Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that openly profess His name.
The Mark of a True Believer. Lots of people are running around claiming to be Christ followers. But are they, really? According to our Lord, not all are (Matthew 7:23). The knowledge of God was given to the Israelites and the priesthood was responsible for instructing the people of the laws. However, the blind and wicked religious leaders were holding people back from the knowledge of God so they were like scattered and lost sheep. The Lord, Jesus spoke sharply against them. Even though He came and condemned them by His words and deeds, church leaders are still holding people back from the truth even today. The people are just as lost today. For the elders, pastors and pews are full of people seeking to glorify themselves, they are seeking to gain approval from man, not God. They have no regard for the glorification and praise and honor due our magnificent God. The modern day scribes and Pharisees are those within the church who think they're the head of the church and will not yield way to the LORD so He can take His rightful place as the head. Knowing doctrines, laws, rules, the scriptures, the prophesies, attending church, and being a good person are not going to ensure you get to heaven. The true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, as the Father is seeking those who will worship in Spirit and truth (John 4:23-24). A worshiper is someone who dedicates their entire life to denoting the value of who Christ really is. They live with a deep reverence for the Lord. Waking up each day refreshed and with a new joy, seeking to hear, follow and obey the Lord for that day while avoiding temptations and telling the enemy to flee. They seek to be godly and show the LORD in all they do. Although they may fail at times, with tender hearts to the Father, they are convicted by the Holy Spirit and they are grieved and experience a sincere and honest repentance. They seek the Lord's help in breaking the iniquitous or habitual sins in their lives for they detest these practices which so easily entrap them. They are grieved that they've transgressed their holy God who is so tender, merciful and kind to them. They deeply hate the iniquity that remains in them and wish by any means possible that it could leave them entirely, therefore they long to be home with the Lord where the filth will be completely washed away. They abhor sin, but they act lovingly towards the sinners - knowing the Lord died for all of us; and they know they were once just as sinful. They understand that vengeance and judgment belong to the LORD. They seek to build each other up, they understand that the church, individual members, must edify each other, so they seek to lovingly reprove the blemishes in one another - in kindness and love so that the entire assemble is unified in the bonds of love, being united in Spirit, in mind and in faith. They don't seek to harm one another - as that would be against their loving Father's commands. Instead they want to strengthen each other in faith and godliness. They strive to forgive everyone, even the more difficult cases in their lives. They seek to love and bless their enemies as this is evidence of a sincere and pure heart. They want to die to themselves and to live in Christ - for He is glorious and they know it. They want to talk to Him and seek His counsel for He is wise and gives knowledge and wisdom. They know success in all situations is granted through Him, alone. Their hope and the labor of their hands is to lead others to this glorious, enriching, enlightening, loving and life-giving God.
Worship the LORD Your God. We are to command the enemy to leave and worship God and serve Him only (Luke 4:8; Matthew 10:4). Worship is not just going to church on Sunday to clap, raise hands and sings. Appearing holy in the midst of the assembly and then returning home to do whatever your sinful flesh desires. No, true worship is a life dedicated to honoring and serving the Lord. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering and come before Him! Worship the LORD in splendor of holiness; tremble before Him all the earth (1 Chronicles 16:29). And, Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth! (Psalm 96:9). Worship is the laying down of one's life to take up their cross and follow Jesus, humbling ourselves before Him, knowing we don't deserve His goodness, so always being thankful for the grace and mercy He lavished upon us, so we live a life of holy observance and adoration for all that He has done. He has given us all things to live a holy life so that we manifest His divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4). Worship comes from the root of worth-ship which is to give, worth or value to something, to esteem, express reverence or adoration for something. So worship is building a life that denotes the value of who Christ really is. Serving and honoring Him to bring glory and honor to His name, proclaiming the excellency of Him who has given you all things, Him who has saved you from your pit of darkness, Him who gave life where there was only death, Him who brought wholeness were there was only brokenness, and Him who took the punishment that you deserve. To obey His commands and follow His ways is to honor Him.
