Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
by Merlin Carothers
Every day I receive letters from people who have discovered joy in the midst of severe problems; also letters from people who are weighed down by their troubles. Why is one person being lifted while another is being pressed down? Invariably it is because one has heard and believed the remarkable news that an angel brought to the world: I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people (Luke 2:10 NIV).
God announced that great joy was available for everyone even when He knew that great suffering would come to His own Son, the disciples, and to many believers. God’s promise was fulfilled as believers in Jesus sang with joy even when they were being executed for their faith in Him. They believed: He knows every detail of what is happening to me (Job 23:10 TLB).
“Why does God permit me to have this terrible trial?” is the question most of us will sooner or later ask. But the trial must be difficult in order to accomplish its purpose!
These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it - and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of His return (I Peter 1:7 TLB).
Trials are like the fire that heats gold until the impurities rise to the surface where they can be skimmed off. Gold represents the purity that God wants to develop in us. Then, when Jesus returns we will receive glory and honor for the purity that He sees in us.
This suffering is all part of the work God has given you. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in His steps (I Peter 2:21 TLB). Once we accept and believe this, we become more like Jesus. We too are willing to joyfully fulfill God’s plan for us.
Of course, evil men crucified Jesus. Of course, God could have stopped them, but He wanted to help you and me! Because of Jesus we have forgiveness, the right to receive His joy, and eternal life. God will use any suffering that you and I willingly endure, to accomplish good! We may learn what our suffering has accomplished or we may not know until we get to Heaven. When our hearts believe Him, we receive the joy that the angel promised: Good news of great joy that will be for all the people. If you are suffering from anything, now is the moment to believe that Christ gives you, and wants you to enjoy, all the joy He came to provide for us. (Reprint from March, 2006)
by Mary Carothers
What Does God Say
The Bible tells us in Psalm 14 that there is no one who does good, not even one. In Romans chapter three Paul repeats it again. You may feel like saying, “Well duh, Mary, I already knew that. If you lived with ______ (fill in the blank) as I do, you’d know that too.” I only need to look in a mirror to see a flawed, imperfect person who depends daily on God’s mercy and grace. I am so grateful that God wraps each of His born again children in the robe of Jesus’ righteousness. Then when He looks at us He sees the righteousness of Christ.
It’s good to remember that each one of us needs this garment – including the people who are running for office in November. None of them is perfect. No, not one.
Speaking of the election, who should we vote for? My pastor says, “Vote your values.” That’s good advice. I also like to look to God’s Word for His advice, and He clearly told us something we should do in II Chronicles 7:14. He says, If My people, who are called by My name. . . (that’s us Christians, the followers of Jesus), will humble themselves. . . (Philippians 2:3 says in part in humility consider others better than yourselves). It’s always easy to compare ourselves to some words or actions of another person, saying, “Oh, I would never say that or do that!” We conveniently forget the times we have said or done something far worse in God’s eyes.
II Chronicles 7:14 continues, If my people, who are called by name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face. . . What do you think God means when He says seek My face? I think He means praying earnestly not just casually or repeated prayers. Casual prayers, repeated prayers have their place. But today we need earnest prayers, crying out to the Lord for His help, His intervention in our country.
Then God goes on to say, and turn from their wicked ways. . . “Whoa! Wait just a minute. What does He mean turn from our wicked ways? Lord, we are your children. You have redeemed us with the life blood of Jesus. How can you say that we have wicked ways?”
It helps to understand the reason why we need a Savior. It’s because we are – each one of us – born with a sin nature. We will struggle with this sinful nature as long as we live. That’s why it’s so much easier to say and do the wrong thing, the unkind, hurtful thing, than to say the helpful and kind thing. I thank the Lord that when these bodies die and we go to spend eternity with Him, this old sin nature dies too. Colossians 2:14 tells us that our sins were nailed to the cross with Jesus.
Okay, that’s good to know, but what are some of these wicked ways we need to get rid of? Ephesians 4:22 tells us to put off your old self. This means our old, sinful nature. This is our job to do, our responsibility. We can choose to walk and talk like we did before we received Christ as our Savior. Or we can do as verse 23 tells us and be made new in the attitude of your minds.
You may be thinking, “Mary, I’m not a bad person. I just make mistakes now and then.” Yes, this is true for many of us. But here are just a few ways we can still speak and act like we did before Jesus became our Lord and Savior.
Ephesians 4:26: In your anger do not sin. The Lord understands that we occasionally become angry, but we can choose to not do or say something hurtful.
Ephesians 4:29: Don’t let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths. . . For example, don’t gossip. If you ask someone to pray for “the Smith’s” you only need to say it’s a health problem or a family problem or a financial one. That’s all. Anything else that is said will possibly become gossip. Proverbs 11:13 tells us that a gossip betrays a confidence. Gossip is also listed with seven other works of our old, sinful nature in II Corinthians 12:20. Let’s watch our words.
These scriptures suggest only some of the ways we can daily choose to live our lives. If we put on the new man, Jesus will shine through us to hopefully draw others to Him. When we stumble – and we surely will – we only need to say, “Oh, Lord, I blew it again. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me and help me to do better.” I John 1:9 assures us that He will gladly do so.
The best part of II Corinthians 7:14 is next. The Lord says if enough of His people will humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, then He tells us He will hear us, forgive our sins and heal our land. What a wonderful promise!
The Power of Praise
A kind heart may have sympathy for the men and women who are behind prison bars, but sympathy by itself does not provide any action. If, we ourselves, are locked behind bars the agony becomes more real to us. One year, five years, ten years – the cell can steadily increase its power over a man or woman’s soul. Until one day the prisoner is introduced to Jesus and begins a new life in Christ. He or she begins to understand what causes people to commit crimes, and learns what true freedom is. They discover a joy and freedom that someone on the outside may never experience! You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:32 NIV).
You and I have the opportunity to lead hopeless men and women to know the Truth that sets them free. We reach one, and they in turn, reach others. We are following God’s command to make known His praise around the world (Isaiah 12:5 TLB).
Power in Praise changed my life! Pat, OR
While shopping I found Power in Praise and I was drawn to it instantaneously. I started reading it and couldn’t put it down. This book has been a blessing to me and a whole new world has been opened up to me. Willie, FL
In 1975 I read Power in Praise and it literally saved my life. The book buoyed my faltering faith and the principles of praise I learned have shaped my life. Fast forward to now, I’m an inspirational speaker and spiritual mentor who handed a tattered and yellowed copy of Power in Praise to one of my mentees. In every talk I give I speak about the power of praise. I thank God for the incredible gifts of Merlin and Mary and the message they have so faithfully shared through my entire lifetime. Anne, NY
I became something I swore I would never be, a drug addict. The week before I was arrested I had planned to take my life. Being arrested and sent to jail actually saved my life when another inmate gave me a copy of Prison to Praise and Power in Praise. I started reading both books, bouncing back and forth between them. My whole life started to make sense and I heard God speak to me through those books. Tears flowed as I read them and I now understand that I’m to be thankful for everything. God is good and my spirit is more filled with Christ than ever! Michaela, OH
I read Power in Praise in prison and I have never read a book like it ever before. It has helped me increase my faith and to accept my troubles and hard times as blessings to praise the Lord.
While in prison I read Power in Praise. This book came to me just as I needed it. I’ve learned to thank God for all the things He allows in my life, and I know that it is for my greater good. Matt, PA