Does God Inhabit Our Praise?

Does God make His home in our praises? It’s a very intriguing thought—that God is actually present when we are praising His name. 

Psalm 22:3 is the key verse that brings up this question. Various Bible translations have rendered this verse in different ways.

For example, the New International Version (NIV) translates it:

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.

The English Standard Version is one of several translations that makes the question a little more valid with its rendering:

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

You can almost picture God living in our praise. In fact, the ESV includes a footnote that says an alternative rendering is “dwelling in the praises.”

Then, there are translations that make it relatively easy to envision God living in our praise. The King James version, among others, renders this verse:

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

And that is where the question really comes into play for me.

Does this verse mean that God is actually present with us when we’re offering up praise?

Of course, God is always with us. He gives us that promise in Deuteronomy 31:6 and reiterates it in Hebrews 13:5.

But it is a whole other thing to imagine that God is physically present—real and alive—in our praises. That should give us comfort like nothing else can.

It’s like the famous line from Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” If we praise God, He will show up. That should give us something to think about.

No matter which translation you read from, and whether or not you believe that God actually lives in our praises, we should all practice praising Him more. 

He is certainly worthy of our praise, as He is our Creator and Heavenly Father who loves us immensely despite all our flaws and sins.

That, in itself, is reason enough for our reverent worship of Him.

God Adores You

Have you ever wondered what God thinks about you? 

At first, it may seem like a complicated question and one that’s not easily answered. However, all we have to do is turn to the Bible to find the truth. It is full of uplifting verses that tell us exactly how God feels about us.

We are of supreme importance in our Heavenly Father’s eyes. Just read these words found in the book of Matthew:

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Matt. 10:29-31

Does it surprise you that God keeps track of each and every bird on the earth? But even more importantly, He regards us much more highly than any bird. So we should never worry about our worth in God’s eyes.

As we find out in Jeremiah, God planned for us even before our conception:

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…

Jer. 1:5

There’s really not much more that can be said about this verse. It perfectly explains that God had a plan for each of us before we were ever conceived. 

Plus, He mapped out our lives ahead of time, as we read here:

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16

God knows the exact length of each of our lives and knows what He wants our lives to consist of long before we were ever born.

Perhaps one of the best known verses, and one of the most quoted, is John 3:16. Take a moment to really reflect on what this verse says about God and His feelings for us:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

God loves us so much that there is nothing He wouldn’t do for us. Just take a look at this verse:

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Matt 7:11

We are His most prized creation. He even formed us in His image:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

Gen. 1:26

No other part of God’s creation is fashioned in His image—only mankind is. We are the preeminent creation of God. He values us above everything else in the universe.

These are just a few of the many verses that explain how much God loves us. 

If you’re ever in doubt about your worth in the eyes of God, just pick up your Bible and begin reading. You’ll soon discover the truth that God loves you immensely! 

Relax, God’s Got It

Recently I drove past a church that had the following message out front on their sign:

If you worry, then you are not sure God will get it right.

That truth really hit home with me, as I have struggled with worry for most of my life, even as a child.

I believe that many of us could stand to meditate on this church’s message. After all, if we trust God, we really have no need to worry or feel anxious.

There are many verses in the Bible that assure us God is taking care of everything in our lives. One of the best known and often quoted verses is found in Romans:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Rom. 8:28

Here we find that God is working ALL things out—not some, or even most things, but everything—for our good. Every trial, every circumstance falls under His control. There is nothing that He does not use for our eventual good when we seek to serve Him.

Another verse we can rely on when we’re tempted to worry is found in Philippians:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phil. 4:6-7

God actually commands us not to worry. Do you think He would tell us to do something that is impossible to do?

If you’re one of the people who says, “Well, I’m just a born worrier. I can’t not worry,” then you need to focus on these verses in Philippians and make them an integral part of your everyday life.

Remember that God has everything under control and there’s nothing that catches Him by surprise. 

Besides, even if you do worry, most of the things you worry about you can’t change anyway. Just leave it up to God to take care of. 

