Echoes From the Campfire

Sometimes responsibility had an uncomfortable fit, like a right boot on a left foot.”
               –Elmer Kelton  (The Day the Cowboys Quit)

     “Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
               –Jeremiah 23:4 (NLT)
Did you let God be in charge of your life last week?  If so, did you have a week of praising Him?  Remember, God designed man to praise Him.  Last week we looked at two reasons to praise.
          1)  There is the necessity to praise.
          2)  There is the command to praise.
                    “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
                     He is also to be feared above all gods.”
                            –1 Chronicles 16:25 (NKJV)
          3)  We praise because of the worthiness of God.  We don’t have to have anything to praise God; we praise Him because He is.  Whenever I go to a church and they want me to teach I almost always start with a series, “Knowing God.”  We need to know Him, and the more we know Him, the more we will praise Him.  Stephen Brown wrote, “Thanksgiving is related to acts of God on our behalf.  Praise includes those specific acts, but it goes beyond the acts of God to the reality and identity of God.”
          4)  There is the praiseworthiness of His acts.  When given a gift we like to thank the person.  In life, we always have Someone to thank.  Be careful when the world gives you praise and acclaim.  If not careful, you might start to feel that God is fortunate to have you on His side, when it is the other way around.
          5)  The alternative to praising God are unacceptable.  
                  a)  Bitterness may come and if that happens you are making the statement that is inconsistent with the nature of God.
                  b)  Stoicism to the extent of fatalism.  “I can handle it” and it robs you of joy.
                  c)  The pretension that bad is good; hurt is only an illusion.  This will rob you of the reality of the world to which God has called you to serve.
                  d)  “Mine, mine, mine”  “It’s mine–I did it.”  People here don’t praise God because they think they did it on their own.  “Life has a tendency to erase megalomania, and when it does, the refusal to praise turns into panic.” (Brown)
          6)  There is a way to praise.  We do that in every way possible.  (i.e., Psalm 150; Colossians 3:17, 23)  In everything we do we either ignore, curse, or praise God.  “Praise is living in such a way that life–everything about it–points to and praises the Creator.” (Brown)
          7)  Things happen when we praise.  The world is different.  Armed with praise we can deal with any circumstance.  Praise shows that we are in cooperation with God.  “Praise is a matter of attitude, and an attitude of praise changes the way the world looks to the believer.” (Brown)  Praise show that we believe, we know for certain the truth that God is in charge.
     God is in charge, therefore, He deserves our praise.  He will work things out in the fallen world to His will and His glory.  A wonderful promise is given us by the Lord.  “Jesus said, ‘These things I have spoke to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world.'”  (John 16:33)  Brown states that, “Praise is the essence of fulfillment.  Fear is transformed into trust, and darkness into light.”