Monday, June 15, 2015
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Our dog, Missy, had to share our attention with another pet. Yeah, it was a canary that we named in honor of one of our Native American friends. We named the canary Cherokee. Now, this little yellow cheerleader was great for when you were in a bad mood because he never was! As soon as you uncovered his cage in the morning, he began warbling his repertoire of happy tunes. It might be a sunny day, and you had happy singing from him all day long. It might be a miserable day. Guess what? Happy singing all day long! It didn't matter how the people around our canary felt; happy, stressed, noisy, quiet, or down. It just didn't matter. No matter what, he was always singing!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Praise Talking and Stubborn Singing."
You know the bottom line today? We've got a lot to learn from the Hutchcraft canary. Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Hebrews chapter 13, verse 15. It says, "Through Jesus, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of lips that confess His name." Notice how frequently we're called to be praising God - continually. And notice that a lot of times praising God is a sacrifice.
Now watch! Why is that? Because we don't feel like it. There's a lot of unpleasant stuff going on. We've been praying, maybe, and we haven't gotten any answers that we can recognize. When times are tough and God seems largely silent, praise is not just the overflow of some gushy spiritual high, "Hey, praise the Lord!" No, it's a choice. It's a sacrifice.
And God's command to be praise talkers is not conditioned on our circumstances. He says "continually". Listen to 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Be joyful always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." This sounds like the lifestyle of a certain yellow bird. No matter what, he was singing. His script for the day was already written. Everyone was going to hear positive sounds from him.
That's a choice we are all called to make each new day. Actually, the commitment to be a "praiser" is a new perspective on your day. You go into the day aggressively looking for the marks of God on that day, the subtle activity of God, the dramatic activity of God, the little things, the big things, the little surprises, the little encouragements. There's not a day in your life that doesn't have the fingerprints of God all over it.
But like human praise, they're not always immediately visible. You have to go looking for them. And that's what "praisers" do. I have seen the effect of a stubborn singer on the people who hear the songs. Our canary's happy sounds made it pretty tough to stay in a bad mood, and we really appreciated that bird's consistent positiveness.
I think you can have that effect on the people around you, lifting their load, lifting their spirits, changing the atmosphere if you lose the complaining, lose the cynicism, lose the negative and you dedicate yourself to continually praising your Lord. Not just with a rote "Praise the Lord!" But with specific praises for specific evidences of God's character and God's working in this very day.
You may be in a sick bed, an unemployment line, a lonely time, a time of loss, or a time of overwhelming stress. But is that what's going to determine your attitude or your talk? No, it needs to be the Christ in you, not the circumstances around you.
I want you to be like our little canary friend, singing no matter what and turning people's sadness into singing.