July 13

Today's Bible Reading
     Joshua 18-19
     Psalms 149-150
     Jeremiah 9
     Matthew 23
''Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!'' (Psalms 150:3)
            The final word of the Book of Psalms is Hallelujah! The Psalmist closes this incredible volume of 150 chapters with a rising crescendo of praise. He then uses the Hebrew word for Hallelujah, perhaps the one word used commonly by believers in every language, and that is very appropriate.
            But praise requires discipline.  This is why the Scripture teaches us of a sacrifice of praise. There are, of course, those times when our physical bodies, our mental state, our family problems, our surrounding circumstances, and even our own spiritual state of mind, causes us to say ''I just don't feel like praising the Lord today." What, then, is your response? You praise Him anyway because praise requires discipline. You praise Him when you feel like it, and you praise Him when you do not feel like it. If you have breath, you are to praise Him. As you faithfully obey and praise Him when it is difficult, you will soon be filled with a genuine heartfelt and glorious praise.
            When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman in John 4, He told her that she was to worship in spirit and in truth.
Worship in ''truth'' means that we come informed by the objective revelation of God's Word about the great God we serve, and the precepts He has spoken.
            This knowledge of God through His Word ought to heighten our expectations and instill healthy reference. Amy Dillard wrote the following:
“On the whole, I do not find Christians outside of the catacombs sufficiently aware of our critical and urgent position. Has anyone got the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? ... ''It is madness to wear ladies straw hats and velvet hats to church. We should all be wearing crash helmets. The ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews, for the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return."
            She is saying that, regardless of the circumstances, we must so fill ourselves with God's truth so our worship and praise will be electrified with reality. But besides worshipping in truth, we worship and praise Him in ''spirit." There is a small ''s'' here, referring to our human spirits, the human person. True worship flows from the inside out, so true worship springs from within a man's spirit from the spontaneous affections of the heart. It requires discipline. It is time to begin to do what we do, not because we feel like doing it, but because God said to do it, and we desire to obey Him. ''Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Hallelujah!''
            The massive Republic of South Africa now has almost 42 million people. We can praise the Lord today for how He has moved in this African nation. It seems that apartheid has been overcome and a functioning democracy has been instituted. We need to specifically pray for the people in South Africa affected by the AIDS epidemic. As the new century begins, 1,200 victims of AIDS are buried every day. There were over 500,000 AIDSorphans in the year 2014. Over 20% of the adult population and one-third of all teachers are infected. While this is tragic, it is an environment in which the Christian Gospel can make an impact and the grace of God's people can minister healing to those infected with AIDS. Few countries have the complex needs physically, spiritually, racially, politically, morally, and religiously as the country of South Africa. In my visits to this country, I have discovered a gracious people, hungry for the Gospel and responsive to its truth. Pray for God's people to be faithful.
''I am standing on the promises, walking in His footprints, leaning on His everlasting arms and drinking from the fountain that never runs dry."
Bud Robinson