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  • Incredulity of Thomas
Praise

I: There are four fundamental questions that are asked over and over again by every body.

1. What is the meaning and purpose of life?

2. What am I here for?

3. Why is there pain in the world?

4. Why is there pain in MY life?

Now they say that there are two great fears inborn into mankind.

1. The fear of loud noises

2. The fear of falling.

Actually I don’t agree with them. First of all my greatest fear is of making a loud noise while I fall and secondly after studying human nature and reading the great philosophers (yes, this is true I read ALL of them and wrote book reports on them too) I believe that man’s greatest fear is “Extinction without Distinction”.

Let me say that again. Man’s greatest fear is “Extinction without Distinction.”

Our greatest fear is that we’ll die and no one will ever know or care that we ever lived. Do you agree?

So tonight I want to address the four fundamental questions and Man’s Greatest Fear all at the same time.

1. What is the meaning of life?

2. What am I here for?

3. Why is there pain in the world?

4. Why is there pain in MY life?

and

5. our greatest fear, will anyone ever care that I lived?

In the summer of 1981 I found myself in the middle of Birmingham Alabama, walking from door to door in the hot sun with a heavy green case in my hands. I would knock on each door with fear and trepidation. My supposed purpose of being there was to sell the books that I was carrying in my green case. Now you may well wonder why I had come all the way from India to go to school in Oregon and then I had ended up in the hot sun in of all places Birmingham Ala. Well the reason is quite simple, I was doing that so that I could pay my way through college. You see being a foreign student, I wasn’t eligible for any financial aid or for any student loans. And not having a green card, I wasn’t allowed to get a regular job. But I could start my own door to door sales business, with the help of a company that did such a thing. Now my alleged purpose was to sell books, but my real purpose as it was turning out to be was hoping that at each door that I knocked, that there wouldn’t be anybody home. But there were people home, and some of them didn’t want to talk to me, and some of them didn’t want me to even walk on their property and some of them told me that if I didn’t clear out immediately they’d call the cops. But many of them invited me in and talked to me and fed me and wanted to know all about me.

Now somewhere in between when I started out that summer to sell books with all the energy and enthusiasm in the world and that moment that I found myself knocking on doors, I had quit my job about 9 times. I had quit because I was tired of being rejected, I had quit because I was tired of being told no. I had quit because I was hot, I had quit because nobody was buying. I had quit because it was too humid, I had quit for every excuse I could find. True, most of the no’s were very nice polite no’s and most of the no’s were no, I’m not really interested and most of the no’s were no I don’t want to buy your books. But being out there on your own, after hardly being in the United States for 9 months, these no’s got me down. I thought the no’s were no I reject you personally. But they weren’t. But I felt they were. And at that point I was down, and beaten and tired and most of all I was very very hot. I’d been working over 13 hours a day, 6 days a week for almost 5 weeks now and there were 8 more weeks left to go. They say the toughest sales district you will ever be assigned is the 4 inches between your ears. If you can’t convince your brain to put your head down and work, you will never get anywhere ever. And this applies to every aspect of life.

In other words I was tired and fed up and ready to quit for the 10th time. Now, the company that I was working for, was very wise, for in my sales kit, they had included a number of motivational books. One of them was called From Prison to Praise. But it should be noted that I didn’t carry everything that the company had given us in my sales case. That would be too heavy and too stupid. I was out in the suburbs and it’s quite foresty out there so I found a shady spot in a wooded area. I sat myself down for a well earned rest or so I rationalized to myself and decided that I would pull out this book that somehow had ended up in my sales case that day.

The author’s premise was quite simple. And I have added to it to make the foundation of today’s talk.

1. As far as we are concerned, God’s sole reason for existence is to bring glory to Himself.

2. God created us and thus: Our sole reason for existence is to give God glory and Praise.

3. Everything that happens, whether good or bad is predetermined or allowed by God thus we should praise God in ALL circumstances.

So sitting there in that shady area, with the humidity at about 110%, which legally means you are under water, I decided that it was about time I started fulfilling the main reason why I had been created. And the results? Well, ….I’ll tell you, at the end. Let’s take item 1.