Pray and listen to His instruction. He’ll speak to you through the Holy Spirit in a still, small voice, giving you direction in your life as you focus on Him.

In Luke, once again we’re told not to worry, as God will surely take care of us, just as He does the birds:

Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on… Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Luke 12:22,24

Mankind is God’s most prized creation; He even sacrificed His son for our salvation! He will surely take care of all our needs if we will only trust Him.

So, don’t worry. God is more than able to handle anything that’s going on in your life. Just give Him all your cares and focus on serving Him each day.

Develop Faith That Transcends Circumstances

Faith is one of the most important aspects of our spiritual life. 

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…Without faith it’s impossible to please God. 

Heb. 11:1, 6

If we don’t have faith, our walk with God is dead in the water, so to speak.

However, for many of us, our faith life is not what it should be. I should know, because all too often I fall into that category.

My faith seems to falter when I need it the most.

When things are looking their bleakest, that’s when my faith should shine. However, those are often the times when I withdraw inward and keep God at a distance.

I’ve been a believer in Christ for over three and a half decades. You’d think my faith would have grown some by now.

You may be like me—finding yourself in the position of doubting God, doubting that He will come through this time. Even though He has proven Himself over and over, you still doubt.

Our faith muscle needs stretching if it is to grow. If we truly want our faith to transcend any circumstances we find ourselves in, we need to use it every day.

From the small things to the large things, we must trust God in everything. Then, and only then, will our faith begin to grow and strengthen.

I’m amazed at the faith that Abraham displays when God asks him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son. I’m not sure I trust God enough to follow through with that.

I would doubt whether I was hearing God correctly. I’d say something like, “Are you sure this is what you want me to do, Lord?” or “No, I can’t do THAT. Surely you want me to do something else, right?”

Abraham’s faith lets him stand out as one of the greatest believers ever. He had to look beyond his circumstances and draw deeply from his well of faith in God.

I believe that’s what we must do if we’re to develop that kind of faith. 

No matter what our situation looks like from our perspective, we must remember that God sees things from His 360-degree view. 

He’s not limited to living in just the present like we are. Time is His construct, and He is in the past, present, and future all at the same time.

God knows how everything is going to turn out—you can count on that.

Even when things look their worst, we can trust that He is in control. That’s what Abraham did, and that’s what we have to do as well.

Trusting God for little things first will help grow our faith, especially if we’re unsure we can fully trust him for the big things in life.

However, just remember that your situation may not always work out how you think it should.

Often, God has a different plan than we do, and the thing we pray about and hope will come to pass may not happen. 

We must trust God nonetheless, knowing that His way is best. When we can do this, we’ll be on the path to growing our faith.

Kick Worry to the Curb

God doesn’t want you to worry. Really—He doesn’t.

Over and over in the Bible we read where God tells His people not to worry, not to have anxiety. Here is just one of many examples I could name:

Do not be anxious about anything.

Phil. 4:6a

This command is hard for us to accept in the hustle and bustle of our busy lifestyles. If you’re like me, you tend to feel guilty if you’re not worrying about something. 

It seems like you should be worrying, else you’re neglecting your responsibilities.

However, worrying doesn’t change anything—except maybe to make you feel less guilty. 

You don’t need to feel guilty in the first place. Guilt causes you to worry even more—and you can’t do anything about most of the things you worry about anyway.

So, how do we not worry?

First of all, you have to realize that defeating worry is not a one-time thing. Quitting worrying takes daily effort and a resolve to live in freedom in Jesus. 

Although you may feel like you’re in an uphill battle and that you’re not seeing any results—keep at it. 

Eventually, you’ll find yourself worrying less and living with more joy and peace.

On one of his excellent “In Touch” radio broadcasts, Dr. Charles Stanley lays out three steps to eliminating worry in your life

Pray over and meditate on these steps. Really think about them and let them sink into your spirit. 

Doing so will help you beat worry and guilt. 

Step #1 – Realize That God is With You

God knows and sees your situation. He is with you every step of the way. 

