Dog Days of Summer – Part 5

(John 10:10 AMP) The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

(1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…

The Bible talks a lot about praise.

(Psalms 34:1-3 NLT) I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak His praises. (2) I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. (3) Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.

(Psalms 117:1 NLT) Praise the LORD, all you nations. Praise Him, all you people of the earth.

(Psalms 150:6 NLT) Let everything that breathes sing praises to the LORD! Praise the LORD!

What Does Praise Look Like?
  1. Praise puts God in first place.
  • It is remembering and recounting who He is and what He has done, instead of wallowing in the mire of self-absorption.
  • Praise turns our eyes from ourselves to God. It focuses our thoughts on His majesty and power and invites others to do the same.

(Psalms 25:15 NLT) My eyes are always on the LORD, for He rescues me from the traps of my enemies.

  1. Praise flows out of our friendship with God.
  • You cannot brag about someone you do not know – at least your bragging cannot be truthful and sincere.
  • Although praise may start with what you know about God, it must eventually progress to what you yourself have experienced of Him.

(Psalms 34:8 NKJV) Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

  • This is when praise becomes more than a choice or duty.
  1. Praise is a decision.
  • Praise is an act of your will and is not based on your emotions or feelings. You don’t have to feel great or even good or okay to praise the Lord.
  • Despite the many things in your life that may seem to be wrong, praise is your conscious choice because you know that God is the answer to your problems.

(Psalms 42:5-6 NLT) Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise Him again–my Savior and (6) my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember You–even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.

(Acts 16:25-26 NKJV) But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. (26) Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.

  1. Praise is a willing sacrifice.

(Leviticus 22:29 NKJV) And when you offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the LORD, offer it of your own free will.

(Psalms 54:6 NIV) I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, LORD, for it is good.

(Hebrews 13:15 NKJV) Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.

  • Two times that the Bible teaches we should praise God: when we feel like it and when we don’t.
  • You may not feel like praising Him, and in truth, it may be quite difficult for you to look beyond the difficulties in your life. Yet when you choose to open your lips and speak forth your adoration, gratitude, and thanksgiving to God, you please Him.
  • The sacrifice of praise will not cost you any money, but it will cost you your self-centeredness and your natural tendency to dwell on whatever is wrong in your life.
  • This sacrifice can never be forced from you by someone else. You may sing or raise your hands because someone tells you to, but outward show is not inward praise. A sacrifice of praise comes from inside you.
  • It is your will taking control over your emotions and doing what God wants and empowers you to do. The sacrifice that is pleasing to God is what you give from your heart despite what you are feeling or what your circumstances are.
  1. Praise is the highest expression of your faith.
  • Faith is the highest act of praise, and praise is the highest form of faith. Both are expressions of agreement with God. It believes anything is possible with God.
  • When you have faith, you hold to His promise no matter what you see at the moment.
  • When you praise Him, you proclaim what you know to be true in spite of evidence to the contrary.

(2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NLT) (15) He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (16) Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. (17) But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!”

(2 Chronicles 20:21-25 NLT) (21) After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising Him for His holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the LORD; His faithful love endures forever!” (22) At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. (23) The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. (24) So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. (25) King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing, and other valuables–more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all!