things!

Praise will bring us naturally into worship and desire to spend time with Him. As we spend time with Him, we get to know Him . . . as we get to know Him . . . we love Him more and begin to automatically have His heart and see the things He sees. We begin to move in directions that are different than they were. Our priorities become different. Our longings become different. We loose sight of our goals and begin to see His purpose. Our activities and our “works” begin to change. From the outside, the things we do may look the same, but our heart and motive . . . that which impels us to move . . . will be different. Or it all may look very, very different now. Changes may be mandated by God that are surprising . . . or even shocking. What others see may be so dramatically different that they can not understand it. We may appear to be “crazy” to them and they may attempt to convince us that God does not require (or would never ask) “that” . . . as they explain the more socially acceptable types of service or “works” approved of by God.

Perhaps that is why Abraham didn’t tell anyone what he was doing . . . as he left his servants behind to head up to the place where he would offer his son as a sacrifice.

Again turning to Webster, worship is reverent (deeply respectful) honor and homage (loyalty and devotion) paid to God, to feel an adoring reverence or regard. As we praise Him . . . we come to a point where we fall to our knees or lay prostrate on the ground before Him, because praise brings us to a deep and felt understanding of His awesome power and majesty and greatness. In praising Him, we begin to grasp how small and miniscule, unworthy, incapable and lacking in anything that we truly are . . . and how exceedingly great and good and mighty He is. He is great just because He is. We thank Him for what He has done for us. We praise Him for his mighty and wonderful works in the universe and in our lives. We fall to our knees in awe and worship Him for what He has done . . . amazed at how he hears us, responds to us rescues us. We worship Him for Who He Is . . . just because He IS.
Angels surround His throne day and night, covering their faces and crying Holy, Holy, Holy . . . . How much of “our” time do we spend in worship of our Lord and master? How much of our time is spent at the foot of the throne in deep, heartfelt worship of the Holy God of Israel!? Isaiah 6:1-5 says . . . I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!” (Close your eyes for a moment and picture this!) And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”

Oh . . . may we breathe that in . . .

Then . . . shall we proceed to walk in the pride and arrogance in our own “me “ness”? Let us exude thanksgiving and praise (!) and then bow in worship at the foot of the throne. There, let us confess who we really are. For, as Louis Cassels said “In confession . . . we open our lives to healing, reconciling, restoring, uplifting grace of Him who loves us in spite of what we are.” Let’s confess our duplicity . . . our self-serving motivations in doing good. He knows anyway and He loves and adores us already. He is waiting . . . always waiting, ready for us to draw even nearer to Him. He is waiting to forgive every sin and cast it as far as the east is from the west . . . where He will remember it no more. So, now, let us be blatantly honest before him and call a spade a spade. If we gossip . . . confess it as gossip – not saying we shared something with some people we perhaps shouldn’t have shared it with or pretend it was for prayers for them. If we lie, let’s call it a lie – not embellishing or stretching the truth or “admitting” that we left a few things out. If we slashed someone in our anger, physically or with our tongue – let’s call it rage and a sin . . . not a struggle or a personality trait that we were born with or excuse it saying we were pushed into it. Call the sin by name and call it what is – sin . . . not a mistake. If we want to make it right . . . if we truly desire to pursue the lover of our souls . . . then let us boldly confront ourselves and our hearts and turn to Him.

Now . . . we are ready to ask for His will in our lives . . . for His direction and what He wants us to do . . . To boldly go before the throne and make our requests known . . . to ask for His help. Now . . . we will be able to “hear” more clearly what it is the Lord wants us to do to demonstrate our faith. Our “works” will now fall into place . . . and be “performed” in a much different way than they were before. We won’t be planning what we should do and how we will use our talents. We won’t be trying to “fit it all in.” We will sit at His feet and dwell in His presence . . . growing ever more deeply in love with Him . . . and He will reveal our role in His kingdom. He will lead us to areas we likely never dreamed of . . . possibly, to use talents we didn’t know we had. It will be His plan, His work, His glory . . . and the result for us . . . surprisingly . . . may just well be . . . happiness.

Perhaps our first “work” is to draw near to Him . . . to pursue Him . . . by fulfilling the greatest commandment . . . so we can hear what the works are that He wants us to “do.”

His yoke is easy – His burden is light . . . He told me so . . . He told me so.

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Hebrews 13:15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

Psalm 47:1 Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph!

Psalm 71:23 My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I, whom you have redeemed.

