How do you start your day? Do you drag out of bed and head for the coffee pot with a grumpy look on your face? Or do you jump out of bed and start praising your God for the glorious opportunities which are set before you?
When we look at certain psalms, we see David acting out the second example. In fact, there were times when he would be considered raucous in his praise. Yet this king knew the heart of God and he knew the power of exuberant praise.
When I read Psalm 100, I think of Smith Wigglesworth, a legendary man of God who lived during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Smith would start every day by dancing in praise to God for at least 10 minutes. He said that he often started in the flesh, but would always wind up in the spirit. He would force his flesh to worship God, and in so doing would reap the benefits.
Psalm 100 begins by telling us to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. Shout unto Him. Think ball game, and you’ll get the picture. The psalmist is telling us to shout and cheer for our God – as we would our favorite team.
If you are accustomed to a quiet, reserved service of worship, this admonition might seem strange. But if that’s so, why don’t you try it? Try it all by yourself, when no one is looking or listening. Shout, clap, and cheer your God. Be exuberant in your praise of your mighty God.
Angels gather around to hear the praises of God’s people. And your heart will be remarkably energized.
I Corinthians 1
We are about to hear many great lessons as we read the two letters to the Corinthians.
The city of Corinth was where Aphrodite (the love goddess) was worshiped. Thousands of prostitutes thronged her temple, so needless to say, liscentiousness was rampant. As Paul approached the city overwhelmed by the unruliness of its inhabitants, he had to be dismayed. Yet he stayed there for a year and a half, teaching and discipling all of those who would listen. And many did.
In this first letter, as we read through the lines, we can see the problems arising for such a bold city. First, Paul has to rebuke the believers for their strife and contentions over doctrine. “I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos, of I am of Cephas.” (V. 12).
Already, before the New Testament was even complete, the believers were arguing over who was the better preacher, and which message was the best. Wow! Human nature!
Then we can see another problem which had arisen. The “wise ” people were trying to say that believing in Jesus was foolish. The believers were being mocked and ridiculed.
Paul quickly addresses that attitude. “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (V. 18) In the following verses, Paul shows the uselessness of worldly wisdom in establishing a relationship with God. People may think that they are wise in this world – and they may be in worldly matters, but without God, they are not wise. Only God gives true wisdom to His people. And you have to believe to receive.
This wise versus foolish argument is one which still hangs around today. There are those who don’t believe, who have an arrogant approach to those who do. That’s just one of the bits of persecution which true believers have to endure.
Yet we should never let that attitude sway us as believers. Worldly wisdom doesn’t lead to God. Only godly wisdom does that. So we continue in the faith, convinced in our hearts of our beliefs. Our God will remain faithful to us as we remain faithful to Him.
In the meantime, we will pray for those who don’t believe. Perhaps they will find the truth.
Hold up the light, and don’t stop believing. Today let your light shine for all to see.