Thursday, January 28, 2016

Praise and Worship

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When I was but six years old I decided I wanted to praise and worship God. Six, you might ask? Yes! I went to Catholic school and my very first teacher was a nun, Sr. Kathleen. I asked her why she was a nun and she told me, “Because I wanted to give my life to God.”

As you can imagine, at the time I didn’t understand what she was saying but I too wanted ‘to give my life to God’, I had to learn about Him more first. And learn I did! By second grade we were allowed our first Holy Communion and I, in my hand-me-down white lace dress that was first worn by my much shorter sister, proudly felt like a princess and gave my life to God after all, I did get to eat his Body. I knew in a lightning-flash instant that God was not looking at my dress or knobby knees, He was looking at my soul!

Rom 7:4 “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

1 Cor. 10:16 “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?”

1Cor.12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

Eph.4:12 “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

Besides learning from the nuns about God, my most prized memories were our praise and worship in church. Hymns seemed to me to be like a direct connection to God Himself because when I sang I felt something move inside, it wasn’t hunger pains per se, it was the Holy Spirit gurgling in there and I knew this! I was hungering for Him!

Eph.1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”

Eph.4:30 “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

1 Thes. 4:8 He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

Then by the eighth grade I was well on my way to having a deep crush on Jesus. He was my first love. Not in a sexual way like other crushes, no, this was a deep love and I knew then that I was His and He was mine for life, for eternity. Praise and worship took on a new shape, form and meaning. 

Sure I strayed down the wrong path a few times but He always guided me in the right direction and led me to a song in my heart and music for my soul, the wonderful sound that rang in his ear. After I got over wanting to be a nun, I was led to different churches and many different religions but what was strong in each was the praise and worship music.

Hymns in the Catholic church, semi-hymns in the UCC church, then Grace church had an entire different meaning in praise and worship, one that God led me to knowing I thirsted for more; hand raising and Lord praising. I found a place where there was no shame in loving God. We didn’t just stare at each other like we’d all gone mad, we were united in Christ, in our love of Christ! We praised our God and  connected on the love for Him that we all shared.

Judges 5:3 “Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel.”

1Chr. 23:5 “Moreover four thousand were porters; and four thousand praised the LORD with the instruments which I made, said David, to praise therewith.” 
[30] And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;

See that? EVERY MORNING! Not once a week. 

2 Chron. 5:13 “It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;”

Pss.9:1 I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
[2] I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.
[11] Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.
[14] That I may shew forth all thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.

Pss. 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Pss. 35:28 And my tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.  
(not just DAILY but all day long!)

Pss 71:8 Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

Pss. 28:2 “Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.”

Pss 63:4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.

Granted I may be strange to many but not to my Lord and Savior. He made me perfect in his sight so I will praise and worship Him and all His creation! It is the LEAST I can do for a God who sent His Son to shed blood for lil’ ol’ me! I close my eyes and open my heart and rejoice in praising His name.

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