Is Praise a Certain and Constant Practice? Devotional for February 15, 2022

Photo by Daniel Lee on

Today’s Bible reading from the Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Exodus 35-37, Psalm 26, Philippians 4

When one truly worships the triune God, having that incredible, awesome encounter with
him, one cannot help but articulate this from Psalm 26: “proclaiming thanksgiving aloud, and telling of all your wonderful deeds.” Charles Spurgeon struggled with much in his life (physical ailments, depression, a liberal drift in his Baptist denomination, etc.). In an 1886 sermon, when all of these issues were coming together, preached a sermon called, “The Happy Duty of Daily Praise.” Here’s how he started it off:

IF I were to put to you the question, “Do you pray?” the answer would be very quickly given by every Christian person, “Of course I do.” Suppose I then added, “And do you pray every day?” the prompt reply would be, “Yes; many times in the day. I could not live without prayer.” This is no more than I expect, and I will not put the question. But let me change the enquiry, and say, “Do you bless God every day? Is praise as certain and constant a practice with you as prayer?” I am not sure that the answer would be quite so certain, so general, or so prompt You would have to stop a little while before you gave the reply; and I fear, in some cases, when the
reply did come, it would be, “I am afraid I have been negligent in praise.” Well, then, dear friend, have you not been wrong? Should we omit praise any more than we omit prayer? And should not praise come daily and as many times in the day as prayer does? It strikes me that to fail in praise is as unjustifiable as to fail in prayer.

The one who vindicates is the one worthy of our praise. Do you praise God every day? Or do
you only see the negative in everything and everyone? As broken as this world is due to the
curse of sin, it’s amazing anything good happens at all. But praise be to God, good things
happen–and nothing is ‘gooder’ than the saving work of Christ!

We must address verse 8. “O Lord, I love the habitation of your house, and the place where
your glory dwells.” In the OT, the Temple was His “house.” Yet, God makes it clear in the NT
that his glory dwells in another “house,” in Christ and His people. No longer does God’s
glory dwell in a stationary, geographical place–but it now dwells in the New Temple. “And
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us–and we beheld His glory, the only glory from
the Father, full of grace and truth.” And with the Word as the foundation, Christ being the
cornerstone, 1 Peter 2:4-5:

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen
and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual
house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through
Jesus Christ.

The Church is that Temple, a spiritual Temple that will never be destroyed! No wonder that
old hymn says,

My hope is built on nothing less that Jesus’ blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name
On Christ, the solid rock I stand–all other ground is sinking sand.


Praise Must Mark the Christian: Devotional for January 7, 2022

Photo by Josh Sorenson on

Today’s Bible reading from Five Day Bible Reading Plan: Genesis 12-15; Psalm 148; Mark 5.

Praise marks the Christian! Sadly, many believe that sarcasm or joylessness or apathy or grumpiness marks Christians–for this is what all-too-many see in their encounters.

Psalm 148 is all about praise–praise that is grounded in creation! As you read this alongside Genesis 1, you can see how this psalm is tethered to that great creation chapter. As in Psalm 19, we see here how the “heavens declare the glory of God” (19:1). We look to creation and praise because “he commanded and they were created” (148:5).

“Well, I’m too sophisticated to praise!” The Psalmist reminds us that “Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth” (Psalm 148:11).

“I’m too young/old to praise.” Really? “Young men and maidens together, old men and children” (148:12). “Praise for all his saints” (148:14). No one is excluded–praise must mark the Christian.

Does it mark you? Do you believe that people will make fun of you and shun you because praising God comes across your lips? Do you believe He is truly worthy of praise? Does the reality of His salvation and all He accomplished on the cross not give you reason enough to praise Him?

Praise must mark the Christian! Dear believer, does it mark you?

A Joyful Sound That’s Doctrinally Sound Where Skills Abound and Praise Resounds

“I like the hymns!  I grew up with them!  They are part of the heritage and the heritage of the Church—and they alone should be sing in worship.”

“I like the choruses and the modern worship songs.  We are called to sing to the Lord a ‘new song’—and these new songs with the modern sounds are what should be sung to reach this generation.”

Conversations like this abound in the American evangelical church over this issue.  Writers have spilled much ink over this topic—usually under the umbrella of the topic of ‘worship wars.’  The hymns vs. choruses debate raged in the 1980’s and 1990’s—and seems to have died down a bit, thankfully.  (When I brought up the topic of hymns and choruses, one man in our church confessed that he had no idea what I was talking about—he made no distinction!  How happy I was!)

I grew up in the church heavily involved in traditional music ministry (choir, orchestra, piano/organ-backed congregational hymn singing, etc.).  I even earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in church music (B.S., Palm Beach Atlantic University; Master of Church Music, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and was a music minister for 10 years before God called me into the pastorate.

A joyful sound.  Yes, I am starting with attitude.  Musical skills are important (and I will address them soon), and doctrine is crucial, but if you want people to listen to what you sing, sing what you sing with joy!  The axiom “they won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” applies to this area as well.  Do we care about what we sing—or do we act as if we could care less?  Is it any wonder that the Psalms are filled with admonitions and encouragements to sing for joy (Psalm 95-100)?

that’s doctrinally sound … Here we examine the actual content of a song.  Is the song doctrinally sound and Scripturally bound?  Sadly, fewer and fewer look at the words they are singing but simply to the singability and rhythm exclusively—and whether they can get them into an emotional ‘state’ worship.  Paul instructed Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).  One of the main functions of worship music is to teach about the glory of God and the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  Having certain emotions is not the main desire, but truth should be the fuel to those emotions.  The joy comes from knowing that what we are singing about (and, more importantly, Who we are singing about) is true!

where skills abound … Skills?  Am I saying that all worship leaders need to sing like Michael Buble? Play guitar like Christopher Parkening?  Play drums like Buddy Rich?  Piano like Horowitz?  No, not at all.  What I am saying is that the Psalmist implores those leading God’s people in worship to “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts” (Psalm 33:3).  When David was organizing the musicians for leading worship in the Temple, he gathered “all who were skillful” (1 Chronicles 25:7) in various instruments to lead.  Granted, this is relative.  Not everyone has equal skills, but everyone can offer the skills they have as an offering of praise to God.

and praise resounds.  What a witness it is to lead people to praise the living God who sent His Son for our justification!  To think how Christ bore the wrath of God toward our sin upon His shoulders to satisfy as a propitiation so we would not have to face the penalty that was due us.  What mercy and grace!  To this, we offer that sacrifice of praise.  We have come full circle.