Tag Archives: praise

What are your favorite Contemporary Christian Songs used in Church?

In the same vein as my previous series on hymns, I am planning a series on contemporary worship songs. To that end, I am asking each of you to share with me those contemporary songs from church that you have found most inspiring, that have spoken most deeply to you. This will allow me to compile a list that I can begin to work from as we look for how God can be glorified through them.

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Praise Him! Praise Him!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Sing, O Earth, His wonderful love proclaim!
Hail Him! hail Him! highest archangels in glory;
Strength and honor give to His holy Name!
Like a shepherd, Jesus will guard His children,
In His arms He carries them all day long:

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died.
He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation,
Hail Him! hail Him! Jesus the Crucified.
Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows,
Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessèd Redeemer!
Heav’nly portals loud with hosannas ring!
Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever.
Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King!
Christ is coming! over the world victorious,
Pow’r and glory unto the Lord belong.

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!

Words by Fanny Crosby, 1869
Music by Chester G. Allen,

 


Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
Psalm 29:2

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
Psalm 96:8

Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!
Psalm 150:5 – 6

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all stars of light!
Psalm 138:1 – 3

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57


 

“Let me tell you about this amazing person I just met. He can do anything. From the first time I met I him I was astounded at the places he had been and the things he had done. I can’t imagine anyone having done more things in this world. And despite all of this, he is quite likely the nicest person I have ever met. . . “

This may seem a bit over the top, but have you ever met someone who so impressed you, that you had to tell everyone about them. You simply were driven to sing his praises. This is the driving force behind Fanny Crosby’s, “Praise Him, Praise Him.”

In the hymn we see that it is Jesus of whom we are driven to sing praises. A message that echoes the message of scripture. Over and over again, we are told to praise God. In Psalm 29:2 we are told to “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” In Psalm 96:8 we read “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.” And again in Psalm 150:5 – 6 we are told to “Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!”

It is clear that we are instructed in scripture to sing our praises of and to God. This call then goes beyond us to all of creation. Crosby reminds us of this when she writes, “Hail Him! Hail Him! Highest archangels in glory.” This echoes the words of Psalm 138:2, “Praise Him, all His angels; Praise Him, all His hosts!”

So Crosby reminds us that we are called to “Praise Him.” But she does not simply leave it at that. Rather she drives home the truth that He is worthy of the praise we give. She writes “For our sins He suffered, and bled, and died. He our Rock, our hope of eternal salvation, Hail Him! Hail Him! Jesus the Crucified. Sound His praises! Jesus who bore our sorrows, Love unbounded, wonderful, deep and strong.”

This is the God we are called to praise. And when we stop to realize who He is, when we stop to see what He has done, praising Him is not something we need to be told to do, it is something we feel compelled to do. Crosby gives us an amazing list of why to praise Him, but it is far from exhaustive. So when we find our focus on all of these reasons, to give Him praise is the least we can do in response.

And the hymn does not stop there. Not only are we called to praise Him because of who He is, not only are we called to praise Him because of what He has done, but Crosby reminds us that we are called to praise Him because of what He is yet to do. The hymn continues, “Jesus, Savior, reigneth forever and ever; Crown Him! Crown Him! Prophet, and Priest, and King! Christ is coming! over the world victorious.”

As we look to the future we can know the end. He is the prophet, priest, and king. He will reign forever and ever for He is victorious over the world. If this is not enough, he provides us with the way to victory as well. Despite the troubles we face in this world, when we put our faith in Him we will know the victory over this world that is found only in Him. A victory of which Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:57 when he writes, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Yes, scripture instructs us to praise Him. But when we begin to sing His praise and to realize what we have to praise Him for, we can not keep it to ourselves. We will want everyone to know of Him. So we go out to the world to “Tell of His excellent greatness.”

 

 

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Come, Thou Almighty King

Come, Thou almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing, help us to praise!
Father all glorious, o’er all victorious,
Come and reign over us, Ancient of Days!

