This past Sunday to finish the 2012 year at Grace, I spoke on Praise and Prayer. The key idea came from 1 Peter 1:3-9, and especially 6-7:
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
We also spent some time looking at James 1:2-8, then we finished with James 4, especially vs 8:
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
The main idea was that our praise to God comes from a closeness to Him and His purposes in our life. Praise doesn’t come only through “blessings” that we enjoy and give thanks for. Praise is knowing God. Praise is the result of being near Him and growing in our understanding of Him.
The challenge was put out to find some time this week to “draw near to God”. Because the result is what we long for, as a church family, but just as much as individual members, “and He will draw near to you!”
Perhaps 2012 will be remembered for some serious pain or disappointments, or maybe it was a banner year. Regardless, we praise Him because of HIM. I want to be in that process of drawing near Him because I want to know His presence in my life, His nearness, His ‘praise-worthiness’ regardless of the situation. I want to know God and His ever-present, always comforting, power-infusing nearness.