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Praise! It Makes All the Difference

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Encounter: Find a quiet place and read Psalm 145 underlining how this Psalm encourages your faith walk. Then go to Hebrews 12:1-4, and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Cor. 9:13-15. Begin to think about how these passages speak of what fosters the praise and worship of God.

Jack’s Dad is visiting us for the next two weeks and we took him to a Ft. Wayne Tin Caps game last night. Looking at all the young players practicing their sport and hoping for a future in the big leagues, it occurred to me that living life with God is the big leagues and following Jesus takes discipline, practice and encouragement if we want to play the game well. I also noticed how the encouragement and praise from our fellow players goes a long way in helping us to do that. I watched how the naysayers and fair weather fans taunted when there was a failed play. And I wondered how many players quit because they heard more of the boos from the crowd than the "keep trying!" Praise can make all the difference!

Yes, we praise God and thank God for making all of life possible, we also give God glory for the works we see in one another’s lives and we speak words of praise as we see the gift of God coming through when we serve God with our whole lives. When we see the attributes of God, the fruits of the spirit manifesting through our personalities and abilities, it causes us to praise God and say to one another, “Way to Go! You’re on your way to the big leagues.”

Our thankfulness to God comes about in our lives when we witness how He works in each of our lives. Praise speaks of this witness and throughout history has caused God’s people to worship and serve God in a myriad of ways. Our love and worship of God is also always directly connected to our love for one another and viewing ourselves as a team. The way we “see” God’s works is through witnessing God’s works and nature manifested in our lives. The scriptures reveal what praise, worship and glory looks like as God’s people celebrate the wins, give comfort in the losses and inspire to keep working towards the prize.

We not only praise God for all he has BLESSed us with, we praise one another for staying faithful to the life of faith. We have and we are a great cloud of witnesses, circled around one another, rooting each other on knowing that He who has begun a good work in us will complete His work. Why? Because, “All of this is for [our] benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.That is why we never give up. (2 Cor. 4:15-16)

Go watch a ballgame soon and tell me what you see. Remember, they play for a prize that will not last, we follow Jesus to get a crown that will last forever! We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. As they say in baseball, “Good eye!” Need encouragement to stay in the game? We’ll be rooting for you on Sunday!

Playing with you,

Pastor T

Reflect: Think about a baseball game you’ve watched. Think about the crowds, the plays, the players. How does the game or any sport relate to our living life with God?

Spiritual Practice: Encouraging one another can be a powerful spiritual practice. Think of someone you know who could use a word of praise for how they’re playing the game of life. Send a card, an email or take them to coffee or lunch. How about involving them in a ministry or brainstorming with them about how their gifts could be used to share the Good News of Christ.

Gather: Share the scriptures above with each other and discuss how these passages encourage you to not quit, but to continue being intentional in your training and spiritual formation. Ask one another to share, what are you doing to spiritually grow this summer.

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