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30 September, 2013

Faith – Part 7

Hebrews 13:7-9 “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so."

I read this book where this man wrote how he is sick and tired of hearing people talking about how they experience God and he finds it sometimes discouraging because it makes you wonder “what about me God?” Then he went on explaining to his readers not to worry about these people because God’s grace is what makes Him decide who to reveal Himself to and in the end this author seems to be saying that God basically does some “mini ma nimo” I paraphrased there, but that’s the gist of it. I have to say through reading his books I know he is a man of God and a child of God because he has true faith in God. This man has status coming out of his ears and you can see that from how he gave a glimpse into his life, the kind of job he held and his financial success etc. You can also see it in the circle of friends he included in the book as they provided him with testimonies which he included pages of them in the back of his book.  The funny thing is, as I was reading those pages of testimonies about him I still do not understand why he needed to include so many of them and it felt like a display of stars on the red carpet. One of his friend’s testimony included in the book was Billy Graham who talked about how this author and friend is a man of faith. The point that I am trying to make is that, according to the world standards, this man has it all.

I used to struggle with the fact that I experience God so much. In fact at the beginning, even though I did not know God well, I begged Him to stop revealing Himself to me and I even prayed fervently that He would take this gift of Himself away from me and reveal Himself instead, to the senior pastor of the Church that I used to attend. God knew I was not making it up, I felt wholeheartedly that if God was to reveal Himself to my pastor in the same way that He reveals Himself to me, there would be a revival in the Church, because people loves this pastor and he is so eloquent and when he takes the podium he is truly electrifying. I remember having a conversation with his father in law about that and the work electrifying was exactly what he used to describe proudly his son in law. I had to concur with him.

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When I was praying God to transfer the give of Himself to my pastor, I remember I used to find so much joy , knowing that people would come to God with all their heart and God would be pleased. My prayer was totally selfless. Keep in mind that my pastor was one of those people who used to see me as a big idiot because I was not wearing masks in the Church like everyone else. But through my prayer, you can tell I was not spiritually mature enough, so God did not reveal to me right away the main reason why He could not do the same thing with my pastor.

Faith is a gift from God. I totally believe that. I am also aware that there is a controversy that exists for centuries now, around this verse found in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” There is a division between scholars, pastors and well known authors about these verses because a group of them believe that faith is not a gift of God and some believe yes it is a gift. Each one of these intellectual people usually goes on and on about how believing the wrong thing about faith would affect our walk. First of all, as far as I am concerned, I find these two verses the simplest things that God ever said to us, because I do not have the natural strength, abilities, skills and intelligence to think anything else, hence why I would rather do as God said which is having a childlike attitude and ask my daddy directly. I know, since His word tells me to believe with a childlike attitude, I can’t be wrong, if I ask Him, He will tell me. This is where it is good to say and truly believe in our heart that “GOD CANNOT LIE” – In this context, I am not trying to cheat my way through salvation nor that am I trying to hoard everything He has for me while giving nothing back.

In fact when I went to Him with a childlike attitude and asked Him how do I get through this mess out there where everyone seems to hold on to a partial truth? This prayer was prayed only a few months after I surrendered all to Him. He then told me, the first thing you have to do is to learn to get to a place where the Bible ceases to be a history book to your heart.  I understood that I needed to relate to those people that I was reading about in the Bible. I needed God to come alive like He used to be with the Israelites. I was surprise to see that even though I did not think  God was a dead God, but my belief and my life reflected that I was serving a dead God who no longer talk to us. I was shocked to see that God is as active in our lives and He is still talking to those who want to hear Him.  Another thing I needed to do was to start living out this life as if Christ truly ascended to Heaven.

When we set our mind to believe in this fashion, all of the sudden we find that we are hearing with our heart and what we are hearing whether is through our pastors from the podium or we are just reading, we realize what we are doing, is using the little faith we have to build on it. At first, it is so foreign to you because you actually venturing out on what He says. All your senses will be on alert mode screaming you are crazy. But, you have to mentally, spiritually and physically take the step to align with His authority and literally act in accordance to His spoken word. God finds much joy when He doesn’t have to force us to the point of dragging us to hear His word with our heart, trust what we hear in faith take the steps to put into practice what we hear. I tell you the truth, the moment we take the steps to trust and obey He comes along and carry us through it so we can do according to His desires.

