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Don't Judge My Praise...If You Don't Know My Story (Part I)

Psalms 148 (NLT) says: “Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from the heavens! Praise him from the skies! Praise him, all his angels! Praise him, all the armies of heaven! Praise him, sun and moon! Praise him, all you twinkling stars! Praise him, skies above! Praise him, vapors high above the clouds! Let every created thing give praise to the Lord, for he issued his command, and they came into being. He set them in place forever and ever. His decree will never be revoked. Praise the Lord from the earth, you creatures of the ocean depths, fire and hail, snow and clouds, wind and weather that obey him, mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all livestock, small scurrying animals and birds, kings of the earth and all people, rulers and judges of the earth, young men and young women, old men and children. Let them all praise the name of the Lord. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven! He has made his people strong, honoring his faithful ones— the people of Israel who are close to him. Praise the Lord!”

So what is praise? What does that mean… If the heavens, the angels, the sun the moon, the earth and every living thing on the earth, the weather, and men and women of all kind are petitioned to praise the Lord?! What is praise? And how does the sun and the moon praise God? FIRST let's look at the definition.

Praise simply means: to pay tribute to, to honor, to express approval or value of, to speak highly of, to demonstrate admiration for someone or something.

We praise one another often, right? Complementing each other on: Their hair, nails, dress, heels... But if the sun - which is the single most important source of energy for life here on earth - is praising God, that means: (1) The sun orbits around the Milky Way galaxy; (2) Rises and shines to bring us daylight and energy; and (3) Disappears beneath the horizon every evening at sunset... All according to God's perfect plan, bringing attention to the fundamental truth of gods word: that HE is the Creator of this world and He has dominion over all things. If the moon is praising God, that means that it reflects the sun's light at night… Never too bright and never to dull... it gives us just enough moonlight to fulfill God's perfect plan, bringing honor to the creative and infinite power of our God. So, if the sun and moon are praising God just by being and doing what they were created to be and do… What does that mean for us? Are we being and doing what God created us for? Does the way we live our lives complement God?

If you continue to read on in the book of Psalms, you'll see that Psalms 150 tells us that humanity's response to the revelation of God often comes, not just by honoring God with our words, but also by using our gifts - through: singing, dancing and playing all kinds of instruments to the glory of God. And I love the way Romans 12:6-8 puts it: “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” That's what it looks like when mankind praises God...we use the gifts that God has given us; and we offer them right back to him. That is what brings glory to God.

For me: God has given me a gift of creativity, and a heart for poetry so I offer up praises to God through my poetry. Whether it's in front of a congregation, in my home, and even at work, I use my gift to honor God - because that's what he created it for!

Giving God praise, honor and glory requires us to be who he created us to be... fulfilling the purpose that he has called us to and paying tribute to Him for ordaining it. It's like telling God "You were right when you made me; so I will use every gift that you have given me to pay tribute, to honor and to demonstrate admiration for YOU!" We should be using our positions in life - wherever we find ourselves – to bring recognition and praise to God. All the blessings that the Gift Giver has given us, we should be using them to offer praise back to Him. Even through our disappointments, insecurities and weaknesses -- we should command even them to be used for the glory of God. You might ask, how can my insecurities and weaknesses and disappointments be used for Gods glory? God's Word says in 2 Cor 12:9 that His power is made perfect in our weakness. So when we are weak and have come to the end of ourselves - our intellect or abilities - then, if we are submitted to Christ, that's when He does His best work in our lives. That's when we are assured that it's not us. But it's God who gave us the answer, or that promotion, or that helps us resist temptation, or heals us when we are sick, or delivers us from the hand of Satan. And that's when we start to share our testimony – because we recognize God's sovereignty.

Praise is not meant to be an outward show for the sake of people pleasers and attention seekers. It is birthed out of our genuine love for God and often increases through our encounters with him through life.

What do I mean by that?

Well, I didn't always realize I had this gift of creativity. I've been writing all my life… But I allowed the enemy to keep me blinded from seeing God's purpose for that in my life. So I backed down from every opportunity God gave me to share my gift. I hid behind my insecurities, guilt, pain. I hid behind others who obviously had the same gift but it looked very different from mine. So I told myself I wasn't good enough to except the calling that God had on my life even as a child.

It wasn't until I turned 33 years old that I began to see my creative writing and desire for poetry as a gift from God!

For 33 years, I allowed the enemy to steal my vision, kill my joy and destroy my dreams. I was fighting a battle with the enemy and I was losing because I didn't even realize there was a war going on.

BUT one day! I went to God with a new prayer. And the first thing he did was renew my praise! He renewed my desire for him. So I began to see God differently. And I began to walk differently and make different decisions. And my life started to change right before my own eyes. And before I knew it, not only was I walking in my purpose… But I launched a Ministry - whose primary purpose is to use creative arts to promote God's agenda. I never would have guessed that that would be part of my story....

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