Withholding Praise

Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord.  Psalm 119:108

People who withhold words may do so to maintain a sense of power over others.  They refuse to affirm, or praise, and one never knows where you stand with them.  When those people are your parents, it’s very unsettling for a child.  You grow up unsure of yourself.   So when I approach God, am I repeating the past by being stingy with my own words?

  • When someone loves me, I want to hear all about their love.  Why they love, what they love, when they first loved, and how committed their love is.  God is no different.  May I never just croak out a stingy form of expressed love by joining the crowd in singing, “I Love You, Lord.”  That won’t do.

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  • When someone has really hurt me and attempts to offer an apology, I don’t want a token “Sorry!”  It’s important to hear them express what they did and how they feel about the fact that they hurt me.  Feelings of remorse should be present if the apology is real. When I go to the altar to deal with my own sin, am I offering a token “Sorry!”, or am I willing to tell God what I did and how I feel about the fact that I’ve offended Him?  Am I brokenhearted because I broke our fellowship and will I tell Him so?

Hosea is one who encouraged plentiful words.  “Take with you words and return to the LORD; say to Him, “Take away all iniquity; accept what is good and we will pay with bulls the vows of our lips.”  Hosea 14:2 If my words are few, I don’t have a speech problem but a heart problem.  It is the heart which dictates what lips say.  If my heart is full, speech is uninhibited.

I have been in awkward situations.  So have you.  Words have been stuck in my throat.  My heart was in conflict.  If I find myself ambivalent about God, loving Him one moment but feeling nothing the next, the most important thing I can do is admit it.  I am invited to pour out words in prayer that addresses my conflict.  If I’m just stingy because my heart has grown cold, then I must take myself to the Word and deal quickly with my spiritual condition.  The Spirit will show me when my heart died, and why.

Having been someone who lived for long periods of time in wordless places, I know the exhilaration of now having a language which bubbles over.  My passion for Jesus spills out in words; teaching, storytelling, pleading, encouraging, praying.  God has brought me out of a silent well to a spacious place.  The first thing I heard was my own voice.

Whether I weep or sing, my words are poured out toward your gracious heart for me.   In Jesus name, Amen

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