Archive for the ‘Praise’ Category



March 21, 2014

“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”   Matthew 15:7-9

office space1Hypocritical honor is inexorably linked with authority in a world that seeks favor.

I receive authority through the position that my municipal clients hire me to fulfill.  I have been complemented and praised by those with pending applications.  My opinions have been sought as a wise advisor by those to whom want my favor.  My friendship has been elicited by those under my authority.

I understand that much of the honor that I have received while residing in even limited authority is not genuine.

Much of the honor lavished upon those in positions of authority comes only by lips.  I know what it is like to hear words of praise and then observe actions that reveal a contrary heart.  Hypocritical honor is merely an acceptable form of bribery offered in hopes of receiving favor.  There is an astonishing variety of insincere honor that can be observed in our daily lives:

Children learn early to honor their parents in order to manipulate favor.

In hope of obtaining better grades, students heap adoration upon teachers and professors.

Incompetent officials are rarely challenged for want of a favorable future decision.

The camaraderie of managers is regularly fostered for job security.

In hope of getting out of a ticket, traffic violators will pile upon the officer layers of polite respect.

Politicians are often honored solely due to their elected position and not for anything they have done (or despite what they have done).

offficespace2Most of us have succumbed to hypocritical honor.  It is how we get through many of the ubiquitous layers of authority in our daily lives.  Hypocritical honor is a danger whenever authority is present in an association.  We all want favor and we can slide into insincere honor of those in authority without even being aware of what we are doing.

There is no higher authority than God.


We all want God’s favor and blessings in our lives.

God the Father 04

God the Father 04 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

This combination of authority and desire for favor is ripe for hypocritical honor.  Everyone is in danger of sliding into an insincere attitude toward God without even realizing what we are doing.  The religious, those who have grown up in the Church, and those adept with Christian culture, are the most susceptible.  This was Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees.  The Pharisees lavished words of praise and esteem to God but they did not love God.

But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God.  These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  (Luke 11:42)

God is like no other.  He has established a relationship with those who are His that is not based upon authority and favor.  God showed His love (favor) to this world by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, into world so that anyone who believes in Jesus Christ will not perish but have eternal life.  For those who are in Christ, the relationship with God has fundamentally changed.

No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  (John 15:15)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  (John 1:12-13)

So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.  (Galatians 4:7)

In our new relationship with God, we are to relate to Him as our loving Father.  We are to seek Christ as our friend.

We should never come to our Father, heaping words of adoration in hopes that He will not whack us – that is hypocritical honor and He hates it.

We should never be obedient in hopes of obligating favor from God’s authority – that is what a slave does and it is hated by God.

Our actions should originate out of love for our heavenly Father; it should be demonstrated by a friendship with Christ.  It is why Christ said:

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (John 14:15)

We can know our honor is sincere when it is demonstrated through obedient actions willingly given from a heart motivated only by love.  May we examine our hearts so that what comes out of our lips reflects a heart that is living in the favor of a new relationship as a child of God.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for sending us your Son to give us a new relationship with you.  Forgive me for reverting to my old slave mentality of seeking your favor through heartless words and actions.  Forgive me for not treating you as my friend and Father.  Forgive me for being a hypocrite.  Help me to live in your love.  Help me to respond to you in love in all my words and deeds. I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

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November 28, 2013

“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:28

Mr. T in DC / / CC BY-NC-ND

The countdown has begun.  In a few hours, my family and I will be seated around a large table surround by my extended family.  We will have before us an enormous amount of food.  Enough food will be splayed on that table for three families to have enough left-overs for days to come.

Our tradition of thanksgiving is to begin the dinner with each member giving a word of thanks.  This time of designated thanksgiving can be poignant, humorous, sappy, heart-warming, and awkward.  Although this time is forced upon us by my mother, it allows a brief moment of sharing all that has been received into our family over the long year.

Emotions of gratitude are best conveyed by those who have received a gift of great value, unearned.  Our gratitude tends to be somewhat muted when our hand is perceived to have had a role.

Gratitude comes from receiving.
Gratitude flows from taking that which is freely offered.

The gratitude expressed at my thanksgiving table will be tainted in some respect because very little of what we have received is perceived as freely given.  We are compensated in our jobs.  Healthy relationships are a mixture of give-and-take.  The delight of children comes through the woes of parenting.

I know in my mind that all things are a gift from God and that true gratitude should be expressed for that even which our hands have contributed.  However, there are times when my heart does not feel what my mind tells it.  Gratitude is an emotion that must be felt; the greater the gratitude the deeper the emotion.  True gratitude should be more than mere words around a thanksgiving table.

