Perfecting Praise

Matthew 21:16 And said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?”

Praise—it comes from the greek word eksomologéō which means “wholly out from,” or “say the same thing about”) – properly, the term implies one who fully agrees and acknowledges that agreement openly (whole-heartedly); hence, to confess (“openly declare”), without reservation (no holding back)

Think about those times of worship at church. When God’s people are singing about the goodness of God—true praise comes from the fullness of a heart that acknowledges God’s goodness among other believers who agree. Worship is a declaration of God’s goodness, confessing that He alone is worthy of all praise.

The purity of worship comes from the purity of God’s presence in His people.

The Innocent

I’ve often found that children inspire a sense of purity or innocence and they typically embody faith.

I was spending time with my granddaughters this past week and could see all the same qualities that Jesus spoke of regarding children.

Joy, purity, hope, innocence….and yes, even praise emanates from their being. The Lord is glorified in children because their hearts are pure. I can see the hand of the Father in their smiles and in their tenderness.

The majesty in how God has knitted these little ones together is reflected in who they are. In a world that continues to marginalize children by what is taught in schools, by allowing false teachers to prey upon their little minds and the value placed on the unborn, it’s worth looking into God’s perspective and be reminded of what is good.

Mark 10:13-16 “Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you,whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them.”

Jesus was quite open to receiving kids into His loving arms. Even with throngs of crowds pressing in for teaching or healing, He took the time to bless them…such is the Fathers heart.

An illustration in perspective was the lesson Jesus invoked when focusing His attention toward these innocent ones.

A child often sees the world very simply and while innocence and joy are easily seen in their laughter, the idea of how they see life is worth taking notice.

To receive the Kingdom of God is the call that everyone is called to accept. This call is the very call of Jesus to those who walk in darkness, it is a call to salvation.

What is it that inhibits people from receiving this call? A lack of faith? The cares of this world? Pride? What is hindered you from coming? What hinders you now?

*Children accept authority

*Children trust

*Children believe all things, hope in all things, bear all things, and endure all things.

Sound familiar?

{Children embody the love of God}

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.”

The innocence and likewise naivety, foolishness and simplicity of children are understandable, they have yet to grow in their thinking. The way children receive love is the lesson and yet we are called to put off the other aspects of childishness spiritually. Growth, maturity and understanding come as we walk in Christ and submit to the leading of the Spirit of God in our lives.

Growing to Maturity

1 Peter 2:1-3 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

Having witnessed my own children and now grandchildren, I’ve seen (and heard), the yearning a child needs for milk. As their little bodies grow, their minds develop and their strength increased, it is this milk that provides the nourishment that is vital to their development.

This model of yearning is the model we see in the Bible, encouraging us to seek that which will help us grow in our faith, our minds will be transformed by the pure milk of the Word, and our strength of character will grow into a godliness that honors the One who supplies us with all we need.

If we don’t receive this spiritual nourishment on a daily basis, we will grow weak, our spiritual vigor will be reduced and our lives will diminish in the ability to sustain the rigors of this world we live in.

*Daily growth requires daily time with God.

As I reflect on my sweet little grandkids (and ones to come), I see the joy that their parents have instilled within them. The love they have poured into their lives, teaching, protection, and nourishment is reflected in their countenance.

*What does your spiritual countenance look like?—It is usually a result of how your spirit is fed.

John 16:23-24 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing.Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

Jesus has promised us, He will supply us with all we need.

A perspective that is vital to remember is where our source of life originates, where our spiritual nourishment comes from, from whence comes our source of joy, and trusting the Lord that He will supply us according to His wisdom and in the portion that He deems necessary.

1 Corinthians 14:20 “Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.”

Nativity is a term that in this day, has been looked upon as a thing of ridicule. With the glut of information at our fingertips, we have no excuse for not being well informed, (so they say).

Do we really need to know all of the evil that is happening in our world? Do we need to understand the mind of a serial murderer or rapist? Do we need to watch a series on a pedophile ring to know that evil is rampant in this world of darkness?

*Innocence is a trait that should be honored.

Innocence is pure, it is not biased, it suffers no wrong toward others, it does not judge, it hopes and it endures. It does not see the differences in people but it sees their value. It recognizes the quality of innocence in others and sees them for who they want to be and not for who they have been.

The innocence of my precious little granddaughter, as she awakens from her nap, is one of delight in seeing her mother and father once again. She doesn’t grow tired of them but she grows closer and trusts more with each passing day.

When we arise in the morning, our response to Jesus should be the same. Prayer is a bulwark of the faithful. Jesus modeled this in His life, continually separating Himself from the crowds to spend time with the Father, He knew what was important by the way He lived life.

We should want to spend time with our Father as well. He is our source of joy, hope, strength and purpose and our praise is perfected in His Holiness.

*Praise is innocence revealed.

*Praise resonates within the body of Christ

*Praise emanates from the Spirit of God who indwells within us.

*Praise is a product of knowing God’s faithfulness

If we keep our eyes on the world, on our circumstances, or on ourselves…we miss all that is good.

There are so many things that want to distract us in this day and age, we must keep our eyes on the King of Glory. His promises are true. He is faithful to all generations. He waits for you to come.

Psalm 9:1-5 “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name
, O Most High. When my enemies turn back,
They shall fall and perish at Your presence.
For You have maintained my right and my cause;
You sat on the throne judging in righteousness.
You have rebuked the nations,
You have destroyed the wicked;
You have blotted out their name forever and ever.

Take courage….Jesus will reign forever and all of the evil in this world will be cast down and thrown out, you will see it one day, and your joy will be made complete; it will happen, until then keep on and praise Him!

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