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Heb. 13:5b

You are God’s child, and He loves you dearly. Just as you would never leave your own child, God will never leave you.

And how much more He loves you than you are able to love your child!

You don’t need to worry about God’s awareness of your situation. He is omniscient and has known that you would experience whatever trial you’re in even before time itself existed.

He has promised that He will always be with you, so take Him at His word.

Pray to your Heavenly Father and ask Him for help. He won’t let you down.

Step #2 – Maintain Proper Vision

View your situation in context of your faith.

God is Lord of the entire universe and can be fully trusted to help you through any problems you might face.

You can hold on to your faith that God is good and that His will is always in your best interest. As we are told in Romans 8:28:

We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

When everything seems to be going wrong and all you have is God to fall back on, that’s when your faith is truly put to the test. 

God is all we need. And when He is all we have, we are presented with the opportunity to stand firm in our faith. God’s will WILL prevail.

Step #3 – Seek God’s Kingdom First

If serving God and following His will for your life are your priorities in life, He will make sure that you have everything you need.

Matthew 6:33 tells us:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

To put it another way, God takes care of His own. If you belong to Jesus and faithfully serve Him, your needs will be met.

Keep in mind, God’s provision might not always look like you think it should, but He will always come through. 

God wants to be your provider. His desire is for you to rely on Him and Him alone—not your job, your bank account, or even your own abilities.

Just Him.

When you know that God will meet your every need, you don’t need to worry about having enough. 

You’ll have what you need, when you need it. And you can count on that.

So, to sum up Dr. Stanley’s advice for overcoming worry:

  1. Trust God.
  2. Have faith in God.
  3. Seek God.

Here’s to a worry-free, joy-filled life pursuing God!

Where Did God Come From?

At some point, most people have probably wondered where God came from.

You may not be familiar with the term aseity, particularly when it comes to God. According to gotquestions.org,

The aseity of God is His attribute of independent self-existence.

Basically, it means that God was not created. He is and always has been in existence. There was never a time when He did not exist. 

Aseity is a difficult concept for us human beings to wrap our heads around. We think in terms of beginnings and endings. For us, everything that we see we understand has been created, either by God or by man. 

Whether we’re looking at the sun—which we can attribute to God’s creation—or we gaze at the car sitting in our driveway—which was made in a factory somewhere—these are things that were once not in existence.

For us to think about God and His “independent self-existence” we have to accept what to our minds is an illogical concept. 

However, God is the sovereign Creator of the universe, so it shouldn’t be hard for us to ascribe aseity to Him. 

In Exodus 3:14a, we read,

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”

This means God is and always has been. He is not just the beginning and the end. He is, and He created the beginning and ending of all things, including us. 

He didn’t need anyone or anything to create Him.

Someone may ask, Well, then did God create Himself? To ask that question implies that God had a beginning, a time when He didn’t exist. My opinion is that God did not create Himself. 

As R.C. Sproul writes in Enjoying God,

To create itself, something, even God, would have to be before it is. It would have to exist and not exist at the same time.

That logic makes sense to me. God could not have created Himself because He could not have existed and not existed at the same time.

Furthermore, God’s aseity means that He does not rely on anything else for His existence. He did not depend on anything for His creation, and He does not need any outside help to maintain His existence.

In fact, it is us humans, and every other living thing on the planet, that depends on Him for our existence. Without His willingness to keep us alive, we would not exist. 

We would not and could have ever come into existence without His causing it. He is the Supreme Cause and Creator of everything else in the universe.

God and only God decides the lifespan of everything.

When we’re talking about the aseity of God, it doesn’t include just God the Father. Jesus and the Father are both God, so the same principles hold true for Jesus as well.

Referring to Jesus, John 1:3 says,

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Jesus our Savior has all the same godly characteristics as God the Father.

He existed before anything else and was integral to the creation of our universe. Without Him we can do nothing.

We can’t mention Jesus without talking about His saving grace.

