"Praise the Almighty, my soul, adore Him! Yes, I will laud Him until death; With songs and anthems I come before Him, As long as He allows me breath. From Him my life and all things came; Bless, O my soul, His holy Name. Alleluia, alleluia!
"Blessed, oh, blessed are they forever, Whose help is from the Lord Most High, Whom from salvation can nothing sever, And who in hope to Christ draw nigh. To all who trust in Him, our Lord, Will aid and counsel now afford. Alleluia, alleluia!"
Some earthly rulers command praise for themselves, but such leaders are likely to be tyrants and dictators. Their praise is a result of fear. Scripture commands, "Praise the Lord!" and our praise is a product of love: "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us" (1 John 4:18-19).
When life is going well or when we receive a long-awaited answer to prayer, we happily offer up songs and prayers of thanksgiving. It is not so easy to praise the Lord when life does not go as well as we might hope. Yet the apostle Paul reminds us, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). As long as the Lord allows us breath, we offer up our "songs and anthems" before Him, aloud or in our hearts, alone or with brothers and sisters in Christ.
The reasons for our praise are as endless as the praise itself. From God we receive our "life and all things." He gives us the breath and voice and will to praise Him for our Savior Jesus Christ, who took on human flesh to be born among us. Jesus took our sin onto Himself and on the cross suffered the penalty of death in our place. He rose up bodily from the grave on the first Easter morning, the guarantee that we too will rise from death to live forever in His presence. For that salvation alone, an eternity of praise seems scarcely long enough. Added to that greatest of all gifts is our Lord's constant presence in our lives. To all who trust in Him, the Lord gives the daily "aid and counsel" of His Word.
For now, we "laud Him until death." When we fall asleep in Christ and are at home in His presence, our praise will continue. Then, at our Lord's return, we will be raised bodily from death to gather with all the saints in the presence of the Lamb who was slain for us. With God-given breath in our lungs once again, our voices will blend in the praise that flows without ceasing around the throne of God: "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen" (Revelation 7:12).
THE PRAYER: Lord and Savior, hear my grateful prayers and accept my praise, now and forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "Praise the Almighty," which is number 797 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever worked for someone who sought the praise of others?
2. What do you praise God for most?
3. What do you think praising God will be like in heaven?
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