Robert, you and I have been thinking and reading alike for a while now. My breakthrough in
understanding this came when I received the passage in Malachi which tells us the following:
The Lord describes, through the prophet Malachi, how sin has increased; yet He says, nevertheless,
offer the sacrifice of praise to Me and I will send grace and favor to you anyway.
This is a rather unusual passage, don't you think? It instructs Israel, even in the midst of her sins,
to offer the sacrifice of praise (which Isaiah speaks of), and thus receive the "grace" and "favor" of God.
These words grace and favor are from the New King James Bible which I use, but I recognize that other
Bibles could be using other terms.
I think this is pertinent to us who recognize that we are NOT perfect and still living in our sin nature.
We must not let discouragement over this state of affairs, which will last in one form or another until
we are taken out, to stop us from offering praise to God.
When I read this passage, as I said before on Doves, it made me realize how MUCH I have to praise Him
for! Although I have been in a repentant mood for a long time, it made me realize that it is time to go beyond
repentance to thanking God for what he has done and will do for me.
I soon had a lengthy list of things to thank him for, and offering Him praise then was natural! Just the fact
that He WILL come and take me out of this ungodly world is enough to bring on songs of praise! Think of it,
how much we have to praise Him for even though we live in a world falling apart.
Concerning our concept that offering praise will speed the rapture, we do realize that there is an appointed day
for the rapture which the Lord alone knows for sure. But our whole life He knows in advance, and this does not
stop us from doing our part in bringing his Will into the Earth. He knew beforehand that we would be praising Him
now, and that this would speed the rapture. And He knew how much it would speed it. He knows what we are up
to before we know it. We are simply doing our part in bringing about the manifestation of His will. And praise Him
that we, as His choir, can be a part of bringing about His will.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow,
Praise Him Ye creatures here below,
Praise Him above Ye heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
I sang that at "grace before meals in college" even before I was a Bible reader, and I never forgot it.