The differences between cultures can be quite a shock.

As you grow up someplace, you naturally think that most cultures are pretty much the same. Meaning, specifically, like yours.

Of course, somewhere along the educational process one typically encounters a subject called “geography” and begins to learn about the different physical placement and characteristics of nations, as well as people’s cultures and traditions. So you learn about some very significant differences. Or, more accurately, you begin to learn.

Nothing quite drives those differences into the forefront like traveling abroad, or doing business in a different land. Trying to navigate an entirely new business landscape without tripping up or stepping on toes can have some hysterical (or disastrous) consequences. Did you know that Italy forbids spaghetti being served at business lunches? Or that, in the UK, any sort of slurping while you eat is immensely rude.

Even between the relatively close cultures of the United States and European nations, the manner in which a fork and knife are expected to be handled is very different. In the US we typically move our fork back and forth from our left hand (while cutting) to our right hand (while eating). And speaking of eating, when someone from the US is using a fork to move food from their plate to their mouth the prongs of the fork face up.

The European approach is as opposite as it could be. The fork never leaves the left hand, and its prongs typically face downwards. (In France, they must ALWAYS face downwards.) For Europeans the knife is not only used for slicing and cutting, but for stacking things on the back of the fork so they can be maneuvered to the mouth. Move farther east and you lose the knife and fork and end up with chopsticks. In India you’ll often only have your hand to eat with. (ALWAYS the right one !!)

Western tables tend to be rectangular, and the host sits at one end. Eastern tables are most often round, and the host faces the door.

The list of differences could go on for hours.

Thankfully, some things are the same from east to west, and today’s verse is one of them:

The bible tells us that the name of the Lord should be praised from the rising of the sun until it sets. Since the sun is always visible SOMEWHERE on earth, the praises of God ought never to cease. But did you ever wonder WHY ??

Since we know that God is love, and that He has already given His Son to pay the price for our sin, we know how much of a GIVER the Lord God is. Since He did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else? He gave HIS SON !!! He’s not about to start holding back now. God always gives first, always gives the best and always gives more than we do. When God asks us to give, it is so that we can be blessed by what He gives back.

So what does the Bible instruct us to praise God for?

First of all, we praise Him because He chose to love us. We weren’t very loveable, but He loved us. He kept drawing us, and appealing to our hearts and minds. He kept giving us reason after reason to respond. He loved us first, and He loved us best. Perhaps you’ve already reached the point where God’s love has won over your heart, or perhaps you’re still on the journey to a full relationship. But wherever you stand, He continues to pour out His love.

The outcome of that is that we learn to love Him! And as we do, His love continues to transform us from the inside out. He pours His love into us, and it gives us life. When we begin to pour our love back out to Him and praise Him for His love, the very act of choosing to love Him brings greater hope and builds deeper faith. Faith, hope and love are inextricably intertwined; but the greatest of these is love. And one reason that is so is because it is love that is the seed of faith, and faith undergirds hope and gives us the assurance of things hoped for.

When we praise Him for His love, we become better at loving Him. We come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. Coming to the realization that GOD loves YOU — that will turn your world right side up. As we love Him better and praise Him more, we find that we (who were once so unlovable) are also learning to love the unlovable around us. And that will turn their world over, too.

Praising Him for HIs love makes us more able to receive, reflect and give His love to others.

Second, we can praise Him because He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. When people are brokenhearted, they often feel worthless. His word tells us that He sustains the humble. Sustenance is that which is necessary for life. He gives us what we need to keep living our life. As we draw closer to Him, He binds up our wounds with His love and care, He restores our soul. As we recognize that God is the one who creates our inner worth and value, we can humbly approach Him for more and more strength; and His strength leads to our inner healing.

The world can be a cruel and painful place. No one likes being wounded. But when we are, having someone who can heal our broken hearts and restore our strength and joy is crucial. As God works His healing , He restores our joy. Truly, the joy of the Lord is our strength. His strength is far greater than our own. When our strength fails, His does not. As we learn to live in His strength and walk in His strength we will find out that we can do all things through His strength.

Praising Him for His healing mercies not only brings us healing, but makes us much stronger.


If we are to praise the name of the Lord, we should know His name!

When God sent Moses to the Pharaoh of Egypt and commanded that His enslaved people be set free, Moses asked God, “Who shall I say is sending me?” The Lord answered him and said His name was, “I AM” – a name indicating His awesome self-existence. When speaking in English, we translate God’s Hebrew name into our native tongue; much like we’d translate the French “Pierre” into the English “Peter.” The Hebrew for God’s name is commonly pronounced “Yahweh,” which in English is often translated to “Jehovah.”

In many places throughout the Old Testament, God describes a special attribute of His character. These names all reveal another aspect of His majesty that we can praise. As you read these names, think of the blessings that God is showing you as He reveals another aspect of Himself.

Here are some of the names that God uses to communicate His character to us …

I AM your Provider — He meets our needs

I AM your Banner — He is our rallying point, our victorious leader

I AM your Peace — He settles and comforts our soul

I AM your Sanctifier — He washes us and makes us holy

I AM your Shepherd — He watches over us and protects us

I AM your Righteousness — He exchanges our sin for His righteousness


God always gives first, always gives the best and always gives more than we do. When we praise His name or a specific attribute He has revealed about Himself, God blesses us by working more of Him into us. God asks us to give, so that we can be blessed by what we receive.

Today, lift your voice – even if you’ve never done it before.


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