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Selected Verses: Psalm 103:1-5. Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 2Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 3Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; 4Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; 5Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 50:23. Whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. Opening: One of the greatest blessings I ever received in my life I got when I felt least like praising. And why didn’t I feel like it? Why, because I was bound inwardly. I was dark. You can’t image that because you’ve known me differently. But before I came to Brooklyn, before I was really filled with the Holy Ghost, I used to be dark, used to be mad. And when I came to Pentecostal meetings where they praised the Lord, I said, “Oh, these people are hysterical.” “They’re just imitating one another,” I said. And I couldn’t praise the Lord: I was mad, I was angry, I was critical. I didn’t know that these things were of the devil. But I found it out, thank God! I found out that when we don’t “rejoice in the Lord always,” why, we sin against God. The Bible says, “We are the circumcision who rejoice in Christ Jesus.” That’s what sets us apart from this dark world. We “walk in the light as He is in the light:” “In whom there is no darkness at all.” And there was darkness inside of me. Now you might call it what you please. We have such nice Latin names. Instead of calling you a liar, they call you a prevaricator. That sounds better. But you’re just a plain liar. Praise the Lord! And instead of calling you a “dumper,” they call you a “melancholy person.” That sounds better. And so we turn on our radio, and we sing a song that makes us feel good: “If to pine in the dungeon ‘twere ere my fate, while light struggled in through the iron grate, what view would most soothe my unwearied eye? The boundless ocean? The earth, or sky?” Sniff, sniff, boo hoo! But the Bible says that “His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” His praise: “the joy of the Lord.” “In Thy presence is fullness of joy.” Selected Quotes: Next time I went to meeting, they were all praising the Lord. Thank God, I came to a church where praise was offered all the time. They praised until they got hoarse, in almost every meeting. And when they lifted their hands, I couldn’t get mine up. They were like heavy hams hanging on. Did you ever feel like that: can’t get your hands up? I couldn’t open my mouth. But I said, “Now or never.” And when they praised the Lord, I stuck them up. And I opened my mouth, and it felt as if somebody was choking me. But I did it with faith, and I said, “Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!” And then, a great transformation came over me which has stuck with me. That heaviness, that darkness left—just went out of me. And the glory of God filled my soul, and my body became as light as a feather. You can’t explain that. But it means that that dark devil had gone out and Jesus Christ, the King of Glory, had come in. That’s what praise does for you. “Whosoever offereth praise…” Oh, this offering is acceptable in the sight of God. He accepts it, thank God! He is worthy. And oh, what a privilege I have to praise the Lord, and then have God come to me. “He inhabits the praises of His people.” He flows through the praises of His people into your soul. And nothing else will take the place of praise. Now, you don’t have to make the Lord faithful, He is faithful. You don’t have to make Him want to forgive your sins, He’s already borne them. And you don’t have to make Jesus Christ willing to heal you from your sicknesses, He’s already borne them. If you want to know, like the leper, “Lord, if You will, you can heal me,” and you ask Him, “Lord…” Maybe there’s somebody in this meeting who needs healing. And you can say, “Now, I wonder if the Lord is willing to heal me.” Why, for goodness sake, He showed His willingness on the cross of Calvary, when He took your infirmity! Beloved, it’s a great fact which all hell is not able to uproot: “Himself took…” Thank God! And that’s why this Psalm says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul.” That’s where we start out, to drink of that water of life that Jesus Christ gives us. And now the Bible says, “Bless, the Lord, O my soul.” Who is this Lord? Why, it’s Jesus, your Jesus, your Lord. And He tells us what He will do: “who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases.” Tonight we praise Him because He’s forgiven our iniquities, and we say, “They’re underneath the blood, on the cross of Calvary.” Your sicknesses are there too. As soon as you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, your sickness will lose its power. It’ll definitely lose its strength because “by His stripes we are healed.” And you don’t have to ask the Lord, “Are you willing—willing to heal me?” You don’t have to ask Him, “Are you willing to forgive my sins?” He says—He begs, He beseeches you: “Be ye reconciled to God, for He hath made Him to be sin for us”—for us!