1. As far as we are concerned, God’s sole reason for existence is to bring glory to Himself.

Let’s expand it and put it into the words of The great Westminster Confessional.

The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever.

Now on the face of it, that might seem a pretty arrogant statement.

Let me tell you a quick story.

Once while working in the dish rooms at Oregon State University (to pay my tuition again) I was witnessing to this one co-worker and after a while she said in effect “God this, God that, that’s all I hear about God. God wants this from us, God wants that from us, God is jealous, God wants us to worship Him, God does what He wants when He wants to. He sounds very selfish, arrogant and proud just who does He think He is?

And in that moment I got chills down my spine. And I turned to her and I told both her and myself. I said “Why….He thinks He’s God.”

“Oh,” she said realizing what she had just said.

Yes, He thinks He is God.

But let’s go a step further. He doesn’t think He’s God, He knows He’s God. Because He is God.

And being God he can be as selfish as he wants

And being God he can be as jealous as he wants

And being God he can be as proud as he wants

because the rules that apply to us don’t apply to Him.

Now some of you might say, why? Why shouldn’t God be subject to the same rules that we are. How come God can be jealous, how come God can be selfish, how come God can be egocentric how come God can do the very things he tells me not to do and I can’t do those things?

Doesn’t 1 Corr. 13 say, Love is never envious or jealous or selfish? Isn’t God supposed to be love?

Don’t we seem to be contradicting ourselves?

Well, let me explain: Assume you have a kid, if that’s hard, assume that you are babysitting a kid. While stumbling through the kitchen, the kid happens to find some matches and starts to play with them. He lights a couple and blows them out, that’s fun, so he lights a couple more and blows them out and then he does it again. This is pure fun, and then…. you catch him.

Aaaargh you say. Maaaaaatches!!! Matches?

Matches? you don’t need no steenking matches,

you can’t play with matches and you take them away from him.

Now a few minutes later it being winter and all that it starts to get kind of cold, so you decide to what? To light a fire in the fireplace, guess what you use to light the fire? Right, the very same matches, in the very same box, and you light them in the very same way that our little kid did. Now in the eyes of the kid, what’s the big difference between what you are doing and what he was doing? Absolutely nothing? How come you get to use the matches but He can’t? In his eyes, it’s just not fair. But in your eyes it makes perfect sense. And what’s worse, is that 9 times out of 10 you could try and explain your view to the kid but he’d still think you were unfair because he has no intention of burning the house down and he knows that he wont burn the house down, he just wants to play with those matches. But still, he doesn’t get to play with the matches, but you do!

You see the rules that apply to you, don’t all apply to God. God is the creator, we are the created. Let’s never forget that. God can do what He wants to, when He wants to and how He wants to, and let’s not talk about fair or unfair. He made the rules and He made the rules for us. In fact He made most of the rules for our protection NOT His protection.

So as far as we are concerned, the chief end of God is to glorify Himself and enjoy Himself forever. And He can do that because He not only thinks he is God, He is God.

Here are some verses:

Ex 14:4

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” So the Israelites did this.

Ex 14:18

The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”

John 8:54

Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.

Isaiah 60:21

Then will all your people be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor.

1 Peter 1:21 (English-NIV)

Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

But let’s go a step further. You see it is of utmost importance that God be for himself, it is of utmost importance that God desires to Glorify Himself.

If God wasn’t for Himself, he would not be for us. If there were something else that God was to be glorifying instead of Himself, would not that something else then have to be greater than God. Let me repeat that. If there was some other being or some other concept that was the focus of God’s praises. Then would not God cease to be God, and that thing that God was glorifying would then be God instead? And in which case should we not be focusing some if not all of our praises on that thing that God was praising? God has to be the greatest, there can not be anything greater than God. God has to praise himself, or he would not then be the greatest.

Once while talking to a good friend of mine, he said: You know I have trouble taking the Old Testament seriously. Everywhere I read about God in the Old Testament, he’s being judgmental, vain, selfish. He’s acting like a big spoiled brat. How am I supposed to accept a God like that.

