• Christian Praise and Worship

    Christian Praise: Where is God?

    Where is God?

     

     

    Christian Praise becomes much easier for us when we realize How Big God really is and how much He truly loves us.

    A few years ago, Bette Middler had a hit song called “From a Distance” which won a Grammy for “Song of the Year” in 1991. The words were nice and gave us the feeling that we were not alone in this world, that indeed God was watching us from a distance.

    It’s a lovely platitude but it doesn’t really tell us where God actually is.

    Christian Praise can be hard to muster up if we only believe in a God somewhere up there in the sky who looks down on us once in awhile. It may be a nice thought to some, but it doesn’t do much else except to give us a few warm and fuzzy feelings.

    God is very much a part of your life and He chose it to be that way. He doesn’t just want to be God, He also wants to abide in You. He wants be your friend.

    Abraham was called God’s friend, because he took the time to walk and talk with God.

    Adam had direct communion with God in the Garden, before Adam and Eve got banished for their sin. Many scholars believe because they were banished that communion with God was cut off, but this does not make sense if Abraham was considered God’s friend. Maybe there wasn’t direct communication as in the garden but there had to be some type of communication in Abraham’s day. We can only speculate what that was.

    One thing is clear though. In the old Testament the Spirit came upon the prophets. In the New Testament the Spirit is in us. Why the difference?

    It is because of Christ’s death on the cross that the barrier between God and us can be breached.

    John 14:16-20 (kjv) says:

    16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

    17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

    18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

    19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

    20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

    God loves to commune with us and the best way to bring in His presence is with Christian Praise.

    God abides in the praises of His people.

    Psalm 22:3 (kjv) says: But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

    God is not some Sugar Daddy in the sky that we make requests to and wait for Him to grant them. He is so close to us that we cannot truly describe it in proper words.

    Paul Put it this way:

    Acts 17:28 He is not far from us, for in him we live and move and have our being.

    Every particle of yourself is in God and God is in every particle of you.

    Jesus said in John 14:21-28

    Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”

    Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, “Master, (then) what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”

    Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.

    Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

    I have told you this while I am with you.

    The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name–he will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you.

    Obedience to God pic

     

     

    If You Love Me, Keep my Word.

     

     

    Knowing this, Christian Praise should come freely from your heart and lips as you marvel at the Greatness of God who comes to inhabit the very people He has purchased with the blood of Jesus. If we love Him and obey His commands, He will make His dwelling with us. Hallelujah!

    Where is God?

    God is in me, and you, if you love Him and keep His commandments.

    One of my favorite songs from years gone by is “How Big is God?”

    The lyrics to this song are:

    Though Men May Strive To Go Beyond The Reach Of Space
    To Go Beyond The Distant Glimmering Stars
    This World’s A Room So Small Within My Master’s House
    The Open Sky But A Portion Of His Yard.

    How Big Is God, How Big And Wide His Vast Domain
    To Try To Tell These Lips Can Only Start
    He’s Big Enough To Rule This Mighty Universe
    Yet Small Enough To Live Within My Heart.

    As Winter Chill May Cause The Tiny Seed To Fall
    To Lie Asleep Till Waked By Summer’s Rain
    The Heart Grown Cold Will Warm And Trod With Life Anew
    The Master’s Touch Will Bring The Glow Again.

    How Big Is God, How Big And Wide His Vast Domain
    To Try To Tell These Lips Can Only Start
    He’s Big Enough To Rule The Mighty Universe
    Yet Small Enough To Live Within My Heart.

    Here is the version from YouTube


    (BLACKWOOD BROTHERS: HOW BIG IS GOD)



     

  • Christian Praise and Worship

    Christian Praise vs Christian Worship, What’s the Difference?

    Christian Praise and worship Lifting Holy Hands
    If you were invited to a Christian Praise Service or a Christian Worship Service you would find that they are two different types of Song Services. Generally churches combine the two and call them “Christian Praise and Worship Services”. This keeps the confusion down, but in actuality Christian Praise and Christian Worship are two distinct things.

    As a Christian Praise and Worship Leader for many years I always taught the congregation about the differences between Christian Praise and Worship. Let me define Christian Praise and Worship here for you.

    • Christian Praise can be defined as focusing on what God has done in our lives.
    • Christian Worship can be defined as focusing on Who God IS.

