The Simplest Act of Faith

There are many ways to reach out to God. We can pray. We can worship. We can beg. We can be still and quiet before Him.

But one of the quickest ways to be ushered into His presence is through praise. How do I know this?

Before I answer that let me point out that praise is not something we find easy to do. In fact, I recently tried to focus on this aspect of communing with God and discovered I have no “muscles” in this area.

I could be, and was, Thankful for many things. I could frequently ask for things in prayer. In fact almost all efforts to spend quality time praising God degenerated into prayers and supplications for others. I was embarrassed before Him that I could not quite find “praise” a ready response to His goodness.

I dare you to try it for yourself and see how you fare before judging me too harshly. I have since challenged a few people I know and we all had the same experience.

Before you can attempt this to see for yourself you’ll have to know what praise really is and how it differs from Worship, Thankfulness, etc.

We hear a lot about being thankful. And we should be, no doubt. Not only is it good manners to be thankful for many things to many people, but God sent His Son, His only Son, to die in our place on the cross, taking all our sins upon Him. What’s not to be thankful for?

I lived without running water for several years and for nearly 2 decades after spent time while showering every day thanking God for hot running water. What a delight!

Sex is pretty good, too, right? And food? I mean, a good many people are thankful for bacon!

God made so many things for us to enjoy and be thankful for and yet many find it hard to do. So much so that we have be reminded all the time, both in church and in the world at large. I mean, Thankfulness is a topic of conversation, when it really should be automatic.

But praise is something else entirely.

In the most simple terms, praise is saying something good about someone or something.

The converse is saying something bad about someone, which, surprise, surprise, is a simple definition for the word curse.

Most of us know that cursing God would be like a bad thing, right?

But when we blame God for something, we are cursing Him because we are saying something bad about Him. If He is good He doesn’t do bad things, so He isn’t the one to be blamed.

Maybe we made a bad decision. Maybe someone else is at fault, like the dude on his phone who just hit my car. Or maybe the enemy of our soul is tempting us to say something bad about God, trying to give Him a bad rap, by applying various types of pressure.

I mean, wasn’t that pretty much what he did in the Garden? Say that God was holding something back and keeping Adam and Even from having even more good stuff? You know, like the knowledge of Good and Evil…

And it seems to have been the devil’s goal in the Book of Job. We keep hearing that even though all those terrible things kept happening to Job, he didn’t sin with his mouth.

His wife even tried to get him to by saying, “just curse God and die”. Curse God. Say something bad about God. But Job wouldn’t. And he’s our example.

Issues at work. Issues with our kids or spouse. Bills in the mail. All kinds of pressures exist in this world. We live in a fallen world and we, and everyone we know, is fallen, too.

Additionally, we do have an enemy who is like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Don’t be that guy! Don’t agree with the devil that God is bad! That’s what we do when we let the pressures make us blame God.

Wherever the pressure comes from, it isn’t from God. The Bible tells us that God isn’t evil and doesn’t tempt us with evil. (By the way, fun note: evil means anything that causes us pain, suffering or loss – you get where I’m going with this?)

Anything that causes us pain, suffering or loss is defined as evil in the Bible. And God isn’t evil, and doesn’t bring evil into our lives. He doesn’t cause us pain, suffering or loss.

Frequently we do. Often others do. And we have an enemy who is very busy at this type of thing. But God is not.

So I guess the first thing I really want to say about Praise is don’t Curse.

Don’t say bad things about God. It is the opposite of praising. Don’t give into the pressure to blame God.

How do you deal with the pressure then? I’m glad you asked!

You Praise instead.

When something comes along that causes you pain, suffering or loss, praise.

  • ·        It is an act of faith.
  • ·        It is an act of obedience.
  • ·        It is an act of worshipping the One who can deliver you or comfort you in your struggle.

He is the only One who can give you a perspective and strength to move forward. He is Good. He is Good. Remind yourself of that in the crisis by praising.