Let me explain why God CAN act like that and we can’t.

First of all. It is not wrong for God to act that way. For being selfish in itself is not evil. Being judgmental in itself is not evil, being arrogant in itself is not evil. It is only evil if we HUMANS do it. You see the reason it is evil, is because those things are reserved exclusively for GOD. And you know what the biggest sin in the world is? It is trying to make ourselves God.

You see by being selfish, wanting glory, or wanting people’s praises, we are taking away from God what belongs to ONLY him. Just like killing someone is evil for us but perfectly acceptable for God.

But more that that…what was the first sin that occurred in time.

I’ll tell you, Let’s read Is 14:12. This many theologians believe is an allegory of the Fall of Lucifer.

12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; (but that’s not enough) I will raise my throne above the stars of God; (but that’s still not enough for you) I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. ; (but that’s still not enough)

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; ; (but that’s still not enough) I will make myself like the Most High.”

15 But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

And in fact this then explains why we are never to be arrogant or self righteous, or self praising, for then what would we be doing? Trying to be gods ourselves and that is the first sin. To want to be like God in power and glory. And that is what got Lucifer kicked out of heaven and in fact that is sorta what got Adam and Eve kicked out of paradise. Because they wanted to be like God, knowing good from evil.

Over the eons we have forgotten why being selfish is wrong, why seeking glory is wrong. We think it is wrong in itself. No it is not wrong it itself. It is wrong for US. It was never wrong for God, just wrong for us. But over the years we’ve thrown out the baby with the bath water so to speak.

Coming back to the concept of God glorifying Himself.

The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy Himself forever.

God must be the center of all our praises. And so in that fact itself, God would have to be the center of all His praises as well.

The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy himself forever.

Now that I’ve said that, let me prove show you that God says that of himself.

Let us turn to Is 43:6. Is 43:6 Let’s read from Is 43:6 onwards.

I will say to the north, “Give them up!” and to the south, “Do not hold them back.” Bring my sons from afar and my daughter from the ends of the earth-everyone who is called by My name, whom I created for who? MY what? glory, MY GLORY whom I formed and made.

This brings us to point #2, and question no. 2.

What am I here for? Answer:

2. God created us to give Him glory and Praise.

Going back to Is 43:7.

Who formed whom and why?

God formed us, for His glory.

Now skip down to verse 20.

The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for who? myself that they may proclaim what? MY praise.

God formed people why? So that they could proclaim HIS praise.

We have determined that the chief end of God is to glorify himself and enjoy himself forever, now we have supported that concept with this verse and we have also arrived at the second concept. We are formed by God to proclaim His praise.

The chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy God forever.

John Piper goes a step further in his books, Desiring God and The Pleasures of God, and says:

The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying God forever. In other words, you glorify God, by enjoying Him. And when you enjoy Him, you are happy and He is happy. Let me ask you a question: Are you enjoying God? Because if you aren’t you are missing out baby!

Well how do we enjoy God? Well one of the ways we do that is by Praising Him.

Now it’s pretty obvious that the Bible says we are to praise Him, but having said all this we have to find out whether this proclaiming of praise is something that happens at certain times or what. When are we to proclaim God’s praise.

Before we do, we should be realistic though. Life is full of trials, Life is full of injustice, Life is full of pain and Life is full of sorrow.

This brings us to the third and fourth questions and their answer:

3. Why is there pain in the world?

4. Why is there pain in MY life?

Answer:

3. Everything that happens, whether good or bad is predetermined or allowed by God thus we should praise God in ALL circumstances.

Many of you have already heard this story, but it’s one that should not be forgotten. Around the turn of the century, standing on the dock of a port in the United States a man watched his entire family sail away to England. His entire family consisted of three daughters and his wife. Three daughters that were his life, and whom he loved dearly. I have no doubt that prior to their leaving he and they, prayed fervently for a safe journey. Ships at that time being the only mode of transatlantic travel.

Halfway through the journey, the ship hit a very bad storm. They scuttled the life boats and tried to save as many people as they could, it is even possible that a fire broke out. But in the storm, many people died despite all efforts. Amongst the missing and dead were his three daughters.

