Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
Notice each word in this sentence. Now examine the letters in the words. How do you know the name for each letter and the meaning of each word? You learned all of this years ago. Year after year you learned new words and how to combine them into sentences.
Nearly everything we know and understand took time to learn. Learning and understanding spiritual lessons also takes time. Even the most basic spiritual lessons can sometimes take years to learn. Yet many people put off learning these important lessons.
Rejoice in the Lord always is a lesson that can take years to understand. First comes endless questions. “How could I rejoice when bad things are happening? Why should I rejoice when I don’t see anything to rejoice about? Should I pretend? Does anyone rejoice always?” Never ending questions that we can ask ourselves, others and even God.
The point is this: Learning spiritual lessons may take us far longer than learning to read. Therefore, it is crucial that we begin to do everything we can to learn more than we now understand.
Why? That’s a big part of the reason we need to learn. When God tells us to do something we should learn how to do it! The older we get the more difficult it will be to learn, just as it would be difficult for us to learn the reading lessons that we began in First Grade. Some of us may already feel too old to ever understand the “how and why” of rejoicing all the time. We may have become too proficient in worrying about the past, present and the future.
Worry creates unhappiness in us and in others. God has called us to become more like Jesus, with new hearts and minds. II Cor. 5:17 says: If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
How many years have you been trying to become more like Him? If you feel as if you aren’t making any progress, it could be that you need to become determined to learn to rejoice always. Learning requires us to make decisions. “I will find time to rejoice in the Lord. I will learn what it means to the Lord when I set my heart to rejoice in Him. I will learn no matter how difficult it may seem to accomplish.”
Then comes the day when we see that we are learning to rejoice. Our heart wants to dance like a little child. I am learning! The angels take notice. God’s children are learning. See how they are laughing. Look, God is smiling as He sees the joy in them.
What fun it is to learn more and more about praising the Lord for everything! Difficult? Yes. Rewarding? Yes!
Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches: Everyone who is victorious shall eat of the hidden manna, the secret nourishment from heaven (Rev. 2:17 TLB). (Reprint from April, 2006)
by Mary Carothers
Our Bible class recently studied the book of Jonah. God had told Jonah to go preach a message of judgement to the people living in Nineveh. But Jonah hated the powerful city and didn’t want the wicked people there to have an opportunity to repent. So he had gotten on a ship headed in the opposite direction. But God was determined to send him there, so He sent a terrible storm. The sailors were terrified and cast lots to see who was to blame. Guess who the lot fell on? Right. On Jonah. What have you done? They cried. Then Jonah confessed: It is my fault that this great storm has come upon you. Long story short they had to throw Jonah overboard. And the raging sea grew calm. But God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
As most of us do when we are in desperate circumstances, Jonah began to pray earnestly to the Lord. God still wanted him to go and preach to Nineveh so He caused the fish to spit Jonah out. After being in the belly of the fish Jonah decided not to try his luck running away from God again. So reluctantly off he went to Nineveh.
The Bible doesn’t tell us this exactly but I have the feeling that as a Prophet Jonah’s reputation had reached Nineveh. He was known to speak the words of God. So when he said, Forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown, they believed him and began to repent. From the king to the lowest they put on sackcloth and began to cry out to God for His mercy. God not only saw what they did, He realized they truly repented and turned from their sinful ways. He had compassion and did not bring on them the destruction He had threatened.
Was Jonah glad for God’s mercy? No, he most certainly was not. The Bible tells us that Jonah went out of the city and sat sulking. He made a simple shelter and waited to see what would happen. God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to make him more comfortable from the hot sun. And Jonah was glad. The next morning however, God provided a worm to chew the vine so that it withered. This time Jonah was not glad (who would be?). God also provided a scorching east wind to increase Jonah’s misery if possible.
Why in the world did God provide first the vine to ease Jonah’s discomfort and then turn right around the next day and provide a worm to destroy it? Plus He sent the scorching hot east wind. At the same time why did God forgive the Ninevites when He knew they would eventually go back to their evil ways?
First of all we know that God is slow to anger and filled with compassion toward all of us. In fact this was Jonah’s complaint. I knew that You are a compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love . . . Jonah felt that it was only right that the people of Nineveh who had been cruel and brutal to others should now receive God’s judgment – not mercy. Yet God who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, is not willing that any should perish . . . (II Peter 3:9).
I believe God was trying to teach Jonah – and us – that He alone has the loving wisdom to know what is best for each of us. He alone knows all of history from the beginning in Genesis right through to the end in Revelation. He knows which trials and which blessings to bring into our lives. His ultimate goal is for us to grow up into Christ (see Ephesians 4:15).
So no matter how many trials you have in your life, remember all of this is only temporary. We can rejoice and be glad, because we know that the best is yet to come!
The Power of Praise!
A friend gave me a copy of Power in Praise … what a friend and what a book! I have been a believer for 60 years and somehow have missed this incredible connection of praise. I came upon I Thessalonians 5:18 and God finally got my attention. Mary Ellen, TN
Thank you for Power in Praise. I started reading the first few chapters and stopped to buy seven more copies for my mother, siblings and friends. I had found this book sitting on my coffee table and although I’m not sure when I purchased it, I loved the title. As I started reading the book I was touched by how praising God can change our circumstances. Priscilla, NH
While in prison I read Power in Praise four times. This book opened my heart to Christ. I am learning to recognize my mistakes and to humble myself and ask God and others for forgiveness. I once was addicted to drugs, but now I am addicted to my relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Michaela, OH
I have read Power in Praise ten times over the last forty years and it blesses me every time. God has used it to change my life from complaining to praising! Thanking God for things I didn’t feel thankful for, but believing Romans 8:28, and looking for good in negative situations, is the truth I’ve received and want to pass on to others Gwen, MN
I picked up Power in Praise from the prison book cart to read. I haven’t put it down since I started reading it and I’ve been praising God ever since. Matthew, VA
People sometimes ask how we should pray.
Here are some suggestions:
Pray as if speaking with someone who knows all about you and still loves you more than you could ever imagine. Believe that you have presented your needs to the One who receives your requests, no matter how poorly you may have presented them. Know that God hears not only your words, but even more He hears and understands your heart.
How To Pray
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