Years ago, I opened up a bank account where the bank would give clients $25.00 to open a bank account with them. But in those days, I was not mature enough to acquire about fees for the administration of the account, the bank put my $25.00 and I went my way, never bothered about anything not even putting any money in there. One day I received a letter telling me to settle my bank charges because the account was accumulating so much. So, not only I lost the original $25.oo now I owed money.  As I understood faith being a gift from God, He taught me that the faith that I received in order to start this walk with Him is like a bank account where He made a deposit on my behalf so that I can start this walk with Him. But, it is my responsibility to administrate what I already received from Him in order that He can keep giving me more. Then He said, don’t worry about the responsibility to administrate the bank account because I am going to show you that too.

Over time, I learned that my faith will ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS be tested by God. And that goes for all of us Christians. Some of us will have faith in Him worth $2.00 and some will have $2000 or 2 million worth of faith in Him, and so on. Even the one with $2.00 worth of faith will be saved. There are some who never even bother to use the first deposit and it does not matter how God try and try to get them to go forward inwardly, they just do not want Him in this way, like the Israelites in the wilderness.  But God has shown us over and over again, when we decide to live outside of His goal of redemption for us, we get comfortable with our sins under the misguided idea that because He loves us we will be okay, that is our own presumption. Living outside His goal for redemption has direct consequences that we have to deal with. It is not like God brings things down on us or He is not true to His word, but rather the consequences of our sins find us.

But, the more faith you have, the more you have to learn to be a child in His hands. For almost a decade now, I keep seeing myself like a child between 6 -8 years old whenever God is dealing with me in the matter of faith.  I always thought He was the one who portrays me like this. But this year in 2013 He finally answered me. I asked again why is it that I am growing spiritually with you, yet you always look at me as if I am a child between 6-8 years old, I said I find it weird that you see me this way and I need to understand why? I said why is it I am not aging with you?  He finally told me, I do not choose to make you look like this my child, you never aged because you have learned to believe in me as if you were a child expecting me to care for you. Without Him saying it, I could tell He was pleased with me not wanting to age.

Only then I remember the best years of my life when I was around that age, I did not know better, I always expected my mom and dad to look after me. I never wanted to escape them, escape life, etc.  By the time I turned 10 years old I had a different awareness of life and I learned to view my parents differently. So, when I read the Bible and I wanted to please God with a childlike attitude that He demands of us, in my heart and soul, I set out to model this innocent, curious, trusting and eager to learn child when it comes to God’s word and my relationship with Him.

Having experienced God in the way I do, I learned how much delight it brings His heart when we exercise faith in Him. In fact, early on when I was getting to know Him, I felt like a child playing with my daddy. I remember saying wow! God is a sucker when it comes to faith. I know He knows that I used the word sucker with no intend of malice or disrespect in my heart because it was the only way I could explain all that I was living with Him. Yes, it was the time when I was in the worst shape of my life and I was losing everything I ever owned. During that time, I understood how awesome Adam and Eve had it. To have God come down just because He is seeking your company is phenomenal.  

At one point I had doubt that God does not play favouritism, so I went with Him to understand why is it if He does not play favourite, yet, some can see you and be with you so much and some don’t? Why is it you keep saying in the Bible that you love those who love you on several occasions, and one that I can think of right now is Proverbs 8:17? What’s up with 2 Chronicles 16:9? Strangely, God does not see it as favouritism, but simply because He starts the reward process even down here. That’s when He showed me, some Christians that I see might look so big and mighty down here, when we are all in heaven it will be surprising to see someone like me will be bigger in heaven than someone who is considered a pillar of your Church and actually sees you as being insignificant.  My point here is that Salvation is actually receiving a fortune from God. To unlock the gate of the treasure house, we have the key which is our faith in Him. God set it that way in His plan of Salvation.

It does not matter the amount of fasting, the amount of prayer and activities we do on his behalf. While they are all good things, at the end of the day, the main ingredient that is truly pleasing to God is our faith in Him. When we have faith in Him, we bless Him. Just like unbelief is like a cancer and affects every choice we make, faith affects each choice we make. The more you have faith, the more God is no longer a guest in your heart,  it is His Dwelling and He enjoys being there. Faith is the catalyst that brings this endless intimacy in your life with Him, no matter how hard this life is, you feel like you are living an endless love affair with Him.  

