Thursday, June 4, 2009

"The Healthiest People Are the Ones Who Praise the Most"

Psalm 145:6-7

"Some people are never satisfied. They think others drive too slow and eat too fast. They're convinced government is crooked, the schools are worthless, and the church is full of hypocrites. Something is wrong with every sermon these people hear, every program they see, every dish of food they are willing to try.

"Such people seem to spend the whole of their sour little lives in front of a complaint window. They are like the pessimistic farmer who had six chickens hatch one morning. He was inconsolable. When someone asked him what was wrong, he replied bitterly: 'I had six chickens hatch this morning, and now all of 'em have died but five.'

"Open, grateful human life resounds not with complaints but with praise. The healthiest people are the ones who praise the most. Family, friends, books, sports, music, nature --all these draw praise from healthy people. 'Did you see that? Wasn't it great!' 'Did you hear what he did for her sister? Isn't she a generous person?'

"But Christians reserve their highest praise for the goodness and greatness of God. The psalms ring with it: 'The Lord is great and greatly to be praised! Praise the Lord!' At creation, says the Book of Job, 'the morning stars sang together, and all the angels shouted for joy.'

"Praise is a way of expressing awe and admiration for the stunning greatness of God and his deeds, and for the ingenious ways in which God keeps fitting his help to our need. Our prayers ought to include some hearty praise. But whether in prayer or other speech, our praise of God may never be glib. Some people say 'Praise the Lord!' with no more reverence than they lavish on 'Have a nice day!'

"Not that. Our praise of God must be both candid and thoughtful. For praise of God is the very music of heaven...."

-- Cornelius Plantinga, "Assurances of the Heart" (pp. 66-67, Zondervan: 1993)

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