Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Praise Changes Everything!

Having just finished breakfast and reading my morning devotional, I was sitting at the kitchen table looking out the window, thinking and talking to God.

The wind was blowing like crazy and the tree outside my window was swaying back and forth, the branches slapping one another as they were tossed to and fro. In that moment, I sensed the Lord say to me, "The trees are praising me because you are not."

Wow!! My mind immediately went to the Scripture in Luke (19:37) where the Pharisees had asked Jesus to rebuke his disciples because they were joyfully and loudly praising God for all the miracles they had seen Jesus perform. Jesus said to them, "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

Revelation began to burst forth in my spirit and several other scriptures came to mind. The first one was Isaiah 61:1-3, which says:

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

God spoke these words to me -

"Praise changes your focus. Worship draws you in."

"Praise changes your focus."

For a long time, I have been troubled by a situation I have absolutely no control over. I have worried and fretted like never before in my life. I am not normally a worrier by nature - it's just not who I am - but I figure I have done more worrying about this situation in the last year than I have about any other thing in all the other years of my life combined!!

I just did not know how to deal with this particular situation, had never walked through anything like it, and was totally unprepared for it!!

But, in that instant there at the breakfast table, I knew - PRAISE - would change my focus!

I saw the truth, was reminded of this truth that I had lost sight of. As you begin to praise the Lord, your focus shifts from the situation to the Lord and as you're drawn to the Lord, your faith is strengthened and your joy is renewed. As you focus on the Lord, the enormity of your situation decreases and God's might in the situation increases and it's all put back in the right perspective.

Praise lifts the spirit of heaviness!
Praise destroys the attack of the enemy!
Praise sends that worry right back to the pit of hell where it came from!
Praise reminds us of the one who can be trusted!
Praise drives back the darkness!

The Scripture tells us that the Lord gives to us the "garment of praise."  A garment is something that you put on; it's a covering for your body; a wrap.  So, praise is a garment you clothe yourself with. Just as you choose which garment to put on your body each morning, you can choose to put on the garment of praise.

"I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high. " Psalm 7:17

"I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all they marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most high." Psalm 9:1, 2

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise him." Psalm 28:7

"I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1

The Hebrew word for praise in these Scriptures comes from the root word that means "to make a show; to shine; to be clamorously foolish; to boast, celebrate, rave, sing; glory.

We choose to praise the Lord and when we do we make an exchange - we exchange our heaviness and despair for the praise of His glorious name!

Our focus changes from our problems to His majesty!! As I am learning to praise the Lord whenever I start to worry, my spirit has grown lighter. The truth of praise as set forth in Scripture changes everything around me! I find, too, that as I begin to praise the Lord, my spirit gets excited and wants to continue to praise the Lord. It just overflows from me. My faith is strengthened and my focus is where it should be - on the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth!

Praise is also a weapon we use to execute vengeance upon the enemy of our soul.  Psalm 149 shows us this very clearly:

"Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he will beautify the meek with salvation. Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord."

2 Chron 20:21-22 says - "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endures for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, The Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come againist Judah; and they were smitten."

Psalms 144 through 150 are beautiful praise songs to the Lord and show us much about how praise moves the hand of God on our behalf.

We were made to praise the Lord! We praise Him for who He is, for what He's done, for what He's going to do and for driving back the enemy of our souls. We praise Him because His word commands us to. We praise Him because praise changes our focus; praise changes everything. We praise Him because praise is a gift He has given us; a gift to be opened and used, but most of all, we praise Him because He, above all else, is worthy to be praised!!!

"Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise ye the Lord!"
Psalm 150:6

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