"Well done, son, well done!!" That was the cry we heard over the cheers of the crowd many times during our sons years of playing high school soccer. Coach Steve didn't do a whole lot of side-line coaching. He used to joke that he didn't have to because my husband took care of that for him! But when one of the boys scored a goal, defended their goal, made a good pass or any other type of good play, those words, "Well done!" freely rolled from Coach's lips.
We all long for this kind of encouragement. Being told we've done something well boosts our confidence, strengthens our resolve. Hearing words of praise energizes and inspires us. When we are praised by others we feel a sense of pride not just in our work but in who we are. We are exhilarated by the praise and adoration bestowed upon us by other people.
Have you ever stopped to think about the effect our praise of Him has on God? We are made in His image so it stands to reason our praise would exhilarate God. Of course He is God and He does not need our praise and adoration, just as He does not need relationship with us. However, He choose to create human beings in His image for relationship with Him. He loves to hear our voices lifted up in praise to Him, our praise ushers in His presence. Psalm 22:3 in the King James Version states that God "inhabitest the praises of Israel". To inhabit means to dwell in or stay as a permanent residence. When we praise God, He comes and makes His permanent residence in those praises.
Praise, by definition is, expressing approval or admiration. In turn, admiration is: a feeling of wonder, pleasure, or approval. ( dictionary.com ) Praising God is different from thanking God. We are to be thankful for all God has done and continues to do for us; thankful for His blessings. But we are to praise God for WHO He is not what He does.
In order to praise God properly we must know Him properly. We get to know God by spending time in His Word; daily chewing on Scripture, digesting it, allowing His Word to become part of us. As we read and study His Word we become familiar with God's character. Character is simply the nature of someone, how they behave, who they are. One look into the Old Testament and we see God acting in love, faithfulness, mercy. These are characteristics for which we can and should praise God. Looking into the New Testament shows us God is a promise keeper, a trustworthy God.
The renowned basketball coach and devout Christian, John Wooden once said:
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you are, while your reputation is what others think you are...the truest test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching."
The Bible tells us God never changes, He remains the same throughout all eternity. We don't need to fear God will stop being faithful or loving or merciful or forgiving. The God we see in Scripture is the God we can come to know and praise. God is who He says He is and does what He says He will do. We can trust God's character.
In our garden of prayer God's character would be the large oak tree, with roots deep and branches high, providing shade from the heat of fiery trials and shelter from the storms. His character would be the evergreen tree, remaining strong and steady throughout the years. We can cry out with the Psalmist:
"Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His faithful love endures forever."
What character trait of God will you praise Him for today?
Until next time,
God bless and keep you,
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