Monday, March 15, 2010

A Platform Of Praise

It started off as an introduction for the gathering of tithes and offerings...but ended up being something so much more than that. (and it took over the entire service) Our Pastor's wife, DeDe Vigil, happens to be a great speaker/teacher, but also stands as our Praise & Worship Leader at Victory City Church. Pastor DeDe was going to simply create an introduction for our time of Tithes & Offerings...and I am so grateful that her introduction was not just an introduction. It actually became the message for our entire service with the offering taking place at the end of the service.

She pointed out how so many of us live our lives in a state of complaint... "I hate my job." "I don't have enough money." "Agh, my marriage is just so hard." "I can't control my kids." "I'm stressed." "My health is terrible." There are so many things to complain about in life...and then we wonder why God hasn't stepped in and corrected it for us. But we tend to be the biggest blockade with all of our complaining.

Ever noticed how God never seems to move when you spend so much time complaining? I certainly have been guilty of complaining and whining about how things are not the way I would like them to be...and I am desperately going to try to change that.

The word JUDAH means Praise... And who was in charge of praise in heaven? Lucifer was the angel that God gave the position of guarding & leading praise and worship at God's throne. Talk about responsibility! And when God cast him out of heaven there was a very large void left to be filled.

The word LEVI means To Join... The tribe of Levi held the position of high honor...they were the ones in charge of presenting the offerings to God in the Holy of Holies. If you were not a Levi priest and you went into the Holy of Holies then that step in was the last step that you took. It was a sacred place...a place where man and God came face to face. They were our representatives, prior to Jesus, to join God's people in worship by presenting the sacrifices at the alter.

Ever wondered why we always put things up on pedestals?
Why we applaude and rain praise onto others?
We were created to praise and worship.

God created us to fill the void that was left in heaven...and when we praise and worship God, there is an amazing feeling that comes over you. I mean, when you just take the time to tell Him thank you for even the smallest things...and find yourself appreciating the things that you are provided and given...well, just try it and see the difference that it begins to make in your life. There is always something in our lives that we can express thanks for. Some days it just may be that the sun is out...or for a friend in our life.

As Pastor DeDe says, God moves in's the fuel that opens up our lives for God to move in the areas that are lacking or needing change. Praise allows us to change our atmosphere and cause emotions and mountains in our lives to become mole hills that God easily overcomes. Praise gives us clear perspective on the things that are happening in our lives.

There is so much for me to praise God for... For food in my stomach; the clothes on my body; my health; my husband, kids & family; for the friends in my life that inspire and uphold me; a roof over my head; the strength to deal with each day; my husband's job in this crazy economy; for taking me through hard times when I didn't see the way out; for giving me dreams to chase after and obtain; for being my peace when everything around me becomes insane... FOR SIMPLY BEING GOD.

THE CHALLENGE...find anything or everything that you can be grateful for. Thank God for it...and see what happens in your life and being. You just might be surprised.

I have looked around at others so many times and wondered why on earth they didn't have to struggle at times...why they hold more change in their bank accounts...why they seem to just get everything they want...and all the time leading lives that just don't bring any sort of praise or glory to God in any way, shape or form whatsoever. So when Pastor DeDe shared this Psalm, I could identify...and see that no matter what, praise deserves to be given to God...having Him in my life is more valuable than anything else.

Psalm 73 (New Living Translation)

A psalm of Asaph.

1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. 4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”

12 Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

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