October 15, 2023

Praiseworthy Living!

Isaiah 25:1

“O Lord, you are my God, I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.”

The prophet Isaiah exalted and praised God because he realized that God completes His plans as promised! Therefore, trust and believe, from days gone by, to days yet to come, God fulfills his plans and promises for you! So, think of all of your prayers God has answered (spoken and unspoken; sometimes even before you know or think of it!), and praise God for His goodness, wisdom, mercy and faithfulness! May all your living bring praise to God!

From “Spreading the News” by Dan Schall: “All of us hunger for a word of praise. Mark Twain was credited with saying: ‘Ican live for two months on a good complement.’ Yes, every normal person longs secretly to be recognized and appreciated. It is a normal human trait common to all of us. So, whenever we recognize a good deed, a job well done, or a thoughtful act by someone, and show our appreciation by a word of praise, the life of each is made a little happier and richer.” A perfect example of Praiseworthy Living…

Think of all the good God has already done, and the promises of all God will do for you, and for all yet to come, and give God the glory in-and-through your Praiseworthy Living; remembering, loving and living the most praiseworthy words of David…

Psalm 23:

1. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

2. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters,

3. He restores my soul.

When we recognize Jesus as our Good Shepherd, and allow God to faithfully guide us in all our ways, we have contentment and commitment. Our shepherd knows the “green pastures” and the “quiet waters” that will “restore” our souls. We can and will reach these wonderful places only by following Him obediently and practicing our own Praiseworthy Living – faithfully living for and following God! For,

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4. [And], Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Because we have a Good Shepherd there is no need to fear or worry – God will show you the way – God will be with you all the way! God will guide you and protect you even as His own-and-only, most precious one…

5. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

How joyful are you then when you live happily with God in your heart and Jesus by your side! In Christ Jesus, the Good Shepherd, may your cup of goodness and kindness always overflow! For:

6. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

And, not just for today, but in all of your days – earthly and eternal – you shall dwell in the love of God forever! Praise God! When we think of true, “Praiseworthy Living” we need only think of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi; praising them for their God-worthy living, and seeing Paul’s words of praise to the Philippians, as if also written to you here in Madrid today:

Philippians 4:1, 4-9 1.

Therefore, my brothers [and sisters], you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, (this) is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!

4. Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!

5. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (So)

6. Do not be anxious about anything; but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

As Paul’s words speak for themselves, so must your words and actions also speak for yourselves… Therefore, rejoice in all things – let your sweet spirit shine through… God is near! No need to be anxious or worried! As David promised, God is forever near and hears the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart… Pray and give praise…

7. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

8. Finally, brothers [and sisters], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.

9. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Yes, truly, when your living is praiseworthy, others will see the love of God and the peace of Jesus in all your ways. For, as it is often said: “You may be the only Bible your neighbor will ever read,” if you love the Bible – to which every page points to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the true Savior of the world – by your praiseworthy living – people will see your ultimate joy, as the peace of Jesus lives within you!

~Pastor Richard Lenz, Sermon, October 15, 2023