    We can see a great example of Christian Worship in the following Praise Scripture :
    Revelation 4:8-12
    Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
    9. Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,
    10.the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
    11. “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

    Compare this to this example of Christian Praise in the following scripture on Praise:
    Exodus:15:1-21
    1Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
    2The LORD is my strength and song, and He is become my salvation: He is my God, and I will prepare Him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
    3The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is His name.
    4Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hathHe cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
    5The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
    6Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
    7And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sendest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
    8And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
    9The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
    10Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
    11Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
    12Thou stretchest out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
    13Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
    14The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
    15Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
    16Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
    17Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O LORD, which thy hands have established.
    18The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
    19For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
    20And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
    21And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea.
    The above passage shows us that after God had brought the Israelite’s safely through the Red Sea and drowned the Egyptians Moses took up a song of praise extolling the wonders of what God had done on their behalf.

    Those Scripture verses define Christian Praise very succinctly. This would be considered a Christian Praise song because it focuses on what God has done. Miriam and Moses are praising the Lord because He has bought them safely to dry land. They continue giving praises to God because of His wonders that He has performed.

    We sing this at church. It’s called “The Horse and Rider Song” You can see the lyrics and hear the acapella version my other post here.

    I hope this example has been clear to you and hopefully it will help you to understand the difference between Christian Praise and Christian Worship.

    photo credit: Bill Lollar via photopin cc


     

  • Christian Praise and Worship

    Christian Praise: What Does Hallelujah Mean?

    What does Hallelujah Mean

     

    Christian Praise is mentioned approximately 190 times in the Bible depending on which version you are reading. It is very common to hear the phrase “Hallelujah” both in Christian circles as well as non-christian circles.

    What does “hallelujah” mean?

    Oftentimes it is also written as Allelujah. The angels themselves sing hallelujah to God, so what does it mean?

    Actually as a direct translation from the Hebrew it means Praise (Hallel) God (jah, also known as Jaweh in the Old Testament. So, when we say “Hallelujah” What we are really saying is “Praise God”. This is a good thing in a sense because we are told to praise God, but if we just say it as an exclamation to something good that has happened then it might lose its flavor, so to speak. This is obviously the case with non-Christians saying it when trivial things such as their favorite hockey team scores a goal for the home team. If we are truly happy that God has allowed things to happen then it is not derogatory in any way but I just want to point out that it is something that should be used with meaning.

    Christian Praise is more than just a matter of words, it is a life-style. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says “In everything give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you”.

    There are 2 specific points that I would like to bring out in this passage.

    1. It is God’s will that you give thanks in everything
    2. It is God’s will that you give thanks IN everything, not necessarily FOR everything.

    God wants us to praise Him no matter what our circumstances are because he wants us to realize that wherever we are, He is there with us. He wants us to relinquish the control of our lives to Him and trust Him to work all things out together for our good.

    So remember, the next time you are in despair and don’t feel like praising God, do it anyway! Hallelujah!

    (see our article “Out of the Mouth of Babes” to see an example of praising God in spite of our circumstances)

  • Christian Praise and Worship,  Leading Christian Praise and Worship,  Song Services

    Christian Praise: God Dwells in the Praises of His People

    Christian Praise and Worship

     

    God Dwells In The Praises of His People

    But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel (kjv) Psalm 22:3

    I just finished reading an article on Christian Praise and how it affects non-Christians. It bought back fond memories of when I first attended a Pentecostal Church.

    Being bought up in a mainline church in the Montreal area of Canada I was used to singing hymns and nice little songs like “Jesus Loves Me”. This kept me on track when I was a little girl, but when I grew up and came back to God, my relationship with Him was completely different. He was no longer a God somewhere up there in the sky who was watching to see if I was naughty or nice (Kind of like a glorified Santa Claus). This time it was different!

    I could feel the presence of Jesus in my life and I knew something inside of me had changed. I decided it was time to go back to church. Sadly, what I found in church was not what I was experiencing in my own one on one time spent with God.

    I started to think perhaps I was strange, perhaps I was overly emotional, perhaps, I was somehow wrong. Those around me didn’t get all excited about Jesus like I did. What was wrong with me?

    I still continued to go to church as I knew this is what God wanted of me, and I loved learning more and more about the Lord every chance I could get.

    Later, I met my husband to be and he was a Pentecostal. He told me about the Pentecostal church and I thought to my self….This sounds very strange to me…I was very leery on going but he finally convinced me to go to a meeting with him and I was totally surprised.

    Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that mainline church goers are not true worshipers or have no feelings, or that Pentecostals are the only true believers or whatever. I am simply stating that the two churches I had attended were as different as night and day.

    That night that I attended the church with my future husband, was a turning point in my life. I realized as I stood there praising God with those around me that there was a presence that I had never felt in a church before. Yes, I had experienced this presence in my own prayer life, but never in a congregation. It was like I was finally home. Finally, I could feel the presence of God amongst those who were worshiping. It was like heaven had come down and the glory of God had filled that auditorium that night.

    Since becoming a Christian Worship Leader it has always been my goal to lead those in the congregation to the place where they too can feel the presence of God in the midst of them.

