Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shepastor: "Highlights from the Seven Meanings of Praise Series: Tehillah!"

This week, Shepastor highlights excerpts from another sermon in the series I gave a few years ago at my church, “The Seven Meanings of Praise.” As we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday, we have many reasons to Praise the Lord! The focus of this sermon was the praise word, “Tehillah.” Read on and be blessed… “Seven Meanings of Praise” Series: Tehillah Tehillah is derived from the word halal and means "the singing of halals, to sing or to laud; perceived to involve music, especially singing; hymns of the Spirit.”
Psalm 33:1, KJV Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright
Our sermon text for today is taken from Psalm 33:1. Psalm 33: 1 declares, Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright
Another translation says, “… praise is befitting or becoming to the upright." Sometimes we will see someone with a nice outfit on or a new hairstyle and we’ll say, “that really becomes you…” Or we’ll see someone in a new position or carrying themselves a certain way and we’ll say, “that position befits you, becomes you, suits you.” What we are really saying when we use those terms is that whatever the person is wearing or has done to their hair or the new position that they are in looks good on them – it fits them – it is appropriate for them - it suits them.
The Psalmist in our text suggested that “Praise” befits, suits, or in our common vernacular “looks good” on the people of God. In other words, the Psalmist was making the case up front that the saints, the people of God, the righteous ought to be dressed up in praise. Praise ought to flow from our being. Praise ought to exude from our spirits. Praise ought to be the garment of the righteous. When people see us coming, they ought to see praise all over us, as children of God.
Our Sermon Subject for today is, “Praise Looks Good on You!” There is so much in the world today to be down about. Famine, wars, a downward spiraling economy, violence, joblessness, terrorism, disease – you name it – the world’s got it. Things were no different in the days of the Psalmist. Enemy nations frequently sought to steal, kill and destroy the land belonging to the children of Israel. Men, women, boys and girls at various times and for various reasons feared for their lives.
They constantly had to reassure themselves that even in the midst of the most terrible and turbulent times, God was with them. The Psalmist, it appears, sought to remind the people of God that no matter what trials and struggles they were facing God is in control. The Psalmist wanted the people of God to remind themselves of who they were serving, who they trust and the power He has to save. He reminded them that God sits high and looks low. God sees all, knows all and is watching all. God speaks and it is so. God’s counsel stands forever. God’s plans and purposes will prevail. It is not by might, nor by power, but by God’s spirit that the people of God rise in victory over their enemies and that is why we should praise the Lord.
Depression, oppression, perpetual sorrow, sadness and worry do not befit, suit or look good on the child of God. The oppression of the enemy does not suit, befit or look good on the child of God because our God is bigger than any trial, situation or circumstance that the enemy can throw at us. Emotional bondage, constant complaining, constant drama in the life of the child of God is not befitting, does not suit, does not look good on the child of God. It does not suit you!
That does not mean that we won’t experience sorrow or worry, or struggle, trials or problems. It means that the child of God walks in the conviction that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!” The child of God walks in the blessed assurance that the Lord’s mercies are new every morning – great is God’s faithfulness!” The child of God walks in the favor of God, knowing that everything somehow is going to work together for our good. Therefore, the child of God “puts on” the garment of praise and makes the bold declaration, “I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth! The child of God praises God in advance for His blessings and His deliverance.” The child of God lifts up holy hands, bows down his or her head, shouts in triumph, plucks the strings of their heart and declares, “be exalted, O God above my situation and circumstances – I will let your glory be all over me!”
The child of God dresses up in praise because praise is befitting for us. In other words, the garments of a mean spirit, the garments of anger and hostility, the garments of narrow mindedness, the garments of a resentful and unappreciative heart don’t suit us. We sing the praises of our God in the good times and the bad – no matter what we go through because we understand that God is with us, that God is for us and that God will take care of us, no matter what the situation may be. The child of God also understands that we are the hands and the feet of Jesus. That God wants to use us to help relieve pain, to help feed the hungry, to help clothe the naked – that our garment of praise is obvious to all by the love and the care and the compassion that we show.
Our garments of praise are more than just lip-service. Our garments of praise are “life-service.” The way we walk, the way we talk the way we treat people, the songs we sing, the love we show, the compassion we give, the prayers we pray, the gifts and talents we share all are examples of our garments of praise. So the child of God says, “Tehillah!” My heart will sing praises unto the Lord and I will be dressed up in the garment of praise! Tehillah – My spirit will sing praises unto the Lord because it is right, it is befitting, it is suits me as a child of God. I will not dress up in garments of darkness, gloom and doom. But I will shine like the sun the “sun” and the “Son!” I will dress up in the garments of praise – Tehillah! I will sing with my whole being praises unto the Lord our God for praise fits the child of God. God is worthy of our praise, worthy of our thanksgiving, worthy of our shouts, worthy of our uplifted hands, worthy of our bended knees – worthy of our praise no matter what we are going through. Give God your Tehillah praise today!
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Have a blessed, peaceful and Tehillah praise filled Thanksgiving Day!
In faith, hope and perseverance, Pastor Chris

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