Posts tagged: praise

GOD’S NAMES: A Portrait of His Heart – God of All Comfort, Part 2 – 02/02/16

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By , February 2, 2016 3:45 pm

We opened singing “Blessed Assurance” by Third Day, “I AM” by Phil Wickham and “Days of Elijah” by Judy Jacobs in praise and worship.

Kathy reviewed the principles of God of All Comfort in the example of Paul and suffering.  She began a 2-part exploration of God of All Comfort as seen in Psalm 40:1-11.  “Get ready! I ‘m coming!”  Today she described the “get ready” part: knowing God’s voice of Comfort, moving mountains, lifting others up, and preparing the way with praise.

GOD’S NAMES: Father of Our Spirits – 09/22/15

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By , September 22, 2015 5:55 pm

We praised God by singing Immortal, Invisible by Brad Pribbenow and Everything Is Mine In You by Christy Nockels.

Kathy explained the basis of what Divine Design Discipleship is all about: understanding God’s intention for us to live life as an overflow of His Holy Spirit through our spirit as we connect the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with our spirit, soul and body.  We learned the importance of Thanksgiving , Praise and Worship in our spiritual growth and deepening knowledge of our Heavenly Father.

Re-Thinking Play, 04/22/14

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By , April 23, 2014 7:56 pm

This week Dana led us in Trumpet Call. We praised the Lord with 1) Children of Light by Passion 2) Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher 3) The Same Love by Paul Baloche 4) He Knows My Name by Tommy Walker.

Dana helped us to redefine play as an exchange of heart-swelling joy between you and your Abba Daddy. We looked at the joyful emotions God expresses toward us and we were challenged to ask God how He wanted to incorporate play in our lives. Dana also shared her personal testimony of how God brought play into her life through art and how “Jehovah-Sneaky” was actually teaching her to trust in the process.

Join us next week for our final lesson of the year!

The Gift Of True Joy

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By , July 22, 2013 5:05 pm

This summer I’ve posted a series of articles exploring praise and worship. While researching this topic, a friend introduced me to the writings of Peter Ogle. In his 7-year journey of living with cancer, Peter discovered what it meant to truly rejoice in the Lord.





When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

James 1:2 NLT


Just as there can be no real joy in life without first knowing sorrow, those who experience the depths of sorrow also know something about the gift of true joy. Joy and sorrow are, in effect, two sides of the same coin. I’ve found that those who have truly known sorrow—their own or that of someone they love—are often the most joyful people in the world. It’s the emotional flat-liners, those who succeed at cutting off the peaks and filling in the valleys of their emotional lives, who are most to be pitied.


Sorrow never comes invited into our lives. I did not choose to become a cancer patient. But by accepting the darkness that comes with a sense of loss, and knowing that the darkness is neither permanent nor complete, I can enjoy the light more than I ever imagined. It’s the kind of joyous light for which you had better leave your car at home. Joy, too, is transient, but while it lasts it’s intoxicating. Its memory brings a form of second-hand glow to the darkness when it descends. It can be a nightlight to the soul.


When I say that cancer has been a blessing in my life, this is one way I mean it: it has forced me to work and fret less and to open up time in which God can both bless me and allow me to bless others. It has both raised and deepened the spiritual topography of my life.


The joy that I have felt in these months can be described as a lightness of spirit. When you face the prospect of a premature exit from this earthly stage, but are in otherwise good health, you are unencumbered by many of the cares that otherwise weigh on us. I have little drive to achieve. I need prove nothing to others. I have completed my career. I have no desire to seek payback from those who I believe may have wronged me. I have no complicated schemes for the future. I desire less. I am at peace.


There was a moment last month when I was in England that brought my sense of joy in life to a brief pinnacle. By design, I planned my travel in the U.K. to include visits to a couple of the great cathedrals. The soaring spaces of these churches in which man reaches up to God in stone are counterbalanced by magnificent stained glass in which stories of how God has reached down to mankind are communicated in visual art. What I felt missing in these great churches, however, were the actual people of God. Everyone there, myself included, was a spiritual sightseer.


But when I reached Lee Abbey, I discovered a community of believers that not only spoke of God in personal terms, but…worshipped together in a manner that brought me to tears. People from more than a dozen nations ranging in age from 15 to 85 raised their voices in prayer and in song to the God of all creation. It was exhilarating. The joy we experienced together had little to do with the space we occupied, and everything to do with the object of our adoration.


