Psalm 71: 1-14 Isaiah 49:1-7 1 Corinthians 1: 18-31 John 12: 20-36
The psalmist gives us a wonderful model for dealing with times when a situation becomes stressful. He acknowledges his need for God’s help, and then expresses his trust in the One who “took me from my mother’s womb” and upon whom he has depended since his birth! When the psalmist remembers the stories of his dependence on God, he proclaims “my praise is continually of you” and “my mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all day long!” (V. 6-8)
Praising God opens our hearts to God, helping us to remember God’s goodness and grace. It also helps us to realize that we don’t have to remind God continuously of our needs, for “God knows our needs before we ask” (Matt 6:8). In praising God, we are lifting our hearts to God and becoming more aware that, as Scripture says, “God is pouring love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:5). This awareness increases our joy, and “The joy of the Lord is our strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10).
Our greatest joy of course, is in knowing Jesus as the light of the world. In our gospel reading for today, Jesus invites us to believe and follow Him in walking as children of the light! This invitation seems closely connected to another promise of Jesus to those who are walking in the light: “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38) In conclusion, it would seem that praising God can keep our hearts open and free so that God can make us instruments of God’s peace and joy through the power of the Holy Spirit.