January 25, 2017
Fr. Dino M. Jorvina
One of the things that our Church leadership wants to build in us is a culture of the Word of God, a culture of praise and worship, a culture whereby we become the people of God who are sensitive to the voice of God, to the leadings of the Spirit that we are quick to respond to the things that God wants us to do.
Tonight, I would like to share a very basic thing that I believe that we can rediscover as a people, as a Church. There was this prophecy shared during the Leadership Seminar, which says that the glory of the latter house will be greater than the former house. We desire to develop a culture of the Word of God, a culture of prayer, and a culture of praise and worship amongst us. In the song, “We are the People of Power,” I would like to emphasize the line, “We are the people of praise.” This song was introduced to us in 1986 when our country had the EDSA Revolution focusing on People Power. As a Church, we tried to operate in a different aspect – we are a people of praise!
If there is anything that I would like to desire and to impart in each and every one of you tonight, it is this: we are to truly worship and praise the Lord. It is timeless; classic; a mark of the people of God. We cannot disassociate our Christianity with praise and worship. They are together. We are a people of praise; we are a people of power. Yes, outward expressions are not always indicative of what is inside a person. We do not judge a book by its cover. There is more than meets the eye. We cannot tell exactly what is inside a person’s life by just looking at them. For one thing, we are not God. However, out of the abundance of joy and gladness in the Lord, we display an outward expression of them.
Our topic tonight is “Expression.” We cannot say, “My personality is that I am not a very demonstrative person.” This may be true, but this does not mean that a person cannot be outwardly expressive in worship of God. When we are so filled with the love of God, it will come out. Imagine being in a basketball game and our team is winning. We cannot help but be jumping up and down and shouting. If we win in the Megalotto, we will not react nonchalantly, but scream to the top of our voice.
Out of the abundance of joy and gladness in the Lord, we display an outward expression. We desire to bring this culture among us. It is very encouraging to witness people who are filled with the joy and gladness in the Lord and as Scriptures says, our lips will minister to one another. Talking about the latest gadgets or the current events is not bad, but more than that, from our lips, we display what is the abundance of our hearts.
Psalm 45 says, “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is a pen of a ready writer. You are fairer than the sons of men; grace is poured upon Your lips; therefore God has blessed You forever.” If you have been in love, out of this comes forth a good theme. In Luke 6:45, Jesus says, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.” A basic truth is that what fills our heart is what will come out; and if our hearts are filled with joy and gladness, we just show it and we display that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
In John 7:38, Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” We sing this song, “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. Make the lame to walk and the blind to see.” There is a river of life flowing out of us. Even if we are not a very demonstrative person, there will come out an expression from deep within us. I desire that we get into these things. Young people have the energy, so let it be spent in truly demonstrating what is in you and being a Christian. You really don’t have to spiritual. Your countenance can display an aura of joy. With this, people would love to be around you. A song verse says, “Why do birds suddenly appear every time you are near. Just like me, they long to be close to you.” This is because you are full of joy. There is something in you that begins to be a blessing. During Christmas time, one of the things that the angel gave was good tidings; good news; and this is what you bring.
The Word of God in living song is a result of the Word of God living in our hearts. One of the things that I do is to look at the hymns and Scriptures and I sing Scripture. Let us consider Psalm 34 which says, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them. O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.”
“Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Who is the man who desires life and loves lengths of days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”
This Scripture is filled with a lot of truth about living in the Word of God and living in the shadow of the Almighty. It talks about staying in His presence. The key is in what the Psalmist started with: I will bless the Lord at all times. There is an equivalent Scripture that says that in all circumstances, in everything, praise the Lord!
Many songs demonstrate Scripture. For instance, “Let us Exalt His Name,” is based on Psalm 34.
At all times I will bless Him
His praise will be in my mouth
My soul makes its boast in the Lord
The humble man will hear of Him
The afflicted will be glad
And join with me to magnify the Lord
Let us exalt His name together, forever
I sought the Lord, He heard me
And delivered me from my fears.
Let us exalt His name together, forever
O sing His praises magnify the Lord
The angel of the Lord encamps
Round those who fear His name
To save them and deliver them from harm
Though lions roar with hunger
We lack for no good thing
No wonder then we praise Him with our song
Come children now and hear Him
If you would see long life
Just keep your lips from wickedness and lies
Do good and turn from evil
Seek peace instead of strife
Love righteousness and God will hear your cry
The last line of Psalm 34 says, “Love righteousness and God will hear your cry.” Sometimes, we feel, “Is God hearing my cry? Is God hearing my prayers?” The Psalm says cling to what is good and love righteousness. The righteous loves righteousness. We have a lot of issues in life and God will hear our cry.
Our lives must be a living expression of what is in us. We have to be an expression. We cannot be passive. There is this one woman I know where there is no good and bad for her and at all times, she praises God. I have seen her in her most trying moments and she has always inspired me that it became a prayer for me that I wanted to have her attitude. Even in the most troubled times and the worst scenarios, I will begin to have praise in my lips. It is easier said than done, but we must be a living expression of what is in us. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
David was considered the man after God’s own heart. He was a man who praised God with every fiber of his being. We look at the life of King David and we saw the dark side of him, but in the midst of that, he knew what forgiveness is all about. He knew what it is to stand from failure to being a success; to stand in darkness and to be in the light.
In 2Samuel 6:12-15, “Now it was told King David, saying, ‘The Lord has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.’ David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom in the city of David with gladness. And so it was, that when the bearer of the ark of the Lord had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and fatling. And David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.”
One of the things our Church was known before was that we would have our praise and worship for more than an hour, and when we sing the intro of, “I will praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord with my whole heart and all of my strength, I will praise the Lord,” the people would just grow wild for God. I agree that it can be pure emotions, but it can be on the foundations of the Word of God and a real commitment to God. This is why the important thing that I want to point out is that we have to be a living expression of what is in us – the Word of God; the things of God. In this way, we begin to praise God with everything we have just like David did.
We should not be ashamed of worshipping God, especially in the liturgy. The more we should understand it because liturgy is already a teaching to us of what praise and worship is all about. A song says, “May our praise be an incense before you.” To those who are not liturgical, they don’t know what incense is all about. For us, we know what it is and we see it going up – showing our praise being an incense that rises up before God.
Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” We all have our journey in life and we go through the issues of life every now and then. When Paul and Silas were in prison, it was not a good situation. In Acts 16:25, they chose a better way. “About midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” In the dark times of our lives, when we begin to express our trust in God, we don’t really have to sing a melodious song. Our declaration should always be trusting and believing God; and if there are people around us who are chained and may be prisoners or in bondage in their lives, they will listen to us because we begin to speak of the things of God. The prisoners were listening to Paul and Silas. What a witness this is!
If we talk about real witnessing, this is when we begin to declare the things of God. As I shared, we don’t have to sing a melodious song, but it is how we declare what is in us that will minister to people and that people will listen to the things of God.
Our desire is that we create a culture of worship where people will not hesitate to raise their hands, clap for the Lord, and to lift their voices unashamed. Let us not be timid about worshiping God. When we are in the midst of the congregation, sing unto the Lord for He has done great and marvelous things in our lives. Then, we can see the Lord demonstrate the awesome power among us and in any situation in our lives.
There is something about the presence of God that is therapeutic because He fills us. Declare that we can sing of the love of the Lord forever. Dance for Him, sing for Him and lift our hands in praise to Him. Worship Him and magnify His name, seek His face and in His presence remain. All of these are expressions of our love to Him.