“But why God” we are tempted to ask “Why? …..We prayed?”

God brings Trials

You see God brings and allows sufferings turn to Is 45:5-7, 9-10.

5 I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me, 6 so that from the rising of the sun to the place of its setting men may know there is none besides me. I am the LORD, and there is no other. 7 I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things.

9 “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, `What are you making?’ Does your work say, `He has no hands’? 10 Woe to him who says to his father, `What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, `What have you brought to birth?’

God allows sufferings. He says: “I bring prosperity and create disaster;”

And we as the creations really have no right to even tell God that it shouldn’t be so.

But we may ask- why does the Lord bring trials?

Turn to Romans 5: 1-5

Rom. 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Why does God allow us to suffer? To perfect us, to produce perseverance, to produce character and of course all this produces hope. And remember through all this, God pours out His love into our hearts.

But what else does sufferings bring?

Let us read II Cor 12:9-10

2Cor. 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

My power is made perfect in weakness. God’s power and glory shine through our weakness.

Why else does God allow suffering?

• As they were walking they saw a blind man on the side of the road.

John 9:2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

God allows suffering so that He can bring Glory to Himself.

Now this does not mean that a person cannot be made ill as a punishment, the point here is that he can be made ill through no fault of his own solely to what? To give Glory to God.

So what am I saying. I am saying that God is in control of every single thing that takes place, he allows and sometimes even creates disaster just as he allows and brings blessings and healing. And he does all this for his purposes.

So what is our response to be to Him in times of suffering? In times of trial, what is our response to pain?

We still praise Him

I Pet 1:6-7

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have suffered grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

That is so important that we should repeat that again. Why is suffering allowed in our lives? So that it may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

You mean we should praise him in times of suffering? Not only praise him but also thank him.

Continually giving thanks for all things

Turn to Eph 5:19

Eph. 5:19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for [what?] everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now the question here is what is everything? Is everything the good things? Is everything the fun things? Is everything the blessings? Sure it is? But is everything only the good things? Only the fun things? Only the blessings?– Ah, that’s different, you see everything includes the bad things!!!

But wait just a doggone second you say! I’m supposed to thank God for the bad things as well? That’s just ridiculous. That means in the story I just told you, the man was supposed to thank God for the loss of his children, for the loss of his daughters? Are you out of your mind?

No, I’m not out of my mind. I am forced to accept what the Bible says. After I’ve proved to myself that the Bible is accurate, I am forced to accept it. Yes the verse does mean thanking God for all things, for the good things and for the bad things!!!

And let me tell you, I am speaking from experience. I am speaking this out of the pain I have experienced. God desires our praise.

Let’s read Hebrews 13:15

Sacrificing Praise

Hebr. 13:15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise –the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, let me repeat that,

let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise

What exactly is a sacrifice of praise?

Well to analyze that let us first understand what a sacrifice is. A Sacrifice is something that costs us something. A Sacrifice is something that we don’t really want to give at first. A Sacrifice is something that is hard to give. A Sacrifice is something that we may want to keep.

So that is sacrifice , what is praise?

That’s easy. Praise is praise to God. Praise is glorifying God, Praise is acknowledging the awesome creator. Praise is giving God what he deserves.

So a sacrifice of praise is…..? Praise that costs us something. It’s praise that we don’t really want to give at first. It is praise that is hard to give.

Sacrificing praise is praising God when we don’t feel like it.

Now remember I’m not saying that you should be sarcastic or irreverent or just say it without meaning it.

Sacrificing praise is meaningfully and with heartfelt praise, worshipping God.

It is praising God when things are going bad, knowing who He is.

It is praising God when you are down and broken and defeated

And the world is against you. When there is no solution, there is no way out.

And you look up into the majesty of the almighty God and you say: God, I have no idea why this is happening

I have no idea what is going on,

I have no idea what is going to happening.

But in this deepest darkest moment, in this moment of despair I bow before you and I praise you Oh Lord,

I praise you because you are so powerful,

because you are so majestic,

because you are God, creator of Heaven and of Earth,

and I am nothing, in your presence.

