Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
“Black Friday” has become very well-known and even expected. Merchants trying to get a jump on Christmas shopping have coined the title, “Black Friday”. Our culture continues to push a secular agenda on all of us. Now the press of shopping is crowding out a time of personal reflection on the goodness of God. Black is an appropriate word not only for a shopping day but also to describe the drift of western culture.
Giving thanks is a reasonable response of Creatures to their Creator. Thanking God is inseparable from praising God. Praise and thanksgiving are activities included in biblical worship. Those who thank God acknowledge His mighty works and His attributes. We give thanks to the one who provides all things, is the Lord of all things, and is always good!
King David wrote Psalm 65 and it has been used throughout the history of the Bible as a song of worship. Verse 1, “Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion, and to you shall vows be performed.” King David under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit put everything into a right perspective. He declared that praise is owed to God! Praise is the verbal declaration of the mighty works of God and His character. We are Creatures and we are in debt to the Creator. Surely professing Christians know that they are called to remind themselves that all we have and all that we enjoy has been provided by the hand of the sovereign God. We remember God’s mighty acts recorded in the Scriptures as we gather with brothers and sisters in Christ in corporate worship. It is expected that we will not keep those acts of God to ourselves. Praising God not only is required but it is the means to experience true peace in the midst of a black culture.
Biblical praise requires knowledge of God and His mighty acts. Too often, we think that praising God is a spontaneous emotional act done by “Charismatics” or “Pentecostals”. Some might suggest that praise is “Letting go of our inhibitions and being led by our emotions”. Praise is rather an intentional act which begins in our minds. As we read and study God’s word, those mighty acts like the deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt impress on our minds the absolute sovereignty of God. It reveals to us His grace. It demonstrates His providence. For those who have been born again, the Holy Spirit illumines their minds so that they may see and apply the truth of God. It is through this means that God sanctifies those whom He justified and gives peace. Biblical praise changes the worshiper thereby causing him to know God’s peace which passes all understanding, Cf. Philippians 4:7
The second part of verse one, “And to you shall vows be performed” aids in our understanding of genuine faith. Those who are intent on praising God are those who seek to be faithful to Him. A vow is a solemn promise. David wrote of the expectation of those who praise God to keep their promises made to Him.
When God breaks into the life of a man or woman, He makes that person a new Creation, 2Corinthians 5:17. There is an observable difference in one who has been born again. The Bible refers to this change as conversion. God changes the one whom He raises from death to life. Conversion is done by God instantaneously but continues throughout the life of a believer. The instant God converts a sinner into a saint is described as being brought from darkness into light by the Holy Spirit. The process of change that continues is what the Bible calls sanctification. Part of sanctification is profession. That is, when a believer is changed by God, he desires to declare his reliance upon Christ. Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven…” Matthew 10:32.
Christian, in the face of the increasing secularization of our culture make it a priority to give thanks to the God whom we praise for His mighty acts and attributes in corporate worship on every Lord’s Day. May the assurance of knowing Him provide you with the peace that surpasses all understanding. “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, the holiness of Your temple!” Psalm 65:4b “Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness!” Psalm 96:9a