Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Matthew 15:29-39 "Amazed Praisers"

Read Matthew 15:29-39.

"The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel." NIV
Today, at least in the U.S. we don't see these kind of healings very often. But they do still happen and they are quite dramatic examples of God's power in our lives.

Even though we don't see that many physical healings, we do see God's activity in other ways. My question is are we amazed and give Him praise?

I was reading through the prayer requests from our church this morning. One said, "Anger and frustration. Praise God for help with my finances." I'm not here to criticize the way a person expresses their prayer requests. But I'm looking at a larger principle here. Now there are many good things about this request. First, that she is bringing her request to God. She recognizes her anger and frustration as not right, and seeking His help. Also, she is giving Him praise for helping with her finances and by doing so acknowledging His work in her life. Those things are all good. I guess what struck me is that these two things are back to back. Now I'm sure the situation causing these emotions is a legitimate need. I don't doubt that. But what this request made me wonder about is if we spent more time praising God for the things He does do and standing in amazement over the miracle of His work in our lives, would we have to deal with as much pain in other areas of our lives?

How many times have I thanked God for an answered prayer and then moved right on to the next item for help? And that's if I remembered to thank Him. I think if I focused more on the amazing things He is doing in and around me, I'd have very little to say to Him about the frustrations and difficulties. By focusing on His activity of love, my other difficulties seem to lesson because I know that God has it all under control. He's not going to leave me dangling on the end of a rope. If He is faithful in one area, He will take care of me in all areas; that is His very nature. Maybe it will not be dealt with in the way I necessarily would choose, but He knows the best way for me, for Him, and for the kingdom of God.

I want to stop being a whiner, complainer, and so needy all the time. I'm going to choose to be an "amazed praiser." It won't be an easy change. Feeling needy is in our very nature. But I can do it with time and discipline. Oh, I'll still lift my requests to Him. He tells me to ask. But maybe I will not feel so desperate each time because my mind is already set on His faithfulness in the past. So I'm going to start today to be an amazed praiser. And I'll do it again tomorrow. And the next day and the next until it just becomes a part of my first response. I serve a faithful God and I need to be faithful to Him in return.

NOTE: Right after they praise Him for the miracles He has performed, He feeds 4000 people with just a few fish and loaves of bread. Maybe if I'm faithful to praise Him in the little things of my life, I'll be able to see even greater miracles. To him who is faithful with a little, much will be given.

Further Thoughts:
  1. Spend some time just listing the amazing things God has done in and through you. Give Him the praise He so deserves.
  2. Maybe if the Israelites had spent more time praising and less time complaining, they wouldn't have gone through so many ups and downs in their relationship with God. List some of the things they were focusing on each time they drifted from following God. How do those things compare with the complaints we have in our lives today? Are we acting like the Israelites?
  3. Will you join me in being an "amazed praiser?" I know it will make a positive difference in our lives.

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