To remind myself what true gratitude feels like, I recall the greatest of gift that I have received, unearned.

I am grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.  (Hebrews 12:28)

I am thankful for receiving the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”  (Romans 8:15)

I am appreciative for receiving Christ, to believe in His name, and to be given the right to become a child of God, born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. (John 1:12)

I have been unborn again in Christ, unearned.

My gratitude for being saved cannot be expressed in mere words.  I can only express this deep gratitude that I feel in acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.  That is what true gratitude feels like.  Gratitude for all that we have to be thankful for is best expressed in praise to the God who saves the lost and perishing.

May that feeling flow throughout this day of thanksgiving into all the blessings we have received by the work of God’s hand.

PRAYER: O Lord, thank you.  Thank you for all the blessings You have shown me.  Thank you for all the unearned favor that you have lavished upon me.  Thank you for saving me.  I praise you of Lord.  I revere you, O Lord!  I am in awe of you my Lord and God.  Your grace still amazes me.  Your love is still a mystery to me.  May my tears of deep gratitude glorify your name. (Your Grace Still Amazes Me)  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.



November 23, 2013

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  The Lord preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.  Psalm 145:18-20

English: Campfire flames

I have a fire pit a good distance from my house, tucked in among some willows.  My kids and I enjoy evenings sitting and poking at the fire while we stare up at the night sky.  We behold a sky filled with stars hung in their designated place above our heads.  We marvel at the immensity of this nightly presentation of creation.  Occasionally, there will be an unnatural light that crosses our sky.  A blinking light of an airplane will go streaking through the darkness toward some unknown destination.

AirplaneI wonder about those on-board those planes.  Seats full of passengers all with destinations.  They are either traveling away from families or returning.  They all have stories with intrigue, conflicts, loves, hopes and dreams.  They all have beliefs, ethnicities, and philosophies by which they govern their lives in a complicated world.  They are engaged in conversations, reading books, listening to music, day-dreaming, sleeping or an assortment of other activities intended to occupy their time as the pass through my night sky.

They race through my sky merely as a blinking light to indicate their passage.  They are oblivious to me as I sit far below by my little fire.  They cannot know that I have spied them.  They cannot know that I wonder about them.  They cannot know the lives that are going on below them.  They cannot know me.

Night Flight

We slip pass each other without knowledge and only scant awareness.  Neither those in the airplane nor me at my fire can close the distance between us.  Neither of us have the power to make ourselves known.  Neither of us can affect each other’s desire.  Neither of us can preserve the other’s lives.  We are strangers destined to remain.

My eye is drawn beyond the tiny blinking light to the expanse of the universe.  I know that He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night is out there.  I know that the Lord is his name.  (Amos 5:8)  I spin around on a tiny planet, as a microscopic blip of a light spot in an immense universe, before the eye of the God of hosts.  I go past him just as that airplane passes above me.

The Night Sky

Fortunately, all the parties of this spiritual separation are not as powerless as those in the temporal.  I am as incapable of knowing Him, whose face I can glimpse in the stars, as those in that airplane are capable of knowing the man sitting beside this little campfire.  He who forms the mountains and creates the wind has the power to declare to me His thoughts. (Amos 4:13)

He has the power to close the gap that separates the created from the Creator.  He has the power to know my desires and to fulfill them.  He has the power to hear my anguish and to heal me.  He has the power to preserve me – a microscopic blip of a life, spinning on a minuscule planet, in an insignificant galaxy.

I know Him because He has made Himself known to me.
I call upon Him from His gift of faith to know the Truth.
I fear Him through eyes He has opened to His greatness.

I cry out to Him because He draws near to me.
I love Him from a heart that knows Him and all He does.
I praise Him through a transformed life in glory to him.

Prepare to meet your God!
Seek Him and He will draw near to you.
Seek Him and He will open your eyes.
Seek Him and live!

The Lord, the God of hosts is his name!

PRAYER: O Lord, your name is great and greatly to be praised.  Thank you for making yourself known.  Thank you for closing a gap that I could never span.  Thank you for speaking Truth into my life and calling me to your Son.  Hear my voice of praise – you fill all of the earth; you fill all the heavens.  Nothing can contain You.  Nothing is beyond your reach.  You are the most high – you are the Lord, the God of hosts.  I behold your name and cherish you my Lord.   You are High and Lifted Up!  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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