“For I am the Lord your God. You must consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy…” – Leviticus 11:44.

If you’ve ever started reading Leviticus, you know how challenging it can be to interpret. The detailed procedures for sacrifices, lists of clean and unclean animals, and peculiar laws in the book of Leviticus may seem too complicated and irrelevant for us today and often leave modern readers scratching their heads in confusion or zoning out in boredom.

Leviticus 11:44 is a snapshot of the Book of Leviticus. There are many things in Leviticus that are holy. Twice, in verses 44-45 we hear these words, “be holy, because I am holy.” To understand what it means to be holy, we have to fully understand that God is holy:”O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” (Psalm 40:5). The psalmist tells us, “Worship the LORD in all his holy splendor. Let all the earth tremble before him.” (Psalm 96:9) Solomon writes, “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” (Proverbs 9:10)

Leviticus reveals Christ’s sacrifice to us through the pictures in the Old Testament. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of one who walked in holiness. If we look at how He lived and exemplified holiness, we see a life committed to honoring God, showing love, honoring parents, and serving others. But being holy isn’t natural, and it isn’t something we can do under our own strength. Walking in holiness requires the Holy Spirit. Holiness is only possible when we are put on the new self and live life as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV) God wants us to be. Although holiness isn’t natural to us, we are instructed in scripture to follow or pursue holiness.

Leviticus 11:44 also talks about being consecrated. Leviticus 8 describes the instructions God gave Moses to consecrate and ordain Aaron and his sons so that they could begin their priesthood. “Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and on their garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments” (Leviticus 8: 30 NIV).

When we consecrate ourselves to God, we wholly dedicate ourselves to Him. It is the act of setting yourself aside and dedicating yourself to God.  We consecrate ourselves when we surrender our lives and will to Him as a living sacrifice and live our lives for the glory of God. Consecration is offering ourselves, our stuff, plans, wants, desires, and will to Jesus.

God’s ultimate purpose is to sanctify us – make us holy – to make us like Jesus. Holiness begins when we are born again but that is not the end-point of our life with Jesus; it is only the beginning of a holy and consecrated life.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Can you define the word holiness in general and more specifically for your life?
  2. Do you believe a person can become holy?

What We Can Learn About Worship From The Magi

“He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” – Matthew 2:4-6.

Scripture offers us many important journey stories. From Abraham being told to go to the land that God will show him. To the Israelites traveling through the wilderness on their way to the promised land. To Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem before the birth of their Son. And we have the Magi.

The Magi were on a journey to find and worship the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Fast forward thousands of years and ask yourself this question: Are you on the same journey to find and worship the Savior, who is Christ the Lord? So, what we can learn from these wise men, who traveled to find the newborn king?

Many lessons can be learned from the actions of the wise men. For example, they made it a priority to pursue the Lord. These men came from a great distance to encounter the Savior. They were committed to having a personal encounter with the newborn King. In the same way, shouldn’t we make it a priority to pursue the Lord and spend time in His presence? Secondly, they came to worship Him. Matthew 2:2 says, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” When they found Jesus, they bowed down. They were overjoyed. Because when they met Jesus, the search was over. They started as seekers, but when they found Him, they became worshippers. They have come all this way for one reason, and one reason only: To worship the newborn King of the Jews. They didn’t come with any kind of agenda. They weren’t looking for the answer to the meaning of life or trying to court favor with a king early in His life. They simply came to pay homage to Him, and to offer Him gifts. Fast forward several thousand years: do we come without any kind of agenda? Is our goal simply to worship Jesus? Do we offer Him gifts?   

They saw the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Their search was over. Their lives were changed forever. Will we respond like the Magi?  Seeking after God, humbling themselves, giving themselves, and obeying the Lord.  They were true worshippers.  That is the story of the gospel.  Jesus came to save sinners.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost.  He came for tax collectors, prostitutes, rejects, and sinners.  Jesus came to save whoever would trust in Him.  He is the Savior of the world.

