Why Should I Praise God?


I think too often when Christians talk about praising God, there’s a group of people who say, why should I? What’s He done for me? Sadly, that group includes other Christians along with a lot of people who kinda think there’s a god, but they sure don’t know him.

But more and more, it seems, God is showing me believers who are genuinely hurting—my friend Brandon who died of cancer, leaving his three young children and wonderful wife behind; a former student who had fertility issues, lost her brother in a car accident, and is now in the hospital with her own cancer issues; one of my pastors who’s son-in-law just died, leaving his daughter a widow; and today my blogging friend Insanitybytes. There are others, too, some well-known, others obscure and quiet in their hurting—but these believers clung with their last breath or the breath they have in them now, to the goodness of God.

Sure, there are the why-is-god-so-disappointing crowd. There have been books written about that subject, so it’s not like the praise people stand alone, triumphant, in the ring of suffering.

So what’s the difference? I think it’s knowing God.

Some of us know God in a casual way, sort of like an acquaintance or a good boss we rarely see. We know he’s there because we keep getting paychecks, but it’s hard to think that he had any more to do with those than signing his name, and if we have our wages automatically deposited, we might just have money showing up in our account, with no tangible evidence the boss is involved. That’s how a lot of people treat God.

Others—and chances are, these are members of the disappointment crowd—relate to God as a kindly, generous grandfather who is so, so willing to give us whatever we want. Consequently, when we ask him for something, especially the really serious stuff, and he says no, we are so shocked, so disappointed, so thrown off the solid rock of faith we thought was firmly under our feet, that we can’t begin to muster any praise.

Praise for what? My husband just lost his job. Praise for what? The rent just went up, again, along with the gas prices and the groceries. Praise for what? My best friend just moved.

Of course some even say, Praise for what? I don’t have a thing to wear to the office bash this week.

Yes, some of the issues are our perspective, but a lot are real issues.

For a long time I was very critical of the newly freed Hebrew slaves as they traveled across the wilderness toward the Promised Land. I mean, they were always complaining, and this, right after God had shown His power in so many miraculous ways. Couldn’t they trust Him for a few short months at least?

Well, the truth was, their concerns were real. First, they really did not have any water. Not for them, their children, their cows, their sheep. And they were in a near desert. I’m pretty sure I’d have been in the crowd of complainers.

Then there was no food; and later, the same food; danger; and real giants in the land where they were supposed to go in and reside. Giants they were supposed to conquer. This was, of course, much earlier than David, so they didn’t know the story about this youth, not really an adult yet, facing down a God-cursing giant and demolishing him.

I’m not sure my criticism of these complaining Hebrews is really founded. Except. They had told God, on more than one occasion, that there would obey Him and worship Him alone and follow Moses, the leader God had given them. They went back on those things. When they were faced with stuff they couldn’t see around, when there was something they didn’t understand (why does Moses get to be the leader all the time? Shouldn’t someone else get a turn?)

In other words, they really did not trust God. And how does praise fit in with all this?

First, praise is an offering to God. It’s the sacrifice of our lips. Second, it’s really, really, really hard impossible to praise God without thinking about why He is praiseworthy.

For Christians, the bottom line ought to be, I know God is faithful and loving and true, because He sent His Son to die for me. So, He didn’t save my friend from cancer, but He is still good. So I lost my job. He is still faithful. So I don’t see how I can make all the payments that will come due this month, He’s still loving.

Our circumstances don’t change who God is.

The problem is, our circumstances are blinding us to God’s character, because we’re looking at them instead of Him. Like Peter when he was actually walking to Jesus on the water, but got distracted by the wind and the waves.

Praise adjusts our sights. Instead of looking down or around or in, we are again looking up, and we can see God the way He deserves to be seen, the way He actually is.

Like so many things with God, praise is a win-win. We can offer Him something when we feel like we have nothing to give, but He turns it around and makes our giving of it, a blessing to us. That’s God for you.

Published in: on October 25, 2019 at 5:28 pm  Comments (6)  
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CSFF Blog Tour – Residential Aliens, Day 2


Illustration from Fred Warren's story "Beatitude"

Science fiction seems to be in short supply if we’re talking about stories written from a Christian worldview. Fantasy isn’t plentiful either, though supernatural suspense and supernatural thriller seems to have a bit stronger representation, thanks in large part to what Realms Fiction, a division of Strang Communications, has produced.

