The importance of praise and worship to the "true believer" cannot be emphasized enough! Especially if that person is interested in exploring and experiencing the depths of God's Glory!   IICor. 3:18, lets us know we can be changed from one level of glory into a greater dimension of glory. In Strong's Concordance the word for change is "metamorphoo" and implies a transformation even as a caterpillar's true destiny is a beautiful butterfly. And so the first of many changes we want to discuss, is for the heart of intimate believer to change from earthly to Heavenly. How?  By thanksgiving, praise, and ultimately worship!  "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"(IThes.5:18).  It has been said, if we knew our future, life's intrigue would be gone. I'm inclined to agree, however, not knowing what I may face in the future, has nothing to do with the thanks I need to give Jesus, and truthfully I owe Him all my thanks for His spectacular gift of Salvation!

In observing Rom. 1:21,  "Because that, when they knew God they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." The beginning of a foolish heart may not be what we do, but rather what we have neglected to do, and that is to become a being of continual thanksgiving! To reject God is to neglect to thank Him. We can see this by looking at our own nation's past. I quote Abraham Lincoln: "It has seemed to me fit and proper that the gifts of God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens"  To forget God, holds the penalty of hell ! (Psalms 9:17) Our nation was founded on thanksgiving and freedom of worship! Our early leaders ruled in fear of the Lord, Could it be today's thanksgiving is simply another paid holiday. God's church must maintain a thankful heart and become aware of the danger of un-thankfulness! The life of Jesus (the pattern son) does not focus on the dreadful day of crucifixion, but rather, He stresses His desire to please His Father. "And he took the cup, and gave thanks..." (Luke 22:17) What a revelation, Jesus accepted his assignment, extraordinarily and very rare among Christians, he took it with thanksgiving. He literally fulfilled this compound word; first thanks---then giving! He gave of himself thankfully and freely.

The Psalmist David, in his quest for God, teaches us many outstanding things. Not long after a fatal mistake, he sets his goal on finding God's "due order". The Scripture tells us; "He appointed certain of the Levites to minister before the Ark by giving constant praise and thanks to the Lord God of Israel and by asking for his blessings upon his people"(IChron.16:4). A careful study of this same chapter shows how David delivered a Psalm of thanksgiving, and how we can draw from this same teaching. We're to call on his name and make known his wonderful deeds. We're to sing to him and make known his wondrous works. We're to seek his face not just his hand. Here' the revelation; though his hands are helpful our strength and joy come from beholding HIS FACE! We're changed into Spirit only by beholding HIS FACE! "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,even as by the Spirit of the Lord"(II Cor.3:18).

Concluding our part on thanksgiving, let's move into a greater glory which is PRAISE ! The things he has given us deserve thanksgiving, however, praise signifies and honors the price he paid, and the prize he is to us. These are two other rendering of the Latin word for praise: that is "price" and "prize". Jesus fulfills them all ! Praise goes deeper than thanksgiving, and forces us to get rid of human logic, then our "heart of hearts" can come alive in Him ! PRAISE IS NOT SINGING ! Praise is you reflecting the life of the "risen Christ" simply because a regenerated heart can't help but let praise flow out.Many times praise is born out of "brokenness and crushing situations that would destroy a person without a relationship of praise which accompanies a relationship of prayer. It takes two!  You don't learn praise in a day, especially since you may have been complaining for years! We must make it a part of our life, I live by this; "its never out of order to praise the Lord".    To be Continued.

In-Christ Always  Elmer Hart


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