Jesus, our Lord, arise,
Scatter our enemies, and make them fall;
Let Thine almighty aid our sure defense be made,
Our souls on Thee be stayed; Lord, hear our call.

Come, Thou incarnate Word,
Gird on Thy mighty sword, our prayer attend!
Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy Word success,
Spirit of holiness, on us descend!

Come, holy Comforter,
Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour.
Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart,
And ne’er from us depart, Spirit of power!

To Thee, great One in Three,
Eternal praises be, hence, evermore.
Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see,
And to eternity love and adore!

Words by Anonymous, though some records credited it to Charles Wesley
Music by Felice de Giardini, 1769

 


He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
Revelations 22:20

As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.
Daniel 7:9

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. A song. May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.
Psalm 68:1

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
Isaiah 26:3

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father–he will testify about me.
John 15:26

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Matthew 28:19


 

We have all been invited to parties or held parties that we invited people to attend.  More often than not, these are just general get togethers, but sometimes they are held for a special occasion. It might be a birthday, a graduation or just to honor a specific person.

I remember many years ago when we hosted a celebration for my parents 25 wedding anniversary.  We planned for the activities, who would speak, and the special music.  We planned a location and a menu, which we then spent many hours preparing. We sent out invitations to friends and family to join us.  Most importantly we made sure the guests of honor would be there.  We asked our parents to do us the honor of joining us in this time of celebration to honor them. It is this type of invitation that is given in the hymn, “Come, Thou Almighty King.”

The hymn begins with those very words, “Come, Thou Almighty King.”  It is the cry of the heart for all those who know him, for our truest desire is to be in his presence.  It is a desire that is reflected in the closing words of the Bible itself. In Revelation 22:20 John writes, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

He is the guest of honor, who we seek to praise and worship.  We want to give him the honor that he deserves, honor that we feel is more than we can give.  So we ask Him to “Help us Thy name to sing, help us to praise!” For he is our Father all glorious” who is “o’er all victorious.” He is our rightful King, to whom we submit and call for him to “Come and reign over us” because He is the “Ancient of Days!” spoken of by Daniel in chapter 7 verse 9 when he writes, “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze.”

The hymn continues, “Jesus, our Lord, arise, Scatter our enemies, and make them fall.” And so our call is not just our desire to praise and worship him, but to find peace and security. Psalm 68:1 says, “May God arise, may his enemies be scattered; may his foes flee before him.” In this world we face many dangers and adversaries, but we can trust in the truth that the enemy will scatter in the presence of God.  So we can know that if we remain strong in Him we can know peace as Isaiah 26:3 tells us, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” It is in this truth that the hymn writer declares, “Let Thine almighty aid our sure defense be made, Our souls on Thee be stayed; Lord, hear our call.”

The hymn continues to call out to God as it reads, “Come, Thou incarnate Word.” And so we are reminded that the God ee call to has come to us.  He came to us as described in John 1:14 where we read, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Emmanuel, God with us.  So as we reflect back that God did come to us, we look forward to a day when He will return.  He will “Come, and Thy people bless, and give Thy Word success.

But as we remember that He did come and we look forward to His coming again, we are reminded that He has not left us alone.  The hymn calls out, “Come, holy Comforter.” Jesus promised that he would send a comforter, an advocate, a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit.  In John 15:26 Jesus says, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father–the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father–he will testify about me.” An so the hymn continues, “Thy sacred witness bear in this glad hour. Thou who almighty art, now rule in every heart, And ne’er from us depart, Spirit of power!” The Holy Spirit stands as a witness, to Jesus and the Father.  He dwells within” the heart of the believer and will never abandon them.

So the call has rung out, that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit would come to us.  So the hymn writer concludes by writing, “To Thee, great One in Three.” The recognition that all three person’s of the Godhead are worthy of our praise. That the Godhead, three in one, watches overs us, protects us and comforts us. For we have been called, as presented in Matthew 28:19, “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The desire of our soul, is to be in the presence of God. Our hope is to know the peace and comfort that come only from His presence.  When we honestly cry out from our heart, we will join in and sing, “Thy sovereign majesty may we in glory see, And to eternity love and adore!