Yes I poke the bear, I am always asking for more faith and because I know that God is going to take me at my word I already know the test will be harsh so when I pray for more faith I can’t pray for it without crying because of the anticipated pain.  But, you know why I keep praying for more faith in Him? Because I know we can have endless faith in Him and there will always be room to expand we will never be filled to capacity. Secondly, I know in my heart because of who He is, that it is my ongoing faith in Him that will keep fuelling this love affair that I am having with Him. Thirdly, I do not want to ever put God in a position where He feels betrayed by my faith in Him where He would evoke our love as a thing of the past. It is so easy to backslide, I am not interested in finding out how far I can backslide away from him. When you make faith your first goal, it does not matter whether you understand things well enough because as you look around you, the house is being built for you, in you and all around you, while you never lift a finger.

I can see from the unusual amount of hits that I have, a lot of people are reading the faith posts. So, I apologize for yesterday, between soar throat, endless coughing to the point where I lost my voice all day, I could not sit for long, hence why I did not put the post out.

I pray that all of you would go forward in knowing Him through the depth of your soul.

Imagine having someone who loves you so much that He would rather die than living without you. That’s what He did for us. Doesn’t He deserve the gratitude of your heart? Give Him the honour that is due to Him, give Him yourself.
I truly love you guys and sometimes it makes me smile because I ask God how can one go on, loving people that you have never met, yet in your heart you can only see them like a close and precious family member? May the God of peace sanctify you through and through.
Take care

