The Praise Perspective
You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
It is the tendency in most of us to plan our days and weeks according to the activities and work we need to accomplish. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but have you ever noticed how our schedules can become a distraction? The here and now so often grasps our attention that we forget that this life is temporal. But praise transforms our perspective—and that is a good and glorious thing.
In the book of Revelation, John was given the opportunity to look through the “door standing open in heaven” and see into the very throne room of Glory—to get a glimpse of eternal praise (Revelation 4:1). John was profoundly affected by the reality of eternity.
We are constantly pressured to think only about our present circumstances. Worship changes all of that. It reminds us that our current reality is a temporary stop on our way to the unseen reality of heaven. When we enter the presence of God through worship, everything that is going on in life is immediately brought into perspective by the eternal. We see life from God’s perspective—and everything changes. Praise transforms our perspective.
We would worry less if we praised more. Thanksgiving is the enemy of discontent and dissatisfaction. Henry A. Ironside
Praise and worship brings perspective
As God instructed Joshua about how the Israelites would take possession of the Promised Land, He included a vital instruction: to meditate on His law day and night and to obey everything it said. This would guarantee success.
Meditation is still crucial for believers today. In our culture, we are inundated by worldly values and godless priorities. Unless we guard our heart, it will slowly begin to accept these unrighteous standards.
Therefore, we should discipline ourselves to meditate daily upon God’s Word, focusing our attention on His character and His ways. This involves prayerfully reading Scripture, being silent before the Lord so we can hear from Him, and applying biblical truth to our lives.
Of course, these things don’t just happen. Distractions take away from our ability to focus, so it is necessary to set aside a time when we can be still and listen. Consider the benefits of doing so. Meditation …
• Quiets our spirit and provides an avenue for God to purify our heart.
• Develops a hunger for the Word so we can gain deeper understanding of Jesus and greater sense of His power.
• Improves our discernment about His direction for our life.
• Sharpens our awareness of His presence.
Meditation may involve a small sacrifice of rising earlier or giving up free time during the day. But living a Christ-centered life filled with peace and joy depends upon our commitment to focus our mind and heart on Him regularly. Are you willing to discipline yourself to set aside time each day?
“And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)
Some claim that the Old Testament knows nothing of a resurrection, but this promise of God clearly refutes such a notion. Not only will some be raised to everlasting life, but some to everlasting shame and contempt!
What a bitter end this will be for those who now look with contempt upon the Bible. The Hebrew word translated “contempt” is used only one other time, in the very last verse of Isaiah, but is there translated “abhorring.” “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh” (Isaiah 66:24).
There is probably no doctrine of the Bible more hated by unbelievers than the doctrine of everlasting punishment. It was this teaching (not the imaginary evidence for evolution) that turned Charles Darwin away from God. Nevertheless, it was verified by Christ Himself. “It is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where . . . the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:47-48). Christ will say to the “goats” on His left hand, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: . . . these shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41, 46). Paul also warned that those who “obey not the gospel . . . shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). Everlasting contempt, everlasting fire, everlasting punishment, everlasting destruction—these await all who reject God and His saving word, through Christ. How much better to “awake to everlasting life”! HMM
2 Chronicles 34:1-4
2 Chronicles 34:1, 2
What a vast difference can grace make in persons of the same age. Manasseh began to reign at twelve and Josiah at eight; Manasseh was piously trained by Hezekiah, Josiah was brought up under wicked Amon; yet Manasseh plunged into foul idolatries, and Josiah was tender and holy. The Spirit of God bloweth where he chooses.
2 Chronicles 34:3
He did not wait a moment longer than his juvenile age compelled him, but as soon as ever he was a man he acted the part of a man of God.
2 Chronicles 34:4
Thus shewing contempt for idolatry in every possible manner.
2 Kings 23:15-20
2 Kings 23:20
This was gloriously thorough work. We need such a man now to cleanse our land from the images of Rome which are everywhere being set up by misguided men. If God does not soon interpose, our beloved country will be a Popish land once more. O Lord, frustrate the knavish tricks of Jesuits and others who are now perverting our fellow-countrymen!
2 Kings 22:3-7
2 Kings 22:7
Pulling down is not enough; there should be building up. Many are hasty to amend abuses, but are not half as ready to help the good cause. Former kings had used the temple as a sort of bank, from which to take gold and silver in their times of distress; but Josiah was anxious to restore it to its former splendour. It is pleasing to find one so young doing so great a work for the Lord. May the sons of our family be Josiahs.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. (John 13:14)
The Lordship of Jesus is not quite forgotten among Christians, but it has been relegated to our hymn book, where all responsibility toward it may be comfortably discharged in a glow of pleasant religious emotion.
The idea that the Man Christ Jesus has absolute and final authority over all its members in every detail of their lives is simply not accepted as true by the rank and file of evangelical Christians.
To avoid the necessity of either obeying or rejecting the plain instruction of our Lord in the New Testament, we take refuge in a liberal interpretation of them. We find ways to avoid the sharp point of obedience, comfort carnality and make the words of Christ of none effect. And the essence of it all is that “Christ simply could not have meant what He said.” Dare we admit that His teachings are accepted even theoretically only after they have been weakened by “interpretation”? Dare we confess that even in our public worship, the influence of the Lord is very small? We sing of Him and preach about Him, but He must not interfere!
“And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.” Ezek. 20:43
When we are accepted of the Lord, and are standing in the place of favor, and peace, and safety, then we are led to repent of all our failures and miscarriages toward our gracious God. So precious is repentance, that we may call it a diamond of the first water, and this is sweetly promised to the people of God as one most sanctifying result of salvation. He who accepts repentance, also gives repentance; and He gives it not out of “the bitter box,” but from among those “wafers made with honey” on which He feeds His people. A sense of blood-bought pardon and of undeserved mercy, is the best means of dissolving a heart of stone. Are we feeling hard? Let us think of covenant love, and then we shall leave sin, lament sin, and loathe sin; yea, we shall loathe ourselves for sinning against such infinite love. Let us come to God with this promise of penitence, and ask Him to help us to remember, and repent, and regret, and return. Oh, that we could enjoy the meltings of holy sorrow! What a relief would a flood of tears be! Lord, smite the rock, or speak to the rock, and cause the waters to flow!