Psalms 150:1-6 and Acts 16:25-30
1Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in
the firmament of his power.
2Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his
3Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the
psaltery and harp.
4Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed
instruments and organs.
5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high
6Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
25And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto
God: and the prisoners heard them.
26And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the
foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the
doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
27And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and
seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would
have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm:
for we are all here.
29Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling,
and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
How many people in here have played some kind of organized sport? Football? Basketball? Track and Field? Cheerleading? Dance? Golf? Volleyball? Tennis? Soccer? I played football myself, and I was a beast with the pig skin. I played the entire game, offense, defense, and special the teams. I was tailback, cornerback, and I returned punts and kicks. I averaged about 11 yards a carry, and about 8 tackles per game. Oh yeah, I was no joke. Don’t let this height full you. I may be vertically challenged, but I am still big. As a matter of fact one of my knick names used to be little big man. But for an undersized kid the only way that I could excel was if I practiced. Some say practice makes perfect. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I do believe that practice will make you better. And I practiced all the time. I ran, lifted weights, completed drills. What ever the coach told me to do, I did it. Because I wanted to be all that I could be. Practice is defined as the repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring a skill or proficiency. So my brothers and sisters, what we need to realize is that this same idea of practice applies to all areas of our lives, not just the football field, baseball diamond, hoop court, or golf course.
If you want to be better at your job you have to practice your craft.
If you want to be a better husband or wife it takes practice.
If you want to be a better mother or father it takes practice.
If you want to be a better friend, it takes practice.
If you want to be a better pastor, it takes practice.
If you want to be a better Christian, it takes practice.
And I truly believe that learning the practice of praise will help you become a better Christian.
Most of the book of Psalms is dedicated to praising the true and living God, and as I was reading the 150th Psalm I noticed that it gives us a perfect blueprint for the practice of praise. It tells us where we praise, why we praise, how we praise, who should praise, and whom we praise.
So this morning I want to walk you through the practice of praise.
Where do we Praise? Verse 1 states that we praise him in the sanctuary and in the heavens. Remember that song by Kurt Karr; we clap our hands in the sanctuary. We clap our hands to give you the glory. We clap our hands to give you the praise. And we will praise you for the rest of our days. Yes, we will praise you for the rest of our days! So when we gather together in the house of the God we praise the God of our salvation. But I believe that we don’t just praise him inside the church. We praise him wherever we are because we are the sanctuary. He lives in us. These are our bodies, but they are God’s temples. So we praise God anywhere and everywhere we go.
So praise him on the job.
In the car.
In your house.
On the street.
At the store.
In the mall.
In the good times.
In the bad times.
In the morning.
In the noon day.
When the sun goes down.
Praise God wherever you are!
So don’t be scared or ashamed to give God praise! The bible says that if you are ashamed of me before men I will be ashamed of you before my father in heaven.
God deserves our consistent and continual praise so do not wait to get inside of the church to give God praise. Oh you missed your cue, give God praise wherever you are!
Why do we praise? Verse 2 states that we praise him for his acts of power and we praise him for his surpassing greatness. Has God done anything powerful for anyone in this room? We have all heard testimonies or given testimonies about how God saved, healed, and delivered. I am sure that several people in this room have been healed from some type of illness, from some type of hurt or pain. If you were here at Wednesday noon or evening you may have been healed from some type of emotional pain or mental bondage as Bishop was used in a mighty way before he left for vacation. God has brought someone through a storm or is bringing someone through a storm as we speak. How many of us have jobs that we are not qualified for, or spouses we don’t deserve? Or homes we thought we could never afford, or cars that a credit would not normally allow us to have. That is the power of God. Also, we praise him for his surpassing greatness. Think of the greatest men and women in the world throughout history. Dr. King. Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Shirley Chisholm, John F. Kennedy. Billy Graham. None of them can hold a candle to God. Who loved us so much that he gave his only begotten son to die for us that we may have life. And not just some run of the mill life, but an abundant life! We praise him for his power and his greatness! But even more importantly than that we praise God for who he is! He is…
The alpha and omega!
The beginning and the end!
The author and finisher of our faith!
The lily of the valley!
