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What can we learn from scripture about this subject? Is there any passage that is particularly helpful in our study of this subject? The answer to both of these questions is very much to the positive. Psalm 100 has only five verses yet it gives us several reasons for praising God as we can see.

"Make a joyful noise unto The Lord, all you lands. Serve The Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know that The Lord is God: it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For The Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures for all generations."

Firstly it tells us that our praise to God should be a joyful sound and not something that sounds as though it is coming forth reluctantly. Sometimes when we go through hard times it can seem as though praising God in such circumstances is very difficult but there are verses of scripture that acknowledge this and give us advice in such circumstances.

We are advised to give thanks to God in all circumstances, though not necessarily for all circumstances. When we dwell on our circumstances rather than the ability of God to alter them we are endanger of seeing the problems as being bigger than God. When we set our eyes on God and determine in our hearts to truly praise Him we see our problems and circumstances in perspective.

Hebrews chapter 13 verse 15 acknowledges that sometimes our offering of praise in difficult circumstances can be a sacrificial offering. "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually that is the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."

If you look in the book of Numbers chapter 2 verses 1 to 3 we see that right in front of the entrance to the tabernacle is the tribe of Judah. This was done to show the people that their true Messiah would come through the tribe of Judah. The name Judah also means praise, thus it is clear that when we begin to praise God with all our hearts this attracts the presence of God and makes it possible for Him to presence Himself amongst us in a tangible and powerful way.

Many people have received healings just during the time of praise and worship in a meeting, with nobody praying for them or laying their hands on them in any way. Sometimes you will be able to literally see demons manifesting and coming out of people because they hate it when we truly praise God from our hearts.

The next part of Psalm 100 says "Serve the Lord with gladness" note that, not with reluctance but joyfully and willingly out of love and thankfulness for all the good things that He has done for you. One of the tragic mistakes that the Hebrew slaves made when they were miraculously brought out of Egypt was that instead of thanking Him for such a tremendous deliverance they were continually moaning at Him all the time and did not seem in the least bit joyful or thankful at any time. Consequently they failed to enter the land that God had for so long promised to give them as their own forever.

The next section of this Psalm reminds us that we know that The Lord is good, and this alone makes Him worthy of our praise. When He delivered the Hebrew slaves from Egypt it was intended to be a physical example of what the Messiah would do when He came and that is deliver us from the slavery of sin and making it possible for us to be reconciled with and to live with Him forever in His heavenly kingdom, for these things He is worthy of eternal thanks and praise.

When the Hebrew slaves were led through the desert by Moses they were presented with problems at just about every stage, this was God testing them to see if they really had a heart to trust and obey Him or whether it would take an entire life time to get the experience of Egypt out of their hearts and minds so that they could look to God who had delivered them and had proven His favour and blessing towards them on many occasions.

The next section of this psalm reminds us that He it was who made us. Many people in the world refer to themselves as self-made men when they have overcome enormous problems to become very successful and wealthy men and women in the world. They forget that this would not have been possible unless The Lord had given them the ability to get wealth.

Being a wealthy person is not a sin but what you do with that wealth can be. If you use it to further the kingdom of God on earth then you are using it for the purpose you were given it, but if you are overwhelmingly greedy and selfish then you will pay dearly throughout eternity when you have to answer to God for what you have done with your life on earth.

We can in these circumstances forget that God is our Father and that He wants so very much to have intimate fellowship with us. Wealth can blind us to this fact and cause us to turn away from Him in our desperately selfish motives. There are things in scripture that even few Christians seem to truly believe, one of these is what Jesus taught His disciples about giving in Luke chapter 6 verse 38 Jesus says something very profound about what you should do with your wealth, however rich or poor you are.

That verse reads as follows: "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." If we let Him God will be like a shepherd to us, leading us on into very good pasture (things) though sometimes it may seem a tough journey before we get there, we will always find that the blessing far out-ways the difficulty of the journey.

In John chapter 10 Jesus said the following: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand."

You can only know the voice of the Good Shepherd Jesus if you are in relationship with Him, because when you make Him your shepherd and guide throughout the course of your life He will teach you to know and obey His voice.

Then we have instructions of how we should enter the presence of God when we come before Him with praise and worship or at any other time. The first part of verse 4 reads: "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. "It does not recommend that we enter into His presence hoping that God will have sympathy upon us for the difficulties that we are going through, when we begin to thank God for the wonderful things that He has done for us we gain His ear and He listens to our prayerful partitions.

One thing is impossible to man and even in eternity will remain so, God has been so good to us by rescuing us from where we were heading spiritually and physically (the pit of hell) and now He has turned us around and made it possible for us to live with Him in heaven, free from tears, free from suffering and free from death for all eternity. For these things we will never be able to give Him enough thanks and praise.

