4 Feb 2014
Consider briefly what it is that we have. We, that is most of us, live in peace. Not that our peace is without a price. The majority of us are not likely to go hungry except by our own choice. We are free to move about without restriction. It is likely that we have an abundance of many of the world’s goods.
Further and more importantly we have been given the very Word of God for our instruction. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit living within us to guide, comfort, and empower us. We have been given the opportunity to be benefactors of all the magnificent promises of God. And these unspeakable offerings are just for our present pilgrimage while resident on this planet.
Yet, how much of our time is spent each day in praise? In your opinion is the average Christian spending more time in praise or in the pursuit of more? In the days just following the passage of the Nation of Israel through the parted Red Sea they grumbled to the Lord and to Moses pertaining to the things that they thought they lacked. Never mind that they had just been freed from slavery and been given much wealth and subsequently watched the entire Egyptian army being drown in the Red Sea from their vantage point on the other side.
From where do the roots of grumbling sprout? Could it be that grumbling has its ancestry in the art of unbelief? Could it be that grumbling is further fed by eyes that are fixed on the things of this world and shielded from the things of God?
We have thousands of honest folk employed and tasked with this challenge: how can we encourage average individuals to develop a deeper sense of dissatisfaction? Highly sophisticated and creative strategies are executed toward this end game: to encourage you to desire something that you do not have. These subtle strategies consistently tow the intended outcome to focus our eyes and our hearts on things material which of course provides for a foreseeable fuzzy and disoriented focus related to many of the things of God.
Psalms 103:5 (AMP)
5 Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]!
Charles Haddon Spurgeon has this to say regarding satisfaction in relation to Psalm 103:5 above:
“Satisfaction. A rare word! It rings like a silver bell – satisfaction. The richest man in England has not found it. The greatest conqueror has never won it. The proudest Emperor cannot command it. Satisfaction! It is no more natural to man than it was to the horseleech to cease from crying and craving for itself, “Give, Give!” As well might the sea be thought to be full or its billows to be still as the heart of a man to be thought to be satisfied! It is a spiritual blessing- it is a Divine Grace that comes from the great satisfying God – the God who is Himself, All-Sufficient, is the only One who can be sufficient to fill the heart of man. Satisfaction! Why, that means enough, and enough is a feast!”
In this world those who are far from God are definitely dissatisfied, but in the Church, the body of those who are born again? Could it be that to be satisfied in God is a variable based on our nearness to the All-Satisfying One?
God has given us free choice. We can choose to be dissatisfied …. or we can choose to be satisfied, or at least choose to praise Him and give thanks for all that He has provided for our temporal and eternal good. This choice is often referred to as our attitude, the bent of our mind. Perhaps we need to examine our attitudes and those things that steer our attitudes in desirable directions.
Let’s observe a few things from God’s Word concerning attitudes:
Romans 12:2 (AMP)
2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. ( emphasis added)
Paul seems to be telling us that at the point we become believers we need to make changes to our attitude input. We should begin to limit our attitude input from the world and enhance our attitude input of truth from the Word and the Spirit. Could it be that our attitude input will be a primary influence on our perspective of praise and thanksgiving or dissatisfaction with grumbling?
Ephesians 4:22-24 (AMP)
22 Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;
23 And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],
24 And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul continues his instruction by encouraging us to put off our old former nature that was normal in our previous life and put on our new nature in Christ. It seems that perhaps the primary means of this putting off and putting on is the regular renewing of our mind, repeatedly changing our attitude. We have a choice. Our choice starts in our mind, in the attitude of our heart.
We are instructed by God’s word to give Him thanksgiving and praise.
Isaiah 42:12 (AMP) 12 Let them give glory to the Lord and declare His praise in the islands and coastal regions.
Psalms 50:23 (AMP) 23 He who brings an offering of praise and thanksgiving honors and glorifies Me; and he who orders his way aright [who prepares the way that I may show him], to him I will demonstrate the salvation of God.
Ephesians 5:20 (AMP)
20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. (emphasis added)
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP)
18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. (emphasis added)
Thanking and praising God in all things whether they seem good or bad is intrinsically instructed! There is great power in the prayer of thanksgiving and praise that is offered up as a sacrifice of praise. But in order to give God uninhibited thanksgiving and praise we must release our assumed right to judge between good and bad. We often think that we know what is good and what is bad. But we frequently fall short in our understanding. Most of us see a flat tire as always bad. But if a flat tire opens the opportunity for the car owner to be used to lead a lost soul into a saving relationship with Jesus, it ceases to be bad.
If we revisit the crossing of the Red Sea by those called Israel we notice that they were led by God to exactly where it looked as if they were going to be slaughtered. This was precisely where God wanted them. God used this relatively defenseless multitude as bait to lure the army of Pharaoh into the middle of the Red Sea. God knew exactly what He was doing. What looked to be a tremendous tragedy was God’s means of blessing His people and providing a powerful witness to other nations in the region for years to come. The God of the Hebrews showed Himself prevailingly powerful on behalf of His people!
The truth is we do not know about most circumstances if they are actually good or bad. What we do know by faith is that they are Father filtered and thus we should give thanks for them in obedience and faith. God often orchestrates colossal quandaries in order to provide for Himself opportunities to demonstrate His power. There is a relationship: the larger the predicament the bigger the stage available to God to demonstrate His power on our behalf.
God is God and He will do His part right every time; but, what about us? Will we draw near to God with thanksgiving and praise, regardless of the nature of what we face? What are you facing today for which you need to give Him praise?
While God has angelic beings bringing to Him praise every minute in the heavenly realm, He deeply desires for us to choose to praise Him. Perhaps even more when our praise requires eyes of faith to express it!
Psalms 22:3 (Darby)
3 And thou art holy, thou that dwellest amid the praises of Israel.
If we could more fully see this truth: that God in some way dwells in or is seated in the midst of the praise of His people, we would no doubt spend more time in praising His holy Name and significantly less time seeking more of what this world has to offer.
Psalms 100:4 (AMP)
4 Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name!
Do you desire to draw near to God? The Psalmist instructs that we can enter His gates with Thanksgiving and proceed into His courts with praise. Oh how our Father desires and delights in our thanksgiving and praise.
Psalms 63:3-5 (AMP)
3 Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.
4 So will I bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name.
5 My whole being shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips
Psalms 150:6 (NASB95)
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!