The bright and morning star!
The rose of Sharon!
The balm of Gilead!
The great I am that I am!
You know you are a bad mama jamma when someone asks you your name and you say I am that I am. We praise God for his power and surpassing greatness.
How do we praise? Verses 3-5 states 3Praise him with the sound
of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. 4Praise him
with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments
and organs. 5Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon
the high sounding cymbals. These verses basically describe all of the ways that we can praise our God, from using instruments to dancing. I believe that we praise God in the words of Malcolm X by all means necessary. In the 149th Psalm it says to sing a new song to the Lord. I will enter his gates with thanksgiving in my heart I will enter his courts with praise. I will say this is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice for he has made me glad! So we praise the Lord with all of our minds, bodies, and souls. He deserves our total praise. Richard Smallwood wrote a song and Donnie McClurkin has sang the song called “Total Praise” it goes something like this. Lord I will lift mine eyes to the hills, knowing my help is coming from you. Your peace you give me in times of the storm. You are the source of my strength. You are the strength of my life. I lift my hands in total praise to you. How do we praise? We praise God totally! We praise God with our minds; all of our thoughts should be focused on God. We praise God with our bodies, whether that is lifting our hands, putting our ten stringed instruments together by clapping, jumping around, doing victory laps, or opening our mouths to shout his praises. We praise him with our souls because God is spirit and those that worship God must do so in spirit and in truth. So praise God with all that is within you. Praise God with all that you got!
Who should Praise? Verse 6 says let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Do me a favor and inhale and exhale. Do you know what you just did? You just qualified yourself to give God praise. Did you hear what I said?
You are all qualified to praise the Lord.
You are all qualified to magnify his name.
You are all qualified to give him glory.
You are all qualified to clap you hands,
You are all qualified stomp your feet,
You are all qualified do your dance,
You are all qualified raise your voice.
You are all qualified to jump up and down.
You are all qualified to do a victory lap.
The bible says that if you do not praise me, the rocks will cry out. I don’t know about you, but God has been too good to me to let a rock cry out for me. He found me when I was lost. I was a wretch undone, and he picked me up and turned me around, and placed my feet on higher ground. When I look back over my life and see all the Lord has brought me through my soul cries out… Oh yes, I am qualified to give him praise! Is anyone in the house qualified to give God praise?
Let everything that has breath. Praise the Lord.
Whom do we praise? Verse 1 begins by saying praise the Lord! Verse 6 ends saying praise the Lord. So we Praise the Lord our God, not Allah, not Buddha, not Confucius, not our cars, houses, boats, or even our spouses. We don’t praise the buckeyes, browns, bangles, Indians, and even though King James is back in town we don’t praise the cavilers. We praise God. The king of kings and the Lord of Lords. We praise El Elyon. We praise Emmanuel, God with us!
Jehovah Nissi the Lord my banner!
Jehovah Rohi the Lord my shepherd!
Jehovah Rapha the Lord my healer!
Jehovah Sabaoth the Lord of hosts!
Jehovah Shalom the lord of our peace!
Jehovah Shammah the Lord is there!
Jehovah Tsidkenu the Lord our righteousness!
Jehovah Elyon the Lord most high!
Jehovah Jireh the Lord will provide!
We praise God!
