As we were worshipping the Lord yesterday morning with the live stream of our home church’s service in Oklahoma, the worship leader smoothly flowed from one worship song into the chorus of Fanny Crosby’s wonderful hymn “Blessed Assurance” singing:
“This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.”
And even though this song was written back in 1873, the words still ring true and powerfully in the heart of modern believers. I’m not sure what happened as we began to sing that chorus in the dining room of our home as the music and singing from the church filled our home through the many speakers of our home entertainment system, but by the time we got to the last line, I found myself welling up in tears. Suddenly it all became clear to me, and I turned to my wife and said “That really IS our story… isn’t it?”
Then I was reminded of the Second Chapter of Acts YouTube video from a concert in 1977 that I came across a week or so ago. That video brought back Piper’s and my dating days and how from practically day one, we had set out to Praise the Lord in everything we did. I was pretty ignorant of spiritual things back then, but was hungry to know more of God and followed my wife to be’s lead on just about everything!
It was an exciting time for both of us as we began to form a unique-to-us relationship with the Lord and the direction we felt that He was leading us into. It didn’t come without some pushback from people around us though. My folks thought for sure that I had jumped off a cliff and was being unduly influenced by Piper and her family’s “religion”… and Piper’s Dad, on the other hand, told Piper that he had concerns about our relationship because I was Catholic.
By the time we got to college though, most of the new friends we made seemed to accept us for who we were… or who we were developing into… and we got along well with just about everyone in our perspective dorms, classes and school activities. We learned fairly quickly that the best thing we could say and do when difficult situations arose was “Praise the Lord!”
One of the first scriptures we memorized together was Psalm 100 with special emphasis on verse four where the Psalmist encourages us to: “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (KJV)
As I thought about all this during the singing of that song yesterday, I understood how Thanksgiving and Praise has been our slogan for some 47 years now! The Message Bible has a fun, more down to earth and modern slant on this verse saying: “Enter with the password: ‘Thank you!’ Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him.”
This paraphrase makes me think about the personal, face to face relationship that Christians can have with the Lord. It is about coming into His presence with thanksgiving on our lips and praise as a part of all our conversations with Him.
It is hard for me today to imagine a day without saying or singing the actual words: “Praise the Lord!” I find it on my lips before I get up to face a new day, it’s how I greet my wife when I help her up for the day and it is the power behind those simple words that gets me through each and every day!
So how about you? Do you think I’m a little strange with this? We have had people imply that we might be just a little too “fanatical” with our lifestyle and choice of vocabulary… but it doesn’t move us as we KNOW that it works for us! Do you think it could work for you?
Have a great new week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to Praise the Lord today?”