    It is only in the presence of our awesome God that people can know, without the shadow of a doubt, that they are in the presence of God.

    As Worship Leaders we are like the doorkeepers to the very presence of God. We must lead them gently from the outer courts into the Holy of Holies where they can sense God and the beauty of His Holiness.

    The article that I had read, reminded me of the importance of Christian Worship and its effects on the non-Christian, as well as those who were already Christians.

    The article was entitled: “Worship and the Visitor,” sadly it is no longer available.

    Hopefully this blog post will help you realize the importance of Christian Praise and Worship in our services and will stir up in you a hunger to be in the presence of God.

  • Christian Praise and Worship

    Christian Praise: What’s the Difference Between Christian Praise and Worship?

    Many people are still asking,

    What is the difference between Christian Praise and Worship?

    I do agree that there is a fine line between the two when they can merge together but generally Christian Praise is where we sing about What God has Done For Us, Christian worship is where we sing about Who God Is. We concentrate on His Holiness etc., when we worship God.

    If you look through the blog you will see more concisely the difference I make between the two.

    To give you another example I would like to show you a couple of praise Bible Scripture Verses that may explain it better.

    Our first example is Matthew 21:1-17 also known as “The Triumphal Entry

    Here is the NIV version:

    1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

    4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
    5″Say to the Daughter of Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
    gentle and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’
    6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
    “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
    “Hosanna in the highest!”

    10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

    11The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
    12 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, ” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.”

    14The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

    16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
    “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
    ‘From the lips of children and infants
    you have ordained praise?” (also see our article “Out of the Mouth of Babes”)

    17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

    We see here that the people were shouting “Hosanna” which literally translated means”To Save”. Here was their Savior riding in Jerusalem on a donkey ( there is a lot of significance here about the donkey but I am not writing a book, this is only a blog post).

    It was a happy, jubilant time for the crowd. They did not realize that Jesus had come to save them by offering his blood for their sins. They were hoping that he had come to save them and usher in a new kingdom, but that was not to be as they had anticipated.

    I want you to notice the air of festivity, the happiness of the crowd, how they took palm branches and placed them in front of him as he passed. They were rejoicing and so should we be rejoicing in Christian Praise as we make mention of all that the Lord has done on our behalf.

    The Christian Praise Song “Hosanna in the Highest” shows this the best.

     

    Compare this now with a story of Worship found in Revelation 4:10-11 NIV

    10the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
    11“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
    to receive glory and honor and power,
    for you created all things,
    and by your will they were created
    and have their being.”

    (Originally Posted on 21st October 2009)

  • Christian Praise and Worship,  The Secret

    Christian Praise: It’s Time to Sing Another Tune in Life

    Sing a Different Tune

    Christian Praise is all about realizing what God has done for us in our lives. It is all too common for us to focus on our struggles and everyday problems and forget to offer Christian Praise to God for His blessings.

    Many people, Christian or not, tend to look at life with a very negative slant sometimes. I am sure you know many people like this. They are always complaining about how bad things are. They are so concerned about the way that life is treating them that they miss out on the pleasure of being alive.

    Some people are living a life of misery because they forget to look at the things that are going right in their lives. They have trouble taking their eyes off of the problems and obstacles around them.

    We all run into obstacles in our lives, this is a part of life. We are not to offer Christian Praise only when things in life are rosy and going well for us.

    For some people, life never seems to go well for them. It’s not that life is so harsh, but rather their eyes are focused on the problems and not their blessings. We cannot condemn these people. It is a mindset that they have set themselves up in and it can’t be undone until they realize what they are doing. So don’t condemn these type of people, instead pray for them that the light of God will shine in their hearts that they may be able to see what great things God has done for them.

    Negative thinking is a major problem in our society today. The good news is that we have more and more people wanting to get themselves out of their negative mindset and trying to think more positively. Just look around any bookstore and you will see many self-help books based on how to think positively, how to think abundantly. People are realizing, to a greater extent, that there is more to life than what they are experiencing.

    Sadly we see multitudes following “The Secret” or Abraham Hicks looking for more to life without realizing that God said that we receive not, because what we ask for is for our own edification and glory. If we seek abundance for selfish reasons we will not receive anything from God. The Good News is that we are promised that if we seek for God’s will, then our prayers and petitions are answered. (James 4:3)(Mathew 7:7-11)

    There is some truth to what these people from “The Secret” are teaching, and actually much of it is based on Christian Scripture, but they miss the mark by twisting the scriptures in such a way that all they think about is how can I make my life happier and get the things I want.