Keep your eyes on Him. I mean, do you believe this Christian stuff or not? Then God’s way of doing things is the answer. He is the answer, not the problem.

Here are 8 really good reasons to Praise when you are dealing with something:

  • ·        It is the simplest act of faith, and faith gives God permission to work on your behalf.
  • ·        It causes God to come close because it pleases Him
  • ·        It brings blessings
  • ·        It brings a testimony, that helps others and saves the lost. We will overcome by our testimony.
  • ·        It brings reward
  • ·        It is your weapon, defending territory and taking new territory, bloodying the nose of the devil
  • ·        It gives you boldness before the throne and confidence to fight in faith (faith comes by hearing, even if you are the one who says it) That’s why we do pep talks. It works.
  • ·        It leads to Worship that restores your Soul (Mind, Will and Emotions). This makes you able to fight again because you’ve been replenished and recharged.

Praise Is The Simplest Act of Faith

God could require us to go to a certain river and wash 7 times (ask Naaman in II Kings 5). He could ask that we give up our earthly goods, our body to be burned, our very lives, and sometimes He does. He asked one prophet to lie naked on his side for years. He asked another to marry a whore. Many went to prison or were tortured and killed for God.

These are hard asks.

And if we follow Him, He has the right to ask.

We did commit our lives to Him, making Him Lord, the Boss of our lives.

But just saying something good about God? Not hard. Believing He is good and then acting like that’s true, but saying good things instead of bad? By saying good things instead of cursing Him? By saying good things instead of blaming Him?

Not. Hard.

When we praise instead, when we believe God is good instead of buying into what the devil is selling us, we empower God to act on our behalf against the enemy.

God Inhabits The Praise of His People

Read that again. He lives there. That’s where we can get close to God. He inhabits our praises. I don’t pretend I understand all of that. How could I? I have a chicken brain. But it’s true. And if that’s where He is and I need Him, guess how I can get there? Praising Him. Does that make him an ego-maniac? No. It’s not for Him. It’s for us.

Think about it for a second because God gets a bad rap on this because we don’t think it through.

Ask yourself WHY the enemy tries so hard to get us to respond by blaming God? Why is he so focused on pushing us and pressuring us to get us to say something bad about God? Poor Job! Tons of pressure. He lost all his kids, his animals and wealth, his friends and his wife turned on him. But he refused to blame God.

The enemy of our soul has been given authority by Adam and Eve to do pretty much what he wants to us. Authority is an important Word to God, and we very rarely understand it.

God gave authority to Adam and Eve over all His creation. Adam gave it away to Satan. Jesus took it back and gives it to those who follow Him.

But he still has authority over this world. Not us, but the world. The dude on his phone who just hit my car. My boss who cannot find the copier. The tax man. And if he can get those folks to exert pressure on us and we cave in to the pressure, and blame God, then we have sinned.

When we sin, well, let’s just say, we reap what we sow.

So, the enemy gets access to us when we allow him to by sinning. The easiest sin he can get us to commit isn’t adultery or robbing a bank or murdering someone… it’s getting us to blame God for something that causes us pain, suffering or loss. So, he pours it on thick.

He’s a bully. Terrorizing us in as many ways as he can find.

Why? To get access to us. Why? So he can cause more problems in our life? Why? Because if he can get us to sin, and sin more and more, he is rendering us useless in the fight against him, and keeping us from the one who can defend us and stop him.

We are the ones who open the door by sinning and cursing God, giving the enemy more and more permission to attack us. But if we praise, we are calling out to our Defender, Big Brother, Father, and Friend, who will jump in to defend us against the Bully and send him running.

Blessing Flows When We Praise

God’s blessings are on His people, but we can give the enemy permission to block those blessings when we curse and blame God. It’s not a punishment from God where He withholds His blessing, but the enemy is able to intercept them and block them because we gave him permission to do so.