Bethlehem was not the end for the Magi.  It was the beginning for them.  May today mark a fresh beginning, a change, in our worship, our passionate pursuit of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Worship and joy are inseparable.  Will you worship Him?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Does it surprise you the sacrifices the wise men made to see the child Jesus?
  2. What do you think motivated the wise men to journey so far from home and their refusal to be diverted from their mission?

Are You Ready For Some Football?

“ Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. 

The college football games have started. While it is a new season, some things don’t change.  For example, there are a few elite teams that will be elite in 2022. Then there are the other schools who look to the football season with anticipation and hope. The hope is that the team and players will have a breakout year and compete for a championship. Each week while watching the game of your choice the announcers and analysts will praise various athletes for their constant display of courage, dedication, perseverance, strength, determination, will, and passion. The young men playing college football are incredible athletes, but no one person can do it on their own. Teams win because they function as a team because the players execute the coach’s game plan.

We as Christians are part of a team. We are a group of people who are called by Jesus to work together with the common purpose of carrying out His will on the earth. Just like in college football, playing on God’s team takes sacrifice, dedication, relentlessness, courage, and passion. Since we as Christians are indeed a team, then we have a Coach that never makes any mistakes and ultimately wins everything.  The game schedule for Christians is tough and a lengthy one, basically 365 days a year, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. We never stop playing because life never stops happening.  

To play well in the game of life, we need to give our spiritual head Coach everything we have. We need to put all of our efforts into doing what He asks of us as a player on His team. Jesus will never fail and will perfectly do His part. It was up to us to do our part as players. As you accept your part of God’s team, your part in the body of Christ, you will not only find your place in the world but also purpose and meaning because you’re finally doing and being who you were created to be. You have a certain role to play, the others are dependent on you to do your part. That’s why it is important to do your part and pull for team God. Every part affects the functionality of the whole. It really does matter what you do or what you leave undone.

At times, we are going to get tired and want to give up. But the same way a team feeds off the energy of its fans, we can draw strength from one another. Paul reminds the church in Rome of the special power that comes through unity in Christ. “May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (Romans 15:5-6)

Discussion Questions

  1. God designed you to be a team player: agree or disagree and why?  
  2. What are some of our responsibilities when we play on God’s team? What does being on God’s team look like in real life? 

The Difference Between Involvement And Commitment

  “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.” –  Ephesians 5:10.

There is some confusion between involvement and commitment. To be involved typically means staying as long as you are happy.  Commitment is entirely different. Commitment is not a promise, it is the point when the promise is kept. Commitment requires planning, perseverance, and sacrifice.  

What would have happened if Noah had not been fully committed; if he had completed only ninety percent of what God asked him to do?  Imagine if he had left part of the hull unfinished, choosing instead to use the time for other things.  

God wasn’t asking for an imperfect being to create a perfect product out of imperfect material, but He was asking Noah to stay committed and complete His request.  Noah could not afford to be indifferent to God’s will, and neither can we.  Noah had to complete the Ark because it was God’s will.  His salvation, his family’s chance of surviving catastrophe, and the fulfillment of God’s will were all dependent upon his complete and total willingness to trust God.  The same is true for us.  We need to trust God completely.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Real commitment is certainly difficult, yet we are asked to do it every day.  We’re asked to commit to spouses, children, jobs, church, communities, and countless other things.  Many of these types of commitments require balance. Work-life balance means we have to balance the time and effort from one commitment to another.  While this is important, it doesn’t work with our commitment to follow Jesus.  God does not expect us to manage everything perfectly, but He does expect our first commitment to be to Him.  

Much of our spiritual life is a process of letting go of old habits and embracing our new life as a follower of Jesus.  We won’t always get it right and we will make mistakes, but we will keep moving forward if we remain steadfast in our commitment to God.  “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

A life serving Jesus requires total commitment.  Galatians  6:9 says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” God doesn’t leave us alone.  He gave us His Holy Spirit to walk and climb right next to us, giving us strength. God will remind us of how He guided us through difficult paths in the past so we can persevere now.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, where is your commitment to Jesus? Why did you pick the number you did?
  2. Who or what has the most influence on your day-to-day decisions? Where does Jesus fall in the order of influential voices in your life?
  3. What step do you need to take this week to make your relationship with Jesus your No. 1 priority?

What Is Love

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – I Corinthians 13:4-7:

Valentine’s Day is over and many wallets are probably a little thinner as we invested various amounts of money in an effort to demonstrate to someone special that “I love you.” But what is love? Not gooey, pulse-pounding sentimentality, but real love as defined by God. We hear a lot about love, but actually see very little of it. We look for it, dream about it, talk about it, and sing about it. But what is it? We think we understand the topic and more importantly we think we recognize it in our lives. But defining it is a different story. The best definition of love I’ve come across is found in I Corinthians 13:4-7, (see above)

This is especially true for Christians. Remember, we serve and worship a God who says that He is love. “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4.8). God is the source and truest expression of love. Everything He does is loving. Further, God has told us that we can actually know what love is by looking at the cross. What then is love?

Let me take a stab at a definition. Love is the willful and joyful sacrifice of ourselves in the service of others. This definition takes into consideration that the love that was displayed in the giving of Christ was willful. That is, it was not under compulsion. “Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame…” (Hebrews 12:2) It was also a matter of service. “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) 

C.S. Lewis in Four Loves writes: “God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing.” There are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”

Love is not just a feeling, or a theory, or a nice word. It’s the way you treat people, what you do for others. Love will always cost you something: time, energy, effort, money, giving up your pride, doing what’s right when you don’t feel like it, keeping a good attitude when you don’t get your way. Loving the way God loves means you love when there’s nothing in it for you; it’s all about giving out and not expecting anything in return. We’re called to outreach, not in-reach. Real love is about dying to self and living to love others.

That is what love is.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How would you define genuine love?
  2. How much of your life is characterized by love? What is keeping the percentage from being larger? 
  3. What does your level of involvement in the church say about your love for God’s family?
  4. What steps can we take this week to better reflect the love of God? 

Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

“Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good.” —  Proverbs 19:8 .

When we talk about loving your neighbor as yourself, I’m not referring to self-worship, the need to constantly look in the mirror or dust off our trophies and or take selfies all day long because we believe we are the real deal. I’m talking about being thankful and appreciative of the person God made in us. The two are radically different. 

If we were hooked up to a lie detector, we would probably admit that we are pretty fond of ourselves. We love to think about us, look out for us, and work for us. We don’t mind success and we don’t have any issue with people who recognize our worth. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have regrets, due to mistakes or failures. Even so, we have to think of ourselves, so thinking of others sometimes takes a back seat. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 22:39, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 

If you study the people throughout history that have made contributions to the Kingdom, it is not because they loved themselves. They usually changed the world because they didn’t think of themselves at all. They moved self far down the priority list and consumed themselves with God and furthering His kingdom.   

Jesus also said in John 13:24, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”  Jesus would not have gone to the cross if He was thinking about or loving Himself. And I don’t think He would have gone to the cross if that action was based on how people treated Him during His years on earth. No, Jesus was completely selfless. The cross is the greatest act of love in history. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)  Sacrificing for others, serving others, requires more than loving ourselves.   

In fact, the more we love ourselves, the less we tend to love others. It just seems to work that way. Just as you cannot serve God and money, you cannot love others the way you are supposed to love when you put yourself above them.

It is easy to tell where we stand by our actions. Do we love others enough to take action, to meet needs and put their interests first? Because when we truly are focused on giving and serving and loving those around us, we will have everything we need to be fulfilled, happy, and at peace knowing that we are serving God and loving Him instead of loving ourselves.

It is a receipt for less regret in our lives.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How do you measure loving yourself? How do you measure loving others?
  2. What happens if you obey the greatest commandment—love God with all your heart, soul, and mind—without obeying the second greatest commandment—love your neighbor as yourself?
  3. The law of love in Galatians 5:14 says, “Love your neighbors as yourself.” How does living of a life of love give glory to God? Are there times when it is difficult to do the “loving thing” in relationships? How do you choose to love?
  4. How has your love for God and for others led to real-life actions and deeds?

Why Should I Read Philemon?

“So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self.  I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.” – Philemon 1:17-21. 

Nestled between the books of Titus and Hebrews in the New Testament is the book of Philemon. The book of Philemon is a letter written by Paul while in prison. The key personalities of Philemon are Paul, Philemon, and Onesimus. It was written to Philemon as a plea to request forgiveness for his runaway servant Onesimus, who was a new believer in Jesus Christ. The book of Philemon consists of only one chapter and 25 verses.

Onesimus was clearly in the wrong, was clearly a criminal who had violated his master’s trust, and now Paul says, “Maybe that’s the way God wanted it all to work out.” You see, Paul knows that Philemon has a clear case against Onesimus, but that’s not what is important. Onesimus has become a believer and now that he has experienced a change of heart and character and conduct, Paul is making a final appeal for Philemon to receive this guilty slave with mercy and forgiveness.

We all experience times in our lives when it is highly difficult to forgive and be restored to someone who has hurt us.  The question is “how?” How do we forgive someone who has hurt or wronged us? First, consider the providence of God. Paul and Philemon both knew that Onesimus was in the wrong, but what Paul so masterfully pointed out was that God had allowed it for a higher purpose.

During the message on Sunday, I’m sure most of you were thinking about one person or maybe several people that you have had trouble forgiving. What they did is still so fresh in your mind. Or maybe what they did takes them outside the realm of possibility for forgiveness in your mind. 

But have you ever considered that maybe God allowed that thing to happen in your life for a higher purpose? Could God have allowed some bad thing to happen in your life in order that you might experience the greater good?  All you know is what was done to you is still an obstacle. But is it an obstacle? Or is it an opportunity for you to grow and to manifest the love, compassion and mercy of God to an individual that does not deserve it.

Philemon 19-20 says, “I, Paul, write this with my own hand: I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ.”

When Paul asked Philemon to receive Onesimus and forgive him those old debts, he reminded him that he too was once a man with a terrible debt that had also been forgiven. When we can’t forgive someone, we need to pause for a second and remember what God did to forgive you. I understand that forgiveness may cost you something.  It may not be easy. And it may require sacrifice. But whatever it cost you in terms of sacrifice will pale in comparison with what has been done for you by Jesus Christ on the cross.

Tomorrow: How can I forget?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read the book of Philemon. Can you identify with Philemon?
  2. One of the greatest gifts we receive from Christ becomes one of the greatest challenges to following him: forgiveness? Agree or disagree?
  3. Have you ever considered that maybe God allowed that thing to happen in your life for a higher purpose?
  4. What steps can we take to forgive others.

You Can’t Out Give God

“ Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Matthew 19:27-30

Have you ever thought about the difference between a sacrifice and an investment? A sacrifice suggests that you are giving up something while an investment should return something to you, even if it’s small. We invest time in our children, so they make good decisions. We invest money to send them to college. While paying for college can seem like a sacrifice, it is really an investment. 

We serve a God who gives and gives and gives. He leads the way for us. No matter what we give, God gives more. He demonstrated the extent of His giving by giving His Son, Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 9: 6-8 says this: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” Verse 11 says, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

According to Jesus’ words to His disciples, our reward is eternal life and, oh, 100 times our investment. Simply put, you can’t out-give God. 

No matter what we give to God…monetary gifts, talents and abilities, time…we can’t out give God.

Charles Spurgeon said it this way: “God has a way of giving by the cartloads to those who give away by shovelfuls.”

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think a spiritually-motivated and Bible-focused generosity movement is needed in the world today?
  2. Do you believe giving 100% of yourself to God is the most important step in learning to become a generous person?
  3. List some of the available time, talents, treasure, and things that God has given you. What is a way that some of these things could be used for the Lord and for others?
  4. Do you believe you can’t out give God? Can you recall a time when you experienced God’s crazy math and saw the Lord provide in unexpected ways?

Saved People Serve People

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” – Matthew 25: 35-40.

