Dr. Tom Roxas, President Emeritus
Today I’d like to start with something that is very close to my heart that I want for us to practice. And this has been the story of my life – the story of praise. I remember as a seminary student overwhelmed with academic load, concerns about relationships and finances, and all kinds of emotional turmoil, a very powerful thing that I discovered is the exercise of praising God.
I was feeling so low at that time, getting depressed as some of you are probably experiencing – weary with academic life and ministry that you really can’t think of anything to thank and praise God for. I remember shutting the door of my dorm room and reading the Psalms back to God, praising Him for who He is, focusing my eyes on Him and not on the difficult things I was experiencing. All of a sudden my heart was lifted up and I began to experience a different kind of refreshment that only God could do.
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Here are seven reasons I listed based on my own experience why we need to praise the Lord:
- Praise diverts our focus from ourselves to God. In 2 Cor. 1:3, Paul exclaimed, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.” Paul went through a lot of difficulties: shipwrecked, stoned, and betrayed by his disciples, but he exploded with praise in this passage because of his focus on God.
- Praise invites His presence. Psalm 22:3 says, “God inhabits the praises of His people.” Praiseful people invite God’s presence. And you sense that there is something attractive about them because the presence of God is manifested in their lives.
- Praise refreshes our spirits. David says, “In His presence there is fullness of joy!” Do you want to experience fullness of joy? Then practice praising God because His presence will definitely refresh you.
- Praise opens doors for miracles to happen. Remember Acts 16:25-26, when Silas and Paul were imprisoned? “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” They were singing hymns and praising God. Then there was a powerful earthquake and they were delivered! Also, the jailer and his family came to Christ that night! Something miraculous happens when the people of God praise Him.
- Praise drives the enemy away. “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” (2 Chron. 20:22) Remember the story of Jehoshaphat when they were surrounded by a vast army? What did they do? They focused on the Lord. They praised Him and God did the ambush for them. God gave the victory. We have every reason to praise God because the battle is His! The victory is His!
You and I are meant to praise God! Maybe a miracle is about to happen and is just waiting for you to practice praising God for who He is!