 

 

 

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All People That On Earth Do Dwell

All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.

The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are His folk, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep He doth us take.

O enter then His gates with praise;
Approach with joy His courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His Name always,
For it is seemly so to do.

For why? the Lord our God is good;
His mercy is for ever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure.

To Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
The God Whom Heaven and earth adore,
From men and from the angel host
Be praise and glory evermore.

Words by William Kethe, 1561
Music by Louis Bourgeois, 1551

 


Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:27

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:4

Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.
1 Peter 3:8

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9


 

The earth is a pretty big place.  7.3 billion people by the latest count.  It breaks down to 32% Christian, 23% muslim, 14% Hindu, 7% Buddhist, 12% other faiths, 10% non-religious and 2% atheists.  All these people worshiping who they believe to be God, or choosing to live without a god.  It can seem a pretty sad state of affairs if you look at it.  All these people looking different direction for hope, for a purpose.  Different directions, that do not, can not, meet at a common place. This is what led John Lennon to write, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky . . . and no religion, too.” With all the difference, maybe it would be easier if there were none of these separations.  But this is not the only option.  What if rather than no faith, all our voices were joined together in worship of the one true God?  This is the image that is presented in William Kethe’s hymn, “All People That On Earth Do Dwell.”

He sets out to present a restating of Psalm 100.  The hymn begins with the words, “All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice. Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell; Come ye before Him and rejoice.” Imagine the picture with me for a minute. Imagine every person on earth singing praises to God.  Imagine every person on earth living their life in service to God, a God whom James tells us in 1:27 sees, “Pure and undefiled religion [as] . . . this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress . . .” A God who Paul tells us to follow the example of “look[ing] out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others” in Philippians 2:4.

This is an incredible image of what Peter calls us to in 1 Peter 3:8 when he writes, “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” Imagine a world where we live out our faith in Christ by caring from one another. Where we don’t get caught up in our petty differences, where we don’t spend our time arguing and fighting with one another. Instead a world were we always put others needs and feeling ahead of our own. It is a beautiful image of the world we will one day live in, but it is not the world of today.  Instead, we can only seek to live this life today, looking to the future when all of us who are believers in Christ will live in such a world.

The hymn continues, “The Lord, ye know, is God indeed.” This is the challenge, for us to be of one mind, we must agree on this point.  This point, that divides so many.  “Know that the Lord Himself is God.” (Psalm 100:3) He is the maker and sustainer of the world. It is from Him that we receive all that we need. For those of us who have realized and accepted this truth we can “enter then His gates with praise; Approach with joy His courts unto.” We can find peace in knowing that “His loving kindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 100:6)

God is faithful and those who have put their faith in him can trust in this.  Yes the world seems divided today.  We may at times, find ourselves wondering where God is in the midst of everything. But we can know that He is there. As Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” God wants all to come to faith, but we must make that choice.  When we do, we can look forward to the day we imagine. Until then we continue glorify Him, knowing that “To Father, Son and Holy Ghost . . . Be praise and glory evermore.”

 

 

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This Our Hymn of Grateful Praise

 

For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour,
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flower,
Sun and moon, and stars of light.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of ear and eye,
For the heart and mind’s delight,
For the mystic harmony
Linking sense to sound and sight.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thy Church, that evermore
Lifteth holy hands above,
Offering up on every shore
Her pure sacrifice of love.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the martyrs’ crown of light,
For Thy prophets’ eagle eye,
For Thy bold confessors’ might,
For the lips of infancy.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For Thy virgins’ robes of snow,
For Thy maiden mother mild,
For Thyself, with hearts aglow,
Jesu, Victim undefiled.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For each perfect gift of Thine,
To our race so freely given,
Graces human and divine,
Flowers of earth and buds of Heaven.
Lord of all, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.

