Rarely do we find ourselves telling everyone we meet the good things God has done. In fact, we are sometimes more than a little "reserved" in our praises to God. We think others will "judge" us as odd, a little out there, or just too much of a "holy roller" for them to hang out with. So, we rein it in on occasion. I wonder just what might happen if people actually began to express their appreciation for God's graces in their lives just a little more and enjoy his presence just a little longer? Maybe this world would begin to see a little more of Christ's action and a little less of ours!
Thank God! Pray to him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Sing him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God. Live a happy life! Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Remember the world of wonders he has made, his miracles, and the verdicts he’s rendered... (Psalm 105:1-6 MSG)
Our psalmist gives us some cause to pause this morning. He indicates some lifestyle "actions" which really reveal the intensity of connection we are experiencing with God himself.
* Thank God! This is not just a simple reminder of our need to be grateful to God for his actions in our lives. This is a command. It is instruction to keep an attitude of gratitude in all our dealings. When we keep gratitude foremost in our thoughts, we don't focus on the things we 'don't' have as much as the things we 'do' have.
* Pray to him by name! In case you miss it, you don't actually converse with him as a stranger! You know him by name! So, there is a suggestion of more than a passing or casual relationship with him - it is dynamic and intimate. In order for it to be intimate, there must be a frequency to the exchange. If we want a dynamic walk with Jesus, there must be some quality time spent in exchange with him.
* Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Now, this is where we feel the "rub", right? We aren't about to just blurt out, "Hey, you wanna hear what God has been doing in my life?" Most of the time, the other person would just about turn tail and run if we started the conversation out this way! The idea here is of a lifestyle which conveys more in action than in words the very actions of grace in us. In fact, when a life has been changed, the words which are shared are not the focus - the life which is lived outwardly is because it is a reflection of what has been taking place inwardly. It is not hard to spot someone affected by grace - they kind of "ooze" it from their pores!
* Sing songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! If you had trouble with the last one, this one will likely send you over the edge! Most of the time we don't just go around singing little melodies and putting into music the good things which have happened in our lives. In fact, we are often a little reserved in our expression of song because we don't think we have a good voice! The important thing to remember here is the idea of song being an expression of the heart. God is simply looking for us to express what is trapped in our hearts! If you don't think this possible, just think about the last time you sang in the shower and actually thought it sounded good! God has a way of allowing our heart to know the privilege of escape - we just have to yield to the escape of what is contained deep within.
* Honor his name with Hallelujahs! To some, this is an expression of relief. We use the word as though it were a "pressure relief valve". God is looking for expressions of gratitude and praise - for the root of this word is actually simple praise with a heart of gratitude.
* Live a happy life! Many times we equate "happiness" to some "thing" which happens or some "event" which transpires. God's command - live a happy life. Take it apart and you see God telling us to actually live in blessed pleasure and contentment - not so much because all the circumstances are good and enjoyable, but because we have him with us in the midst of them. Happiness is really a state of contentment - it is realizing and walking in the place of joy even when the times are rougher than we might like.
* Keep your eyes open for God! Now, in all this, our psalmist brings us back to anticipation. He opens with us being aware - now he brings us to a place of anticipation. Giving praise, singing hallelujahs, living out the grace we have been given - these are done because we are aware of the presence of God in our lives. Being attentive opens us to anticipation - to being on our toes - for God's move may be subtle and we don't want to miss it!
* Remember... This is probably the most powerful of all these characteristics, for it is in the recollection of what he is, how he moves, what he has done, etc. that we come to the place of anticipating what he is doing today. We celebrate the past being "put right", we realize the joy of today being "made right", and we anticipate the ecstasy of tomorrow being "eternally right". As we remember the past grace of God, it causes us to hope for the present grace, and we look forward to even more grace tomorrow.
So, don't be afraid to "express" God in your life. It is not just the words we speak, it is the lifestyle we model. It speaks volumes. Just sayin!