Now that is wonderful news Pastor. You shared with us the practice of praise, but what happens when we get into the practice of praise? I am so glad that you asked I will give you three things that happen when you get into the practice of praise, and then bid you good day! Look at Acts 16-25-30. Paul and Silas are in prison for spreading the good news of Jesus the Christ. And at midnight they begin to sing, pray and praise the Lord. Let me say parenthetically on the way to where I am going that this is why we need to praise God no matter what our circumstance or situation is. As a matter of fact you need to praise God in spite of your circumstance or situation. You hear people say all the time, when God does this or that for me I am really going to give him praise. Maybe that is why God has not done it yet? Because you are not praising him yet? Does anyone have a yet praise for God. You are going to praise God even though the blessing has not come through yet! Oh, it is coming it just hasn’t came yet! It is so easy to praise God on the mountaintop, but I truly believe that God is looking for some valley praisers today. And Paul and Silas were in the valley called prison. Remember what I just told you about the practice of praise. Where do you praise. Anywhere and everywhere you are! Paul and Silas were in prison and they continued to give God praise. And some people can’t even praise God when they have a bad day, or when they are going through. But that is when you should be praising God the most. Why do you praise. Because of Gods power and greatness. They thought about all the things that God had brought them through already. When you can’t come up with a reason to give praise. Think of all the times that God has brought you through. Think about all the things that God has already done for you! How do you praise? Totally. They had been beaten, thrown into prison and they still praised the Lord with all of their might. So it doesn’t matter what your situation or your circumstance is you need to praise God with all that you’ve got! Who should praise him? Although they were beat down, they were still breathing, so they were qualified to praise. Whom did they praise? They praised the only true and living God. And this is what happened when Paul and Silas got into the practice of praise. This is what will happen when you and I get into the practice of praise.
The first thing that will happen when you get into the practice of praise is God will show up, Paul and Silas began to praise and suddenly there was an earthquake and the foundation of the prison began to shake. Look at your neighbor and say God showed up! Has anybody in here ever been stuck between a rock and a hard place and God showed up right on time. Grandma use to say, he may not come when you want him, but he is always right on time.
Here are three things that happen when God shows up.
The madness stops. That is why we say that everything should be done decently and in order. We do not serve a God of Chaos. You don’t believe me, just read the first chapter of Genesis and see how orderly and organized God created the heavens and the earth. Think of the bible stories that speak of Gods specific instructions to his people. Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses, Gideon, and Jesus. We serve a God of order, and when God shows up the madness has to stop. Now I am sure there was madness in that prison for the simple fact that it was midnight, the middle of the night and Paul and Silas were singing and praising. And I think that it’s pretty safe to say that the other prisoners were not trying to hear all of that noise. They may have had some choice words for Paul and Silas, but God showed up. They may have wanted to lay hands on Paul and Silas, but God showed up. When God shows up the madness will stop!
But not only does the madness stop when God shows up, The miracle happens when God shows up! When Paul and Silas got into the practice of praise the miracle happened. Suddenly the was an earthquake, the foundations of the prison began to shake. Does anyone in the room need something from God today? Get into the practice of praise. I know that you have been waiting a long time. But don’t give up. Don’t throw in the towel. Keep on keeping on!Just hold to his hand Gods unchanging hand. Build your hope on things eternal, and hold to Gods unchanging hand. The miracle will happen.
But not only will the madness stop when God shows up, not only will the miracle happen when God shows up, The message gets out when God shows up! Now you don’t think a number of those prisoners left that prison telling anyone that would listen about the goodness of God! You know how it is when God does the impossible for you. You can’t wait to tell your family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else that will listen. When God shows up the message will get out!
When you get into the practice of praise God will show up, and when God shows up the madness stops, the miracle happens, and the message gets out. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
You did not know how you were going to make it, but God showed up.
You thought it was over, but God showed up.
You were ready to through in the towel, but God showed up.
You were ready to give up but God showed up.
You were ready to call the game but God showed up.
You had lost all hope but God showed up.
You didn’t know what you were going to eat.
You didn’t know how the bills would be paid.
You didn’t think anyone loved you.
And why did he show up. He showed up because you got into the practice of praise.
But not only will God show up,
But God will show out. Not only did God make the earthquake, but he shook the foundation of the prison. Not only did he make the earth quake, not only did he shake the foundation of the prison, but the doors of the prison flew open. Not only did he make the earth quake, the foundation of the prison shake, the doors of the prison open, but he loosed the shackles of the prisoners. So, you see that is, God showing out.
Here’s what happen when God shows out.
