Praise the Lord :: By Nathele Graham

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah:

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” (Psalm 63:1-2)

David was a man who had many troubles. Some of them were brought on by his own sin, such as his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, but some were just things that happen in life, such as Saul’s hatred of him.

King Saul was soothed when David played music, but when the music stopped Saul would try to kill David. At one point David was forced to flee and ended up in the wilderness. David could have been bitter and blamed God for not stopping Saul’s attacks, but he praised God instead of blaming Him. This wilderness was a hostile environment with no comforts. Though water was scarce David’s soul thirsted for God.

We also have wilderness journeys that can test us and sometimes we may feel cut off from everything good and feel far from God. In those times we need to seek God as a thirsty person seeks water. It’s easy to praise God when our hearts aren’t troubled, but in the wilderness we gain strength in our faith by praising Him in all situations.

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.” (Psalm 63:3-4)

When life takes a bad turn most people blame God. Keep in mind that God never promised to keep all troubles away from us and while we live on this side of Heaven we will face many, many troubles. The way a Christian handles those troubles depends upon how much we trust God. Even though David was running for his life he recognized the mercy, kindness, and goodness of God. To David, God’s lovingkindness was better than life itself.

Even while dusty, dirty, thirsty, and generally uncomfortable, David praised God. Can we say the same thing when we face problems that come our way? David lifted his hands to the Lord. Most Christians sit quietly in a pew on Sunday mornings and worship God with no real passion. What if we, like David, lifted our hands in praise? Would that change our way of thinking about Him?

Maybe, maybe not, but if we’re afraid to openly praise Him in the midst of a congregation of fellow Christians we certainly won’t praise Him in the hostile world outside of those hallowed walls. We have so much to praise Him for and we should always have His praise on our lips and in our hearts. If our hands are lifted in praise then we won’t use them for mischief, if our hearts are tuned to Him with song then we won’t harbor hatred and anger, if our lips sing His praise then we won’t deny His lovingkindness.

The apostle Paul said “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1 Timothy 2:8)

If David saw fit to lift his hands to the Lord in the wilderness and Paul encouraged lifting up holy hands then we shouldn’t be embarrassed to openly praise the Lord. Do you lose all inhibitions at a sports event? The Lord God Almighty is more worthy of your adulation than a football team. David felt God’s provision even in the harshest conditions. His mouth was filled with God’s praise and it was as satisfying as a good meal.

“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” ( Psalm 63:5-7)

This psalm doesn’t promote meditation as the Eastern pagan religions promote and it’s not contemplative prayer. This meditation is turning your mind to God at all times and remembering all He has done for you. Even when things seem the darkest, God is still worthy of praise because of His love. No matter what your trouble happens to be, He still laid down His life for your salvation. Think about that. He has forgiven you of a multitude of sins and His lovingkindness is better than life. His love has given Christians eternal life.

“My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul to destroy it shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.” (Psalm 63:8-11)

No matter what happens around us we can only be responsible for how we follow the Lord in our own life. David knew that it was God who was his strength and that God would come against his enemies. David followed after God’s ways but wanted God to deal with his enemies. He chose to rejoice in God through good times and bad times and we need to follow his example. When someone has it in for us or tries to hurt us, let God deal with that person and you just keep praising the Lord.

“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

Paul understood persecution and what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. When he says to rejoice he means while on the mountain top of joy as well as in the dark valley of trouble and despair. Other people will see your love for the Lord and be encouraged, but praising God in all things will also encourage your own trust in Him. We face many troubles individually and as a nation. The news headlines can be very troublesome to read and it could be easy to get discouraged. Jesus said that as the end of time approached we would see an increase of problems and they would get worse.

