January 23, 2016

The Practice of Praise!

The Practice of Praise. By Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892). Whitaker House, 1995.

"They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and sing of thy righteousness! " ~ Psalm 145:7

Chapter 1:
Steps to Praise
1. Look for God's goodness!
2. Remember and Record God's goodness!
3. Smile, Speak, and Sing about God's goodness!  

Excerpts:
" If you hear a sermon, what you remember afterward is the point that most forcibly strikes you while you are listening to the discourse. At the time, you say, "I will jot that down. I do not want to forget it, because it comes so closely home to me." Whether you use your pencil or not, memory obeys your wish and records it on her tablets."

"That which has made an impression upon the mind by observation is fastened on the memory. Memory seems to consist of two things: first, in retaining an impression, and second, in recollecting it at a future time. I supposed that, more or less, everything that happens to us is retained in the mind, but it is not easy to reproduce the fainter impressions when you wish to do so. I know in my own mind a great many things that I am sure I remember, but yet I cannot always recall them instantly. Give me a quarter of an hour to run through a certain arrangement of ideas, and I can say, "Oh, yes, I have it. It was in my mind, but I could not recollect it at the time." Memory collects facts and afterward recollects them. The matters before us are recorded by memory, but the tablet may be mislaid. The perfection of memory is to preserve the tablet in a well-known place from which you can bring it forth at any moment."

How are we to strengthen our memory about God's goodness? First, we should be well acquainted with the documents in which His goodness is recorded . . .  According to some, you link one idea with another and recollect a date by associating it with something you can see. . . For instance, let your bed remind you of God's mercy in the night watches, and let your table bring to remembrance His goodness in supplying your daily needs. . . All around us there are memoranda of God's love if we choose to read them. . . Next. . . diligently observe memorials. . . Cherish devoutly the precious memorial. Great events in nations have been preserved in the memory of future generations by some ordained ceremonial. . . Strengthen your memories, then, by reverent attention to the historical documents and the memorial ordinances. . . By giving the truth expression, we deepen its impression upon our minds."

"Today, if your harps have been hanging on the willows, take them down, if you have not praised the Lord as you should, begin to do so. Wash your mouths and get rid of the sour flavor of murmuring about bad trade and bad weather. Sweeten your lips with the pleasant confection of praise."

Homework Assignment: "Begin with the goodness that shines in our election. Follow the silver thread through redemption, the mission of the Holy Spirit, the calling, the adoption, the preservation, and the perfecting of the chosen. . . Let every personal mercy be written upon your personal memory."

My Story:
When I was about ten, we were having a revival in our church. I don't remember who the speaker was, but when he gave the invitation to come to the altar at the end of his sermon, I wanted to go and be prayed for. It's hard for me to explain, but I remember the feeling of being dirty and unclean in my heart and I could feel the tug to go up there and I wanted to be washed as white as snow. My grandmother had a little book of colors that she "read" to me as a child -- a dark color (I don't remember if it was black, navy, or brown) represented the sin in my heart, and red meant that Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. White represented his washing of my heart, making it pure as snow. There were other colors in that little book, but suddenly I understood its significance to me.
After the revival ended, I went to our Pastor and asked if I could be baptized. She came to our house, sitting down with my mother and me and quizzed me for some time until she was satisfied that I knew what baptism meant and that I was ready for that next step. I was and I asked my mother if I could call my beloved grandparents to come witness my baptism. They lived an eight hour drive away, but they came and were seated in the congregation when I was immersed in the tank of water behind the choir loft in front of our church. In my ten year old mind, I was sure the angels were rejoicing when I was lifted out of that water, at least it seemed so to me.  That day, I rose with a Princess crown on my head, me, a Daughter of the King!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
More and More 
Chapter 2:
 
"But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more." Psalm 71:14

Homework Assignment: Define words.
Grace = 1.) The unmerited but freely given love and favor of God toward man; 2.) the divine influence operating in man to regenerate, sanctify or strengthen him; 3.) the state or condition to be pleasing & acceptable to God; 4.) any divinely inspired spiritual virtue or excellence.
Hymn = a song of praise, adoration, thanksgiving, etc.
Holy = any spiritually pure person regarded with reverence because of association with God
Hope = 1.) to desire with expectation of fulfillment; 2.) confident expectation; trust 3.) that which is desired or anticipated; 4) one who is causing success; promising 
Mercy = kind or compassionate treatment of an offender, adversary, prisoner, etc.  2.) a disposition to be kind, forgiving or helpful; 3.) the power to show mercy or compassion; 4.) a thing to be thankful for
Praise = 1.) an expression of approval or commendation; to applaud, adore;  2.) ''the glorifying and honoring of God, ruler, hero, etc. especially, worship of God expressed in song.

