Friday, December 30, 2011

Psalm 148 The Rejuvenating Activity of Praise

Divine light
It has been said, “prayer and praise change people, not God.” What happens to us when we offer praise to God?

To praise God essentially requires us to willingly put God at the center of our lives. We must surrender all of ourselves to the Spirit.

We have both a soul and a mind. The differences between the two are subtle but extremely important. The soul is that which has the capacity to communicate directly with the Divine. It is that part of the consciousness which controls the amount and the level of energy (input) we receive from the Spirit. If our minds were to directly apprehend the fullness of God, we would perish from the intense energy. (Recall Moses’ countenance after the burning bush experience). But the soul is similar to a pressure valve in that it allows the appropriate amount of Divine light to enter the mind. The illumined soul (heavens) is a critical component in the work of Spirit. Divinely inspired ideas and thoughts (his angels and host) descend into the soul. The soul receives input in a comprehensive sense; its creative purpose is to reveal the will of the Divine.

The conscious mind is the vehicle through which we express freewill. We can only perceive God’s will through the mind, which sorts and sifts through the information so that we can analyze and make decisions. In the enlightened individual, the mind is a pure reflection of the soul. But because of the nature of the mind, it is very easy for us to cut our mind off from the soul. This does not mean that the light of the soul is not there, it just means that we do not give it prominence in our lives. People who are caught up in worldly mindedness have chosen to dim the light of the soul.

We as human beings have dominion over our minds (earth) but not over our souls (heavens). We have all been created under Divine laws (he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed), within which we can faithfully live our lives. As children we are very much in touch with our souls, we do what comes naturally to us. The word “should” rarely plays a role in our decisions. However as we grow older, we are trained to behave in a socially acceptable way. This training begins the process of disconnecting the mind from the soul. By the time we reach adulthood most of us are very in touch with what others want us to do, but have little knowledge of what our soul’s purpose is. We spend the rest of our lives trying to remove the barriers (that we have erected) that block the reflection of the pure soul light into the mind.

Praise is the activity that dissolves these walls. The effects of praise on the individual are significant. We should expect that when we release the demands of the world and orient our lives around the will of God. Most often we experience turmoil in our world. Fire and hail, snow and frost, and stormy wind represent the challenges (mental and physical) we face as our hearts and minds are exposed to the light of God. Change takes place within us on every level. From this higher state of understanding we are able to reconnect with our soul’s purpose. Spirit takes root deeply and we experience a new life. There is an integration that takes place in our lives. We eventually discover harmony and balance in our lives (young men and women alike, old and young together).

As we praise God, we become single-mindedly focused on the work of the Divine (his name alone is exalted). We experience our oneness with God. It is through the activity of the Spirit that we are able to look beyond adverse conditions and affirm the presence of God in our lives (He raised up a horn for His people). We are restored to our station as a child of God, created in God’s image and likeness. Our salvation is in allowing the soul to fulfill its purpose—to be a channel of God’s wisdom and works in the world. This is the born again experience.

And so it is! Amen!
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