The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
 
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MEN OF PRAISE: FRONT AND CENTER

      Likely you have heard the tale of the man who sought to train a new horse by issuing simple commands. Thus, when the owner wanted his young colt to go, he used the command “Praise the Lord!” Similarly, when he wanted the horse to stop, the owner would holler “Hallelujah!”     
      One day the horse was “feeling his oats” and began to gallop at break-neck speed. The owner allowed the animal free reign until they began to approach a steep cliff. Recognizing the possible outcome, the owner pulled back on the reigns but the horse continued galloping toward the cliff. The rider began shouting a host of terms such as “Amen,”“Jehovah Jireh,” and “Glory” to no avail.
      Resigning himself to the likelihood that the end was near, he began humming “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.” With the edge of the cliff only a few yards away, the man regained his wits and screamed “Hallelujah!” The horse skidded to a prompt halt. Although perspiring profusely and experiencing an elevated heart rate, the man was understandably relieved. As he sighed deeply in gratitude, the rider softly uttered “Praise the Lord!”     
      Praising the Lord is not an option for Christians. In fact, many of the Psalms begin with the imperative “Hallelujah” which translates “Praise the Lord!” As a continuation of a recent article highlighting the need for praying men, this edition of “From Daniel’s Den” emphasizes the importance of men offering gratitude for the Lord through praise.
      Christian men are needed who will praise God Corporately. Men, be mindful of the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility that is yours to praise the Lord in a corporate setting. The psalmist admonishes followers of the Lord to “Praise Him in his sanctuary” (150:1) and to “enter his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise” (100:4-5). Concerning gathering in corporate assembly, the writer of Hebrews asserted “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing” (10:25).     
      Men who lead by example and praise the Lord corporately can have tremendous influence and make an eternal impact on others. Several ways in which men can be an example to others in corporate assembly include:
  • Praising the Lord through “Speak (sing) to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19). The psalmist echoed with “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song” (95:1-2) and “My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song” (28:7).

      Some men may believe that singing publically is not cool while others may feel that the only place that they can carry a tune is in the shower. Men who sing for joy to the Lord as they come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song in a corporate setting, however, offer a powerful example for and a meaningful experience to all who are gathered.

  • Praising the Lord through Scripture-reading. The apostle Paul instructed young Timothy to “…devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture…” (4:13). Men who volunteer or respond affirmatively to an invitation to read God’s word publically not only provide a blessing to themselves and to their family, but to everyone in attendance. On Baptist Men’s Day one year, I told Mr. Billy’s wife that I wanted to ask him to read scripture. She thought I had lost my mind. I asked him anyway. He responded that he would be happy to read but that his eyesight wouldn’t permit him to participate. After I enlarged the print for him, he readily agreed to participate. As Mr. Billy walked to the pulpit that Sunday, folks in the congregation gave a collective gasp as they had never witnessed Mr. Billy leading in this manner publically. Men who praise the Lord through Scripture-reading can and will have an impact.
  • Praising the Lord by Supporting and Strengthening. “When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:26). Through participation, leadership, and deployment of spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:11-16), Christian men can stand in the gap by supporting and strengthening the church as they praise the Lord corporately.
  • Praising the Lord by Supplication. Paul expressed the desire for “men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer…” (1 Timothy 2:8) while presenting requests to the Lord in “prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving” (Philippians 4:6). Why? Because the “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
  • Praising the Lord by Serving. Thank the Lord for Christian women who express their love and commitment to Him through faithful service in many areas. Men are needed, however, who will “serve the Lord with gladness” (Psalm 100) in a multitude of areas within the church…perhaps leading up to and during corporate assembly. For instance, Christian men are needed who will serve as greeters, ushers, parking lot attendants, and security. In addition, Christian men are needed whose service in children’s Sunday School and in extended session allows young parents to participate in Bible study and worship. Men are needed whose praise of the Lord includes serving through a host of ministry opportunities. In short, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:10-11).
      Beyond the fact that Christian men are needed who will praise the Lord corporately, men are needed who will praise the Lord Continually. The psalmist’s declaration “I will ever praise you” (71:6) is denoted further with “Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the name of the Lord is to be praised” (113:2-3). Rather than a periodic or once per week kind of involvement and experience, men are needed whose pattern of life parallels the resolve of the psalmist who declared “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall continually be on my lips” (34:1). A simple chorus reminds us to offer continual praise with the words “Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise Him in the morning, praise him at the noontime. Praise Him! Praise Him! Praise him when the sun goes down.”     
      Men who engage in corporate praise and continual praise, most certainly will also praise the Lord Completely. In humility and with sincerity, the psalmist addressed the Lord by affirming “I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever” (86:12). No half-hearted, partial, or part-time praise is suitable to offer to an all-sufficient Lord. Rather, men are needed who will praise the Lord completely…with their whole heart. Men are needed who will set the example in loving the Lord God with everything…heart, soul, mind, and strength.

      God is worthy of our praise (Psalm 18:3) and men are needed who will ascribe to the Lord the glory and strength due his name (Psalm 29:1-2). The psalter concludes with “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord” (150:6). My prayer is that Christian men will lead the way. I am convinced that men who praise the Lord corporately, continually, and completely will be noticed as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). As a result, pastors will be encouraged and churches will experience spiritual and numeric growth. Revival will occur. Lives will be changed in the present and for eternity. And, most importantly, God will receive the praise and glory!

 

Dear Heavenly Father, May we corporately, continually, and completely praise You from whom all blessings flow. May our example inspire others to do the same and have a lasting and eternal impact. May “Hallelujah…Praise the Lord” always be on our lips.  Amen.

                        Daniel