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)

Troubles and tough times are here and getting worse. We are moving swiftly towards the Rapture, which will occur prior to Daniel’s final week, and Jesus was clear about the events leading up to the end of days. Jesus knew that troubles will increase in strength and frequency as the end of time drew near.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:7-8)

Throughout the years people have faced these problems but today these events are becoming more frequent. As I write this, Florida is being pounded by hurricane Irma while people in Texas haven’t come close to recovering from hurricane Harvey. 8.2 earthquake hit offshore Mexico and many people have died. People in Venezuela are suffering from starvation, North Korea is threatening to send nuclear weapons to destroy Guam or Hawaii or anywhere else that can be destroyed; the Middle East is seething with hatred toward Israel, and Muslim terrorists are killing anyone who isn’t a Muslim. Things really look bleak. Should we just give up and blame God?

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

We certainly cannot be thankful for these things, but like David in the wilderness of Judah and Paul in prison we can still praise God when we’re in the midst of these trials and testing. It’s God’s will that we praise Him even when going through the wilderness Paul did experience his share of suffering in his missionary work, but he learned to put aside his own suffering and praise God in all things.

Whether in a jail cell or being beaten by an angry mob he never turned away from Jesus. Today there are many people who are in prison and being tortured because they love Jesus. Discrimination against Christians is strong, but instead of rioting and causing damage and destruction, we praise the Lord and let God deal with our enemies. Paul wasn’t happy about the suffering he faced and he prayed for God to take it from him.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians12:9)

Because he always had praise on his lips he was able to bring many people to salvation through Jesus. We have that same ability if we keep praising our Lord no matter what our situation. As Christians we have so much to be thankful for and rejoice over. No matter what troubles may befall us we have salvation. If we praise God no matter what our situation, then other people will see our attitude and glorify God.

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Glorifying God should be every Christian’s goal. David praised Him in every situation and so did Paul, Peter, James, John, and the others who followed the risen Christ with all their strength. Whether your home is flooded from storms or your stomach is grumbling from lack of food, praise the Lord. You’ll find strength to face each day and His grace will be sufficient for you.

God bless you all,

Nathele Graham

twotug@embarqmail.com

www.straitandnarrowministry.com

ron@straitandnarrowministry.com

Ron and Nathele Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html

All original Scripture is “theopneustos” (God breathed).

 

 

Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done :: By Ron Graham

“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness” (Psalm 107:9).

Most of us studying prophecy know that the Rapture of the Church is on the near horizon. By studying the Scriptures we can clearly find documentation focusing on that awesome event. The only part of the information concerning the Rapture of Christ’s Church that will remain elusive is when the Rapture will occur. But as the psalmist says, God will fill a longing and hungry soul.

Sometimes I wonder, out of all those who believe Jesus will come and remove His Church from this planet, how many actually long for it and pray that it will happen, and that it will be soon.

“When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth” (Luke 11:2).

There’s a reason Jesus gave His disciples this prayer. It’s referred to by most as the Lord’s Prayer, but it should be called the Disciple’s Prayer. Jesus gave us that prayer to invoke God’s will. Each time we pray we should seek His will. What so many refuse to believe is that it’s His will that His kingdom be set up here on earth. When Jesus finally sets up His earthly kingdom after the battle of Armageddon, His will be done on earth, just as it is in heaven.

In heaven, God’s will is followed by all His angels; obviously, on earth His will is despised by most of her inhabitants. Some Christian Churches believe we are currently living through our Lord Jesus’ earthly millennial kingdom because Jesus our Messiah reigns in our hearts. To them His earthly reign is only symbolic.

Well that just doesn’t jive with His Word.

“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him (Jesus our Messiah) a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

This is an actual event which will not only establish our Messiah as our ultimate perfect King, but we, His saints (the raptured Church), will be reigning with Him. Those who long for His appearing will receive a special reward.

We have set up prayer lists which we pray over, and there are prayer warriors who are dedicated to praying continually (something we all should be doing), and of course there are many praying for Jesus’ soon return. All sincere prayer is important and God hears the voices of His children as we lift up our prayers and supplications to Him. But one specific prayer Jesus gave us to pray is more often than not simply ignored.

I’m not sure just how many prayer warriors pray the Lord’s Prayer daily, but I know we should all be doing so. If we truly want our Messiah to return soon then let’s begin praying like we believe it, “Thy Kingdom Come Thy Will Be Done.”