Words by Folliot S. Peirpoint, 1864
Music by Conrad Kocher, 1838

 


The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
Psalm 19:1 – 4

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
Matthew 13:15 – 16

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,
Ephesians 6:19


 

Everybody loves getting a present.  To have someone surprise you with something new and unexpected.  It may be something you always wanted or it may be something that you had not thought of purchasing for yourself. In either case, it is something that someone went out of their way to get for you.

The other side is true as well.  Most people like to give gifts.  We love to see the surprise on a person’s face.  We love to see the excitement in their eyes.

Unfortunately there are exceptions to these situations.  This is usually the result of the attitude of those involved.  When we give a gift out of obligation, that is to say only because it is expected it takes the meaning out of it.  Or when the person is ungrateful, the joy and excitement is lost.

Yes, we are to accept gifts gratefully.  When we honestly stop to look at what has been given and the person behind the gift, being grateful is only the natural response.  This is the call that is presented to us in Folliot Peirpoint’s hymn “For The Beauty of the Earth.”

From the very beginning, Peirpoint presents us not simply with a command to be grateful, but reasons why we should be grateful.  He writes, “For the beauty of the Earth, For the glory of the skies.”  If we will simply look around us at the splendor of the world God has created we will see a reason to be grateful.  In fact, to not express our gratitude for creation, puts us behind the rest of creation for Psalm 19:1 – 4 tells us the nature itself expresses the majesty of God. It reads, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

The hymn goes on to declare, “For the beauty of each hour, Of the day and of the night.” This echoes the theme of Ecclesiastes 3:11 where we read, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” God’s beauty is revealed in time as he continues to bring forth the beauty of life.

Peirpoint continues by writing, “For the joy of ear and eye, For the heart and mind’s delight.” This draws our minds to the words of Jesus in Matthew 13:15 – 16 where we read, “they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.” Through the senses He has given us, we not only experience His creation, but we may know him.

But not only through nature or through the senses He has given us, He has revealed himself through those who declare His gospel.  The hymn reads, “For Thy prophets’ eagle eye, For Thy bold confessors’ might.” Yes, God has spoken through those who declare His word. So Paul writes in Ephesians 6:9, “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.”

Over and over again, Peirpoint presents us with reason that we have to be Grateful.  God has given so much and revealed the love that dwells within His heart.  When we stop to realize the gifts He has given, then we can not help but rise and proclaim, “our hymn of grateful praise.”

 

 

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Doxology

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Words by Thomas Ken, 1674
Music by Louis Bourgeois, 1551

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
James 1:17

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.
Psalm 150:6

My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.
Psalm 145:21

Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Psalm 148:2

At the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:10 – 11

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
2 Corinthians 1:3

we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,
Philippians 3:3


 

One of the biggest challenges that I find in writing or speaking is getting started. How do you grab peoples attention? How do you lead into what you want to talk about? Ultimately the question is “How do I begin?”

So it can be when we sing praises to God. Where do we begin? Almighty! Victorious! Worthy! Savior! I can go on and on, for there is so much that can be said. This passion and truth is presented to us in a simple four line stanza, that may be the most commonly used hymn throughout Christendom, “Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow” more commonly known as the “Doxology.”

Now the first thing to understand is that these words that have become so familiar with the church today make up the final stanza of a much longer hymn known as “Awake, My Soul, And With The Sun.”

But as we look at these words that have stood the test of time, we are drawn in to worship God in all His glory. The first line reads, ” Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.” Thomas Ken begins by answering a question that we here so often, a question that we may sometimes find ourselves asking. “Why should I worship God?” Both those who feel they have nothing and those who feel they have earned all they have will ask, “What has He done for me?”

But the Bible has answered this question. James writes in chapter 1 verse 7, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father. . .” So Ken writes in response to the worlds question, “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow.”

Simply put, God is worthy to be praised. But we are not alone in declaring His praises. It is so easy for us to center our focus on ourselves, and amazingly when it comes to praising God we are no different. Each of us may begin to see that it is “our” job to worship God. And while this is true, it is not us alone. Not only is the call upon all the people in the world to declare His praise but it is the purpose of all creation.