Psalm 134:1-3 Behold, bless the LORD, All you servants of the LORD, Who by night stand in the house of the LORD! Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, And bless the LORD. The LORD who made heaven and earth Bless you from Zion!

Psalm 145:1-13 I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim your greatness. Everyone will share the story of your wonderful goodness; they will sing with joy about your righteousness. The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation. All of your works will thank you, LORD, and your faithful followers will praise you. They will speak of the glory of your kingdom; they will give examples of your power. They will tell about your mighty deeds and about the majesty and glory of your reign. For your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. You rule throughout all generations.

Psalm 144:1-3 Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle – My loving kindness and my fortress, My high tower and my deliverer, My shield and the One in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are mindful of him?

Psalm 95:6-7 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand.

Psalm 99:9 Exalt the LORD our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the LORD our God is holy.

Exodus 34:8-9 So Moses made haste and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshiped. Then he said, “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.”

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us form all unrighteousness.

Psalm 103: 11-12 For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him As far as the east is form the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.

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Prayer

Father, Lord of mercy, blessed redeemer of your people – hallowed by thy name! Your name is to be praised for your name is the name above all names! You and you alone are good. Your mercies are new every day. I bless You, Lord! I bless Your Holy name. I praise You, O God! You are beautiful and your power and majesty can’t be understood. Your creation is amazing. Who can understand it? Father, I bow before your throne and worship you. I worship your majesty for you are Holy, Lord. Holy, Holy, Holy . . . Holy, are You, Lord. Oh Lord, my Lord, my master and my king – show me how to pursue you. Teach me what that means; give me understanding and wisdom . . . so that my life may glorify you. Teach me so that I am storing up treasures in heaven instead of on the earth . . . so that many souls may be added to your kingdom where we will share eternal joy. Teach me your will for my life. Bless me with your tender mercy and forgiveness . . . For your mercy and grace are spoken of throughout eternity and endure forever. Your love is unsurpassed. You are perfect love, Lord . . . teach me to love as You love . . . to love you with all the fiber of my being, teach me Lord to be like you . . . to see with Your eyes and love like You love. I bless your Holy Name. Lord, I long to be Holy as you are Holy. I confess my sin before you and ask for your forgiveness. I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for sending your son to die for me so that I can be forgiven. I lay them down now at your throne of grace and it is in His name that I ask for forgiveness for _____________________________, ___________________________, __________________________ (Fill in the blanks. Talk it over with your God.) I accept your forgiveness now because your words are true and you said you will cast my sins as far as the east is from the west. You said you will remember them no more. I thank you that you forgive us . . . no matter what we’ve done. I thank you for sending your son to die for me. I thank you for your never-ending kindness and your grace. I will lift you up and praise you forever and ever . . . In the precious name of your son, Jesus, I pray . . . Amen.

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Practical Application

Links to songs: “You Are Worthy of My Praise” by Jeremy Camp – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V72nsl4YE4E and one of my favorites – “I Will Praise You in this Storm” by Casting Crowns – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHlQ6sBEO9A I listen to and sang this song through many tears as God healed my heart and I watched His power and grace respond to my praise.

1. What is the difference between thanksgiving, praise and worship?

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2. `Write out five praises to God (Turn to Psalms for ideas if you need to or go to http://www.biblegateway.com)

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3. Write out some phrases of worship and some other ways you might   worship God:

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4. List sins you need to confess (Be completely honest with yourself and with your God):

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5.  Write out your own prayer include thanksgiving, praise and confession. On your knees – say your prayer to the Lord – Learn to praise Him! Ask Him to draw you to Himself so you can draw near to Him. Ask Him to teach you how to stop doing “works” with your own agenda and by your own understanding and in your own power and to live in a such a way that you do only the works He leads you to do. Ask Him to reveal His will and to help you learn to love Him with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul. Thank Him, Praise Him, Worship Him and Confess to Him. Find a time to kneel before Him and do this each day. For now . . . let’s just be in His presence and focus on HIM . . . not what we want Him to do for us.
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*All scriptures NKJ unless otherwise noted
**Contact me at cindylynne.wordpress.com or be my friend on Facebook!
***Book Release – Coming Soon –TO THE WIRE. . . With God, Almighty by Cindy Lynne – A true story of hope and inspiration . . . of God’s daily provision after incredible losses. A journey from Michigan to Wyoming with no money, no plans and no one . . . except the God of the universe! Hear of His answers to prayers, His supernatural intervention and lessons learned!

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