Praise Him!

‘His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ Psalm 34:1 NKJV

The psalmist said, ‘I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth… magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.’ (Psalm 34:1–3 NKJV) Notice three things about this Scripture:

(1) Praise comes from an act of your will. It’s not an impulse; it’s a decision you make regardless of your feelings. ‘I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.’ The word hallelujah is a command form of the word ‘praise’. It’s an expression of worship, but it’s also an order to start praising the Lord.

(2) Praise stirs your emotions. First, David praised the Lord because he was commanded to. ‘My soul [emotions] shall make its boast in the Lord.’ (Psalm 34:2 NKJV) Second, David praised Him because he wanted to. That’s the order of things. If you want to change your feelings—change your focus. Before it was over, David was singing, ‘The Lord redeems the soul of His servants… none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.’ (Psalm 34:22 NKJV)

(3) Praise rubs off on others. Praise is contagious; it changes the atmosphere around you. ‘Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.’ When you get together with people of praise, restraint gives way to delight, and you find yourself lifted to a realm of joy you never knew. And praise has many forms of expressions. Psalm 150 outlines nine different ways to praise God. You can speak, shout, sing, clap your hands or raise them. You can play musical instruments, you can stand, kneel, or dance. The point is—be sure to praise God!

SoulFood: Heb 1–4, Mark 9:14–29, Ps 18:1–29, Pr 11:19–21

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2021

Today’s Readings

Hebrews 1–4

1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say,

  “You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you”?

Or again,

  “I will be to him a father,
    and he shall be to me a son”?

And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,

  “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Of the angels he says,

  “He makes his angels winds,
    and his ministers a flame of fire.”

But of the Son he says,

  “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
    the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
  You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
  therefore God, your God, has anointed you
    with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

10 And,

  “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
    and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11   they will perish, but you remain;
    they will all wear out like a garment,
12   like a robe you will roll them up,
    like a garment they will be changed.
  But you are the same,
    and your years will have no end.”

13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,

  “Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?

14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?

2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere,

  “What is man, that you are mindful of him,
    or the son of man, that you care for him?
  You made him for a little while lower than the angels;
    you have crowned him with glory and honor,
    putting everything in subjection under his feet.”

Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

  “I will tell of your name to my brothers;
    in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

13 And again,

  “I will put my trust in him.”

And again,

  “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

3:1 Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
    on the day of testing in the wilderness,
  where your fathers put me to the test
    and saw my works for forty years.
10   Therefore I was provoked with that generation,
  and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart;
    they have not known my ways.’
11   As I swore in my wrath,
    ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

  “As I swore in my wrath,
  ‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” And again in this passage he said,

  “They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

  “Today, if you hear his voice,
  do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Mark 9:14–29

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Psalm 18:1–29

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:

18:1   I love you, O LORD, my strength.
  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
    my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised,
    and I am saved from my enemies.
  The cords of death encompassed me;
    the torrents of destruction assailed me;
  the cords of Sheol entangled me;
    the snares of death confronted me.
  In my distress I called upon the LORD;
    to my God I cried for help.
  From his temple he heard my voice,
    and my cry to him reached his ears.
  Then the earth reeled and rocked;
    the foundations also of the mountains trembled
    and quaked, because he was angry.
  Smoke went up from his nostrils,
    and devouring fire from his mouth;
    glowing coals flamed forth from him.
  He bowed the heavens and came down;
    thick darkness was under his feet.
10   He rode on a cherub and flew;
    he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11   He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
    thick clouds dark with water.
12   Out of the brightness before him
    hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13   The LORD also thundered in the heavens,
    and the Most High uttered his voice,
    hailstones and coals of fire.
14   And he sent out his arrows and scattered them;
    he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15   Then the channels of the sea were seen,
    and the foundations of the world were laid bare
  at your rebuke, O LORD,
    at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16   He sent from on high, he took me;
    he drew me out of many waters.
17   He rescued me from my strong enemy
    and from those who hated me,
    for they were too mighty for me.
18   They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    but the LORD was my support.
19   He brought me out into a broad place;
    he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
20   The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21   For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
    and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22   For all his rules were before me,
    and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23   I was blameless before him,
    and I kept myself from my guilt.
24   So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25   With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
    with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26   with the purified you show yourself pure;
    and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27   For you save a humble people,
    but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28   For it is you who light my lamp;
    the LORD my God lightens my darkness.
29   For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.

Proverbs 11:19–21

19   Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
    but he who pursues evil will die.
20   Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the LORD,
    but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21   Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
    but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.

Fri 14 May, 2021


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