Whoo Hooo It's Friday!
turning to the book

praise in every verse

Praise1Dr. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California was once asked, "What will believers do in heaven?"

It's a fair question. After all, those of us who have placed our faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ anticipate an eternity of being with Him (John 14:3).

Dr. Jeremiah found an answer in such verses as Revelation 19:5 and Revelation 15:3. His answer? "...we are going to praise God in every conceivable way."

I thought about that answer. The radio pastor of The Turning Point continued in his exposition with the application that if we are going to spend eternity praising God, we can - and should - begin practicing such a life now.

Continuing to meditate on Dr. Jeremiah's message I wondered: Does every verse of the Bible contain a reason - or reasons - for praising God.  I believe so.

Praise2

Why? Well, because worship and God's Word are foundational to a believer's relationship to God. It's almost instinctual that the first thing a new believer wants to do is thank God for the way of salvation that only Jesus provides. What was broken in Adam is restored in Jesus Christ. As there are pictures throughout God's Word establishing the idea that the Son of God is the sinner's sacrifice for sin and believing that truth makes a way for us to "come home" to God, finding "the Way" fills the heart to overflowing. The new song in our hearts is a song of praise and of thanksgiving! (Psalm 40:3) God's Word helps to establish that truth in our hearts.

How can praise be found in every verse of God's Word? Ask and answer one question: What does this verse tell me about God and about life which can inspire praise? Turn to any verse in God's Word, ask that question, and immediately a believer finds thoughts bubbling up like a refreshing spring. It's not magic - it's the majesty of God woven into the Word of God.

For example - take the shortest verse in the Bible. John 11:35, "Jesus wept." Immediately I can be grateful for the humanity of Jesus who was moved by the suffering and death of a friend to the point of tears. I can be grateful that Jesus cares for me; his tears are proof. I am reminded that the context is one of resurrecting his friend which would be the reason why religious leaders of Jesus' day would seek His death - which would secure salvation for the world and for me. Cross-referencing John 11:35 to Psalm 103:13 reminds me that the compassion of my Savior is rich, and deep, and very real. Like an unassembled puzzle, the pieces are abundant and seemingly confusing, but the more the pieces are considered, the more they come together to produce a beautiful image.

So what? Well if every verse contains an abundance of content producing praise, why wait until heaven? Begin now to let God's Word inspire praise to God. Discovering a new reason for gratitude, for admiration, for adoration, for reverence moves me to respond with prayer: "Thank you, Lord, that you demonstrated such love for a friend that it moved you to tears. Move me today, to care for those around me by pointing them to You, the source of my joy and my salvation." Discovering the praise in the words of God's book leads me to living out His word in new and practical ways. If Jesus was moved to tears, and then acted on behalf of His friend, what can I do to demonstrate God's love to others around me? Practicing the power of praise now helps me to experience some of the celebration I will experience in heaven.

In one of my favorite books, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson reminds believers that "Worship is an act which develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God which is expressed in an act of worship." The same truth can be applied to praise as well. The Word of God contains an inexhaustible source of praise inspiration. No matter where, no matter when, as I read its words and meditate on its content, I will find new and wonderful reasons to praise my Savior and my God. Read God's Word today and discover for yourself that heaven can begin now as we turn our hearts to praise our God.

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