We have already seen how The Lord is good but the final verse of Psalm 100 reminds us that His mercies and His truth shall endure through all eternity. Something that is perfect does not need to be changed otherwise that change will not be for the better but for the detriment.

Hebrews chapter 13 verse 8 reminds us that God does not change and is the same for all eternity and forever. Jesus is the exact representation of The Father and is identical in His character. Hebrews 13 reads: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever. "If we want to know what God the Father is like then we can look at Jesus, God's only begotten Son, conceived by God Himself and born of a virgin.

In Lamentations chapter 3 verses 21 to 25 Jeremiah reflects on the goodness and mercy of God. "These I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of The Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks Him."

Psalm 22 verse 3 reads: "But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel. "Although this translation says that The Lord inhabits the praises of Israel you may be assured that it is just as true to say that The Lord inhabits the praises of all His people. What God wants is for these praises to be from the heart not simply from the mouth.

Matthew chapter 15 verse 7 reminds us of the words of Jesus concerning worship from the heart which is the only place true worship can ever come from: "Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their heart is far from me."

He was speaking of the people of His day who thought that by simple obedience to The Law of Moses they could win eternal life but forgot about the first commandment which is to "love The Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength and will all your might. "So many people believe that they are Christians and bound for heaven simply because they go to church and sing hymns and say amen to the written words that the clergy speak out, so many have never been taught that what God wants more than anything else is true intimate fellowship with His people, from whence will spring everything else.

Matthew chapter 7 verses 21 to 23 inclusive record Jesus' words about the day of the last judgment when many will come to Him speaking of their own good works. ""Hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

"Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? And in your name cast out devils and done many wonderful works? Then will I say to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity."

He does not deny that these people did what they were claiming, but He does deny that they had any kind of proper relationship with Him. They seem as though they knew of Him but did not know Him as their personal Lord and Saviour. It is not through works that anyone can be saved it is only through faith (trust and a loving relationship) with God.

In John chapter 4 verses 21 to 24 inclusive Jesus is speaking to the Samaritan woman whom He had been waiting for at the well during the hottest part of the day. The conversation is started by Jesus saying something that is very relevant to her and works the conversation round to talking about Himself and the woman's need to know Him.

"Jesus said unto her, woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth:

The Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they who worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. "These things are the same for us today; no amount of good works is going to save us since salvation is by grace through faith and trust in Christ Jesus.

True worship can only come from someone who is in genuine communion with God. Many people today worship many different things, for some their God is their stomach and so they worship that through eating masses of food. For others their God is alcohol so they are frequently drunk either with beer or wine. For others it is football and for still others perhaps it is their car or a possession of great worth, however Jesus wants to be the only one you worship, it does not mean that you cannot enjoy these other things as well (in moderation) but when you spend more time in their presence than you do in the presence of God worshipping Him, then you are denying Him His rightful place in your life.

There was once a great evangelist who traveled the world winning millions of souls for Christ in his lifetime. Before a crusade he would send out some of his staff to teach volunteers how they could minister to others who came forward in the meeting at the time of what is known as the altar call, one evening the subject that the speaker came to speak on was the importance and effect of praise and worship.

He spoke for almost half an hour on this subject, illustrating his talk with several readings from scripture to help make the points he wanted to get across. One of his main points was that we should not worship God from a sense of duty in our hearts but because we want to, because He is worthy, because we love Him and because as His children this is a natural thing for us to do.

When he had finished what he wanted to say on the subject he sat down and the host minister stood up to close the meeting. Before he said anything he looked at his watch and saw that the meeting had finished a little ahead of the usual time, wherefore he said: "Well we seem to have a few minutes in hand so we might as well go back into praise and worship for a while."

He said this not because it was something that he and the attendees of the meeting wanted to do but he did it out of a sense of duty towards God, thinking that he would be robbing God if the meeting finished early. This was the very point that the speaker had made, that we should not praise and worship God just because it is the thing to do or to fill in a little time otherwise the meeting would finish early, but because that is what the overflow of our heart is telling us to do.

There is no sin in finishing a meeting early if the sermon is over with sooner than it usually would be.It is all about the state of the heart and the depth of relationship one has with their creator. This is what counts so much. Sadly there are so many who turn up to meetings week after week and just go through the motions, there is no sincerity in their hearts what so ever, they are just following what other people are doing.

God wants the praise and worship of our hearts, when He gets it we will come out of the meeting spiritually strengthened, uplifted and encouraged and knowing that we carry the presence of God with us wherever we go. Surely this is what praise and worship is all about?

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