And yet I praise you and I thank you for this situation. May I glorify you in everything. And like the martyrs in Rome, even as the lions came pouring out into the arena, to tear the Christians to shreds, they stood there, saying may I even in my death bring you glory and praise.

O Lord may I a creature, bring Glory to my Creator.

And then you get a taste of what life is all about. Then you understand the meaning of life. That I, a insignificant puny nothing, am even of such importance that my Creator, the one who created the Sun, that man in all of his scientific knowledge and puny power can not even fully comprehend, this very creator knows when even a hair of my head falls and loves me so deeply. And is using me to glorify Him.

Believe me. I’ve been there. And there is nothing so cleansing as that moment. There is nothing so defining in life as that moment.

Yes, we are to praise and thank God in all circumstances. Especially the tough and trying ones. Especially if & when the time comes for us to die for Him.

You see for every non-Christian that gets cancer, there is one Christian who gets cancer too. So that the world may see and compare how the Christ centered person copes with it. So that the world may see what it means to know an awesome God. So that the world may see God bring glory to Himself.

Job 1:18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in [what?] in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Praise without ceasing, in everything give thanks

Turn to I Thes. 5:16-18 16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So we are commanded to praise God and thank God in all circumstances. Thank you God that my relationship was torn apart. Thank you God that the woman I thought I was going to marry dumped me. Thankyou God that my husband has left me. Thankyou God that the business that I worked for 4 years on filed Chapter 11. I don’t understand, I praise you for that. That almost seems blasphemous. But we are commanded to do it.

Despite our ability to comprehend why.

You see we won’t and we can’t always understand God:

Turn to Isa. 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

We cannot comprehend God, although our Lord does give us some reasons why we are given trials? James 1:2-4 tells us that trials are for?

James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Trials are for Perseverance so that we may become mature and complete.

• This does not mean that you are not to try to avoid suffering, but when they come despite your attempts to follow what you believe is God’s path, you still praise him.

• Psalms 66:8-12, 17-19, 1-2 “Let everyone bless God and sing his praises, for he holds our lives in his hand. …He laid burdens on our backs… he lifted it up.

• Again praise Him even when things are going wrong (sacrifice praise). Praise Him when you don’t know what else to do.

• You see the real question is do we have faith to rejoice that God has everything in his hands, and that nothing is going to happen today or ever that has not been either expressly commanded or specifically allowed by God. He’s got the whole world in his hands tonight. Nobody is going to light the fuse to destroy the world until HIS own appointed hour. And He knows where the sparrow lands tonight. If we can’t praise him in those circumstances, in our pain, does that not mean that perhaps we haven’t really committed ourselves to trusting that God is doing what is best?

• Do you think that God who created this universe and placed the stars in the heavens was any less careful when He created you? Nor has he been careless with the circumstances He has allowed into your life in order to show you how much He loves you.

• And at some point you should compare your cushy lives to the lives of the saints before us, compare your life to Paul’s, can you even complain? I can’t!

Let me give you a summary of what Glorifying God means:

• What does Glorifying God mean?

1. It means Comprehending the magnitude of God, Understanding who God is in relationship to who you are.

2. It means having a Heartfelt Gratitude, a thanksgiving heart

3. It means Trusting God

4. It means Praising God

5. It means replacing all grumbling with praise.

Do you grumble when you don’t get enough sleep? Do you grumble when you have to do extra work? Do you grumble when things go wrong at the office? Do you grumble when you have to pay bills? Do you grumble when you hit a red light? Or do you whine? Well replace everything with praising God. Praise Him for the lack of sleep and plan to glorify him anyway. Praise Him for having to do the extra work, and pray that He will glorify Himself that way. Praise Him for the bills, Praise Him for the red light they are there to protect you. Thank him for everything however absurd that may seem

6. It means trying to learn what God is teaching you through pain

7. It means Enjoying God

8. It means loving God

9. It means knowing that God loves you.

10. It means serving God.

Hab. 3:17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.

• Conclusion: Actions and the challenge

As we come to the conclusion of today’s talk. We’ve answered the 4 main questions in life.