Worship in Spirit and Truth. Christ called us to worship in Spirit and truth, for He said the Father is seeking such people. He said, 'God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth' (John 4:23-24). Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:5). In who all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord (Ephesians 2:21). So what is it worship in the Spirit? We see the holy scripture says, I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1). So presenting your entire body, all that you do, and all that you are is to be holy and praise worthy to God. Continually dying to self so that the righteousness of Christ can be manifested from within us. This is walking in the Spirit and allowing the Spirit to lead you in all that you. Each day, year after year, becoming more sanctified. Like aged wine that becomes smoother and richer year after year. Other believers should be able to agree with what you think, say, and do for their is one Spirit that is leading us all. We should be united, of one accord, united in the Spirit. When we are completely walking in the Spirit we will be unified with God and unified with other Spirit-lead believers. There will be harmony, not disharmony. And what is it to worship in truth? This is to be believe and profess every word of the scriptures as sacred, true and God inspired. It is to agree that what God has said is true and what He has said is wrong it wrong and what He has said is good is good. It is to not deny any aspect of His eternal power or divine nature. It is to agree with the scriptures even in areas of your own weakness. It is to seek the Lord's assistance to strengthen you so that you no longer sin against Him, instead of dismissing or holding His words lightly.
Praise Comes First into New Areas of Your Life. When the LORD commissioned the tribes to move from camp to camp, He instructed Judah to always go first (Numbers 2:1-34). Judah means praise, so He was saying come with praise first. And after the death of Joshua, the Israelites ask the LORD who would go and fight against the Canaanites and the LORD replied, Judah (Joshua 1:1-2). In all that do and everywhere that we go, we are to have our praise go before us. We only need to seek the Kingdom and allow the LORD to lead us - as we joyfully go along for the ride even through the ups and downs of life. The Lord knows the way, He will illuminate our path, we only have to praise and worship Him. We do not have to fear or have anxiety as to what we should do or where we should go. No, we walk by the Spirit who guides us. And when the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land, they were to keep their distance, being set back from the ark by 2000 cubits, as we are not to rush the Lord. We are not to wantingly rush up on Him trying to force our will over His by attempting to push Him to move, or determine the direction, or gain control, or manage the operations, or invite unwanted guests, or obtain unauthorized possessions, or make sinful covenants. No instead, we are to trust in the Lord and know that He is good. His steadfast love endures forever, so much so, that we know He is the God of the gods, the Lord of lords, He does great wonders, He made the heavens by His understand, He spread out the earth above the waters, He made the great lights, He made the sun to rule over the day, and the moon and stars to rule over the night, He struck down the firstborn of your enemy (Egypt), He brought His people out of captivity with an outstretched arm and a strong hand, He divided the Red Sea, He overthrew Pharaoh and his army (your enemies), He led His people through the wilderness, He struck down mighty evil kings (Sihon the King of Amorites and Og the king of Bashan), He gave the enemies territory and possessions to His children, He remembers us in our lowly estate, He rescues us from our foes, and He gives food to all flesh, Give thanks to the God of heaven for His steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:26).
Praise Comes Before a Defeat of an Enemy Attack. When the enemy attacked Jehoshaphat, the Lord told him not to be alarmed, dismayed, or afraid, for the battle was not his, but God's. The LORD our God told him to go out against the enemy the next day and believe in the LORD and take His counsel. When Jehoshaphat, king of Judah did this, he discovered that he was to send the praisers and worshipers in holy attire out ahead of the army (2 Chronicles 20:1-21). And just like those before us, we are to do the same. When the enemy attacks us, we are to know the enemy is attacking Christ within us (John 15:18-25). We are not to be surprised as if something strange happened (1 Peter 4:12). We are to know it is not our battle, but the Lords (2 Chronicles 20:15). We are to know the enemy has been disarmed and has already been defeated, and the lake of fire was prepared for him to which he will go, so we do not fear nor be discouraged (Mark 25:41; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:10). We are to know the latter house will have more honor and glory then the former house (Haggai 2:9). We are to know the Lord is a mighty warrior and He will fight our battles (Exodus 15:3). We are to go out praising the Lord for the miracles and wonders the Lord is going to do in our lives (The whole breath of the bible). We are to know that He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13), and He is without change (Malachi 3:6). We are to praise Him that He has never failed us yet, and He isn't going to fail us this time either. Therefore, let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good (1 Peter 4:19). Rejoice insofar as you are sharing in Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:13).