When God’s children speak with Him and even cry out to Him letting Him know how troubled our hearts are as we anticipate the coming deluge of persecution, He hears our pleas and knows our troubles and He will intercede on our behalf. One of these days as we are praying “Thy Kingdom Come” sure as God made little green apples we will hear the trump call of God and the voice of the archangel and then we shall see Jesus as He takes us up to meet Him in the air.

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

On the other hand, if we aren’t interested in Jesus Christ coming back quickly perhaps He won’t. I’m sure there are many professing Christians who are so enthralled with the world that they live by worldly pursuits without even a thought to Christ’s return.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John” (Revelation 1:1).

We are currently witnessing the beginning of this rapid succession (must shortly come to pass) of signs. Even more exciting is the anticipation of what we know is approaching. We should be praying “Thy Kingdom come – Thy will be done” that all these signs to brought to their crescendo.

Nothing is in the Bible by chance, and certainly the Lord’s Prayer is no exception. There is a reason Jesus told His disciples to pray that particular prayer. Did Jesus give us that prayer to mouth over and over to the point that we know it by heart and we speak it without thinking? Have we allowed the Lord’s Prayer to become nothing more than a child’s redundant bedtime prayer? If so, we need to resurrect that awesome prayer from the depths of mediocrity.

Asking God to come back to set up His earthly Kingdom is not only prudent, but it is His will. After all, we’re assured that Jesus will remove His Church prior to what the Bible describes as the “Day of the Lord”, the Great Tribulation. Jesus tells us that that 3½ year period will be the most horrible time in the history of mankind.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21).

. This is not an allegory nor has this horrific period already passed. This, one of the final events in the history of mankind, is still a future event which, thankfully, His Church will be excluded from. Hopefully many more will join us before it’s too late.

In many a Christian’s mind, as well as in the majority of Christian churches today, apathy reigns supreme. Arrogance comes in at a close second. Both of these defeatist mind-sets play a pivotal role in the lives of those who reject the inerrancy, as well as the literal translation, of the Bible.

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

It’s a shame but many Christians will receive no comfort from the words of Paul concerning the Rapture of the Church, especially since they love not His appearing. “Thy Kingdom come – Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” is foreign to them. They are actually earth dwellers and perfectly happy to remain here.

The Lord gave us that prayer so we could be an active participant of His Kingdom by requesting He establish it post-haste. The attitude of asking for His soon return means we seek His soon appearing:

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

If you love (long for) His appearing your crown of righteousness awaits you.

The Lord’s Prayer is a prayer that puts God’s interests first; it is His name, His Kingdom, and His will that are primary here. It should be our pleasure, as well as responsibility, to let God know just how much we’d like to see His will done.

We must pray with a longing and we must believe what we are praying for, that God’s Kingdom is soon to be established here on earth; we want to see our King Jesus sitting on His earthly throne ruling and reigning on this planet, and we want it to begin right now.

“Our Father.” When we pray thusly we are praying in unison as His children. Calling God our Father shows we have a privileged relationship with the Creator of the universe. “Our” shows prayer belongs among His children. We find the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew 6 then repeated in Luke 11, which should tell us Jesus considered it important.

Jesus’ disciples watched Jesus pray and they wanted to pray like Him. They wanted to speak with God the Father just as God’s only begotten Son spoke with Him. The way we speak to God shows a lot about how we feel about God. Jesus’ attitude as well as His demeanor as He prayed showed His full reverence for His Father.

We who actually place our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him alone for salvation are only sojourners on earth, and as such it should be our full and complete desire to be united with Him where He is, our future real home

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:1-2).

Even the apostle Paul desired to go home, to put on his new heavenly body. Nevertheless, Paul went about doing his Lord’s will until the end

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better…” (Philippians 1:21-24a).

It makes good sense to pray as a body devoted to the Lord that the last day would arrive and His Kingdom would be established. When the Lord Jesus returns and places His feet on solid ground we will be with Him in our new Heavenly tabernacles. Let’s all pray that that day is nigh upon us. Oh come quickly, Lord Jesus.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham