What if Your Job was to Thank and Praise God Everyday?

“The duty of the Levites was to help Aaron’s descendants in the service of the temple of the LORD…They were also to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD. They were to do the same in the evening” (1 Chronicles 23:28, 30-31).

Interesting.

Came across this passage in my daily reading of the Bible. The Levites were a tribe of Israel who were tasked with serving at the Temple in Jerusalem. One of their main jobs was to stand in the Temple to thank and praise God every morning and evening. Their job was to thank and praise God on behalf of the people of Israel. It didn’t matter whether they felt like it or not. This was their job.

But what if they didn’t feel like they had a reason for praising God? What if they were having a really bad day? How were they supposed to praise and thank God when the last thing they were feeling was thankful?

While these questions may seem relevant, they are wrong because they are starting with a false assumption.

Let me explain.

For us moderns, we start with our personal experience, feelings, and thoughts as the basis of all knowledge and truth. So what can be true for you may not be true for me because our personal experiences, feelings, and thoughts may be different.

But, personal experience, feelings, and thoughts are not to be the basis of knowledge and truth for the people of God. For the people of faith, the basis for all knowledge and truth is the reality of salvation. Salvation through Jesus Christ has already happened. Salvation is the basis and the foundation of our reality.

That’s why the most important truth of the Ten Commandments is not the commandments themselves but the phrase, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deuteronomy 5:6), which precedes the Ten Commandments. It is because of what God had already done for Israel that, “You shall have no other gods before me…You shall not make for yourself an image…You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God…etc.”

Since God’s salvation is the basis of reality for the people of faith, thanksgiving and praise is ALWAYS appropriate because salvation is something that God has already done for his people. That the people of faith give God thanks and praise him has nothing to do with our personal experiences, feelings, or thoughts. We give thanks and praise because of all that God has already done for us in Jesus Christ.

Just as praise and thanksgiving were the job of the Levites, this is our calling as recipients of God’s grace and love through the cross of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Fear, Discouragement, or Peace

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Do not be afraid…

Do not be discouraged…

Easy for you to say.

Most of the time I am neither afraid nor discouraged. Most of the time I am doing just fine. But there are times when I do fear and am discouraged. And when I am afraid or discouraged, someone telling me not to be afraid or discouraged doesn’t help. In fact, it’s annoying. I am already experiencing fear and discouragement. How am I supposed to change what I’m already feeling?

Great question.

There are two truths about the verse of the day.

First, peace is not the absence of difficulties, hardship, or fear. Peace is the presence of God. God’s presence changes everything. God doesn’t change what we have to go through in life as Christians, but the presence of God changes how we deal with life. The presence of God is a game changer. God’s presence reminds us that there is nothing in the created universe that can separate us from his love and purpose. The worst that this world could do is death. But because of what God has done through Jesus Christ, death is no longer the end. Death is the gateway to eternity with God.

Second, whether you stay in fear and discouragement or you experience peace has everything to do with perspective. If you’re focused on your problems and the world around you, you will have reasons to fear and be discouraged. But, once you take your focus off of the problems and turn to God, you will experience peace. You are never alone. God is always with you. Through all situations God has a plan and a purpose for you. God loves you. You are never alone. God is God Emanuel – God with us.

Don’t miss – Living in peace and faith is not about how you’re feeling. It’s about an ongoing decision to choosing God and turning our gaze upon God. It’s choosing to focus on God. Once we focus on God, we will have peace.

No matter what you are facing today, you are not facing today alone. God is with you. Turn your eyes upon Jesus.

Don’t Stink

“If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, LORD, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you” (Psalm 130:3-4).

What happens if you don’t shower regularly? You stink. You can try to cover the stink with deodorants and perfume, but if you don’t wash regularly you stink. That’s what happens when you live in a world with dirt and grime.

What is true for our physical bodies is true for our spiritual bodies. If we don’t regularly confess and repent of our sins, we stink. That’s what happens when we live in a sin-filled world.

That’s why a daily time of prayer and confession is absolutely necessary. If we don’t confess and repent, we literally stink.

It is absolutely true, “If the LORD kept a record of our sins, who could stand?” But this doesn’t mean that God ignores our sins or looks the other way when we sin. The reason why there is no record of our sins is because when we confess, God forgives our sins. When God forgives our sins our sins are erased. There is no longer any record of our sin. The record of our sins are erased precisely because God forgives us when we repent and confess.

In order to cleanse us and renew us God offers us forgiveness through his Son, Jesus Christ. But we must repent. We must confess our sins.

Make it your daily practice to confess and repent of your sins.

Before we go, let me clue you in on what the devil will do with all of this. The devil will make you feel guilty about confessing your sins daily. You see, for most of us we wrestle with the same sins over and over. And we will feel guilty asking for forgiveness for repeated sins. This is going to happen. But don’t let this deter you. The reason why we are repeat sinners is because we are sinners in need of a Savior. God already knows that.

Imagine if someone said, “Why should I take another shower when I’m just going to have to take another tomorrow?”

Why? Because you stink!!!

We shower because we get dirty.

We confess because we sin.

God already knows. Take your daily cleansing and confess your sins daily.