The Benefit of Our Testimony – A Form of Praise

In Revelation we are told that the Church overcame by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. In the most basic sense this is praise. Praise, or saying good things about what God has done in our personal lives. This is how the Church overcomes!

On the Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the followers of Christ, they spoke in tongues. What did they speak? According to Acts 2, the marvelous works of God. That’s praise, brother!

Seem important to you? Many were added to the church that day. In the thousands. Why? Because they heard the marvelous works of God.

Don’t keep your testimony to yourself.

Praise Makes You Bold

In fact, your testimony of the good things God has done for you and in your life encourage you to have even more faith, fight bigger battles against the enemy and grow in faith. I mean, when you fight an even bigger enemy and win, you have more confidence the next time he shows up.

Praise Is A Weapon

I won’t spend a lot of time on this here because this could be a whole newsletter, but praise is a weapon in the Sprit world.

First, as previously stated it is prevailing in the fight the enemy brings to our doorstep.

But it is also how God operates.

Look at Paul and Silas singing praises in the prison and the earthquake opening all the bars.

Look at Israel’s first battle at Jericho – they marched around the city. They blew the trumpets, broke pitchers and shouted praise.

Battles are won by praising.

Praise Ushers Us Into Worship

We haven’t talked about worship yet, but let’s say that it is being in God’s presence, partnered with Him. You get to there by praising first. It helps to get you to that place. And worship is all the good stuff. It’s where we hear from God and commune with Him.

Like a plant in the presence of sunshine, we can be in His presence and it can activate, and heal all the parts of us that are exposed to Him.

And it can feel pretty awesome, too. Better than anything. Yes, anything…

The Bible calls it being in an ecstasy. For real. It also calls it being in the Spirit, Communing with God. (I bet you never heard that in Church…)

Communing is the same type of intimacy involved in Adam knowing Eve, if you get my drift.

It’s a no holds barred, uber intimate kind of sharing between you and God.

And Praise, is, well, like foreplay. I know that will piss off a bunch of people, but I stand by that statement.

Praise gets us to Worship and Communion with God. There is no better place. Co-Union with God. Knowing Him and Him knowing us.

To not have this kind of relationship is what was discussed way up at the top of this writing as Him saying, depart from me. I never knew you. I never spent time with you like that. I don’t know you like that.

Why? Because we are ugly, or not good enough, or not the chosen, popular ones? No, because WE didn’t come to Him. Because WE wouldn’t spend the time with Him.

He made a way for us to. But we couldn’t be bothered. We were too worried about the cares of this world. Too busy thinking He caused our problems. Too busy thinking He wasn’t really good. Too busy believing the devil instead of God.

God who keeps whispering and yelling that He is good. God who has tried in every way to get through to us that He is good. The word “gospel” literally means good news. News that He is good.

He sent His Son to show us just how good.

He showed us what good looked like in all the stories in the Old Testament.

But a simple flat tire can cause me to lose my religion. A whisper. A look. Waking up late.

Is He good? Or not.

In First John we are told the whole deal in a nutshell. God is light and in Him is no shadow of turning.

Basically, God is good and he isn’t even thinking about changing his ways. He isn’t going to quit being good. You can believe it. You can count on it. Why don’t we?

If you read Song of Solomon in it’s entirety you will find that the whole story is about a woman chosen by the King to love. That simple. She didn’t deserve it. She had nothing to offer. She wasn’t pretty. Didn’t have money. But he chose to love her.

See how we fit in this story?

The rest of the book is about her struggle to believe he loves her, to believe he really, no kidding, really, loves her.

She just cannot quite wrap her mind around it.

She rejects him and pushes him away. And he loves her and shows up.

And after he continues to prove himself, she finally trusts him and belies her loves her.

She starts off by referring to their relationship as “I am my beloved’s. And he is mine” But when she finally gets it, finally believes in her very heart that he really loves her, she says, “He is my beloved and I am His.” Oh, to be His!

