Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
by Merlin Carothers
The earth, by its gravitational power, pulls us downward.
But remember the power Jesus had over gravity? It could not pull Him downward! He could walk on water. However, Jesus was more concerned that we learn to love God.
The spirit of this world also draws us downward, to love ourselves more than we love God, and causes us to want our own way rather than God’s. Praising God for everything helps us to want His way.
I’ve been asked to recommend the best words to use when we praise the Lord. A verse that comes to mind is Colossians 3:16 TLB: Singing to the Lord with thankful hearts. Thankful hearts want to praise God. Words mean very little unless they come from the heart. So, we need to learn how our hearts can become thankful.
Because sin entered the world, the Bible tells us that: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9 KJV). How could we ever learn to love God if our hearts are desperately wicked?
To change our hearts, God devised a plan that would actually compel our sins and failures to work for our good! (It draws us upward instead of downward). How could such a marvelous thing happen? Jesus accepted our guilt as if it were His own! God sacrificed His only Son in order to make it possible for us to receive complete forgiveness for all our sins, our wrong desires and even for our sin nature. Forgiven! Completely! Now: We set our hearts at rest in his presence (I John 3:19 NIV).
As we understand that God made it possible for us to be at rest in His presence, our hearts begin to sing. More than anything, Jesus wants us to love God. So, He made it possible for us to be so thankful for God’s goodness and mercy that we would love Him.
As we comprehend what He has done for us, we more clearly understand: God so loved the world (John 3:16). Because we love God our words of praise become a part of our nature and our words come from our heart.
The writers of the New Testament explained the great joy they had. They had troubles of every kind, were hated and despised, poor, often in chains, threatened with torture and death, yet their joy increased. This earth had lost its control (gravity) over them. Their faith in God became so strong that they believed He controlled everything that happened to them.
What examples these early Christians gave us! You and I can also have the joy of increasing our faith in what Jesus did for us. Every problem we have produces one of two results. It lifts us up or pulls us downward. For now, God chooses not to change the world but to change you and me so we are no longer controlled by this world. As we learn to live more like Jesus, this world actually works for our good.
Jesus wants to make us stronger than sin which tries to pull us downward. We do not know how to control everything in this world, but we can learn how to have a heart of praise. With such a heart we become increasingly free from any power that would pull us downward. He taught us how to be free: Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 5:20 NIV). (Reprint from October, 2006)
by Mary Carothers
It’s hard for many of us, me included, to grasp how much of the Old Testament is prophetic and is fulfilled in the New Testament. For example think about when God brought His people out of Egypt. This is first written in Exodus 4:22 where God is speaking to Moses and says for him to tell Pharaoh: Israel is my first born son. Let my son go. Later in Hosea 11:1 God says: When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. It’s pretty obvious in both scriptures that God is speaking of Israel as a nation and is reminding His people of His care for them. End of subject. No additional fulfillment needed. If we were Israelites and the Old Testament was all we had, this would be our understanding.
However, we don’t consider history in the same way that our Heavenly Father does. Think about Isaiah 55:8-9: My thoughts are not your thoughts…My ways are higher than your ways. Because, lo and behold, when speaking of bringing the child Jesus out of Egypt and into Galilee in Matthew 2:15 the Bible says in part: And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: Out of Egypt I called my son. Here God is quoting that verse from Hosea again, only this time He uses it referring to bringing Jesus out of Egypt.
As you read in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospels, and come across this phrase, This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet…try checking out where in the Old Testament the prophet actually said those words. Frequently when I do this I find myself reading what was going on at that time in the history of God’s people. It’s very interesting. We can find ourselves reading real, unfiltered history.
Thinking about this I often wonder if any of the New Testament is being fulfilled in the lives of God’s people today. Well, if you read Ephesians 1:4 you can see that, yes, God is fulfilling this particular verse even today. It helps us to grasp – just a little bit – how God understands all of time; past, present and future perfectly clearly. Paul and the other Christians of his day believed that Jesus would come back to claim His church during their lifetime. No one expected that Christ would still be waiting to return 2000 years later!
We don’t always “feel like” reading the Bible. At least I don’t. But self-discipline and habit can help us out by nudging us to pick it up and start. It’s interesting but the more often I read God’s Word the more special it becomes to me. It really is a love letter to us from our Heavenly Father who tenderly loves each one of us.
God is faithful to always love us. He is always watching over us and hearing our every prayer. As I said earlier His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. God’s perspective is one of eternity while we are usually focused on the right now of our problems and how we think God should make them work out the way we think they should. But, as my pastor says, “He’s God and we’re not”. To submit to what God is teaching us, or trying to, is contrary to our sinful nature. We often want our will rather than God’s will. When Jesus was in agony in the Garden before He was crucified He pled with the Father that He might somehow be spared what was ahead. But each time He prayed this He ended by saying, Not my will but your will be done.
Jesus is our Savior and also our example. The Father will never ask any of us to take on the horrible burden of absorbing all the sin and evil of all mankind throughout the entire ages of history as He asked Jesus to do. However, He does want us to do and to be what He asks of us. We have as our example Jesus’ obedience in the midst of our difficulties. Let’s never forget what Jesus endured in order to purchase our salvation. The reward of our obedience with be unending joy when we see Jesus face to face.
“When you enter His presence with
praise, He enters your
circumstances with power!”
(Quoted from The Intentional Life)
I’ve been reading the amazing book, Power in Praise and it is changing my life. Please pray for me. I have an autoimmune disorder and it makes my life extremely difficult. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior and now have reason to hope where I had none before. RONALD, CA
God has used Merlin’s books to bless and change me
from a complainer to a praiser! Power in Praise is the one I read the most and I want to pass it on to others. The Praise News continues to be a blessing even though Merlin is home in heaven with our Lord. GWEN, MN
I just read Power in Praise here in the city jail. It was a very good book. I have been in and out of jail most of my life, falling off the path, but your book touched my heart. Please pray for me. TIM, SD
Thank you for your books, especially Power in Praise. It is amazing how it’s exactly what I needed in my life right now. God is love! MACIEJ, POLAND
Thank you for Praise News. I look forward to receiving
it every month. It is hard to find happy news these days, but praise the Lord for that too right? More and more we can only focus on Jesus for our joy. I have never written to tell you how Power in Praise changed my life. When I was fifteen, my parents divorced and I was on a long drive from Indiana
to Texas with my dad. In the car was a copy of Power in Praise. I began reading it and couldn’t put it down. I started praising the Lord for all the difficulties I was facing as a young girl living in a broken home. I had already accepted Jesus as my Savior but now I was praising God for everything. Little did I know that months later I would go through a
life-changing trauma. While walking home I was attacked by a man and stabbed in the face. I began to praise God as I had learned in Power in Praise and found healing in the Lord. Forty years have passed and I have wrestled with fear but still cling to Jesus and praising God for everything.