A Praise Progression

Man playing a guitarGenesis 8

Those of you who play an instrument or who are into music theory already know what a “chord progression” is.  But for those of us who can only play the radio a quick definition might be in order.  A chord progression is “a series of musical chords, or chord changes that ‘aims for a definite goal’ of establishing (or contradicting) a tonality founded on a key, root or tonic chord and that is based upon a succession of root relationships.” (source: Wikipedia)

Okay… if you aren’t musically inclined, that probably meant absolutely nothing to you!  So why bring it up?

Because I see in Scripture a “praise progression” that also “aims for a definite goal” and establishes a “tonality” in life… that is… if we follow the progression all the way through to praise!

The progression is:  Waiting, Being Heard, Hoping, Being Rescued, Praising.

The most obvious praise progression is Psalm 40:1-3 – “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.  He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord.”

The progression goes like this:  I waited; God heard me; I hoped (this is the patient part); I was rescued (He brought me up.); I sang a song of praise.

I have read a lot of books on prayer that say you should praise God for being who He is, not for what He has done for you.  That sounds great in theory… but how can you not praise Him for all He has done for you?  He PUT that song in your mouth… you cannot help but sing it!  The natural result of the progression is that “many see and fear and trust in the Lord.”  Harsh chords of pain and waiting and patience are resolved in the end and the sound is so sweet!  It is enticing!

What does this have to do with Genesis 8?  This is first “praise progression” of the Bible!

Noah was caught in a waiting period. – “The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.” -Genesis 7:24

God remembered Noah. – “But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark..” (8:1)

God sends hope.  – “The dove came to him toward the evening, and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf.” (8:11)

God rescues Noah. – “Then God spoke to Noah, saying, ‘Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons, and your sons’ wives with you.'” (8:15-16)

Noah praises God. – “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord…” (8:20)

Maybe you are struggling to praise the Lord today.  Your life is cooped up in a smelly old ark.  You may feel bitter or angry at your circumstances.  Praise is more difficult at different stages within the progression.  How difficult it is to praise Him with your heart in discord!  But remember this:  The chord WILL be resolved… whether in this life or the next.  Right now, your praise will just take a different form depending on where you are in the progression.

So pray:

Lord, I’m waiting.

or Lord, remember me.

or Lord, I sense you are sending me hope.  (I see the olive branch!)

And if you have found your chord resolved… if God has rescued you… Sing the Song of the Redeemed!  And if for nothing else… praise Him for Calvary… praise Him for the cross… praise Him for the hope of resurrection!

John McArthur once referred to Jesus as “the harmonizer of all discords.”  What an apt description for the lover of music theory… and for this rest of us…  who know a good song when we hear it!

Blessings!

Thanksgiving or Thanksreceiving?

Philippians 1:3 – I thank my God every time I remember you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Wanted to share a little thanksgiving humor today from another blog titled “Turning Thankgiving into Thanksreceiving” by Paul Johnson.  It is a tongue-in-cheek (I hope) look at people that do their best to impress at the Thanksgiving feast.  He suggests hosting the meal because “Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity for you to leave subtle clues around your house about being an impressive person.”

He suggests:  “Making your medicine cabinet as impressive as possible.”  “…removing the embarrassing products, why not replace them with all your trophies, college transcripts showing your outstanding GPA, and a solved Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle?”

He also suggests leaving “complex scientific notes lying around.”

He also says to :  “Hide tools around the house so people will think of you as handy and masculine.” “Why not leave a drill under a couch cushion?  When a guest sits down he’ll immediately jump back up to pull the drill out from under him.  “I was wondering where I left that drill,” I nonchalantly tell him.  “I totally forgot it was under the cushion when I finished building the couch.”

He also suggests leaving an open datebook in the bathroom that looks like this: 

Check out the entire hilarious blog:  http://thegoodgreatsby.com/2011/11/23/turning-thanksgiving-into-thanksreceiving/?blogsub=confirmed#blog_subscription-5

As I read this I can think of some gifts we can give the guests at our feasts today:  the benefit of the doubt, their point, their moment in the spotlight, our forgiveness, our attention… our love.

Be a Thanksgiver today!