Ken writes, ” Praise Him, all creatures here below.” Yes everything on the earth is called to praise Him. This theme occurs again and again through the Psalms. In Psalm 150 verse 6 we read, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.” And again in Psalm 145:21 we read, “. . . Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.”

And still beyond this world the praises ring. Ken now writes, “Praise Him above, ye heavenly host.” Yes, it is all of creation that praises Him, Not only those in the world, but also those who sit in the heavenly realms. Psalm 148:2 tells this when we read, “Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.”

And finally, this universal praise of God is shown to us in its ultimate culmination when we read in Philippians 2:10 – 11 that “At the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Yes, we have been called to praise God. We need not worry about how we begin, simply that we do. When understand our call to sing His praises, then we truly will be able to ” Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

 

 

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Ponder Anew

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near;
Join me in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen how all thy longings have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who hath fearfully, wondrously, made thee;
Health hath vouchsafed and, when heedlessly falling, hath stayed thee.
What need or grief ever hath failed of relief?
Wings of His mercy did shade thee.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord, who, when tempests their warfare are waging,
Who, when the elements madly around thee are raging,
Biddeth them cease, turneth their fury to peace,
Whirlwinds and waters assuaging.

Praise to the Lord, who, when darkness of sin is abounding,
Who, when the godless do triumph, all virtue confounding,
Sheddeth His light, chaseth the horrors of night,
Saints with His mercy surrounding.

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen sound from His people again,
Gladly for aye we adore Him.

Words by Joachim Neander, 1680
Music by Unknown, 1665

 


Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150

“And you shall again obey the LORD, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. “Then the LORD your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand,
Deuteronomy 30:8 – 9

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you
Luke 12:24 – 28


 

When we look at the world today compared to 200 years ago, we have some pretty amazing things.  We have computers that not only allow us to process and save information, but connect us with the rest of the world.  We have telephones that not only connect our homes and offices, but that we carry with us everywhere.  And with the simple flip of a switch, we illuminate the night.

Yes, we have amazing developments but we seem to simply take them for granted. But imagine the thought processes of those who brought these things to life.  Where would we be without people like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell or Charles Babbage.  These people thought beyond what was, to what could be. When we stop to consider the impact they have had on the world, it is staggering.

But if these people, as well as others, could have this impact on the world, how much more has the very Creator of the Universe had on each and every one of us.  As I look at the words of  Joachim Neander’s hymn, “Praise To The Lord, The Almighty” I can not help but ponder these thoughts.

He begins his hymn with a call for each of us to join together in praise and worship of God.  He calls, “All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near; Join me in glad adoration.” This call is a theme that we hear in Psalm 150 where we read,

“Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.”

 He goes on to reflect on many of the things God has done.  Our minds are drawn to the realities that God reigns over all, that he shelters and sustains us, that he provides for our needs.  We see that God “will prosper us abundantly in all the work of our hands.” (Deuteronomy 30:9) We are reminded that His “goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives.” (Psalm 23:6)

Unfortunately, these are all things we can so easily take for granted.  They are things we can simply fail to reflect on and consider.

This draws us to what seems a pivotal point in the hymn.  Neander calls us to, “Ponder anew, what the Almighty can do, If with His love he befriend thee.”  You see, when we stop to consider the magnitude of what God has done in this world, we can not help but be amazed. When we genuinely “ponder anew” what He has done for us personally we must sing our praises to Him.  But if this is not enough, we need to consider what is beyond our comprehension.  We reflect on the reality that the Almighty Creator of the Universe calls us friends.  (John 15:15)  That he cares personally for us.  This is why Jesus reminds us, in Luke 12:28 that if God can so beautifully clothe “the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you.”

Yes God can and will care for His people, as he always has.  The God who sustains the world, can sustain each and every one of us.  When we stop and “ponder anew” this truth, our voices are drawn to join with all of God’s people when we declare, “Let the Amen sound from His people again, Gladly for aye we adore Him.”

 

 

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