In fact, He is our only path to salvation. In John 14:6, Jesus says,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Furthermore, He says in John 10:30,

“I and the Father are one.”

We have to accept the Lordship and divine attributes of Jesus to obtain our salvation. Believing that He is God and that He created everything else opens the door to eternal life.

It is the only way that we can enter into everlasting fellowship with God.

So, only by accepting the aseity of God, including that of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, can we accept the deity of God.

He is not in the same category of creation as we are. He is the Creator, and we are the created.

God doesn’t have to have a beginning and an end, as He is the Author of everything else. 

Understanding and grasping this truth will help us better revere, worship, and serve God in our everyday lives.

Why Should We Follow Jesus?

The question has been asked, What is the point in being a follower of Jesus?

It is a valid question and deserves a good answer. 

After all, who is this Jesus who came along 2000 years ago? Recorded history tells us that He showed up thousands of years after people had already been worshipping God.

This is a hard question, to be sure. For the answer, we must turn to the Bible, which is the inspired word of God. 

The Bible is not a single book, but actually 66 books written over a period of approximately 1500 years by around 40 different authors.

Let’s take a look at John 14:6-7 for the answer to our question. 

As it happens, Jesus was answering a question from one of His disciples about following Him.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

These are bold words, but if we’re serious about seeking God and serving him, we must take them to heart. 

If there truly is just one way to God—and Jesus is it— then we must become one of His followers.

To do otherwise is to risk our eternal destiny. If we’re wrong, then we’ve lost nothing. But if we’re right, then we stand to gain much. I’ve written about this before in another post.

Just a few verses before the ones above, Jesus says,

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

John 14:3

Jesus wants us with Him. He already has a place picked out in Heaven for every one of His believers.

And just so he’s clear and there’s no confusion—with some 4300 different religions in the world by one estimate—He tells us exactly how to get to God, and it’s through Him.

So, what do we need to do to become a follower of Jesus?

First of all, we must understand our need for Him. 

Romans 3:23 tells us,

For all [emphasis mine] have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 explains the penalty for our sins as well as our reward for following Jesus: 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 10:9 tells us how to accept Jesus into our lives and be forgiven of our sins:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

The final step is crucial. Find a good, Bible-believing church and tell the pastor that you have accepted Jesus into your life. Ask to be baptized and begin attending the church.

In Acts 2:38, Peter the apostle says,

Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

While baptism itself does not save you, it does represent our death and rebirth in Jesus. Likewise, church attendance is not mandatory for salvation, but Christians go to church to worship God and associate with other believers.

So, to answer our original question about following Jesus…

Jesus is our pathway to God. He is the only way to be forgiven of our sins, become reconciled with the Father, and experience eternal life with Him.

For me, that’s reason enough. What about you?

Is Sin Holding You Back?

Some of us (myself included) really need to sit down and take a hard look at our lives. 

The reason? Sin that we’ve been holding on to. For many of us, we choose to keep committing the same sin or sins over and over, even though we know they’re wrong.

It could be something as seemingly innocent as passing along gossip, or it could be something worse. Even though in God’s eyes, sin is sin.

The problem is, God can’t bless us fully whenever we’re knowingly and willfully sinning against Him. He would love to unlock his full blessings on our lives, but our stubborn hearts are too rebellious to handle what He would give to us.

Instead, we have to settle for a second-best kind of existence, where we’re only receiving part of what God would have for us.

What’s more, we often blame God when we’re in this situation. I know, because I’ve done it far too often myself.

We wonder why we don’t feel God moving in our lives and wonder why things aren’t going better for us in one or more areas of our lives.

The reason is that we are hurting ourselves by holding onto sin.

That’s why we must look deeply into our lives—our habits, our interactions with others, our attitude toward God, and just our daily lives in general. If we do, we may find the source of many of our problems.

Is there a sin that you struggle with over and over?

Maybe you’re cold-hearted toward your spouse when you should instead be a helpmate to them.

Are you being dishonest at work and not putting in a full effort for your employer?

Are you being wasteful with your money and not tithing and giving offerings?