Because of the scarcity of speculative fiction, any number of enterprising authors set out to bring to the Christian market the stories so many desired. Bill Snodgrass founded Double Edge Publishing with its accompanying ezines: Sword Review; Dragons, Knights, and Angels; Ray Gun Revival; Haruah; and eventually MindFlights. Frank Creed started the Lost Genre Guild and the Writers Cafe Press. A handful of authors launched this CSFF Blog Tour and the team blog, Speculative Faith. T.W. Ambrose initiated the zine Digital Dragon; Grace Bridges founded Splashdown Books; and Jeff Gerke established Marcher Lord Press.

Undoubtedly there are a number of other endeavors which I’m not familiar with, and sadly some are no longer in existence. However, Lyn Perry’s zine Residential Aliens which CSFF is featuring this month, is going strong. Launched on July 1, 2007, ResAliens has published speculative stories written by over thirty authors, eight of which happen to be members of CSFF.

It is my privilege to point you to those stories in the hope that you’ll take some time this week (perhaps starting now? 🙂 ) to read at least one of each of our members’ stories put out by ResAliens: Brandon Barr, Fred Warren, Grace Bridges, Jeff Chapman, Jessica Thomas, John Ottinger, Mike Lynch, R. L. Copple.

I trust you’ll also visit the other bloggers who are buzzing about ResAliens. Bruce Hennigan has an excellent introductory post. D. G. Davidson (welcome back!) gave a thumbnail review of four of the stories from the archives. Brandon Barr, Jeff Chapman, and Fred Warren all unashamedly pointed readers to their stories (that’s a good thing — if they didn’t like their stories well enough to tell people about them, what would that say? 🙄 )

Tomorrow I’ll give you my review of … well, you’ll just have to come back and see. 😉

Eric Wilson, Author – CSFF Blog Tour, Day 2


Eric WilsonYou may be more familiar with Eric Wilson as the author of the novelization Fireproof. Or perhaps you know him for his book version of Facing Giants. As it turns out, this prolific author, when writing “from scratch,” creating his own characters and his own plot line, writes speculative fiction.

Okay, he also has a couple suspense novels out there too, but his most recent work is speculative—the vampire novels known as the Jerusalem Undead Trilogy. This month the CSFF Blog Tour is featuring book two, Haunt of Jackals, but I wanted to find out a little more about the writer.

Happily, one of our tour participants, By Darkness Hid author Jill Williamson, who has met Eric and who wrote an endorsement for the book, interviewed him. In addition, Brandon Barr pointed to a fairly lengthy interview in his tour post.

The thing that caught my eye most, however, was a callout box on Eric’s bio page at his Web site:

I was first inspired to write by the imagination in C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. My childhood influences ranged from J.R.R. Tolkien, to S.E. Hinton, to Arthur Catherall. As a teen, I turned to Alistair MacLean, Robert Ludlum, and John LeCarre.

What an eclectic group of writers. But it started with fantasy. Is it any surprise, then, that Eric, in writing about vampires, wanted to return the tradition to it’s original overtones:

“It is really a modern version of ‘The Screwtape Letters’ by C.S. Lewis mixed with a traditional vampire story,” Wilson said. “I’ve seen a lot of vampire books come out recently with a post-modern approach to vampires where they are not even a question of good or evil or spirituality but just a fictional form of the monster. I wanted to go back to a traditional vampire story …” (“‘Fireproof’ novelist wrestles with the supernatural” by Ken Beck, The Wilson Post)

The “traditional vampire story,” it would seem, calls evil by its name and establishes a clear connection between Christ’s death and its defeat.

So why, I ask myself, do I not like vampire stories? Lots of people do. Eric clearly desires to throw light on God’s redemptive work, at one point equating his work with that of a missionary:

“I see my writing being missionary work but kind of in a tent-making mode (the apostle Paul made tents while spreading the Gospel), telling stories that prod and challenge people to think.”

Fantasy roots, a good versus evil motif, a desire to present the truth of the gospel through story. I should be in love with Eric’s vampire stories. I wish I were.

See who else on the tour thinks as I do and who has become a fan of the Jerusalem Undead Trilogy:

Run-off Poll – Last Day


The April CSFF Top Blogger Award poll closed with two participants leading the pack. Today is the LAST DAY to vote for the winner between those two:

Brandon Barr

Rachel Starr Thomson

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Published in: on May 3, 2009 at 8:55 am  Comments Off on Run-off Poll – Last Day  
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