Excerpts:
"Am I nearer heaven? Then will I be doing more of the work that I will do in heaven. I will soon use the harp, so let me be carefully tuning it. Let me rehearse the hymns that I will sing before the throne. Even though the words in heaven will be sweeter and richer than any that poets can assemble together here, the essential song of heaven will be the same as that which we are presenting to Jehovah here below: ' They praise the Lamb in hymns above, And we in hymns below.' The essence of their praise is gratitude that he suffered and shed his blood; it is the essence of our praise too. They bless Immanuel's name for undeserved favors bestowed upon unworthy ones, and we do the same."

"Prepare yourself by making your heart ready. You need the Spirit's aid to make your soul fit for praising God. It is not every fool's work. Go then to your chamber, confess the sins of the past, and ask the Lord to give you much more grace that you may begin to praise Him."

"It is all a mistake to think that we must come to a church building to praise God. You can praise God in your shops, in your kitchens, and in your bedrooms. It is all of a mistake to suppose that Sunday is the only day in which to praise God. Praise him on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, everyday, everywhere. All places are holy to holy people, and all engagements are holy to holy people, if they will do them with holy motives, lifting up their hearts to God. Whether a man swings a blacksmith's hammer or lays his hands to the plow, that which is done unto the Lord and not unto men is true worship."

His prayer for me = "But, beloved, I am persuaded of better things for you, things that accompany salvation, though I write so. I pray that God will lead you on from strength to strength, for that is the path of the just. May you grow in grace, for life is proven by growth. May you march like pilgrims toward heaven, singing all the way. The lark may serve us as a final picture, and an example of what we all should be. We should be mounting. Our prayer should be, "Nearer, my God, to Thee." Our motto might well be, "Higher! Higher! Higher." As we mount, we should sing, and our song should grow louder, clearer, more full of heaven. Upward, sing as you soar. Upward, sing until you are dissolved in glory. Amen!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Morning and Evening Songs
 
"To show forth thy loving-kindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night.
~ Psalm 92:2
 
Chapter 3:
What Promises Did He Faithfully Keep Today For You? Provision? Protection? Guidance? Illumination? Comfort? Upholding?
 
Excerpts:
"When the daylight lifts its eyelid, it should look out upon grateful hearts. We ourselves have newly risen from our beds, and if we are in a right state of mind we are thankful for the night's sleep.
 
The evening rests our wearied head,
And angels guard the room,
We wake, and we admire the bed
That was not made our tomb."
 
"Let us take care, while we are fresh, to give the cream of the morning to God."
 
"I saw a tombstone the other day that pleased me. I do not know that I ever saw an epitaph of that kind before. I think it was for a woman who died at the age of eighty. The inscription said of her, 'who after a happy and grateful enjoyment of life, died.'"
 
"If there is any one topic that Christians ought to speak about thankfully, bravely, positively, and continuously, it is the faithfulness of God to them. It is that on which Satan takes a dead aim in the minds of many tempted ones. Therefore, you should center the strength of your testimony on God's faithfulness, so that tried saints may know He does not forsake His people."
 
Homework: "Then SING of the loving-kindness of God to yourself since your new birth. Remember the mercies of God. Do not bury them in the grave of ingratitude. Let them glisten in the light of gratitude. I am sure that you will find this a blessed morning portion that will sweeten the whole day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

 Chapter 4: Acceptable Praises and Vows

"Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion; and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O though that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come." ~ Psalm 65:1-2

Excerpts:
Praise is the chief ingredient of the adoration of heaven.
 
We frequently hear of prayer meetings but seldom hear of praise meetings.
 
Prayer is for ourselves; praise is for God.
 
We come to pay our adoration at the footstool of the Great King, to whom alone be glory forever and ever.
 
When we praise God, we expect to see more of Him soon and, therefore, wait for Him. We bless the King, but we desire to draw nearer to Him. We magnify Him for what we have seen, and we expect to see more. We praise Him in His outer courts, for we will soon be with Him in the heavenly mansions. We glorify Him for the revelation of Himself in Jesus, for we expect to be like Christ and to be with Him where He is. When I cannot praise God for what I am, I will praise Him for what I will be.
 