His presence is revealed. It was obvious that The Lord was present when the earth began to quake, the foundation of the prison began to shake, the shackles came off, and the doors were opened. But I think the presence of The Lord was more obvious when the guard realized that the prisoners were still in their cells. You see any other prisoner would have ran for the hills the moment the shackles fell off and the doors flew open. I have to be honest this morning that without the presence of God in my life I would have took off and so would you! So let’s thank God for his presence that we don’t take off when the going gets tough and the tough get going. Paul and Silas new that their work was not done yet. When God shows out his presence is revealed and…
His purpose is fulfilled. Paul and Silas’ purpose was not to spend the rest of their lives locked up. They had to get the word out. It was like fire shut up in their bones. Why else would they be singing and praising in prison at midnight. They couldn’t help themselves. And when God is fulfilling his purpose in your life it will be extremely hard for you to focus on or do anything else! When God shows out his presence is revealed, his purpose is fulfilled, and…
His promises come to pass. God has made all of us promises. So when you get into the practice of praise his promises will come to pass. He promised that he would never leave us or forsake us. He promised to pardon us. He promised to provide for us. He promised to protect us. He promised us perform for us.
He could have just made the earth quake a bit, but no he had to shake the foundation of the prison, open doors, and loosen shackles. Has God loosened any shackles in here, has he opened any doors for anyone in here. Has he made a way out of no ways? Has God made the impossible possible for anyone in the room? Not only will God show up just in the nick of time, but he will also show out and give you everything that you need. And every now in then he will give you above and beyond what you need. When God shows out his presence will be revealed, his purpose will be fulfilled, and his promises will come to pass.
I don’t know about anyone else in the room but with all the hell breaking loose in our world I need God to show up and show out…
So not only will God show up when you get into the practice of praise, not only will he show out when you get into the practice of praise.
God will show someone the way. When the prison doors flew open, the prison guard just knew that his goose was cooked. He was given strict orders to watch over these particular prisoners, and he just knew that the prisoners had escaped so he decided to kill himself rather than face his superiors, but Paul cried out don’t do your self any harm. We are all still here, and the guard cried out, what must I do to be saved, and he and his entire household were saved and baptized that night. God will show someone the way by doing these three things.
Facing the fact that you are in need of a savior. Most people do not get saved because they don’t think that they can be saved or they think that they do not need to be saved. So when God shows up, shows out, and shows someone the way he opens up their hearts and minds to the fact that they are in need of a savior. Does this sound like anybody’s story in the room this morning? Don’t look at me in that tone of voice….So God will show someone the way through them facing the fact that they are in need of a savior, and God will show someone the way by showing…
Forgiveness. I know what you are thinking and I know what you may have thought. Because I have thunk it! How can or how could God forgive me for all of the things that I have done. Simply put, because he loves you! Romans 8:38-39 states 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, [k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. God forgives you because he loves you! And here is where it gets good that God no longer remembers your sin as far as the east is from the west. But it gets even gooder than that. When God looks at you he doesn’t see the sinner. Your status has changed. Your are a new creation. So because of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross all God sees when he looks at us is the blood. Is anybody excited about the blood. The blood, the blood, the blood that reaches to the highest mountain… So God shows someone the way by having them face the fact that they are in need of a savior, through forgiveness, and through… Faith, now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Faith is knowing that you know that you know that you know that you know that God is real! Our salvation hinges on our confession of faith that we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ is The Lord of our lives. I heard an acronym about faith, faith is simply feeling alright in the heat! It is through faith that we are shown the way to salvation, and even when our faith is week how many in here can testify to the fact that God is faithful!
Making it out of the storm is the act of a faithful God.
Getting through the divorce.
Overcoming the bankruptcy.
Starting the business.
Earning that degree.
Buying that house.
Getting that promotion.
The salvation of our souls.
You see when you get into the practice of praise God will show up. God will show out. And God will show someone the way!
The guard and his family were saved all because Paul and Silas got into the practice of praise. Do you have anyone in your life that needs to be saved? Get into the practice of praise.
Do you know someone that needs to be delivered?
Do you know anyone that needs a savior?
Do you know anyone that is lost?
Do you know anyone that is hurting?
Do you know anyone that needs a friend that sticks closer than a brother
Do you know anyone that needs healing?
Do you know anyone that is looking for his or her break through?
Do you know anyone that is tired of the same old life?
Do you know anyone that cannot find true happiness?
Do you know anyone that needs Jesus Christ in his or her life?
Get into the practice of praise, and I guarantee you that God will show up, God will show out, and God will show someone the way!