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Psalm 150
Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6).

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Read Acts 16:16-34 and see how two believers praised the Lord in unfavorable circumstances.

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When have you praised God out of obedience and not due to circumstances? Spend a few minutes praising the Lord right now.

“Bwana asifiwe!” is Swahili for Praise the Lord! As I traveled from the dry place of Tala to the slums of Kawangare to the densely populated and dangerous ghetto of Korogocho in Kenya, this is the way every believer greeted me.

Living under the constant pitch of despondency, Bwana asifiwe? Surrounded by the dark shadows of squalor, poverty, and destitution, Bwana asifiwe? Living in the ubiquitous presence of systemic evil and limited options to escape it, Bwana asifiwe? I wondered, how could they praise God in such uninspiring and unfavorable conditions?

I received my answer while sitting in a worship service at Redeemed Gospel Church in Korogocho. In their worshipful dancing, exuberant singing, and sacrificial giving, these brothers and sisters reminded me that many times praising the Lord must happen from a place of obedience—not circumstance.

In Scripture, God’s people are commanded to offer Him praise. All people to whom God gave breath were to use it to praise Him (Psalm 150:6). Obedience to this command to praise the Lord was a recognition that God, despite circumstances and conditions, was worthy of His people’s praise (Deuteronomy 10:21) and that He would not share His glory and praise with another (Isaiah 42:8).

Obedience to the command to praise God was an act of declaring His nature, praising His goodness (Psalm 135:3), ascribing to Him greatness (Psalm 104:1), telling of His righteousness (Psalm 98:8-9), singing of His faithfulness (Psalm 89:1), and giving thanks for His strength (Psalm 59:16) and salvation (Psalm 18:46, 95:1).

God alone deserves our praise. We praise Him from a place of obedience and recognition of His goodness. When we trust that God is good and He works positively for good even in unfavorable circumstances, we too—from a place of obedience—can say, “Bwana asifiwe!”

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 1:26-56

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9 Responses to “bwana asifiwe!”

  1. tom felten says:

    Marvin, a close friend experienced the unexpected death of his father this week. We were talking this morning about praising God even in the valley. As Job said, “The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21). Yes, regardless of what we experience, we can say, “Bwana asifiwe.”

    • roxanne robbins says:

      I needed this devotion today. Thank you, Marvin!

      • Roxanne, thanks for the encouragement. My Kenyan brothers and sisters really taught me to look beyond my circumstances – favorable or adverse – and to praise God from a place of unconditional and unflappable obedience. The African part of the body of Christ taught the Western part of the body of Christ to love God in a whole new way. Blessings on you, my sister.

    • Tom, thanks for sharing this. These are the times when our theology must sustain us. My Kenyan brothers and sisters taught me what it means to make my theology real and practical. There was no other reason, other than obedience, for these godly men and women to praise The Lord. I was humbled and encouraged. Blessings on you as you walk with your friend.

  2. yemiks1 says:

    I always rejoice in heart whenever I read Acts 16. Bwana Asifiwe!

    • Yemiks1, that is one of my favorite narratives in Scripture. These two men lived bwana asifiwe in that jail cell. I hope that one day I can praise The Lord like my African brothers and sisters. Thank you for adding your voice here. Blessings on you.

  3. Tom Kopper says:

    Our actions and attitude toward the Lord our God, has a profound affect on everyone. So by far the best thing that we can do for ourselves is to do and learn more ways to Bwana Asifiwe!

  4. daisymarygoldr says:

    Beautiful post, “Bwana asifiwe!”! Our lives are a continual offering of praise—at all times—whether good or bad. In the Old Testament, the sweet smelling incense came from ingredients that were dried, pounded, and burnt. Likewise, the praises of God’s goodness and greatness that we proclaim, is produced through pain.

    What makes it possible for people to praise God even in unfavorable conditions? Faith. Those who have it magnify God; while those who don’t, magnify their problems. Without faith it is impossible to please God. And when we praise His name, it greatly pleases the Lord (Psalm 69:30-31).

    Praise bursts forth from a happy heart (James 5:13) that knows all suffering and sorrow come so that the proven genuineness of our faith may result in praise… (1 Peter 1:7). The dead cannot sing praises to the Lord (Psalms 115:17-18). Let us then, praise the Lord, while we have breath.

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