28 September, 2013

Faith - Part 6

This morning I was reading Hebrews 13 I noticed the benediction that ends this book is both unusual and beautiful and is found in Hebrews 13:20-25 “ Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep,  equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  Brothers and sisters, I urge you to bear with my word of exhortation, for in fact I have written to you quite briefly. I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released. If he arrives soon, I will come with him to see you. Greet all your leaders and all the Lord’s people. Those from Italy send you their greetings. Grace be with you all.”
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Justification is just our standing with God.  Yes, through justification salvation enters our lives, but it is a salvation according to God’s plan. It does not matter whether you agree with me or not, but know this, when I understood that, it made a world of a difference in my walk with Him and I would rather die than giving up this piece of truth that I became acquainted with through His grace. The Christian life we found throughout the Bible, suddenly made sense to me and in my walk with Him. If you can get that, you will no longer look at salvation through the peephole, but you are granted the whole view.
 When I could not understand what God was trying to say about justification, He then drew a line for me, the line seemed to start on earth but the earth was completely dark as if we did not have days, just nights. He showed me my life and how I was living completely unaware of the darkness that I was in and also unaware that there was another world or country out there that I needed to be. But, He showed me this spiritual darkness all of us without exception have it in us because of the guilty verdict of Adam and Eve we inherited. Christ’s death bridged the gap. But it was not a bridge that He showed me but rather the line that started from the earth, kept going straight and slanted until it became an oblique line.
Strangely, the left side of the oblique line was earth and the right side was heaven. The left side was about life down here and the right side was up in heaven. He showed me that He not only grabbed my attention while I was completely unaware of Him, but He also picked me up (apprehended) from the kingdom of darkness and brought me to the light. What was stranger was the fact that it was my home now, at the same time, nothing that concerned heaven was divulged to me. I was aware of the two worlds now, I knew the triune God lives up there and I knew there was something called light. I could see the contrast between light and darkness.  I remember standing up there, kind of scratching my head and saying so, what now? Then the lesson ended along with the vision.
Since then God took me back several times there to answer my question “what now?” But, the idea was for Him to make me understand with a graphic, what justification meant in His sight and why there needs to be more. Throughout my walk with Him I find the “what now” means that I have to work in partnership with Him. A partnership that looks like a 95/5 % ratio and this 5% ratio is so big to us puny being and demands so much of us, because it involved our will to stop being what we are accustomed to. In reality, we are so good at being sinners and so good at being God’s enemy we do not know how to leave it behind. This is why it is so easy to let Satan leads us because we identify with him so well. Throughout the years God has allowed me to keep looking back to where I was and how He apprehended me and the gratitude keeps growing and growing. When I look back, I realize the light that I have seen at the beginning when He justified me, cannot even be compared to the light that I know and have now. But, when I was in the state of justification alone, this light was marvellous because of where I was before (darkness) and I did not even know the light could be drastically better.
The first 8 chapters of Romans are about doctrinal faith. Chapter 1-5 talk about the state of the sinner and the life God showed me on the left side of the oblique separation bar. Chapter 6 to 8 is about those that He saved. Look at the beauty of it please, first thing that Paul did was to establish the beauty and privilege we have of being those elected to receive His Salvation and grace. Then, all of the sudden he tells us in chapter 6:13 what our reaction to what we have received should be which is a “surrender” after we have received His grace. I already shared with you in a post that God told me to surrender and since I did not understand God’s word well and I only knew what I was taught in the Church and by my mentor who was a major pillar of the Church, when I shared what God asked me to do, I was treated like the biggest idiot ever existed and was told that was foolishness since there wasn’t any need to surrender because it is done when we accept Christ
On a side note I understand the reaction of my mentor. Imagine living almost a hundred years a life where you are admired and well respected by others for who they think you are. You borrowed from the Pharisees and immerse yourself in your role so well you buy into your own propaganda, and then suddenly a little squirt comes along and tell you that God said to surrender. First of all you would start wondering why is it God did not talk to you instead of a divorced and reject of society. So, of course, in your mind this little twerp which is yours truly, (LOL) must be mistaken.
Anyway before I digress too far, as I learned to read the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s guidance I found that Paul’s word contradict my mentor. And the more I learn to master living a life in the Spirit I also learned that we  not only have different level of surrendering to God but this life is a life that can only be lived if we learn to surrender daily and moment by moment. In Romans 6:13 Paul was saying, if indeed you have received Salvation, and you are grateful to Him, then the way you can show Him you are truly grateful is through the sacrifice of presenting yourself to Him. This is nothing short of a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving at the same time is it a sacrifice that comes from learning to live a life of faith
In our partnership, He wants you and I, to stand up and make the decision to walk with Him. Look at verse 21 closely “equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.” Through justification we are enlightened and justified which means He no longer consider you and me as His enemies, and we have been acquitted of the sin of Adam and Eve that was in our bank account as a debt to Him. The debt is cancelled, we make peace with Him and we are reconciled. But, all that is possible because of the sacrifice Christ did on the cross.  Keep in mind that, sin originated in heaven and it was amongst people God loved so dearly and they were dealing with Him face to face like Lucifer the most beautiful angel and Adam & Eve who walked with Him. If you can live out your justification through an experience with Him, you find that, like Lucifer or Adam & Eve before they fell from grace you are part of this entire story now, as if you are no longer banned from paradise, but “What now?”
 It is His grace that gets you there and His grace that keeps you going. Remember, our justification gets us up there with Him so it is big stuff. But, even though we are up there with Him, He has a plan in His mind of what each our life will be upon completion of the work He is doing in us. So, when He looks at us He sees us through Christ, like the finished product (by the way this is a picture He shares with my son to help him understand why he needed to continue.)
 Yes, we have been acquitted and we made it up there, but we do not know how to live any other way than the sinner and the enemy of God that we are. By default we have a need to destroy ourselves and it feels good too. Furthermore, we have no idea what we need to do, to work out on the inside the life that God has in mind for us. So, He needs to help us slowly change on the inside while we are learning to get acquainted with Christ’s character and learn to weave them out step by step in and through us to make His criteria, ours. I remember when God showed me that as one of the answers to my “what now question.” I said to Him, “but we are becoming a little Christ.” Don’t get spooked here I am not saying we are little gods, but this is the goal God has in mind to bring us to a place where when we die, we will be like Christ
 It is a major work to get us to leave behind what we have been, to reach the place where we become what He wants us to be. I could go on for days about how this life takes place in us, but I have to stop myself because the post is getting way too long. So, I urge you like the writer of Hebrews to graciously live out your faith in Him with gratitude and a heart full of praises for who He is. You and I have the capacity to do that because when He justified us, He took us to the light and made a new covenant with us, He signed up to provide and to always equip us with what we need to live a life pleasing to Him and as we live out this life. He is also working His salvation in us for His good pleasure. Note that it is still His grace at work because you and I we do not have the capacity within us and the only thing we are good at, is being His enemy. But, through His grace even the little 5% of this partnership that is ours, He equips us for it. “equip you with everything good for doing his will…”   This is beautiful stuff

27 September, 2013

Faith - Part 5

Hebrews 13:15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.”

Today I have been feeling so lousy I cannot even sit down for a long period of time. I thought about not putting a post out today, but the Lord confirmed in my heart that it was not an option. This morning He gave one of the verses that is pleasing to His heart and all my meditation was on this verse. As I read Hebrews 13:15 (even though I am reading the book of James right now, but I keep going back to Hebrews just to see what God wants to speak to me about and God did speak to my heart about this verse. He confirmed how this verse brings Him lots of joy when His little puny beings understand it and put it into practice.  My next question to God was, what does it mean to you personally? In the way I formulated the question, I was thinking, how do you want us to live it out God? God knew what I meant because He can see my heart and He also knows what I am thinking.