1. What is the meaning and purpose of life? To live for God.

2. What am I here for? To Glorify God

3. Why is there pain in the world? To Glorify God

4. Why is there pain in MY life? To refine me so that I may glorify God.

And to respond to your greatest fear:

5. Will anyone ever care that I lived? This can only be answered by saying: If you live for God, you WILL make your mark for all eternity. For instance if you are used by God to save someone, that person will be your monument though out all eternity. If you Glorify God, you will never be forgotten. For what you do for yourself will be forgotten. But what you do for God will live for all eternity, because God is eternal. Live with Passion, die with Passion …….for Him.

I Corr 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

So today itself start changing your. Commit yourself to live a life of praising God. Commit yourself to living a life of enjoying God. Tape this commitment to the speedometer of your car. Remember to Praise and thank the Lord for ALL things. Sacrifice Praise. Hebr. 13:15 This means good and bad.

You will see your life change. I promise you.

Take a day out in your prayers to just praise him and not ask him for anything. Start all your prayers with praise to Him. Glorify Him at work, at school and everywhere. Are you going to make this commitment today?

When you wake up in the morning as your alarm clock goes off, don’t mumble under your breath, the clock is an opportunity clock and instead you praise God for the day, for the job. If you don’t have a job, praise God for that too. There are enough things to praise him for. Praise Him that he’ll use you to show others around you how you cope with the situation. Thank him, praise him. Tough? Yes, of course, that’s why it is a sacrifice of praise.

If your car breaks down, praise Him. If your boss fires you, praise Him, for God is in control. If your girlfriend or boyfriend or wife or husband dumps you praise Him, praise Him, Praise Him, praise Him. For He has a plan to glorify Himself, and until He glorifies Himself in your life, you will never be satisfied. I know that. I experienced it. And the more I fought against it the more it hurt, until I gave myself up to glorify him. Then the pain went and the peace came.

And anytime you think you are so special and deserve special treatment, think first about those martyrs who died for Christ after all the work they had done for him. Then think and remember just who He is. Then thank God for what you have anyway. Then thank God for the trial and the problems. Why? Because He is God.

Do you know what a God is? Do you know who God is?

Let me finish with the conclusion of the man who lost his daughters.

The man’s three daughters had died. Died in what may seem a tragic & useless death.

When he finally got word from his wife via a telegram, she said, all but I have been lost. His children that he loved, that he had brought up, that he had prayed for, that he’d taken joy in were all dead.

He decided that he needed to make the trip across the Atlantic to be with his wife and so after making the arrangements he set sail to England. And yes, his heart mourned for his family that had been torn apart. Torn apart through no fault of man’s. There was not a thing that any man without knowledge of the future could have done or not done once they were on the ship to have saved those girls. The responsibility of their deaths lay purely in the hands of God. God had absolute power in their deaths.

As they crossed the Atlantic, they came upon the location where his family’s ship had sunk. The captain had at his request informed him when they came upon the exact latitude and longitude where his girls had died. And there, in the bow of that ship, looking down on the cold dark waters that had taken his own daughters life, he wrote a song.

It is well.

It Is Well With My Soul

lyrics by Horatio Spafford

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll;

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say

“It is well, it is well with my soul.”

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul).

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet,

Though trials should come,

Let this blessed assurance control,

That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,

And has shed his own blood for my soul.

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul).

It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought,

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more;

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul).

It is well, it is well with my soul.

And, Lord, haste the day

When my faith shall be sight,

The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;

The trump shall resound,

And the Lord shall descend,

Even so, it is well with my soul!

It is well (it is well)

With my soul (with my soul).

It is well, it is well with my soul.

Let me ask you. When the time comes, can you do that? Then not only will people care that you lived, but whatever you do for God will last for ever. Everything else will burn like wood hay and stubble. Do you trust God that much, that you know that He knows best and that He is God? Can you walk amongst Lions? I pray that I can. I pray that I can.

Are you going commit yourself to changing your life today, will you live a life of Praise in all seasons. Make that commitment. It will change your life. It changed mine.

 
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