Pastor, Are You Praising God?

The Golden Ears mountain from Langley, BC.Image via Wikipedia

It is easy to praise God when things are going well. Most pastors know this all too well. It is when the trials come that we should praise God the most, but we usually complain and sulk instead. Whether on the top of a huge mountain precipice or by the side of a lowly creek on a deep canyon floor, you can praise God!

(Psalms 22:3Psalms 22:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.  

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) “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  (KJV)

It Is A Learning Process 

In those early days after I was saved, I began to hear other saints of God speak about praising God for this and that. Mostly, the comments were made in the men’s prayer room. Boy, that room shaped my early years! Those men knew how to pray and call on God! Sends chills up my spine just thinking about it! At any rate, this made a huge impression on me as a young convert.

I just celebrated my 19th spiritual birthday last month in February. In these 19 years I have learned how to do some bad things, but also some good things. One of which is how to praise God! I do not pass all the tests and trials that come my way, but more and more I am able to see new things about praising God that I have not seen before in my life. Each time this happens to me, I see how my spiritual life seems to grow.

It Is An Experiential Issue, Not An Intellectual Admittance 

It is one thing to know something in your head, but quite another to experience it first hand. Most Christians grasp the concept of praising God mentally, but few experience it’s power and warmth. I knew, for many years, what praise was about, but never really enjoyed it. Thank the Lord for His tenderness in teaching me how blissful it can be!

That sounds weird coming from a preacher, but it is true. Let me explain… A few years ago, God allowed me to enter into my prayer time and begin to praise God through my trials! Since that season in my life I have been able to better understand what is means for God to inhabit the praise of His children. Again, it is one thing to know something mentally, but totally different when you experience it!

Beware Of The Counterfeit

In these years since I have been saved, I have not only begun to learn about praising God in the correct way, but I have also seen some heretical drama go on in public worship services. Yes, I feel when the Holy Ghost is leading someone to shout “Amen”, “Glory” or some other word of praise that they should be obedient. However, I also believe that some of this is mere emotion. My preacher says that an empty wagon makes the most noise! I say, “AMEN!”

Praising God should not be confined to the interior of a church building. If that is the only place we praise God, then we have missed something. Most of my praising experiences come from my prayer time. Worshipful prayer produces and is inseparable from praising God! Oh, how sweet it can be in the darkest hours of your life.

Conclusion

It suffices to say that every pastor and spiritual leader should further their personal worship time with praise. Adoring God and thanking Him for specifics in your life and ministry will take a sour morning and make it a splendid experience. Maybe what your ministry is missing is not more talent, money and some new program. It might be that you, individually, need to spend more time before the throne of grace praising God for who He is!

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Originally posted 2011-03-23 00:01:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What Pastors Can Learn From A Box

Jesus, throughout His earthly ministry, often used simple and ordinary things to bring out a spiritual truth. He spoke of seed & soil, bread & water, light & darkness, and so on. I want to take an episode from just before his incarceration by the mob, subsequent trial and crucifixion when he was at the house of Simon the leper in Bethany to mine out some sparkling gems for spiritual leaders! We find this record in Mark 14:3-9Mark 14:3-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. spikenard: or, pure nard, or, liquid nard 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.  

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(Mark 14:3-9Mark 14:3-9
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. spikenard: or, pure nard, or, liquid nard 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. 6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.  

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) “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”  (KJV)

The Box Itself

The box, of which we are referring, is said to be an “alabaster” box. Alabaster was a sub-variety of lime. It is often found in large deposits around limestone caverns. It is usually white in color and was sometimes used to make containers. Thus, boxes made from alabaster were usually referred to as such because they were made from that material.

The Apostle Paul, when speaking of the gospel in 2 Corinthians 4:72 Corinthians 4:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  

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, states, “we have this treasure in earthen vessels”. The costly contents of Mary’s box were encased by an earthen vessel. It behooves us, who shepherd God’s children, to remember that we are but earthen vessels; nothing more! We cannot add one inch to our height, and we cannot make the sun to stand still.

Though only an earthen vessel, we can still be a vessel for God to use. We should carry the gospel to folks all around us. We should not hide the gospel as Paul warned the Corinthian believers in 2 Corinthians 4:32 Corinthians 4:3
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  

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. Pastor, with all your might, strive to be a vessel God CAN use! (2 Timothy 2:212 Timothy 2:21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.  

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The Contents Of The Box

The alabaster box which Mary had was carrying a perfume made of spikenard. The spikenard plant is from the East Indies and its root is used to produce an aromatic liquid. Though the plant has a long, slender stem, it has little ears that are prickly and thus is often referred to as “spikenard”.

Mary sought to anoint Jesus with this costly perfume. When complaints were made according to Mark 14:5Mark 14:5
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.  

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, we see that what Mary gave was sacrificial. It was a gift equal to about a year’s worth of wages. Nothing was too much for Mary as she anointed her King of kings and Lord of lords. When was the last time you saw someone or heard of an individual giving a one time gift which altered their standard of living?

We, who are saved by God’s grace, are carrying a treasure (gospel of Jesus Christ/indwelling Holy Spirit) in earthen vessels. May we endeavor to remember this great truth! Anyone who knew of Mary’s box understood that it contained something valuable. May we bear a testimony of the saving grace of Almighty God each and every day!

The Purpose Of Such A Box

The purpose of the box was to contain the perfume in an environment where it would keep until needed. More than likely, it was sealed with wax so the spikenard liquid could not escape or leak out. As Mary had a purpose for her box, so God has a divine purpose for our lives.

Pastor, have you gotten over the fact that God has called you into the ministry. Assuming, of course, He has called you, have you grown stale in your mission of life? Have the souls of those whom you are entrusted become an irritation to you? You must revive yourself upon the truth that you are a divinely filled vessel to carry the precious treasure of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world!

The Fate Of The Box

This box had one purpose and one purpose only. It was to hold the perfume until it was to be used. The box is stated to have been broken. Whether some sort of wax seal was broken, the box was physically broken into pieces, or a combination of both, I am not sure. I do know that nobody present in the room enjoyed the sweet smell of the perfume until the box was broken.

God’s men are no different in this regard. We are to carry forth the message from God. That is our sole purpose in ministry. When God brakes us through our personal worship, trials, sickness, or through some other instrument of His omniscient choosing, He does so that folks might see what we are carrying on the inside! Better yet, they are able to enjoy the sweetness of God’s Holy Ghost as He works in our lives.

Conclusion

There are many ways to apply this great event in our lives as believers. As Jesus so often used simple things to illustrate a great truth, so we have tried to do in highlighting Mary’s alabaster box.

Let us recap… Pastor, you are a vessel, you carry a valuable message, you have one main purpose, and you WILLbe broken! May God bless you as you strive to do His will for your life!

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Originally posted 2011-04-22 12:34:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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