It could be anything. The thing is to be aware of this besetting sin and wipe it out of your life so that you can grow closer to God.

The closer we are to Him, the more He can bless our lives to do His work here on earth.

When we are doing the work He has planned in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10), we’ll be happier, our lives will be fuller and richer, and we’ll be less tempted to sin.

Trust God—There’s Nothing to It But to Do It

Sometimes we just have to trust God, then act. It’s that simple. 

In his book, Everybody Always, Bob Goff has a chapter titled “Land the Plane.” He describes at length how he and his son Adam take turns landing and then taking off in their Beaver seaplane. The runway is a small lake surrounded with trees and rocks with barely enough room to either land or take off, and they had never tried it before the day described in this chapter.

Bob manages to land the plane and they come to a stop. Then he jumps out of the pilot’s seat and tells his 18-year-old son to take off and fly them out of there. With much hesitation, Adam fastens himself into the pilot’s seat and proceeds to maneuver them off the lake and over the trees. 

Bob then tells Adam to take his turn at landing the plane. Again, with hesitation, Adam turns the plane around and settles it on the lake like a pro. 

The point is this: sometimes we need to trust God and take action before we’re able to hear God give us further instructions. We may already know what to do, but just haven’t been doing it. God may be waiting on us while we think we’re waiting on Him.

Bob Goff’s story helps us understand that we may never feel 100 percent comfortable with the action we know we need to take. We may never feel like we’re completely prepared to take the next step.

But that’s OK. We need to put our faith in God and go ahead and do what He has already whispered to us to do.

Bob and his son could have put off trying to land the plane that day, feeling that they hadn’t researched the location enough or didn’t have sufficient skills to land, much less have the room needed to lift off again.

But they didn’t. Both of the guys probably said a prayer (audible or not) before the first landing. In the end, however, it came down to trusting God and taking action. 

Does that mean that you’ll always be successful? Of course not—at least not in the short run. In the long run, if you’re following God’s guidance, taking action, and listening to Him speak to you, you will succeed. 

He wants us to be successful in our endeavors, so long as they are what He has called us to do. He’ll tell us what He wants us to do if we take time to listen to His whispers. 

Then, all we have to do is follow His calling by doing what He tells us to do. 

We’ll see much more success in our life if we simply trust God, then act.

Exercise Your Faith Daily

When it comes to faith, sometimes you just have to do it. Exercise your faith, that is. 

There may be times when we don’t feel like trusting God or believing the promises that are found in the Bible.

But that doesn’t give us an excuse to be lazy in our faith. 

After all, there are many things in life that we don’t feel like doing but we do them anyway.

Take work, for example. If we didn’t have to roll out of bed every morning and head into the office (or make our way to the assembly line, or hit the road), we probably wouldn’t do it. 

We have to work, however, because we need money to pay for food, housing, clothes, etc.

We should view acting in faith the exact same way. 

Treat faith just as you would food and water—we need it to survive. And we should be exercising our faith so that it gets stronger and deeper.

The more we use our faith, the more deeply rooted it becomes.

Our faith will become more valuable to us the stronger it is. 

So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire.

1 Peter 1:7a

Not that faith is all about what we can get out of it. Rather, faith is a representation of our relationship with God. 

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Heb. 11:6

So, if we live our lives in a manner that’s pleasing to God, seeking Him and striving to deepen our relationship with Him, we can be confident that our faith will grow and our lives will be more enriched.

And it all starts by simply “just doing it.” Big faith always starts out small. Not many of us have super duper faith that is so deep that there is no room for growth.

But, if we take the little faith we have and use it every day to trust God, it will grow.

Focus on the promises of God—there are loads of them found in the Bible.    

For example, this is one of my favorite verses:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths

Prov. 3:5-6

Or,

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:5

These are just two of the hundreds of promises God has made to us. He is waiting for us to step out in faith and lean on Him. 

So, go ahead and put your faith in the Almighty Creator of the Universe, even if you don’t feel like it. 

You can’t go wrong doing so.