My praise should not only be thanksgiving for the past, which is but discharging a debt of gratitude, but my faith needs to anticipate the future and wait upon God to fulfill His purposes.
 
We have our common mercies. We call them common, but, oh, how priceless they are: health to be able to assemble together and not be stretched on a bed of sickness. I count better than bags of gold, to have our reason and not to be confined in an asylum; to have our children still about us and dear relatives spared still to us, to have bread to eat and clothes to put on, and to have been preserved today from the snares of the enemy! These are godlike mercies, and for all these our praises will wait upon God.
 
Infinite love has made us completely clean, though we were black and filthy. We are washed--washed in priceless blood. Praise Him for this!
 
Praise is superior worship, for it is elevating. It is the utterance of a soul that has received good from God and is returning its love to Him in acknowledgement.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Chapter 5: The Power of Prayer and Pleasure of Praise.
 
Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. for our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience , that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:11-12
 
Excerpts:
Gratitude to God must never become an excuse for ingratitude to man.
 
Paul asked for it, "Brethren, pray for us" (2 Thessalonians 3:1). All God's ministers to the end of time will ever confess that this is the secret source of their strength. . .Pray for your ministers, that God may make them mighty. . . In nine cases out of ten, if not in ninety-nine out of every hundred, the prosperity of a church rests on the minister's life. . . If the true minister is kept and made to hold fast to his integrity, there should be constant gratitude to God on his behalf.
 
Praise should always follow answered prayer.
 
He who preaches what he would wish to have displayed in the sunlight, or who has the sunlight shining right through him, is the true minister of God. I am afraid none of us is like clear glass--most of us are colored a little -- but he who seeks to get rid of the tinted matter as much as possible, so that the light of the Gospel may shine straight through him as it comes from the Sun of Righteousness, is happy.
 
I pray that all of you will believe in Jesus, for until you do, you cannot pray or praise! Oh, that you all believed in Jesus! Remember, this is the only way to salvation. Trust Jesus and you will be saved. May Christ accept you now, for His own love's sake. Amen.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Chapter 6: A Lifelong Occupation
 
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. ~ Hebrews 13:15.
 

Excerpts:


Let us more and more earnestly make known His glory and His grace. If reproach is bitter, praise is sweet. We will drown the drops of gall in a sea of honey. . . While the enemy reproaches us continually, our only reply should be to offer "the sacrifice of praise" continually to the Lord our God.
 
We are to praise the Lord our God, not only in this place or that place, but in every place, not only when we are in a happy frame of mind, but when we are downcast and troubled. . . You cannot always be speaking His praise, but you can always be living His praise. The heart once set on praising God will, like the stream that leaps down the mountain's side, continue still to flow in its chosen course. A soul saturated with divine gratitude will continue to give forth the sacred aroma of praise, which will permeate the atmosphere of every place and make itself known to all who have a spiritual nostril to discern sweetness.
 
Praise is -- heart-worship or adoration.
Praise is -- heart-trust and heart-content with God.
Praise is -- heart-enjoyment, the indulgence of gratitude and wonder.
Praise means -- you and I are appointed to tell forth the goodness of God.
 
Does not our conversation need more flavoring with the praise of God? We put into it too much vinegar of complaint and forget the sugar of gratitude.
 
To praise God continually, you need to cultivate perpetual gratitude. . . Remember, every misery averted is a mercy bestowed. Every sin forgiven is a favor granted. Every duty performed is also a grace received. The people of God have an inexhaustible treasury of good things provided for them by the infinite God. For all, we should overflow with praise for Him. . . The happiest moments you have ever spent were those in which you lost sight of everything inferior and bowed before Jehovah's throne with reverent joy and blissful praise.
 
CHOOSE TO PRAISE!

 ~~ <> @ <> ~~
The end!

1 comment:

  1. What a great memory! I have also read that if there is string emotion involved, our memory is stringer. That is why we tend to remember both the best and worst things in our lives. Now, with tjose worst, our hearts can make a poir judgement to write on our hearts...and when it resurfaces, as they usually do, we have a chance to change it by forgiveness. With the great memories, when they come up again it is a chance to broaden their good influence to those in our circle!

    ReplyDelete

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe." (Hebrews 12:28).