Praise Habit - this is a very good supplement to one's readings in the Psalms. David Crowder, songwriter extraordinaire - uses The Message and his own devotional thoughts to bring some Psalms to life. It is a creative tool - not to be read without with the Word (not a paraphrase, but a translation) and one's own meditation - but it is a good additive for devotional reading.
I use it in this way. I read the chapter (this morning I was in Psalm 50), and then I read it in the Bible I'm using (for devo time right now it is the NAS), then I write the psalm down in a notebook in literary form and then color it (like a text study). This morning - when paired with my reading and prayer time in Gen 34 - there was quite a contrast.
Here is my question: Is my life hidden in Christ with God (Col 3) or is my life more representative of the wicked as the psalmist described here and as Shechem is described in Gen 34?
Do I "quote his laws like we are good friends" yet fail to live them out by His grace and through the Holy Spirit each day? Do I "treat his words as garbage"? Do I make sinners my buddies ("thieves and adulterers")? Is "lying a serious art form to me, do I frame it with my tongue"? Am I filled with lust and greed (as Shechem was in Gen 34)?
Or is my life reflective of Jesus? Do I walk by the Holy Spirit so I will not gratify the desires of the flesh? Am I hidden in Christ so others do not see me, but only see the God of the Universe? Every bit of my life needs to reflect the One who died on the cross for me - no part of my life is my own. Soften me - Ez 36 - put within me your Spirit so I may live YOU!
Here are some of Crowder's thoughts: "Praise Living. It is God leaning in and shouting I am the Center! and the sum of our lives nodding back in agreement. It is the core of our hearts echoing that statement." "Higher than our ritual is the simple acknowledgment that, in truth, He is what we need." Yesterday, worshipping at a church in Berea, being able to shout the songs being sung (music much like the Summit - Tommy Walker, Hillsong, hymns uptodate) - raising hands in adoration. But, checking my heart to make sure I was doing that for His glory and not my own. "It is more difficult to find the Creator in a bbq sandwich than in your favorite Sunday morning song, but when you do, when you begin to find Him in all the stuff of life, everything starts singing. Every moment breaks into song. Every breath becomes sacrifice, and the songs become sweetness. That is living praise!" (Ps 150)