Praise Brings Victory
The Holy Spirit has been bringing such fresh revelation on the power of praising our God. We have heard so much about this all our Christian lives yet so few of us put this mighty weapon of warfare to use. It is my prayer that revealed knowledge will come as you read this month's teaching on the history of and resulting power of praise!
I am firmly convinced that each one of us would make life changing progress, spiritually, physically, mentally, financially and in every area that touches our lives, if we would simply trust God enough to praise Him. If we really depended on Him and had our faith firmly anchored on His Word – the fullness of His promises, we would surrender worry and wondering. We would stop striving to fulfill our plans and praise Him out of trust in His goodness. The Lord has been showing me how our questioning God and questioning our circumstances is really questioning His faithfulness to His promises.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He is; and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
If we really believed in God's love and attention toward us, we would not question the final outcome of anything that happens! It's only when we fall back to dependence on ourselves and we start comparing our lives to others, that our insecurities start cropping up and we start wondering and then doubting.
The Lord made each of us so unique and His perfect plan for each of us is so unique. Confusion comes when we compare ourselves to anyone other than Jesus. We need to be as Jesus was when He walked the earth as human being. He said in John 5:19;
"Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."
The Word shows us that Jesus was a person of prayer. Even after extensive periods of time spent ministering to the people, Jesus would leave everyone else and pray. Jesus knew his physical sustenance was no different from ours and he also knew where his ability to minister to the people came from. Why should we think ourselves any different? We long for the power -- the demonstrations of the Holy Spirit in our midst -- the signs and wonders, yet we will never operate in the same anointing as Jesus unless we are willing to lay down our schedules and busyness to spend time in prayer. I sought the Lord for understanding of what it was that Jesus spent so much time praying about. Did he pray about the ministry finances, the soreness of his feet from walking those great distances? Was he seeking direction on where to minister the next week? I sense that he was not. Although there are specific examples of Jesus' prayers in the scriptures, overall, I do not think Jesus was asking for things. Rather, I believe, He was wanting intimacy with His Father and this time was spent in fellowship with His Abba (daddy) Father. I think he was rejoicing with the Father for the church and praising Him for the Fathers loving care over His people. I think he was praising Him about the redemption of man that was soon taking place. I believe that Jesus was placing himself as a vessel to be filled up with the Fathers love! Filling himself up with the love and goodness of God Almighty through prayer and praise. This gave Him great confidence in the Fathers dependability to show up and perform the signs and wonders.
"But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:23,24
To worship the Father in spirit and truth means releasing the natural world and its problems and embracing the truth of His promise to love us with unfailing love. This truth enables us to lift our voices in true worship and praise. When we give place to our spirit man and release our faith in God as One who is able to keep all that we have committed to Him, and praise Him from this revelation of His faithfulness, we then are worshipping in spirit and truth. We must learn to move higher into the things of God, and to pass the 'veil of the flesh' that only praises Him in a church service, or when something wonderful happens to us. His love and faithfulness are never ending. No matter what comes against us in this world, God stays the same and He desires that we stay in consistent belief at all times.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, no angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:35-39
We must be persuaded of God's love in order to overcome anything that life – or death – brings our way. Whatever the situations you face today or tomorrow, nothing can separate you from God's love, if you are persuaded of that love. Only believe in God's power and ability. Only believe in His good plan for you. Only believe that all things are possible.
Praise Affects Attitude!
When we praise the Lord in our private times of fellowship with Him, our entire body and countenance are revived and we feel good! Praising the Lord has a tremendous effect on our attitude and even the atmosphere of our location. When King Saul was having a bad day he would send for David, the shepherd psalmist to come and sing unto the Lord, and the heaviness on Saul would leave. There is tremendous power and influence over our attitudes when we listen to any kind of music -- how much more so when we give honor the Father by participating in praise and worship. Praising the Lord definitely ignites greater faith -- it stirs up the gift inside us. When we open our mouths to praise the Lord we are confessing His greatness and expressing our belief in Him as our Almighty God. Praising the Lord reminds us of the truth of His infinite abilities and His desire to bless us. It increases our expectancy and our hope. In the world, we are used to cheering and praising people after they have accomplished and performed. In the spirit realm we praise because we know what is to come, we see it through the eyes of our faith and can praise and bless the Lord before we experience it. No matter how dark the circumstances, no matter how depressed the mind, if we would but act on God's Word -- putting action behind our faith, we would choose to open our mouths and start praising God. Praise releases the spirit of the Lord to come and minister to us. I have found that no matter how oppressed I felt, if I would simply take the step to open my mouth and praise the Lord, help immediately comes. Circumstances do not always change but my ability to weather those circumstances without getting beat up, always overcomes.
"Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak O Israel: "my way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God."? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Keep silent before Me, O coastlands, and the people renew their strength. Let them come near, and then let them speak." Isaiah 40:28-41:1
This scripture deals with the voice of doubt and unbelief -- questioning God and questioning His involvement in their lives. The Lord responds with the truth, that there are times when no man can stand -- even the youths will fall when they depend on their own strength. To "wait on the Lord" means to expect God to help. To expect eagerly with patience and confidence. The admonition given at the end of that scripture tells us not to come to God and talk about our problems until we have renewed our strength in praise and faith. Then come near with boldness and confidence, being fully assured that as we pray the answer comes.