This, I’ve concluded, is the truest form of joy: the praise I lift to the Creator. The lightness I’ve felt at other moments in my life is the lifting of burdens by the God who loves me, and who loves to be loved in return. True worship is this connection with the source of all light and joy. My life is not only about worship, as much as I might wish it to be. There are other things in this world that I need to be about. But I do know that some day I and everyone in His presence will worship God ceaselessly. Our joy will be complete, and all darkness will be subdued. His light will fill the universe. We will be in a cathedral without walls, and his stories of grace will have only begun.


Adapted from “Nightlife to the Soul” originally published October 9, 2010. To read more about Peter’s story, beginning with a cancer diagnosis in 2006 until his home going in May 2013, visit 

A New Song

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By , July 7, 2013 10:10 pm

He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.

 Psalm 40:3 NLT


I first discovered the power of praise as a desperate, fruitless Christian in the early 90’s. My life was practically devoid of love, joy, and peace. I was willing to try just about anything to find the abundant life that I knew Jesus had promised. So when the opportunity came along to go away for a weekend of prayer and praise, I decided to give it a try.
My only acquaintance with singing to God had been on Sunday mornings with the Baptist Hymnal or joining choruses of “Pass It On” around a campfire. But on that fateful weekend, I spent a big portion of those days singing praises to the Lord. It is no exaggeration to say that I was changed forever and so was the way I relate to the Lord.
That time of praise was so potent that I came home and immediately invested in the tools to make praise a lifestyle. I was a stay-at-home mom whose husband had an unpredictable income, yet I raided my stash of savings to start a music collection and get a 6-disc CD player installed in my car. (They weren’t standard in those days.) My kids and I ran errands to the sounds of Don Moen, Darlene Zschech and Judy Jacobs, singing along as we went.
I found that my praises silenced the chorus of condemnation that had been playing in my head for years. Only later did I find the Scripture that says just that: “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” (Psalm 8:2 NIV)  Whenever we sing of God’s mercy, the barrage of accusation is drowned out by the truth of God’s grace.
Rehearsing the truth in song became a source of joy in my life. When I found a song lyric that ministered to me, I’d search for verses to support it. If there was a principle that I sought to integrate into my life, I would create a playlist of spiritual songs on that topic. Somehow singing the concepts helped them burrow deeper into my soul—I literally sang them into my life.
Today I have collected over 4000 praise and worship songs. So many of those songs represent significant moments in my journey with the Lord. “Rejoice Africa” will forever take me back to the sweet presence of God’s Spirit impacting a boys’ soccer tournament. In the days when my father lay dying in ICU, “Made Me Glad” was my lifeline. “You Have Been So Good To Me” represents a turning point in my understanding of God’s character, the day I became fully convinced that His perfect love surrounds me and everything that concerns me.
It is my hope that you, too, will discover the powerful blessing of praising the Lord. To that end, I have compiled a list of songs and albums that have been meaningful to me and to the members of Divine Design’s Servant Team. I pray that you will soon be able to say that God has put a new song in your heart!
Favorite Artists:

Tommy Walker
Travis Cottrell
Klaus Kuehn
Gateway Worship
Paul Baloche
Michael W. Smith
Chris Tomlin


Favorite CDs:

“Revealing Jesus” by Darlene Zschech
“White Flag” by Passion
“Counting On God” by New Life Worship
“Alive Forever” by Travis Cottrell
“Revival At Brownsville” by Lindell Cooley
“Cover The Earth: Lakewood Live” by Various Artists
“WOW Hymns” by Various Artists
“Passion: Hymns Ancient and Modern” by Various Artists
“Greatest Hymns” by Selah

