Thursday, February 19, 2009

"Joyful Praise"

"Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 150:6

When my daughter was a little girl, I taught her at a very early age to lift her hands and "praise the Lord". A few days ago I started teaching my granddaughter, who is now a year old, to raise her hands and "praise the Lord". She was sitting in her high chair and I raised her little arms up and said, "Praise the Lord." Tuesday when she was over she was in her high chair and I was sitting at the table listening to some up beat praise music. Not thinking she would remember "how to" praise the Lord, I started singing the song that was playing and said to her, "Praise the Lord". She raised her little arms up high, lifted her eyes toward the ceiling and began smiling with a great big smile.

A little later that afternoon we were sitting in a chair and I said to her, "Praise the Lord". What she did next really surprised me. She raised her little arms, looked up, started smiling with a great big grin, then looked at me and started clapping. For several minutes (of course, I joined in with her) she repeated this: she lifted her hands, clapped and smiled.. and even tried to sing. It was thrilling to my heart. I didn't teach her to smile, look up or clap her hands- I taught her to raise her arms when you praise the Lord.

I am not just bragging on my granddaughter this morning, I am making a point. When we praise the Lord, we should do it with joy!! There should be an excitement in our praise because of who He is and what He has done. I have been around many people during "praise and worship" time and they barely open their mouths, they will not lift their hands, they do not clap, they had a sad and sullen expression on their face. Please don't misunderstand, I am not criticizing or judging I am wondering why there is no expression of joy. There is a chorus who's words are: "When I think about His goodness and what He's done for me. When I think of His goodness and how He's set me free, I want to 'clap, jump, shout'." When I start thinking about all that He has done for me, I can't contain myself sometimes. I was in the prison of sin, I was living in darkness, I was dead in trespasses and sin, I had the condemnation of death on me, I was heading to judgment guilty, I was lost, wretched and dirty and Jesus reached into the pit and rescued me and set my feet upon a rock, took off my grave clothes, put a robe of righteousness on me, translated me from death to life, darkness to light, took my place in the judgment hall and wrote my name in the Book of Life. Just thinking about it now makes me want to stop and lift my hands in praise and adoration at His merciful goodness toward me. I said all that to say that whether my little granddaughter fully understands what it means to "praise the Lord" or not, the excitement, enthusiasm and joy that she expressed was one that we/I can take a lesson from.

Have a great day. Is there joy in your praise to God?

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