Monday, July 13, 2009

Praise A WAY Out of No Way

“Praise is what I do/ even though I’m going through/ I’ll praise you at all times”

I remember when that song gripped the nation. It was the theme song of every church, every Christian who was going through “The Storm”. It was a heartfelt soulful melody, hands thrown up into the air, eyes closed; tears would be flowing to a ballad of submission. It was a war cry to your troubles, to your own personal walls of Jericho that you would not surrender and be overtaken by the pain. It was a call to God; letting him know no matter what may come next He deserves all the glory and all the praise, all the worship.

Praise is what we do; praise is what we should do not only in our joy. We shouldn’t just only limit praise to a segment in the church service schedule. No we are called to praise God even in the darkest of times. We are called to sing a song of praise late in that midnight hour cause as one song says “God’s gonna turn it around”. See there is power in your praise, and you can praise a way out of no way.

You don’t have to take my word for it; just look at the various instances where it was shown to have happen. Of course there’s the one I cited earlier about the Walls Of Jericho that came tumbling down as Joshua and the people marched around the city playing music and shouting for several days (Joshua Ch. 6). What that story shows is the persistence we need to have in our praise. We need to make a joyful noise in the presence of our enemies. And by enemies I’m not just talking physical beings; I’m talking spiritual, mental, whatever trials that may come to derail you from your blessings. You’ve got to make a joyful noise, you’ve got to sing a song of praise because “no weapon formed against me shall prosper (Ish: 54:17)”.

“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph 5:26)

We have been given the power to overcome these things through our faith in Jesus Christ. When we praise God, it’s a direct line to the Lord for help. There is something going on deep inside you that you’re not even aware of. It’s your spirit speaking directing with Him from the battlefield, asking for His strength, pleading with Him to defeat the enemies that come against you that your don’t even see. When we praise we are bringing down the walls that are held up against you trying to stop you from getting your blessing.

Remember in Acts 16:16-40, Peter and Silas were caught and thrown into jail. It was game over for them. You know that the guards had to of been on high on alert seeing that Peter miraculously escape once before (which is something else you have to understand, God is the same God he was yesterday and the day before. If he did it before believe He can do it again) so this time it was supposed to be over. Think of it this way, if you finally caught a wanted fugitive who just so happen so out of the blue escape before wouldn’t you have him on serious lockdown? You know I sure would. Yet Peter and Silas did something a little different than what most of us would in the face of despair. Instead of just praying, instead of feeling sorry for themselves they began to praise. They began to bring a sacrifice of praise and songs to The Lord.

Back in the Old Testament, when you wanted something from God it wasn’t enough to just bow your head and pray. You had to bring a sacrifice to Him. And not just your average runs of the mill sacrifice, but you best kind. Paul said when Jesus died that now since the price was paid in full we are to bring a sacrifice of praise to God. We have to bring our best praise. You may wonder or look at someone funny because they are so into their praise that they may be jumping around and screaming, or they maybe silent with tears streaming hands raised to the sky. The truth is they are offering their best praise to the Lord because they are going through it, their spirit is lodge into a battle and they are praising a way out of no way. You don’t know what that person is going through; you don’t know where God has brought that person from, or where He is about to take them from. So how can you judge their worship, THEIR praise?!

Peter and Silas praised and sang songs of worship while chained, while their situation looked as though the outcome was bleak. And late in the midnight hour, the ground began to shake and their chains came off and the cell was open. What we have to learn here is patience. You can’t expect for everything to just turn good in an instance. Not to say it can’t, but that there is a reason for everything. There is a reason you are going through your situation, there is a reason you feel chain in this cell of despair. There are lessons to be learned, edges to be smoothen. Know that the Lord is working in your favor and just when the time is right, just when it looks like you’re at your end, late in the midnight hour God’s going to turn it around. You have to faith in your praise, faith in God being the God of all things.

And there is one more thing to learn from this story. Once they became free, they didn’t just take off. They witnessed the glory of God to one of the guards. You can’t just receive the blessing, receive the victory and be on your way. You’ve got to spread the good news of what God has done for you. This is the great commission “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and The Son and The Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:19). Think about it, you wouldn’t be saved today if someone didn’t share their testimony with you, so how can you rob someone else of that right to here the Gospel?

“Praise is what I do/ even though I’m going through/ I’ll praise you at all times” That means in the good, the bad and the ugly. You have been giving the power to fight your enemies and win your wars. You’ve got to praise in the middle of the storm, in the middle of the war. When your body is overcome by sickness, when the bills keep piling, whatever may come. Praise a way out of no way!

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