    It misses the mark because Scripture teaches us that we are not to worry about food, or drink or clothing or any of the things that the world worries about. God has already taken care of that for us, but for those who do not know God, they search for a way out of their problems and end up in these messed up teachings, such as “the Secret” and are being indoctrinated into thinking that they are actually being enlightened.

    As I said earlier on, their teachings are partially true. Satan masquerades as an angel of light, trying to persuade people that this is the truth, when in reality it is only partial truth.(2 Corinthians11:14) Jesus is the true light of the world and if we ask, believing, we shall receive from Him.

    If we have not, it’s because we are not asking. As we become thankful for what we do have, then we will be given more. It is God’s will that we have an abundant life but we miss out on it because we forget to be thankful for what we do have.(Mark 4:25)

    Without challenges, there can be no progress. Without obstacles, there can be no achievement. Be thankful for the opportunities that these provide.

    For many people the theme song for their life is “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen”. It’s time to change your tune. It’s time to sing another tune in your life. Focus on what God is doing, focus on the good that comes out of the obstacles and challenges, knowing that God loves you and is in control of your life. Let Christian Praise flow out of your heart and up to the throne of God, for He is worthy to be praised in all circumstances.

     

     

  • Christian Praise and Worship,  The Secret

    Christian Praise: The Secret of the Universe

    Praise The Secret of the Universe

     

    Christian Praise Has Power!

    Many people have read the book “The Secret” and do not realize that many of the teachings in there came from Christian Praise Principles taught in the Bible. Yes, the Bible has many things to say about the Christian Praise Principles that can be used to enhance our daily lives today.

    The main difference is that “The Secret” focuses on our own wants and desires, …what we can get…pretty selfish actually 🙁

    This is where people miss the actual law that this premise is based on. God does promise to give us the desires of our heart and give us an abundant life but our hearts must be set on Him. Loving Him with all of our strength, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

    We are to do nothing out of vain ambition but we are to consider others better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

    Matthew 6: 19-21: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    In John 10:10: Jesus said, The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy but I came that they may have life and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows) Amplified Bible.

    As Christians we know that the thief is referring to is the Devil. All evil comes from him. He is here to steal, kill and destroy us and our dreams if he can. But, through the power of Christian Praise, we are able to stop the fiery darts of the devil as we learn to lift our voices in praise to God who loves to pour his blessing upon all of His Children. Blessings are ours as we Praise God.

    There is immense power in Christian Praise and the Devil does not want you to know about it. He will do all he can to keep you in a negative mindset because he knows that as long as you are dwelling on your problems, you will not be in the mood to praise God and will forfeit the blessings God has for you.

    This is why Christian Praise is often referred to as the “Sacrifice of Praise“.

    We need to come out from the darkness and despair and offer to God the sacrifice of Praise. It is miraculous but, as we begin to offer up these sacrifices of Christian Praise, God comes to inhabit the praises of His people and things begin to change.

    Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15

    Yes, God actually inhabits, or lives, in the praises of His People. When we offer Christian Praise we are actually bringing God right onto the scene in our lives.

    Psalm 22:3 says “But Thou Art Holy, Thou that inhabitist the praises of Israel”.

    Let us look at Paul and Silas as an example: Paul and Silas when beaten and put in jail for proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ could have sat there and complained. I can picture it now can’t you?

    “Oh great, here we are trying to get the good news out and we end up in this cold, dark jail. Where is God? Why would He let this happen to us?”

    But they didn’t complain. The Bible tells us that they sang praises to God! Can you imagine! Even in that dark, cold gloomy jail, they didn’t think about their circumstances. No! They thought about the blessings of God and Christian Praise flowed from that dark, gloomy dungeon.

    Acts 16:16-35: God sent an earthquake and all the chains from the prison doors were loosed. No one fled, they stayed right where they were. This ended up being a miracle to the jailer who thought he would have lost all of the prisoners, but this worked together for the good of Paul and Silas. Not only were they set free, but the jailer came to know the Lord through them.

    What Lessons we can learn from this:

    • When we allow Christian Praise to flow out from us, God comes to abide.
    • When we allow Christian Praise to flow out from us, God sets us free.
    • When we allow Christian Praise to flow out from us, God’s love is proclaimed.
    • When we allow Christian Praise to flow out of us, all things will work together for our good because we love God and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

    “The Secret” may have some people fooled into thinking that just being positive will bring them all that they want but it is very plainly a lie from the Devil. It is only as we praise God and believe in Him in faith that He will bring about the things He has promised us.

    What things?

    • He came to give us abundant life
    • He promises to work all things out together for good to those that love Him
    • He promises to add all the things that are necessary for life if we seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness
    • He promises us that if we believe, we will receive that which we ask for.

    This is truly the real SECRET of the Universe!

    Image: Space (by Sweety 187, Flickr.com, Creative Commons)