But when I asked the question, I felt that I asked it for you guys as well, those people that I know He is using my blog to reach out to. At the same time, I asked the hard question, not because I am trying to poke the bear, (one of the pastor’s wives made a comment about me and said  that I have that bad habit with God, I cannot leave well enough alone.)  Call it whatever you want, but I feel the need to go and get it straight from His mouth. Secondly, I do not want the fear of pain to hold me back and deprive me from the joy of ministering to Him or the joy of knowing that He is pleased with me and I bring a smile on His face so to speak. It is a priority in my life.  It was an awesome thing to hear God said to me “you already know how to grab hold of this verse, but it felt as if He was saying, you already put it into practice in your life. Then He showed me those 2 verses of surrender that I know so well and already talked about in several of my past posts: Romans 6:13 & Romans 12:1 He said just link them to your post.

So, I set out to look for a sermon on Hebrews 13:5 since it is so pleasing to God. I found few sermons but they mostly focus on part of the message that is in verse 15. Praising God with our lips He loves that, but He wants us to start from the beginning so that we can avoid dead works. He not only taught me that personally and the hard way, but it is right there in verse 15, one single word makes all the difference. He is asking for a continual “sacrifice” of praise. A sacrifice to God does not have to be an extravagant gesture, it could be something as simple as denying the self for the day and spend the whole day thinking about Him. This is something we can learn to do in the spirit, which means we do not have to stop moving around living our lives. Anyway, I finally found one sermon that represents what I have been taught by Him and I am leaving you with Charles Spurgeon’s words.

 A Life-Long Occupation

Hebrews 13:15Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name"

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It is instructive to notice where this verse stands. The connection is a golden setting to the gem of the text. Here we have a description of the believer's position before God. He has done with all carnal ordinances, and has no interest in the ceremonies of the Mosaic law. What then? Are we to offer no sacrifice? Very far from it. We are called upon to offer to God a continual sacrifice. Having done with the outward, we now give ourselves entirely to the inward and to the spiritual. Moreover, the believer is now, if he is where he ought to be, like his Master, "without the camp." What then? If we are without the camp, have we nothing to do? On the contrary, let us the more ardently pursue higher objects, and yield up our disentangled spirits to the praise and glory of God. Do we come under contempt, as the Master did? Is it so, that we are "bearing His reproach"? Shall we sit down in despair? Nay, verily; while we lose honour ourselves, we will ascribe honour to our God. We will count it all joy that we are counted worthy to be reproached for Christ's sake. Moreover, the apostle says that "Here we have no continuing city." Well, then, we will transfer the continuance from the city to the praise — "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." If everything here is going, let it go; but we will not cease to sing. If the end of all things is at hand, let them end; but our praises of the living God shall abide world without end.

I. First, then, concerning a believer, let me DESCRIBE HIS SACRIFICE. "By Him therefore."

1. See, at the very threshold of all offering of sacrifice to God, we begin with Christ. We cannot go a step without Jesus. Without a Mediator we can make no advance to God. He is that altar which sanctifies both gift and giver; by Him, therefore, let our sacrifices both of praise and of almsgiving be presented unto God.

2. Next, observe that this sacrifice is to be presented continually. Not only in this place or that place, but in every place, we are to praise the Lord our God. Not only when we are in a happy frame of mind, but when we are cast down and troubled. The perfumed smoke from the altar of incense is to rise towards heaven both day and night, from the beginning of the year to the year's end.

3. The apostle goes on to tell us what the sacrifice is — the sacrifice of praise. Praise, that is, heart-worship, or adoration. Adoration is the grandest form of earthly service. We ascribe unto Jehovah, the one living and true God, all honour and glory. Praise is heart-trust and heart-content with God. Trust is adoration applied to practical purposes. Praise is heart-enjoyment; the indulgence of gratitude and wonder. The Lord has done so much for me that I must praise Him, or feel as if I had a fire shut up within me.

4. The text evidently deals with spoken praise — "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name"; or, as the Revised Version has it, "the fruit of lips which make confession to His name." So, then, we are to utter the praises of God, and it is not sufficient to feel adoring emotions. "Well," saith one, "I cannot force myself to praise," I do not want you to force yourself to it: this praise is to be natural. It is called the fruit of the lips. Fruit is a natural product: it grows without force, the free outcome of the plant. So let praise grow out of your lips at its own sweet will. Let it be as natural to you, as regenerated men, to praise God as it seems to be natural to profane men to blaspheme the sacred name. This praise is to be sincere and real. The next verse tells us we are to do good and communicate, and joins this with praise to God. Many will give God a cataract of words, but scarce a drop of true gratitude in the form of substance consecrated. This practical praising of the Lord is the life-office of every true believer. See ye to it.

