Happy are the Praisers
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of Your Presence, Lord.”  Ps. 89:13

 

                I have a neighbor who is a grouch.  He always has a scowl on his face, and every word that comes from his mouth is negative.  He is the self appointed policeman of the neighborhood, and as such, he has majored in Phariseeism.  When you say hi, he growls.  When you compliment his work, he growls.  When you ask him a question, he growls.  All attempts of trying to be nice, draw him into ‘happy talk’ and to just be friendly are met with the same growl.

                Contrast this man with my Aunt Tad.  Aunt Tad was the most joyous person I have ever known.  Everything in her life was viewed as an opportunity to praise God.  When people in her church and small town needed a pick-me-up they went to see Aunt Tad (known them as Clarice).  Once, as my Uncle Harl lay in the nursing home dying, I came to their room.  He had lost lucidity about three days before and did not know anyone.  As I witnessed Aunt Tad holding his hand, they were whispering something back and forth to each other.  As I listened carefully, they were repeating Scriptures to one another.  That was their language.  And in the final stages of his life, it was the only language he had left.    I was deeply moved by this scene; expecting Aunt Tad to be filled with grief.  When she saw me, she smiled warmly and lovingly said, “Isn’t God wonderful.”

                My neighbor sees life as a cup almost empty, and Aunt Tad saw life as a cup overflowing with joy.   What is it that causes two people to be so totally different in the way they view life?  Could it be the answer lies in what it is that we praise?  Praise, any kind of praise, brings joy and happiness.  When people are praising they are happy.  If they are praising their favorite football team, fishing hole, great round of golf, or their family, praising makes them happy.  Watch carefully as a fan praises their team.   At least for a moment, they are filled with happiness.  Watch a dad praise his child.  His face beams, his chest swells, and you can fully count the teeth in his head because of the width of his smile.   Now take the grump.  Have you ever heard a grump praise anything?  Everything is negative.  They look at the dark side of every issue, every motive, and every person.  There simply is no joy in grumpiness.

However, even those who praise their teams, their sports, their possessions, or their families, find the joy wears out.  The problem is teams falter, golf is inconsistent, and fishing holes dry up.  Children cause us worry as well as joy; heartache as well as happiness; and disaffection as well as affection.  You see, the reason the praise of earthly things brings only temporary joy and happiness, is because all things of this earth are only temporary.

But there is a place where we can place our praise that will bring us joy and happiness every day, no matter what the circumstances.  And that is by praising the One who is eternal.  The psalmist wrote, “Happy (blessed) are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of Your Presence, O Lord.”  Happiness can only be found when what we worship will never falter, never fade, never abandon.  Worshiping the God who is love, who is joy in Himself and doing that worship day and night is the key to finding that which is eternally satisfying.  Optimism is a great trait, but optimism, when met with enough adversity, can be turned to fatalism.  But praise is something we do.  It is something that God gives us in the midst of our greatest adversities. 

The great prophet Habakkuk said, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord!” (Hab. 3:17)  Sometimes we all get our dobbers down.  When we do, remember, praise is our way out.  “Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship.”  Find a place this Sunday to worship and praise your God, and then carry out that worship all week long.  Then notice how much happier you are.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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