Favorite Songs:
From Sissy:
“Whom Shall I Fear ” by Chris Tomlin
From Dana:
“The Stand” by Hillsongs
“Reign In Us” by Starfield
“Great I Am” by New Life Worship
“Hello, My Name Is” by Matthew West
“I Lift My Hands” by Chris Tomlin
“Stronger” by Hillsongs
“Hallelujah We Will Sing” by Tommy Walker
“One Thing Remains” by Passion
From Martha:
“Just As I Am” by Travis Cottrell
“Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill
“All My Fountains” by Travis Cottrell
“Who Am I” by Casting Crowns
“Voice Of Truth” by Casting Crowns
“Deep Cries Out” by Bethel Church Live
“A New Hallelujah” by Chris Tomlin
From Phyllis:
“Blessings” by Laura Story
“Holding On” by Jamie Grace
“How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin
“Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go” by Indelible Grace Music
“The Power Of The Cross” by Keith and Kristyn Getty
“We Win” by Dennis Jernigan
“You Are My All In All” by Dennis Jernigan
From Donna:
“Never Once” by Matt Redman
“Broken Hallelujah” by Mandisa
“In Christ Alone (with the Solid Rock)” by Travis Cottrell
“How Great Thou Art” by Chris Rice
“How Great Thou Art” by Carrie Underwood
“I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin
“The Struggle” by Tenth Ave North
“By His Wounds” by Brian Littrell, Mac Powell, Mark Hall, and Stephen Curtis Chapman
From Debbie:
“Abba Father” by Klaus Kuehn
“Awakening” by Chris Tomlin
“Love Like Fire” by Hillsong Live
“Roar From Zion” Klaus Kuehn
“Whisper His Name” by Deluge
“Be Thou My Vision” by 4Him
“Counting on God by New Life Worship
“Standing” by William McDowell
“God Of The Impossible” by Sarah Reeves


Week 4: Doorway to Deeper Worship – Kathy Girardeau

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By , June 28, 2013 10:30 pm

We finished our series on Drawing Nearer To The Heart Of God this week with Kathy leading us through the end of Revelation 3 and the beginning of Revelation 4, tying all 4 weeks together. Debby opened praise with Psalm 148 and we watched an amazing video to go with it which you can view here

Note: There is periodic static on the first half of this recording that we were unable to remove without deleting important parts of the teaching. We have chosen to make the complete recording available to you, even though it is not up to our usual standards, so that you may have the full benefit of all the teaching.

Making Praise Personal, Part 2 – Kathy Girardeau

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By , June 20, 2013 9:04 pm

This week Kathy Girardeau shared some of her own personal praise journey, using James 1 as a backdrop for tapping into the promises of God in times of trial.

What Not To Wear

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By , June 16, 2013 7:02 pm

We have 2 more Monday nights to enjoy “Drawing Near to the Heart of God” together. Come and see for yourself what the Bible teaches about praise and worship. I will be teaching “Making Praise Personal, Part 2.” I hope to see you there!





Watching The Learning Channel program What Not To Wear (WNTW) was a favorite mother-daughter activity when my daughter was a teen. The show has a great philosophy. The idea is to help people find the garments that best benefit them in achieving their personal goals. They don’t condone becoming slaves to fashion. Instead, they teach principles and offer guidance for making wise wardrobe choices that complement their bodies and their lifestyles.
It occurred to me, after watching countless episodes (some repeatedly), that What Not To Wear’s ideas on building a wardrobe were helpful to me as I sought to follow the biblical exhortation to put on “garments of praise” (Isaiah 61:3).
The consultants on WNTW strive to personalize the wardrobes of their charges. In a similar way, our challenge is to praise God in ways that are personal and authentic. For all of us that means taking a good, honest look at how we approach our God in worship. My goal is to know Him without focusing on what others are wearing or what is most comfortable for me.
I must be willing to have my present ideas about worship challenged. Having a makeover on WNTW requires turning your current wardrobe over to the experts. Consultants Stacy and Clinton ask you to follow their guidelines in finding new ways to dress. Likewise, every part of a believer’s relationship with God needs to be decided by what God’s Word says. Praise and worship are no exception.
On What Not To Wear, ill-fitting garments are sent to the Discard Pile. Similarly, I have had to trash plenty of my mindsets about worship. Some of the hardest to let go of were my preferences in the areas of formality and music style.
The truth is that we are most comfortable with the familiar. But holding onto tradition has its dangers. Who wants to arrive at the high school reunion sporting their hairstyle from 10 or 20 years ago? We shudder at the thought! Are we equally willing to shed our traditions when it comes to worship? In Matthew 15:3 Jesus asks, “Why do you…transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
Many WNTW participants are nudged out of their comfort zones, but emerge from the process feeling empowered to be more of themselves. This has certainly been my testimony as I have begun practicing biblically based praise principles.
As I draw near to God with my praises, I have found my best-dressed self, the me that God originally intended. I come away from these times of communion with Him certain that the garments of praise aren’t uncomfortable or awkward, but are what I wear when I am most fully alive and free.

God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.

John 4:24 MSG

Week 1: Drawing Near to the Heart of God – Jean Costner Thomason

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By , June 11, 2013 2:51 pm

Our “Drawing Near to the Heart of God” series kicked off with a bang as Jean Costner Thomason shared her personal journey to intimacy with Christ and showed us the many words in Scripture that get translated to our one English word for praise.

