Praising God Reminds us of Hope with Joy and Love

Hallelujah!
How good it is to sing to our God,
 for praise is pleasant and lovely.
(Psalm 147:1)

PRAISING GOD REMINDS US OF HOPE

What happens when we praise God? For one thing, He is honored and revered. But it does something to us, too. As we focus on and worship Him with our praise, our spirits are lifted. For a time, we set aside our aches and pains, sorrows and hurts, and any other troubles and remember God’s great love for us. We remember the sacrifice of Jesus, who died in our place, and then rose triumphantly from the grave. Praising God reminds us of hope. We remember that:

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars; he gives names to all of them.
Our Lord is great, vast in power; his understanding is infinite.
The Lord helps the oppressed but brings the wicked to the ground.
(Psalm 147:3-6)

We were not able to attend church today, because my sciatic pain was a little too much. Instead, we first listened to a sermon, by Timothy Keller, entitled A New Community. It was based on Acts 2:40-47, but to get the whole story, read all of Acts 2. In Jerusalem at that time there were a number of people from different countries, who spoke different languages, who didn’t have much in common. There were believers and non-believers.

In that passage, we see that the number of believers grew substantially, after Peter’s sermon on Pentecost and in the following days. It wasn’t because Peter was such a good preacher or because the church had evangelistic programs, etc.

What caused so many from the larger community to come and join them? They saw that these Christians had new life, infused in them by the Holy Spirit, such that things like race, status, etc., didn’t matter. Christianity was inclusive, and they saw that all were equal in God’s sight, and they enjoyed being together.

PRAISING GOD COVERS ALL OF LIFE

Tim Keller summed up what those early Christians did with these three words: Learning, Loving, Liturgy.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, 
to the fellowship,
to the breaking of bread,
and to prayer.
(Acts 2:42)

These verses explain it more fully:

Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple,
and broke bread from house to house.
They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, 

praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.
Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
(Acts 2:46-47)

So how can these things draw people in? Yes, they enjoyed being together, were kind to all, took care of each other, but there was something more. There was a power behind what they did that is only present through the Holy Spirit, who enabled them to desire to learn, to have such love and to worship and praise. That covers all of life. Praising God is powerful.

“Praising God is the dynamite; praising God is the engine.”

Timothy Keller

After that statement, he shared this quote by C. S. Lewis, because it is so fitting.

“I think we delight to praise what we enjoy, because the praise does not merely express, but completes the enjoyment.”

C. S. Lewis

When we see beauty or something else that touches us deeply, we don’t just want to enjoy it on our own. We want to share it with others, to hear them say, “Yes, that is beautiful.” That way we share the moment together and that makes our enjoyment complete.

These early Christians loved to learn, loved to be together, loved to worship and praise. They had a joy that was unmistakable, so much so that they had to share it. As they praised and shared with each other, their enjoyment was made complete.

GOD’S LOVE ENCOURAGES US TO LOVE EACH OTHER

After pondering Tim’s words, we decided to watch our own church’s service online. It was almost like we were there, yet not able to join in completely. Still it was a blessing. Imagine our surprise when the sermon went right along what we had heard in Tim Keller’s sermon. This time the words were from 1 John 4.

Love consists in this:
not that we loved God, but that he loved us 
and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 
Dear friends, if God loved us in this way,
we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. 
If we love one another, God remains in us
and his love is made complete in us.
(1 John 4:10-12)

No one has seen God, but we make Him known by our actions. He has first loved us, and because of His love we can love others. Besides the general revelation of creation, we are God’s representation on earth. When we remember His great love for us, we want to love Him more and will also want to show that love to others. We can do this by practicing the three things Tim Keller summed up for us: Learning, Loving, Liturgy. As we do these things with joy, others can’t help but see the love of God in practice.

PRAISING GOD REMINDS US OF HOPE AND GIVES US JOY

I began this post with the first verse of Psalm 147. Let’s end with a few more verses from that psalm. Will you join me in praising the Lord for His goodness and mercy to all creation?

Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; play the lyre to our God, who covers the sky with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, and causes grass to grow on the hills.
He provides the animals with their food, and the young ravens what they cry for.

He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; he does not value the power of a warrior.
The Lord values those who fear him, those who put their hope in his faithful love.
(Psalm 147:7-11)

God’s love is eternal and unchanging. When we put our trust in His love, we are reminded of the value we are to our heavenly Father. I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope, fills me with joy and makes me want to praise Him.

Photo taken one afternoon zooming in with my Galaxy S22 phone camera.

My #oneword2022 is hope.

I’m linking up with: #InspireMeMonday, Lisa Burgess with #oneword2022, #MondayMusings

18 thoughts on “Praising God Reminds us of Hope with Joy and Love

  1. Love this Gayl & I love it when God has a theme going or when He really wants us to listen to a particular message He has for us & sends it in Stereo! 😊
    Blessings my friend,
    Jennifer

    1. Yes, He knows how to get our attention! I am just seeing your comment, because for some reason it went to the spam folder, but I immediately approved it. Not sure why that happened. Thanks so much for you encouragement. Blessings to you!

    1. Yes, very healing! It’s sometimes hard to praise when we are not feeling well, but if we make the effort to do it, we end up feeling better or at least have better attitudes. Blessings to you! xo

  2. Oh, you have hit right where I have been this summer. It has been a summer of beautiful celebrations – but there has been deep heartache. When I found my thoughts spiraling in a vicious circle of overthink, I had to intentionally look to Him and start praising God for who He is. It has saved me, allowed me to vintage the blessing He lines my day with – and the peace He offers with it – but it takes repetitive effort to keep my heart high where He is!

    1. I hope you were encouraged, Maryleigh. Yes, sometimes we have to intenionally start praising Him. Then we see so much more all around us to be thankful for. He really does open our eyes. But, yes, it takes “repetitive effort” as you said. Blessings to you! xo

  3. Thank you for sharing these beautiful Scriptures and encouragement to lift our praises. It was such a blessing to read the process of your thoughts as the Lord helped you internalize the sermons and His Word. And your photo of the daylight moon is such a gift of God’s creation! He is so worthy of our praises! Blessings, love, and hugs dear sister.

    1. Thank you, Bettie. I am glad you were blessed. I love that photo, too. I’m so glad I happened to be outside at that time and saw it! Yes, He is so worthy of our praise. Blessings, love and hugs to you, too, my dear sister! xoxo

    1. Thank you, Corinne. I have not heard of those books. I may have to look into them. Praising God certainly is powerful; I am sure of that. Blessings to you! xo

  4. Sharing the love of God with others really does complete the cycle. I pray that your pain will lessen in the days ahead, Gayl. Thanks for linking up at our One Word linkup!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! The sciatic pain has eased up some, but I just recovering from a virus now with remaining sinus headache, but I am doing much better! Blessings to you, dear Lisa! xo

  5. Thank you, Gayl, such good counsel here for when we feel “less hope”. I needed this reminder today, as I walk a hard path of discouragement, thank you!

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