Some years ago Merlin Carothers wrote a series of books on the power of praise. He showed how people who were willing to praise God even in the most difficult of circumstances saw great changes in their lives. There is much in Scripture about praising God. It is not that God is some egotistical being that need our praise, like the Romans and Greek gods fashioned in human images. It is we who need to praise God. Psalm 22, the great psalm depicting our Lord suffering on the cross, says “Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.”(vs.3), or as in the King James version translate it, “you inhabit the praise of Israel”. In other words our praise bring us into the presence of our gracious God. By praising God we enter into His presence, and that changes things. Oh, we may still have to deal with difficult circumstances of life, but we know we are not alone. We are strengthened and supported by the Lord who is in control of all things. And in that we can find peace.
Today is Memorial Day in the U.S. This is a day we set aside to remember those who serve in our armed service, and especially those who have give their lives to maintain our freedom. We set aside a number of day throughout the year to remember special events in our history. For example the Jews set up a number of stone monuments at places of importance. Fathers would tell their children what God did in whose place for the good of His people. Christians have the cross as a constant reminder of the redeeming sacrifice our God has made on our behalf. We live near Washington, D.C. a place filled with monuments for our past. Our nation sets aside a number days throughout the year for remembrance – if they don’t become replace by car sales and store bargains. What is the point? It is covered by the simple phrase – lest they forget. Our history is important. The past actions of our Lord, and those of our ancestors, are important for understanding who we are. They give us direction and commitment for our present days. They remind us of the cost that has been paid for us to live life today, thus keeping us from being arrogant and self satisfied.