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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Grin and Grow with Kathy 12/14/21

I Will Praise: A Study on the 'I Wills' of the Psalms

Swapping out the hustle of the Christmas holiday for the holiness of the season leads to praising God. ~Kathy Carlton Willis

STORY: Singing Praise this Christmas

You would think the word “praise” would appear in more Christmas carols, considering the angels and shepherds praised God for Jesus’s birth. Can you think of a song that not only inspires you to praise God this Christmas, but mentions it in the lyrics? I asked my friends, and these are the ones they came up with.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem,” in the second verse, leads us to sing:

“And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.”

Just reading that makes me feel a little bit more in the Christmas spirit—how about you?

The final verse of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” reminds us who is doing the praising and who we are praising:

“Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace.”

“O Holy Night” also encourages praising God in the final verse:

“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.”

“Let all within us” ties in perfectly with this “I will” study. I selected these statements in the Psalms to motivate all of us who celebrate the Christ of Christmas to be intentional, determined and dedicated in our praise of God this season.

STUDY: Praising God Takes Dedication

I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 145:2 NLT)
  • The determined declaration of “I will” adds to the commitment of praising God every day. And if every day isn’t often enough, the psalmist declares his praise will go on forever. Can’t get much more permanent than that!
  • What will it take for you to not only make a similar promise, but to actually carry it out?
[A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.]
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. (Psalm 34:1 NLT)
  • Not all times are worthy of praise, but when God is Lord, He is worthy to be praised even in the worst of times.
  • How can you stay motivated to want to constantly praise God and tell others of His perfect character traits and works?
With every bone in my body I will praise him: “Lord, who can compare with you? Who else rescues the helpless from the strong? Who else protects the helpless and poor from those who rob them?” (Psalm 35:10 NLT)
  • What does that first phrase indicate to you?
  • Speak the question in quotation marks aloud. God is worthy of praise.
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:11 NLT)
  • In our New Testament world, hope is anchored in our Savior—Jesus Christ.
  • Psalm 42 is known as a “maskil,” which is a literary or musical term, indicating the psalm is to be meditative.
  • Tradition tells us the psalmists of Psalm 42 are the sons of Korah. They acknowledge the sad self-talk going on but flip the switch to focus on hope and praise instead. What happens when you quit having a pity party and start hoping and praising?
But I will keep on hoping for your help; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:14 NLT)
  • After reading Psalm 42:11 above, this verse keeps us focused on the hope of the Savior.
  • How does the Lord help you when you are discouraged?
With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever. (Psalm 86:12 NLT)
  • In this verse and the next, David is all in when it comes to praising God.
  • How would you reword this psalm to make your own declaration?
A psalm of David.
Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. (Psalm 103:1 NLT)
  • David wants to praise his Lord with more than his mouth. What two ways does he employ to emphasize the scope of this dedication?
  • Is there anything you’re holding back from praising the Lord?
[For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be sung to the tune “Death of the Son.”]
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. (Psalm 9:1 NLT)
  • What happens when you praise the Lord with all your heart? What happens when your heart isn’t totally into praising him?
  • One of the best ways to praise God is to tell of all his marvelous works. When it’s about God, it’s praise. When it’s about ways he has blessed us, that’s gratitude and thanks.

STEPS: I Will Praise God

  1. I will praise God with intention. Intention focuses on purpose, strives toward a goal, and takes a plan to be successful.
  2. I will praise God with determination. Determination comes from a firm resolve to use willpower (God’s power) to stay on course despite obstacles.
  3. I will praise God with dedication. Dedication is inspired by devotion and creates a commitment to persevere regardless of challenges.

Copyright © 2021 Kathy Carlton Willis, used with permission.

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