In many churches today, the singers sing lovely choruses in praise to the Lord. The leaders pray and the preachers give their sermons of worshipful teaching. The congregation will sing when the hymn time comes. But will they (as my grandma used to say) even make a peep, other than that?
How about us? Do we pretty much "clam up" when we walk into church? I guess in many churches, it's not very common for folks to speak out. Years ago, almost all churches here in the southland had what was referred to as the "Amen corner." We had folks who would punctuate the preacher's words with hearty outbursts of "Amen" and "Praise the Lord!" -- and sometimes, "Preach it, Brother!" (Grin)
Nowadays, that doesn't happen as much. In fact, when people are overwhelmed with a feeling of worship or praise, and they give voice to those emotions, sometimes they are regarded as strange! Do we look sideways at folks who voice their approval? When the Spirit moves someone, do we inwardly wish that they just wouldn't do that?
What about us? Do we allow the Spirit to have free range within us? When we are moved by the words we hear, or the realization of a spiritual truth, do we clamp down on it? Are we embarrassed to give voice to these feelings?
Perhaps we need to be more open. More free to express ourselves. Ya think?
Now, let's look at our next two verses in I Peter.....
(I Peter 1:3-5)Peter has just burst out into praise, hasn't he? (Grin)
In another translation, it reads "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Peter is so full of joy that he can't hold it in!
How long has it been since we experienced this exultation? How long has it been since we actually said anything aloud to our Father? Either in a personal setting, like in our prayer and study time, or at a family gathering where a blessing was said before a meal? Or in church, if something the preacher said really struck a chord with us?
I don't mean to encourage anyone to do things they are not comfortable with. This is purely an individual matter, and it's between us and our Father. I know that sometimes a vocal response can be a distraction to some people who are intently listening for the Spirit's teachings..... but I know, too, that our praise can be a testimony to others! It's a fine line, no?
Sometimes I think that we have become too comfortable with our salvation: have we forgotten about the horror of hell, and the grace and mercy that has saved us from it?
Peter is referring to this here, and says that God is to be blessed (praised) for His mercy, His salvation, and for His power to protect us through eternity!
Wait a minute.
Did you read through that too quickly?
Go back and re-read that bold print.....we'll wait for you right here.
Do you feel the joy bubbling up inside you?
Let it out!
Right now, wherever you are, say aloud a thank you to our Father! If you are moved to sing your praise, go ahead!
I guarantee you, you will rise from this study (and your praise time) with a renewed spirit of gratitude!
Don't be embarrassed! Let it out!
I can't wait for the rest of this week's study!