Posts tagged ‘People’

Evolution of Praise

First off, allow me to say that however one chooses to praise God is not for me to judge. I love watching all kinds of praisers. It’s all beautiful to me. This post, however, is just a look at my own evolution as a praiser and lover of God, because the way that I give myself to Him now is far different from where I used to be.

I grew up in a Missionary baptist church. I loved it for what it was. I accepted salvation there. I was baptized there. I preached my first sermon there. That church gave me my formative development as a person and as a Christian. I still consider that my genesis. I heard many types of preachers there. There were the fiery ones, the expositive ones, the quietly effective ones, etc. We sang hymns, and had a church choir that actually had SATB voices, with people who knew the technical aspects of beautiful music. SO we praised God with polish and refinement. There was no lifting of hands, merely a quiet reverence for God.

This was fine with me, because at that point in my life, I was not fully committed to God, and so I figured that singing my best was the best way that I could give God praise. Going to churches with “free praisers” scared me. I thought that “those” people were absolutely out of their minds. My friends and I would make fun of people who danced and lifted their hands. We were bougie. “Look at that woman shouting!” “Look at that old man doing that jig!” We were ignorant. We barely knew God. We had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit. We served God out of a duty to the church.

When I got married, I moved over to my wife’s church. We would visit there frequently while we were engaged, and this church was in the midst of a powerful revival in the Holy Spirit. Even while I didn’t understand what was happening around me, I knew that even the air was different. The music was catchy, with a great beat and some great vocals. The singing, while not always pretty and refined, was so sincere. The people clapped and sang at the top of their lungs. This was a raw atmosphere. People danced and passed out. The Pastor of the church walked on the pews when he got “happy” during service. Sometimes, (EGAD), he didn’t even preach and the people just sat moaned for God. What was this? It wasn’t until I joined the church and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I really began to understand what praise was. Even then, I praised God out of my emotion. I would dance and do a high step. I would clap and shout. Deep inside of me though, something was missing. I knew it, but I so enjoyed praising in that atmosphere. Man, just thinking about it makes me smile.

When my wife and I moved to the church we currently reside in, something strange happened. Over the last 7 years, I have received training in the knowledge of who God is, why He is so worthy of my highest praise, and how to let go. I’ve spent time in the word with God. I have encountered a God who had been a distant relative before, but has not become my closest friend. I have experience God in ways that I never would have imagined, and He has completely shattered everything that I thought that I knew about Him time after time after time. With each “rediscovery”, I have felt my level of exuberance in praise increase. I have gone from standing completely still and lifting my hands, to jumping up and down like a wild man, crying out so loudly that I can barely sing, dancing on stage. I have gone from being reserved and wondering what everyone else was doing, to closing my eyes and becoming “undignified” in the presence of my God.

One of my favorite stories about David is when the Ark of the Covenant came back. The Bible talks about how David took off his clothes and dances in his skivvies in front of all of his subjects and the people of Israel. When his wife questioned his sanity, he proudly declared that he would become even more undignified, because God’s Presence returning was worth every celebration…and more. Now, David was a king. He went hard for God in front of everyone without a single ounce of embarrassment. He knew that he was celebrating for an audience of One.

And this is where I am right now. The God that I now know is simply too good for me to sit still. I know Him too well now to just give Him a cursory nod and keep on moving. I choose to exhaust my limbs and move my body, I choose to offer up my voice with all of it’s imperfections and cracks. I choose to not let singing the wrong notes bother me. I choose rather, to focus on Him, knowing that He inhabits my praise, and while it is not perfect, it is all for Him, and Him alone.

Simply put, as I’be grown in Him, I’ve grown in my willingness to give Him my all in praise. I do know this, though. However you choose to praise God is a praise that God accepts willingly from you. You don’t have to imitate anyone else. All He wants is a praise that comes from your heart, and however that looks for you, if your heart is engaged, God is pleased.

Have a great evening! Be blessed, peeps.

Breaking New Ground

“Have you been released”

Ex 18:13-16- Moses handling disputes for all the people. Jethro asks him why he does this. Moses says that he is trying to inform the people of God’s decrees and instructions.

In these scriptures, Moses was playing a role put on him by the people, so much so that he began to believe that was his role as well.

1. Be released from others
Mark 10:46-52- Jesus and Bartimaeus.

Bartimaeus doesn’t care what anybody thinks about him. He hears that Jesus is near and grabs the opportunity. He didn’t let what others thought about him keep him from Jesus! How many times DON’T we do what God wants us to do because of what others think or might think of us? Bartimaeus threw down his coat and ran to Jesus.

That coat was his life, so when he cast it aside, he was leaving his life behind, leaving his role behind, casting all aside to follow Jesus. He didnt know that Jesus was gonna heal him, but he cast aside everything by faith, believing that there is something better for him that Jesus has.

What is the one thing that has kept us in spiritual darkness?
Why are you holding on to it?

If Bartimaeus had not seized the opportunity, he probably would have died. We can’t let what others think of us decide who we are. Jesus has better for us.

2. We have to be released from ourselves.

Moses probably thought he was doing the will of God, but Jethro set him to the truth. His solution freed Moses up to lead the way that God wanted. Its the same with us. We put pressures on ourselves to earn Gods favor.

Romans 3:25- For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe….

Oftentimes we think we need to be a certain person for God to accept us. We don’t need to fix ourselves up before God.

Heb 12:1-2- Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses…. 12- take a new grip with your tu red hands amd strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
Stop worrying about our past sins amd failures. Focus on Jesus and run toward Him. When we become released from the things that have kept us from God, we become released TO God. Then God can reveal Himself to us. Once Moses was free from the expectations of the people, God revealed Himself at Sinai in Exodus 19.