On July 22, 2017, I was blessed to be a small part of the Shazzy Fitness’ Certification Class/Instructor Continuing Training at St. James United Methodist Church in Alpharetta, GA hosted by Kristy McCarley and her team.
It was such a joy to see so many excited, energetic, enthusiastic and effervescent guests that Saturday morning. The countenance and the spirit of the attendees was refreshing and uplifting. I needed that—especially since I was plenty tired and none of the aforementioned adjectives would have been used to describe me. I’d had a long Friday…no, a long week and if I didn’t consider Kristy my family, I would have tried to find a way to bow out!
Everyone was there to learn something new, exercise, meet new people and have a good time. Having a good time included working out to Shazzy Fitness’ Praise and Worship music. Praise music that glorifies our Father for His goodness, mercy, grace and much more. Later, as I reflected on the day, I was motivated to see how the Bible Dictionary defines “praise”.
What is praise? It’s a way to express approval, admiration, to applaud or acclaim. For me those are all ways to show my gratitude to God. Praise is most often expressed through, verbal thanksgiving, music, worship, songs, and dance.
Praise is our recognition of God’s revelation of who He is and His relationship to us as His created people. Praise is honoring the One who is “I AM.” “I AM” is our all-powerful, almighty, all-knowing, all loving, all caring Father.
Who is to praise the Lord? Psalm 150:6 says, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord? When should we praise the Lord? Only two times – when we feel like it and when we don’t feel like it…in other words, all the time! When I think of the goodness of the Lord and all He’s done for me all my soul shouts Hallelujah! Hallelujah in Hebrew is the highest form of praise. Our praises should be freely given to God because he deserves it. Our hallelujahs belong to Him! Praise Him when all is well.
When your marriage is intact, your children are doing well, when you and your loved ones are healthy, when your bills are paid we should praise Him. When our marriage, children, health and finances are a concern we still should praise the Lord. He is faithful, He is able and He is ready to bless us, train us and strengthen us to endure and come out on the other side of through for His, and our good. Praise Him and grow! Psalms 113-118 are called Praise Psalms. If after you’ve praised the Lord with all you have and you still want to praise Him some more, read these chapters to extend your reasons and vocabulary on Praising God.
Here are some excerpts:
- Psalm 113:5-9 — “Who is like our God…He raises the poor from the dust, lifts the needy from the ash heap…He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!
- Ps. 114:7 — “Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord…who turned the rock into a pool.”
- Ps. 115:12-13 — “The Lord remembers us and will bless us…small and great alike.”
- Ps. 116: 12-19 — “What can I give back to God for the blessings he poured out to me? I’ll lift high the cup of Salvation-a toast (of praise) to the Lord…and I’ll do it together with His people…God welcomes those who love Him…Hallelujah! (Message version)
- Ps. 117 — Praise God, everybody! Applaud God, all people…God’s faithful ways are eternal. Hallelujah!
- Ps. 118 — Give thanks to the Lord for His is good, His love endures forever…He is with us…I will not be afraid…He is my helper. I look in triumph over my enemies…He is my strength and defense…He has made His light shine on us…You are my God and I will praise You; You are my God, and I will praise You!
As I watched the beautiful gathering of attendees meeting, greeting, dancing and praising together I was elevated to look beyond my need for rest to enjoy the fragrance of the Spirit of the Lord around me. I began to feel lighter and energized. Could this be an example of why the Word says to “Motivate (spur) one another towards love and good deeds. Forsake not the assembling of ourselves together… encouraging one another…”?
Not only were they praising the Lord in their conversations and actions, they were praising and encouraging each other. I was filled with joyful gratitude to be among them. As soon as the music started, the Praise celebration truly began! Unable to contain myself (I hate being left out of a good party), I crept out from behind the desk and peered into the room where the exercise classes were going on. Before I knew it I had found my way to the dance floor and got to moving my feet and body! God gave me freedom to forget my circumstances and have fun. Thanks to Kristy and her team for putting on an awesome event!
Shazzy Fitness is joyfully outrageous because praising God is contagious!
“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise the fruit of (our) lips that openly confess his name," Hebrews 13:15.