If a child has been promised that his daddy will pick him up after school and together they are going to the store to pick out a new bicycle, that child can sit and wait for his dad with expectancy, excitement and confidence. Even though he cannot see his dad, even though he cannot see the bicycle, the child trusts his dad's word and reacts according to that trust. There might be a terrible thunderstorm come up, or a heavy traffic jam in front of the school, and he might even be the last one sitting on the steps of the school, waiting to be picked up. He hardly even notices the circumstances around him, because he is so focused on his dad coming and the new bicycle. And unless his dad has a history of broken promises, that child will not lose his hope and expectancy and will continue to wait for his dad, no matter what. This is the same confidence that the Father God is wanting and needing from us. We must develop that same assurance and confidence that believes God's Word no matter what we can see. God has never failed us -- not one time -- never. He has never failed you -- He has never failed me. He has never failed to fulfill every one of His promises to those that believe. He cannot lie. What He says, He will always do. We fail each other and we fail ourselves, but God has never failed anyone. If He says He will come to our rescue and give us life abundantly, we must focus on Him and live in expectancy of the bright hope He has shown us. This does not mean we will never encounter bad storms or delays or being alone. It means that the circumstances are temporary and the changes are coming. Victory is on the way!
"Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it." Mark 10:15
"Ask, and it shall be given you, seek, and you will find: knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" Matthew 7:7-11
Some years ago I was at an extremely low point in my life – my heart had been crushed and I had little will to go on living. I had lost my hope and could see nothing but continued pain and heart ache. My husband had just left me for another woman, I was angry, hurt and ashamed. I had our two small children to care for in addition to being pregnant with our third. The responsibilities of maintaining our household and dealing with the betrayal, loneliness and abusive situations was just overwhelming. Late one night, as I finally got the kitchen cleaned up, I wearily sat down and cried. I explained to the Lord that I had meant to give Him some time that day, but there had been one problem after another after another and here, at the end of the day, I was so drained of any emotion, I could not find any reason to praise Him. I had always loved to praise the Lord and usually filled my days with songs of praise. It is so easy to praise the Lord when we feel like it – when we feel good. But this was different. I had no feelings other than a desire to obey His word. I decided that I would praise Him, out of that obedience, and begin to offer up a true sacrifice of praise. The words were barely audible and there was no music behind the effort. What happened to me next, in making that choice was a heaven sent experience. Suddenly I was on my feet, surged with strength and power, standing with my arms raised towards Him, as the most beautiful music passed over my lips. I had never heard such a glorious anthem of praise and worship in all my life – and even though I was the singer, the song was not originating from me. Nothing else mattered. There are absolutely no problems in the presence of the problem solver! A window opened before me and I beheld the beauty and tranquillity of heaven as I stood in the safety of a high tower looking out on perfect peace. As the song ended and my eyes dropped from the window, I found that I was wearing a beautiful white gown and standing in front of Jesus. He had been sitting there all the time, listening to me and smiling at me. As I looked at Him, He took my hand and set me down before Him. He spoke to me of another window in the tower – a window that, if opened, would look down upon a fierce and violent battle below. He warned me against going to look out that window -- against 'checking out' the battle situation. He told me how He wanted to guard me from that battle, but it would require my staying with Him and not wandering out to help fight the battle. He assured me that I was a valiant warrior and that I could swing my sword with the best of them. But that was not what He wanted me to do. He wanted to protect me and protect my garment of praise from becoming bloodied and stained in the battle. His way is always to fight the battles for us. His way is always to protect and guard us. His way means trusting in Him to take perfect care of us while He perfects all the things around us that are important to His plan for our lives. Staying out of the battle has been absolutely the hardest discipline for my emotions and mind. Not being able to go and see what was happening in that battle, but to stay with my eyes on Jesus and trust that we were winning, has been a battle in itself between my spirit and my reasoning. It's such an easy plan to understand but in its simplicity we tend to feel there must be something we have overlooked and tend to convince ourselves that the Lord really does need our advice and our participation. If only we would trust in His love. Sitting in the presence of Jesus is richer than any other experience or relationship we could hope for.
Praise results from Trust!
Paul and Silas knew how to trust in His love. When they were persecuted for the gospel's sake, beaten and thrown into that Philippian jail, they knew where the source of their deliverance was. They did not look at the chances of their getting out – because chances were, they were going to be in there a long, long time. They did not react according to their circumstances – because the circumstances were cruel and unbelievable. They did not look to the other prisoners for comfort and encouragement – because no one else had ever had this situation turn out good. Paul and Silas made the same choice that you and I must make, not only in the good times, but especially in the bad times. To take courage in the Lord's love and trust Him as Savior, Deliverer and Redeemer. When we really believe, we take action and express those belief's in praise and adoration to Him. People cannot save us from tragedy. We cannot save ourselves from the acts of cruelty by others. We cannot save ourselves from our wrong choices and mistakes. We must depend on Him to rescue us and we must trust in His love during the hours or days; during the months or the years. Firmly convinced of His love and His fighting the battles for us with perfection and with victory.
Open your heart and mouth and praise Him for His righteousness -- His unfailing ability to honor His word. As we do this, we release our problems to Him and just praise Him for loving us.
There are many, many examples that God has put in His word to teach us, to encourage us and to build our faith. I urge you to seek His word and allow your spirit to move into greater truths concerning the power of praise. The story of King Jehoshaphat and the power of praise that brought him and his people the victory…the praises of David…a man after God's own heart. Start offering sacrifices of praise even in the small disappointments of life. Trust in God's love. Acknowledge His Lordship. You are very precious to Him and He truly delights in covering you with the garments of praise.
Expect God to do all that He has promised He will do for you. And praise Him for His faithfulness and love. It's easy -- it's simple -- it's the purest form of faith.