II. We will, secondly, EXAMINE THE SUBSTANCE OF THIS SACRIFICE. "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually."

1. To praise God continually will need a childlike faith in Him. You must believe His word, or you will not praise His name. Doubt snaps the harp-strings. Question mars all melody. Unbelief is the deadly enemy of praise.

2. Faith must lead you into personal communion with the Lord. It is to Him that the praise is offered, and not to our fellow-men.

3. You must have also an overflowing content, a real joy in Him. Be sure that you do not lose your joy Rejoice in the Lord, that you may praise Him.

4. There must also be a holy earnestness about this. Praise is called a sacrifice because it is a very sacred thing. When life is real, life is earnest: and it must be both real and earnest when it is spent to the praise of the great and ever-blessed God.

5. To praise God continually, you need to cultivate perpetual gratitude, and surely it cannot be hard to do that! Remember, every misery averted is a mercy bestowed; every sin forgiven is a favour granted; every duty performed is also a grace received. Let the stream leap up to heaven in bursts of enthusiasm; let it fall to earth again in showers of beneficence; let it fill the basin of your daily life, and run over into the lives of others, and thence again in a cataract of glittering joy let it still descend.

6. In order to this praise you will need a deep and ardent admiration of the Lord God. Admire the Father — think much of His love; acquaint yourself with His perfections. Admire the Son of God, the altogether lovely One; and as you mark His gentleness, self-denial, love, and grace, suffer your heart to be wholly enamoured of Him. Admire the patience and condescension of the Holy Ghost, that He should visit you, and dwell in you, and bear with you.

III. I want, in the third place, to COMMEND THIS BLESSED EXERCISE.
1. "Offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually," because in so doing you will answer the end of your being. Every creature is happiest when it is doing what it is made for. Christians are made to glorify God; and we are never in our element till we are praising Him. Do not degrade yourself by a less Divine employ.
2. Praise God again, because it is His due. Should Jehovah be left unpraised? Praise is the quit-rent which He asks of us for the enjoyment of all things; shall we be slow to pay?

3. Praise Him continually, for it will help you in everything else. A man full of praise is ready for all other holy exercises. The praises of God put wings upon pilgrims' heels, so that they not only run, but fly.

4. This will preserve us from many evils. When the heart is full of the praise of God, it has not time to find fault and grow proudly angry with its fellows. We cannot fear while we can praise. Neither can we be bribed by the world's favour, nor cowed by its frown. Praise makes men, yea, angels of us: let us abound in it.

5. Let us praise God because it will be a means of usefulness. I believe that a life spent in God's praise would in itself be a missionary life. A praiseful heart is eloquent for God.

6. Praise God, because this is what God loves. Notice how the next verse puts it: "With such sacrifices God is well pleased."

7. To close this commendation, remember that this will fit you for heaven. You can begin the music here — begin the hallelujahs of glory by praising God here below.

IV. LET US COMMENCE AT ONCE. What does the text say? It says, "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually." The apostle does not say, "By and by get to this work, when you are able to give up business, and have retired to the country, or when you are near to die"; but now, at once, he says, "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise." Let us stir one another up to praise. Let us spend to-day, and to-morrow, and all the rest of our days in praising God. If we catch one another a little grumbling, or coldly silent, let us, in kindness to each other, give the needful rebuke. It will not do; we must praise the Lord. Just as the leader of an orchestra taps his baton to call all to attention, and then to begin singing, so I bestir you to offer the sacrifice of praise unto the Lord. The apostle has put us rather in a fix: he compels us to offer sacrifice. Did you notice what he said in the tenth verse? He says, "We have an altar." Can we imagine that this altar is given us of the Lord to be never used? Is no sacrifice to be presented on the best of altars? If we have an altar, do not allow it to be neglected, deserted, unused. It is not for spiders to spin their webs upon; it is not meet that it should be smothered with the dust of neglect. "We have an altar." What then? "Let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Do you not see the force of the argument? Practically obey it. Beside the altar we have a High Priest. Shall He stand there, and have nothing to do? What would you think of our great High Priest waiting at the altar, with nothing to present which His redeemed had brought to God? No, "by Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." Bring hither abundantly, ye people of God, your praises, your prayers, your thank-offerings, and present them to the Ever-blessed!