You are Called to be Holy. Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, though the living and abiding word of God (1 Peter 1:22-23). Peter begins by addressing the elect exiles in dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. He doesn't pamper them with sweet nothings and empty appeasement. Nor does he ask them what they plan to do, neither does he offer advice. No, instead he directly addresses the matter by revealing they are exiles according the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit for their obedience and sprinkling of blood of Jesus Christ. And immediately, Peter wishes them grace and peace in abundance, then gives praise to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1-3). Then he begins to praise Him for giving us a new birth, being raised from the dead into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3), which completely overlooks the suffering. He is teaching us to look above our present suffering and look onward to the hope of glorification in eternal life. As we also see, Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1b-2). There is no promise ever made in the bible that you will not suffer, instead there is almost a guarantee that you will. The christian life is not that of a lack of suffering, for we experience everything the wicked experience in this life - which was much to the dismay of Solomon, for even his wisdom could not comprehend the length, width, and breathe of the Lord and he called it all vanity and vexation. The mark of a christian is that they persist in godliness, uprightness, honor and integrity in the midst of the storm. The christian experiences the pain and suffering of this life without falling to peaces for we are held together by the power of the might of God Almighty. Peter continues to comfort them and give hope as he insures their treasures are securely stored in heaven and we are to look onward with great rejoicing - even though we suffer in all kinds of trials (1 Peter 1:4-6). He then sheds the light on their current sufferings, which is to prove their faith is genuine for it is being tested. (Tested is G1383 dokimion prove, trial, what is genuine, from G1384 dokimos approved, acceptable, tried and G1381 dokimazo to put to the test, prove, examine, distinguish). Their faith is being tested by fire like gold. But an enduring faith is far more precious then gold for gold perishes even though tested. But the enduring faith remains, demonstrating it's value. This type of faith results in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed for they are loving, honoring, praising and even rejoicing Him through the trials, which is giving them the final reward of eternal salvation of their souls for trusting Him (1 Peter 1:6-8). Your trials are here to determine if you really believe and trust God or not. Abraham believed and it was credited to him as righteousness and he then walked and obeyed the LORD - trusting Him in all things, especially when it looked bleak. Moses, David, Job and all the rest, they all were tested and endured. They all praised God through the storms, and we even see them saying they deserve the afflictions of the Lord for He is God and they are sinful people. Entry into heaven requires an enduring faith as we must run the race and prove through the trials that our faith is genuine. He tells them to remain sober-minded as they review themselves in the light of the fire, being sure they are truly in the faith. He warns them to not be disobedient children by giving way to the evil desires within their flesh. He instructs them to be holy and to live holy, for they are called by a holy God, for it is written, Be holy for I am holy (1 Peter 1:16). He gives sage advice in the hearing of the assembly to be in reverent fear of the LORD - for He does not judge impartially. He basically has no favorites. He judges by the law, and He judges each person's work (1 Peter 1:17). For this is a precious calling, it was handed to us by the blood of Jesus Christ, so we should not hold it slack. He was the precious lamb that was slain without blemish or defect. Chosen and decreed from before the foundation of the world to bring reconciliation to man. If Jesus the precious spotless lamb should have to suffer and go to His death, then who are we to think we are above suffering when we have too many spots to count. Now from the fire, we have a purified soul from our obedience to the truth. This was so we could leave our selfish, sinful, lustful, wanting, sexually immoral desires to now manifest brotherly love. So we can truly love one another with a pure heart, not one that has selfish ambitions and self-satisfying desires. This is what it is to be born again (1 Peter 1:22-23). We have all the selfish and sinful ways burned off in the fiery trials of life so we can become pure in heart to love one another. Faith is the stick to which our marshmallow heart clings when it's put to the fire; should the marshmallow clings to the stick of faith until the end, it shall be be saved; but if the marshmallow cannot handle the heat of the flames, it will drop down into the fire to burn forever. We need to really be sober-minded. The keys to the kingdom is having the knowledge to know that Jesus Christ is the LORD and having enough fear of the LORD to obey His commands. Therefore, strive to be worthy of your calling and to complete your sanctification to obtain your salvation at the appearing of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And, Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing (1 Peter 3:8-9).
Dear heavenly Father, help us to love You with all our hearts, minds and souls. Help us to destroy all evil and sinful practices. Let us be strong in knowledge of You so we do not join ourselves to demonic practices, thinking in ignorance they in some way glory You. Save us from our sinful lusts and passions. Save us from our desires to glorify ourselves instead of giving all glory and honor to You. AMEN
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