Mother Teresa once said, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” The idea is that there is so much that needs to be done and only so much we can do. Rather than everyone serving others why not have everyone serve themselves. That eliminates the concerns of who best to serve and how best to serve them.  There is one problem with that idea.

God serves others and He wants us to do the same. He’s set it up so serving others accomplishes almost everything He wants for us. In Matthew 20:28, Jesus tells his disciples that, “even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Because Jesus gave Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for us, we are also called to serve others. At Northstar, we believe that the Church does not exist for us. We are the Church and we exist for the world. We have the responsibility and the opportunity to show the love of Christ by serving other people. In other words, saved people serve people so that served people can become saved.

Northstar is not built on the gifts and talents of a few, but on the sacrifice of many. One of the character traits that has marked us as a church has been the incredible volunteer spirit of the many people who make up Northstar. It’s one of the reasons that I love my church – because Saved People Serve People. And it’s never about excluding people, but about including people. Helping people find their fit – what makes them unique – and then fitting them in – helping them find a place of service.

I encourage you to serve if you haven’t yet. Ask yourself what it is that you do better than anyone else. God has perfectly designed you with a place of service in mind (Romans 12:6). That means that your skill set is a blueprint for where you should serve.  See what needs to be done. Look around and see a need and fill the need. If it looks like we’re in need of extra ushers, why not step up. Or maybe you notice that the check-in lines are getting long when you drop off the kids. Maybe that’s a perfect place for you to get involved.

The point is we need you. We want you to be a part of God’s body in the way He designed you. You’re here because of Him, and we know He put you here for a reason. Let’s find out together.

There are many opportunities to serve at Northstar. We want you to find the one that best suits your passion, personality, and availability. We believe that serving is key to your spiritual growth. Remember that saved people serve people.   

Discussion Questions:

  1. Every Christ-follower has at least one spiritual gift (Ephesians 4:7-8). Some people have not yet opened their gifts. What does Romans 12:1-2 suggest as reasons they may be having difficulty unwrapping their gifts?
  2. What does 1Corinthians 12:18-27 indicate is the purpose of our spiritual gifts?
  3. What hurdles do you have discovering and using spiritual gifts?
  4. How can you discover where God wants you to use your gifts? How can you tell you are fully using your gifts? 

The Power of Praise

“Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” – Psalm 150

The book of Psalms has a lot to say about praise. In fact, it gives any number of reasons why praising God is important. It also gives various ways of how to praise God. Psalm 92:1 says, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 147:1 says, “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”

Psalms also highlights the attributes of God that are worthy of praise. First, God is full of glory: “May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great.”  (Psalm 138:5)  God is great: “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.” God is wise and powerful: “ Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.” (Daniel 2:20) He is the One who saves us: “The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock! Exalted be God my Savior!” (Psalm 18:46)

To try to list all the things God has done is impossible, but it is a worthwhile exercise because it turns our hearts back to Him and reminds us of how much He has done for us. Revelation 4:11 says this: ”You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,  for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

All too often, praise to God is something that many people leave behind when they leave church and get ready for the week ahead. But praise is not a church only event or something we do in the company of other Christians.  Praise should be a part of our life, at home, at work, actually anywhere for that matter. “…I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalms 34:1).

Praise is an expression of faith. It says that we believe God is with us and is in control of the outcome of all our circumstances (Romans 8:28). Praise is a “sacrifice,” something that we offer to God sacrificially, not just because we feel like it, but because we believe in Him and wish to please Him. Hebrews 13:15 tells us, “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”

How is praising God possible? Singing songs and hymns, clapping our hands, praying even jumping for joy…the list is endless. We can give glory and praise to our God with the use of our physical bodies, with our hearts and minds, and with our deeds. There are many ways to praise God! No matter how you praise and worship God, it should result in humble recognition of God’s power, love, and grace for all of us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways have you been amazed by God this past year?
  2. What habits can you develop to help you learn to praise God more?
  3. How does praising God more help you to trust him more? What other activities help us to trust God more?
  4. What are the things in life that prevent us from resting and trusting and praising God?