Tag: Praise

WHY PRAISE GOD?

A person I knew asked me once if I agreed that it was selfish of God to expect humans to praise him. I’m not sure how well I answered him at the time, but if I could answer him now, I might say something like this…

God made us. We are His creation, as is everything around us. His power and intelligence are immeasurably beyond anything we can imagine. We are, as Scripture says, “fearfully and wonderfully made”. So much so, that researchers, as clever as they have become, still haven’t and probably never will understand all there is about the human body, brain and mind. His abilities are beyond anything we will ever understand. We praise football players, artists, actors and musicians, who wouldn’t even exist if God had not made us.

God deserves our praise because He sustains us, and gives us mercy. He keeps that star we call the sun in our sky shining, preserving life on the planet. He is incredible in every way. He is fantastic, tremendous, stupendous, awesome, in the fullest sense of all these words, and of many many more. He is actually beyond any word we can utter.

God knows that He is incredible, beautiful, and holy. This isn’t a big-headed sort of knowledge, it’s a recognition of fact. It’s also a recognition that He sustains all things. He wants to share His beauty and holiness with those of us who choose to do so, because it’s the best thing which could happen to Him, and to us. He finds pleasure and joy in our finding pleasure and joy in Him. It’s like the most perfect marriage you could imagine, and then some. In fact, it is the perfect marriage.

Praise, among other things, is an expression of love. If we really love God, we cannot fail to praise Him. Praise serves to put all of our existence into its proper perspective. It’s an acknowledgement that He is far above us, and that we only live and enjoy the blessings we have because He allows it all. It puts our hearts into a right relationship with the One who not only brought us into being, but holds our eternity in His hands.

Praise instils in us a sense of reverence and awe, and yes, fear, of the One who is able to bless us or curse us-to give life or take it away. When we know we have our hearts straight with Him, it gives us an incredible sense of oneness with Him-the most amazing, beautiful being there is or ever will be.

Praise fills us with joy and the sense that all in the universe is well after all. God is in control; there is far more to life than our problems or just what we can see; there is meaning to life, and there is a purpose. There is a future for us. There is such a thing as good, as well as justice…and God is It.

God is Great, and worthy of our praise, for ever.

HOW AMAZING IS GOD?

How amazing is God? Nobody this side of heaven knows for sure. But one thing we can know is that no created entity is more amazing than its creator…

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I halted the business of my day yesterday for just a few minutes-just long enough to look into the stunning blue sky, where brilliant cumulus clouds were suspended over the hillsides. Tall grasses and wild flowers of all colors swayed gently in the breeze. One or two birds, living life to the utmost of their ability, sang their vibrant, jubilant little song. And it struck me that what I was looking at, in all its overwhelming glory, just represented a fraction of its creator’s glory, beauty, power and imagination.

If you want to get a glimpse of how great God is, look at what he has made, and know that He is even greater.

WHY ARE WE HERE?

I was listening to a song* by my favorite prog-rock band, “Yes”. The founding lead-vocalist and lyricist, Jon Anderson, is a super-talented man in my opinion, but in his attempt to address the reason for our existence, his view of life and eternity, which has been based on a New-Age style of thought, fell short of answering the question. Instead he sang that at some far-off future time (I’m paraphrasing) the reason for our existence will be made clear.

Ahem, Jon, excuse me, but the answer to our vital question, and the one which is all-too politically incorrect to ask these days, has already been made clear, and there’s no need to wait for another one. We weren’t made so that we could ultimately be gods or ascended masters, or so that we could find fulfillment for ourselves-although that certainly is an outcome of our willing submission-but to bring glory and pleasure to our creator:

“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” (Revelation 4:11)”

When we accept our correct role in the grand scheme of things, and begin to live lives pleasing to our God, then and only then will we find fulfillment and meaning in our existence.

*The closing section of “Gates of Delirium”, on the album “Relayer”.

THANK THE LORD FOR SECULAR MUSIC!

THANK THE LORD FOR SECULAR MUSIC!

If it were not for secular music, discerning music lovers would be condemned to a lifetime (but not an eternity- HALLELUJAH) of being told by a small ruling elite what “good music” has to sound like.

If you can just stray a little from the usual sources, you’ll find that the secular world produces an amazing variety of musical styles and genres, and is perpetually experimenting and pushing the boundaries.  Meanwhile the Christian world, I’m sorry to have to say, is trapped in a couple of little boxes, one of which is called “contemporary Christian music”. LORD DELIVER US!

Twenty to thirty years after a genre is created, the Christian world catches on, and then declares to itself that it is thoroughly modern. The secular world, if it notices at all, yawns and continues to go on ahead.

It hasn’t always been that way, of course. Men like Bach and some of the hymn writers of the past were pioneers, and glorified God greatly by stretching the imagination that the Lord had given them just as far as they could. God wants us to be creative! Us humans only use a small percentage of our brain capacity; its there for a reason. God didn’t make all cats or all dogs or even all cats and dogs: He made jellyfish, elephants, snails, octopi, eagles, spiders, peacocks, dinosaurs…and what an amazing variety of colors, habitats and characteristics!

It’s not just the genres which are lacking in Christian music: it’s the passion. Being a bass player myself, I recently watched John Patitucci, one of the world’s greatest bass players, with Chick Corea. His hands, fingers and arms twanged, slapped, thumped, glided and twiddled on the fingerboard, the result of which was an astounding display of passion and sound emanating from a mighty brain and talent – God given (whether he sees it that way or not). In contrast, as I sat and watched a Christian band one Sunday morning, I saw the bass player barely touching the strings, for fear of making a noise which might be noticed, or the wrong kind of noise, It was the ultimate compression, and after all, the “experts” in the sound booth and church leadership know that the bass should be seen and not heard, or else it should just be a woolly soft noise in the background.

What does the Bible have to say about passion in music?

 “Praise the Lord form the earth, you great sea creatures and all the ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding…” (Psalm 148).

 “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 the tambourine and dancing,

praise him with the strings and flute,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

Praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

(Psalm 150).