“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”
One summer I worked in the inner-city of Miami. Got to know a lot of good people there, but the one I learned the most from was Big Joe. He had a tough life…very tough. No dad. Most his family was in prison or dead. But what I remember most about Big Joe was his BIG smile and unshakable joy. One day we sat down to talk. I was really discouraged about my ministry there. Big Joe flashed that huge smile and exhorted me, “brother…now’s the time you gotta get your praise on!” He was right. There’s two times to praise the Lord; when you feel like and when you don’t.
Our pastor, Brendon Fairley; talked about Psalm 150 last Sunday urging us to “get our praise on”. Here’s 4 keys to helping you get there:
- OPEN UP: Hard times tend to close us up and shut us down. If you stay there you will drown! The Psalmist was always found stretching himself to open up to his God.
- ‘FESS UP: Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Unconfessed stuff crowds our hearts and is like a spiritual sock stuffed in our mouth.
- LOOK UP: Like the Psalmist (in 123) we need to lift up our eyes. When tough times hit we need God’s perspective. Our help comes from the One who is enthroned in heaven!
- LIFT UP: Lift up your voice! There is something about singing. Just something about it. People sing when they’re happy, sad, confused, blue, in love and just about every scenario we find ourselves in. Why ? I think it’s because singing is the language of the soul. It expresses the depth of our sorrow and the heights of our joy in ways that just words can’t.
That day, as I walked away from my conversation with Big Joe, I started to open up to God about my discouragement. Immediately a familiar song about overcoming came to mind. I began humming it at first (I wasn’t quite ready to sing out) but my heart was feeling freer. By the time I got back to the office my perspective had shifted and hope returned!
“To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.” (Psalm 25.1)
One of my hero’s is George Mueller. A remarkable man, in 1834 (when he was 28) he founded The Scripture Knowledge Institute for Home and Abroad. The Institute was comprised of five branches:
1) Schools for children and adults to teach Bible knowledge,
2) Bible distribution,
3) missionary support,
4) tract and book distribution, and
5) “to board, clothe and scriptural educate orphans who have lost both parents by death.”
All five branches had great impact, but the one he is best known for is the orphan ministry. George built 5 large orphan houses and cared for 10,024 orphans in his lifetime. When he started in 1834 there were only accommodations for 3,600 orphans in all of England and twice that many children under eight were in prison. One of the incredible marks of Mueller’s ministry was, “fifty years after Mr. Mueller began his work, at least one hundred thousand orphans were cared for in England alone.”
He did all this while he was pastoring and preaching three times a week from 1830 to 1898. When he turned 70 he fulfilled a life-long dream of missionary work laboring abroad for the next 17 years! (until he was 87!). During His mission work he traveled to 42 countries, preaching at least once a day, and addressing better than 3 million people along the way!
Mueller read his Bible from cover to cover over 200 times during his life. He prayed in millions of dollars (in today’s currency) for the Orphans and never asked anyone directly for money. He himself never took a salary in the last 68 years of his ministry!
Indeed a remarkable man…who was incredibly busy. His secret? In his own words, “The first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” Now stop there and read that again. EVERY day his first and PRIMARY business was to get his soul happy in the Lord.
So my question is: do you know how to get your soul happy in the Lord?
I’m learning…slowly! But I’d like to take the next few posts to get you thinking.
I heard Paul Harvey tell a story about a driver who fried their car. Apparently the person thought the oil light flashing meant everything was OK. Not so. You know “the rest of the story”.
We desperately need to pay attention to the signals that our coming our way…especially those on our soul’s “dashboard”. As I mentioned in the previous post, our bodies are the dashboard of our soul. When we are worried, that emotion “flashes” through our bodies. It can be a strained look, tense shoulders, or a migraine. But somehow the soul is signaling it’s distress and hoping for some attention please!
Now if someone would have explained to that driver about the oil light coming on, they would still have a car. In like fashion Jesus cries out, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28) Is your dashboard flashing weary and burdened? Do you know the signs to look for? Pause for a moment right now and look at your “dash”. Is your body tense anywhere? Jaw tight? Heart racing? Do you know what your body does when stressed? Most don’t. So they keep driving until finally the motor burns up. Learn to be a master at reading your dashboard…it just may save your soul.