The Power of Praise

This is a message that was “snowed out” on 1/17/18 in Phenix City, AL. I will post a video of the FaceBook Live feed as well.

We have been talking about this battle that rages within us, the battle for the mind. We are made, as Paul says in I Thessalonians 5:23,  of spirit, (the non physical, eternal part of us), soul, (the non physical, non eternal part of us), and body, (the physical, non eternal part of us) . The spirit part of us is surrendered to God and drawn to Him. The body or flesh part of us is dedicated to the fallen nature and drawn to the things of the world. The soul, mind, emotions, and will, is the deciding arena of this ongoing, epic battle that rages within us. God fights the battle,by loving us, by being with us, for us and in us. Satan fights the battle by accusing us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. His accusations are for the purpose of filling us with SHAME. When we listen to  him, our mind joins our flesh and we lose the battle and lose any hope of joy, peace and effectiveness. When we reject his attempt to shame us, we listen to God and what He is saying about us, we WIN the battle for our minds and we know His love that is unkonwable and the peace that passes all understanding.
Now, we win the battle by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:7-11). God has already done His part.  The battle is already won by the blood of the Lamb. Our part is word of our testimony. We do our part by:
Another way to say that is:
Finally, we get to tonight. What is the weapon we use? What is the tool that God gives us to once and for all win this battle for our minds? How can we so tip the scale that our spirit triumphs every time and our flesh does not control us? That is THE POWER OF PRAISE AND WORSHIP
Doris and i have had some wonderful opportunities to praise God.
HOW DO YOU OVERCOME? HOW DO YOU WIN THE BATTLE FOR THE MIND?   Philippians 4:6-7   “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Here’s an ancient story: Jehoshaphat is king over Judah. The armies of Ammon, and Moab, and Mt. Seir set out to destroy the Jews. They are SKEERED. There is more of them than there is of us. They are fierce. We don’t know what to do. A young whipper snapper by the name of Jahaziel gets the Holy Ghost, and starts talking:
II Chronicles 20:14-17  Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
So Jehoshaphat says, “Sounds like a plan,” and the Jews go out and stand at the end of the battlefield. Skip down to verse 20:

20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:

“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.”
The Jews start singing and praising God. The Ammonites and the Moabites turn on the Mt. Seir guys and destroy them. Then they turn on each other and destroy each other. And the Jews when the battle without ever lifting a finger. (It’s like SEC football)  They sing and praise and the battle belongs to the Lord.
Oh, that’s some ancient story. I doesn’t apply to me. Really? What about this one?
Acts 16:25-28  Paul and Silas are in jail. The devil is winning the battle. They are beaten, put in stocks, and then they start praising. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
Yes, there is a battle raging for control of your mind. Yes the accuser wants to control your thoughts and win the war. Yes, he is pretty good at shaming you and intruding into your thoughts. BUT THE BATTLE IS NOT OURS. IT BELONGS TO THE LORD.  II Corinthians 10:3-5  “For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. 4The weapons of ourwarfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead,they have divine power to demolish strongholds.5We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.…”
THANKSGIVING, PRAISE, WORSHIP. They are the weapons that God gives us to win the Battle for our thoughts and our mind.
Praise and worship
Praise wins the battle              II Chronicles 20:22  Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir
Praise silences the enemy        Psalm 8:2      Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
Praise produces a harvest        Psalm 67:5-6     Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. 6The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us.
Praise puts God back on the throne (it reverses original sin)       Psalm 100
Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
    Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.[a]
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
    and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
What are the steps?
what are the tools?
Through consistent praise and worship we can produce paths or shortcuts in the brain that keep us drawn towats, longing for, leaning to the things of God. When the devil tries to accuse, attack and shame us, he has an uphill battle because we are 2/3s of the way toward the God side already.  It is a PROCESS. It takes PRACTICE. And we need to be PERSISTENT. Look at Psalm 84.
“How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.”
PROCESS   Do you know that we can come to a place where not only or spirit is surrendered to God, but or mind and body, our soul and flesh, are so hungry for Him, so drawn to Him, we might say so addicted to Him that we cannot help but seek Him in all we do.
The brain works from electrical impulses, triggered by physical stimuli, that produces chemical reactions in our neurons, our very cells. Those chemical reactions we call emotions, or feelings, or cravings. We actually create paths of familiarity through the brain, shortcuts, so that even the suggestion of the trigger will produce those chemicals in us.
Think about the best apple pie you’ve ever had. Just thinking about it can recreate sights, smells, tastes. It can produce cravings.
The brain produces feel good chemicals like Dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, seratonin, oxytocin. Those chemicals that produce feelings in us. In the same way we can think about the goodness of God and produce a hunger and thirst for Him in us.
PRACTICE     Matthew 12:34 says, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”  YOUR WORDS MATTER!!!!!!  Be careful what you say. Speak positive, encouraging, praise worthy words. And your heart will follow.
 PERSISTENT     Doris said, “God, show us One thing…..” Over and over, everyday, without ceasing, I praise Him. And i get better at it all the time.

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