So, brass tacks, what do you say? How do you praise Him?

Saying something good about someone can be like a compliment to them or about them.

What do you know about God that is good? What are His characteristics?

Is He gentle? Is He longsuffering and patient?

What does He do? Isn’t He the one who brings life out of death and causes that which was not to be? Isn’t He the one who brings rain to the evil and the good? Redeems the lost and sets the captives free?

But don’t forget to say the good things He has done for your personally. This is your testimony. Like literally the testimony of God being good to you in your life. If He isn’t that, what are you doing being a Christian? If He isn’t good and doesn’t deliver you from real world problems, what good (see what I did there?) is this whole Christian thing?

I mean, even Paul said if this isn’t the real deal Christians are above all men most miserable! Give up things, don’t have fun sinning, for what, exactly? There are supposed to be benefits in this life, here and now, as well as in the Sweet By and By.

We are told “I came that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” Is that your testimony? Do you have life and have it more abundantly? Then say so, to God, out loud.


Out loud.

Praise is something you say. I could write a lot about this, and will in coming newsletters. But, for real, say it out loud. No one else has to hear it. And you don’t (necessarily) have to say it very loud at all.

But part of the benefit is to get boldness and confidence and that comes from hearing it. It is an act of faith, and faith comes by hearing. It’s a self-contained system.

And if He hasn’t been good to you, if you don’t have a testimony where you know and He knows what He’s done for you in your life, really, what are you doing?

Faith is more than a mental assent. It’s not believing there is a God, a conclusion you have come to through reasoning. It’s a relationship with a real entity or it’s nothing.

Shoot! The Bible tells us even the demons believe in God. Duh! You think believing there is a God is all that’s necessary? Ask the 5 foolish Virgins if it was enough. Ask those that will say, Lord, Lord, did we not heal the sick, and raise the dead and do all kinds of stuff in your name to whom we are told He will reply, depart from me, I never knew you.

What? When was the last time you healed the sick or raised the dead? Folks who can do and can say that will be told, depart from Me…

What chance do we have?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about earning God’s affections. But I am saying it ain’t easy. 

There’s more devotion and commitment involved than saying the sinner’s prayer and then doing whatever the heck we want! Isn’t that how Christians got a bad rep to begin with? Folks thinking that? What are YOU doing?

We are expected to “endure to the end”. Endure what? This evil business of pain, suffering and loss discussed previously. Endure how? By continuing to maintain the belief that God is good and then experiencing in our lives.

That gives us our testimony. That’s what saves the lost. That’s what we will be rewarded for. It’s like the whole enchilada, as we say in Texas.

Those who endure to the end will be saved.

Isn’t that what the parable of the Sower teaches? Seeds were scattered. Some didn’t do anything with it. Some grabbed ahold for a little while, but didn’t really let the roots go down deep. Some let the cares and troubles of this world choke out the growth and never got any fruit. (Guess which one this is? What we are talking about here. Don’t let the pressures turn you back from following.) And some let it take root and let it grow. These got 30, some 60 and some 100 fold reward.

Praise. Simple praise. It is your weapon and your protective armor.

I’ve gotten better at this since I started practicing it. At first I could only say things like He’s patient and good. Then I’d start being thankful. Try it for yourself.

Take 2 minutes and see if you can say 2 minutes of good things about God without repeating things. I would venture to bet you can’t do it. I couldn’t. And there are still days I cannot.

Partly because I’m distracted. But partly because we just don’t think like that very often. I have not exercised that part of my walk.

Even with one another we are not likely to praise others. To tell them they are good at something (even if we think it). We don’t express ourselves like that except on special occasions.

And when we do, it’s like one sentence or something and we have to work ourselves up to it.

Try praising God, whom you say you love and serve for a whole 2 minutes.

He paid the ultimate sacrifice for you. Don’t you have anything nice to say about Him or to Him? I was so surprised how hard this was to do. But I’m getting better. I hope you’ll join me.