November 21, 2013
The Taste Berry
I will give thanks to Your name for Your unfailing love and faithfulness, because Your promises are backed by all the honor of Your name (Psalm 138:2).
Friend to Friend
Alexander Whyte, the Scottish preacher, always began every prayer with praise. One brutally cold Sunday, his people filed into the church, wondering what the preacher could possibly find to praise God for on such a miserable day. Alexander Whyte stood, bowed his head and prayed, “O Lord, we thank Thee that it is not always like this.”
Are there times when you don’t feel like praising God? Honestly, our feelings are irrelevant when it comes to praising God. Praise is not about us. Praise is all about God. Praise is a deliberate choice and a learned habit that produces contentment and an attitude of gratitude.
In Philippians 4:11, the Apostle Paul writes, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” In this verse, “learned” means to be “educated by experience” and the word “content” means, “contained.” Paul’s contentment was the result of the resources contained in his heart. In other words, Paul used his circumstances as tutors in the school of praise.
Paul learned how to give God praise even when he was beaten, ridiculed, in prison, and facing his own death. Paul’s attitude did not reflect his circumstances. Paul made a deliberate choice to praise God – no matter what. Why? Because Paul knew that even when he did not understand God’s process, he could trust God’s heart.
Let’s pretend for just a moment. Suppose I went to my local bank and tried to cash a personal check for a thousand dollars. I can assure you that when I presented that check to the teller, she would have burst out laughing. She knows what I have in my bank account. Now suppose Bill Gates walked into his bank and presented the teller with a personal check for a thousand dollars. I can assure you that the teller would not burst out laughing. In fact, she would promptly cash that check because she knows what Bill Gates has in his bank account.
When we come to Jesus Christ, all of His promises are credited to our spiritual account. And there is a money-back guarantee on every promise of God. That is why we can praise Him – no matter what.
Praise invites God to take up residence in the middle of whatever mess we are in.
Psalm 22:3 “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”
Praise produces trust in God and strengthens our faith.
Psalm 42:11 “But, O my soul, don't be discouraged. Don't be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all that he will do. He is my help! He is my God!”
In Africa, there is a fruit called the "taste berry" that literally changes a person's taste buds so that everything tastes sweet and pleasant. Sour fruit, even if eaten several hours after the taste berry, becomes sweet and delicious.
Praise is the "taste berry" for every Christian. Praise is more than emotions or spoken words. Praise is more than singing songs or lifting up hands in worship. True praise is the celebration of God, His power, His works, and His greatness. Praise is the fruit of a committed heart and the tool of a life completely surrendered to God.
When we are discouraged, praise reminds us that there is hope in God.
When we are afraid, praise reminds us that no matter what happens, God is with us.
When we are lost, praise reminds us that God has already been where He is leading us.
When we are confused, praise reminds us that heaven is not in a panic.
Right now, girlfriend, lift up your head, and praise your God. He is with you and He is more than enough.