Ushered Into The Holy Place

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By , May 27, 2013 2:31 pm

I am delighted to welcome Jean Costner Thomason as our guest writer for this week’s post. Once you read her amazing insights into the essence of worship, you’ll want to mark your calendar to attend our study this June, “Drawing Near to the Heart of God.” Jean will teach at our kickoff on June 3rd at 7 p.m.




“This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

There – that is a verse I have known as long as I can remember (thanks mom)… I quote it, I sing it, I use it to correct my children, I speak it over negative or frustrating circumstances, and I mean it…most of the time.  Amazing how I can forget the POWER of that verse – especially those 2 words, “I WILL.”  I WILL – meaning, I choose, I DO…it’s a verb; something we DO. And that, for me, is the beginning of understanding PRAISE TO GOD…which leads us into WORSHIP.
My life changed when I was in college and was impressed by the Word of God. “Impressed” is a good word…”pressed in,” like a cutter into dough. The verse the Holy Spirit impressed was this,
“He has put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Ps 40:3
Well I was singing all kinds of songs as a voice major, and when I pondered what a “song of praise” might be, I was stumped. At that time the only “praise” song I knew was the Doxology I had sung every Sunday of my life. By the way, it is a good praise song,
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
So I began a journey, all those years ago, into what God says is PRAISE. Today, we hear the words “praise” and “worship” lumped together all the time – but biblically, they are different.  The essential difference is this:
Praise is something we DO… a verb we WILL ourselves to do.
Worship is the “whole of life” given to God.
The word “worship” comes from an Anglo-Saxon word, “worthship” and actually means “to come near to kiss.” While “praise’ is an offering (Heb 13:15), “worship” can be an attitude, a place. Praise is an action and/or posture which leads us into “worship.” When I made the observation of these differences, it helped my understanding of what pleases the Father, and how that can change our very lives!
God gives us a “diet” of praise, that is, he gives us a choice, and these are a few of the specific types of actions we can do that please the Lord, and when we do these, WE reap benefits! I like to start with my favorite word, HALLELUJAH.  Now, if you have lived a few years in the Christian community, or just in the South, you know we throw this word around casually.  But God gave this word as a command… an imperative!  When you read your Bible and it says, “Praise the Lord!”, that is “HALLAL” in Hebrew. It is a command, something we are to obey. And it is a holy privilege!  Here is the meaning:
HALLAL = boast, rave, laud, celebrate, leap, dance, twirl, to be full of joy, clamorously foolish, with reckless abandon!

Well – THAT should shake up the “frozen chosen” 🙂 Apparently God loves our celebration of HIM! YAY!  AND, that is not all…He also encourages lifting hands, throwing out the arms in surrender, kneeling, bowing, shouting, playing stringed instruments, drums and cymbals, and (best of all I think) SINGING!  So, God tells us what He likes, and we then WILL ourselves to DO the action.
Here is the best definition I know of Biblical PRAISE from Bruce Leafblad:
“Praise is celebrative worship in which believers magnify and exalt the Lord, through expressive acts; enthusiastically proclaiming the unrivaled excellence of His name, His actions, and His character, in a spirit of UNINHIBITED REJOICING!”
So, we know WHAT it is, now we decide to DO IT. I love that King David talked to himself … he said, “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is in me, bless His holy name” (Ps 103:1).  And, “I WILL bless the Lord at all times, His praise WILL continually be in my mouth, my soul WILL make its boast in the Lord….” (Ps 34:1). David is willing himself to give praise to God.  Further, the Psalmist says this, “O THAT MEN WOULD PRAISE THE LORD.”  He knew the privilege, pleasure and power of praise.  (ahhh alliteration)
Ps 100:4 tells us to “Enter His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with PRAISE.” If you know anything about the construction of the temple, you will understand the “geography” of walking into the outer courts where the sacrifice and washing took place… THANKING GOD for the blood of Jesus washing and atoning for our sins. But, don’t stop there! Keep “walking” – into His courts! With PRAISE. THE VERY PRESENCE OF GOD is in the courts – PRAISE HIM…smell the incense, eat the ‘bread of life’, be filled with His light.  AND BE USHERED INTO THE HOLY PLACE – the veil is torn for us – come in to worship. Come near to ‘kiss.’
And THEN we begin to have intimacy… “knowing” HIM by being with HIM, in His presence…. and THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING.
Jean Costner Thomason

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