—“who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” There’s no question at all that God is willing and “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” And He says, “If you offer praise, there’s in the way in. I’ll show you My salvation.” What a salvation! When poor Job was smitten with sickness! I always say as long as he brought home his pay envelope on Saturday, he was prince charming. But when he lost his job, and he came home with B.O. and halitosis, his wife says, “You’re good for nothing. You might as well die.” And she finally picked him up with her vacuum cleaner and put him in the ash can. And poor Job, he was really down. But what did he say? He said, “I know that my Redeemer is alive. My redeemer! And if He’s my redeemer, His job is to redeem me.” And he said, “And in my flesh shall I see God. My God is not going to forsake me whom He has created, but He’s going to come and redeem me.” And because of Job’s faith, I think the devil’s still scratching himself. He must have walked off with all the boils that Job had. Oh my, what a victory that man won because he praised God when he felt least like it! And he overcame. And beloved, that’s the wonderful weapon God puts into our hands: to praise for a fact. Illustrations: Sin lodges in the heart and consumes it like a parasite consumes a mouse. (from 3:09) God’s great faithfulness, even in the humble matter of feeding a rabbit. “…and now if all the preachers in the world don’t believe it, my rabbit believed it, and he ate it. You know, ‘as it was in the days of Noah…’ Those professors of theology, those sons of God didn’t believe Noah. But the camels and the donkeys, they all went in… And my rabbit, he received it, and he believed it, and oh, ‘the unsearchable riches of Christ,’ they are waiting to be bestowed on God’s people.” (from 15:46) The story of a missionary who fought smallpox with praise. (from 20:32) The story of a widow in Germany who praised when facing eviction. “‘I know that tomorrow I’ll be dispossessed if I don’t have the rent, but here’s an opportunity for God to show His faithfulness.’ And He did. He didn’t leave her alone. He’ll ‘never leave you nor forsake you’ if you walk upon the ‘highway of holiness.’ And that highway is the highway of faith.” (from 25:25) German at 5:51: Das ist im Leben häßlich eingerichtet, dass bei den Rosen gleich die Dornen steh’n kaum hat man sich gemütlich eingerichtet, (original: Und was das arme Herz auch sehnt und dichtet,) zum Schluss kommt doch das Voneinander geh’n. The opening of a poem by Joseph Viktor von Scheffel (1826-1886), set to music by various composers: It’s an ugly arrangement in life That right by the roses are the thorns. No sooner has one made oneself comfortable, (original: and whatever a heart might long for and dream about,) There is separation in the end. German at 7:21, and 12:04: Psalm 50:23. “Wer Dank opfert, der preiset mich; und da ist der Weg,”—nicht da im Loch, sondern da—“daß ich ihm zeige das Heil Gottes.” Preis dem Herrn! As translated by HRW: “Whosoever brings praise as an offering, it is he that praises Me, and this is the way”—not there in the dump, but there—“upon which I will reveal to him My salvation.” Praise the Lord! A more literal translation is: “He who sacrifices thank-offerings honors me, and there is the way I will show him the salvation of God.” The King James for Psalm 50:23 has: Whoso offereth the sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. German at 24:58: Psalm 73:23. “Dennoch bleibe ich stets an dir…” — “Nevertheless I am continually with thee…” References: The poem quoted in the introduction was published in The Robber’s Cave: A Tale of Italy, by A.L.O.E. (i.e. Charlotte Maria Tucker, 1821-1893), published by T. Nelson, F. Revell, and others. If to pine in a dungeon were e’er my fate When light struggled in through the iron grate, What view would most soothe my unwearied eye,— The boundless ocean—the earth—or sky ? Oh! not the ocean! — its ceaseless swell With my restless grief would accord too well; The voice of its wild waves would break my sleep, And the captive bend o’er his chain and weep. ’Twere sweet to gaze on the laughing earth, And view, though distant, its scenes of mirth. Ah, no! ah, no! they would but recall Life's flowers to one who had lost them all. The sky, the sky, unbounded, bright. With its silvery moon, and its stars of light, The blush of morning, the evening glow, Its passing clouds, and its radiant bow,— There—there would I fix my unwearied eye. Till fancy could paint a bright world on high, And earth and its sorrows would fade in night, With freedom before me—and heaven in sight! The story of HRW’s breakthrough into praise is presented in another aspect in recording 28A. My Sins are Gone, a hymn by N. B. Vandall, 1936: You ask me why I’m happy so I’ll just tell you why, Because my sins are gone; And when I meet the scoffers who ask me where they are, I say, “My sins are gone.” They’re underneath the blood on the cross of Calvary, As far removed as darkness is from dawn; In the sea of God's forgetfulness, that's good enough for me, Praise God, my sins are gone!

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