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PRAISE ALWAYS

Posted by Job on March 1, 2007

Hebrews 13:15 – By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

The previous devotional Be A Holy Roller gave the importance of corporate (i.e. congregational, group) praise. The Word often speaks of the merits of fellowship, particularly in Matthew 18:20 – “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Even better in some respects is “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up” of Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. So when saints get together in sincere praise, the Holy Spirit comes. Further if one is weak in faith, has been disobedient (sinful), is under demonic oppression or attack, or is otherwise afflicted and hence may be unable to get in contact with God, he or she will benefit from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that results from the contact that others present may achieve. Another reason is that when the Holy Spirit is outpoured on groups, diverse gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit will manifest for the benefit of all (i.e. one will present to interpret another’s tongues).

But as great as being in the company of and touching and agreeing with other members of the Body of Christ is, the measure of your salvation is still determined by what you do away from the church building. By this I mean not only what you do when you are by yourself, but what you do when you are in the presence of sinners! It is for this reason that we are told to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), and not just when we are in church or group devotion. But oft overlooked is the preceding verse I Thessalonians 5:16, “Rejoice evermore!” So similarly, we must practice and use the power of solitary praise on a regular basis. Therefore we must adopt the motto given in Psalm 34:1: “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth”!

Why? The simplest reason is that God is not just good to us when we are at church! God is good to us all the time, so we must express sincere gratitude all the time. We must express happiness and proclaim our victory on a continuous basis so that we will retain our joy no matter the situation. Otherwise, we will inevitably begin to ponder upon the circumstance rather than on how God will deliver us from it, and how he will use it for our good and for the good of the entire Body of Christ. That unproductive thinking leads to stress, which leads to fear, which leads to doubt, which leads to temptation that you may ultimately yield to. Or you may temporarily lose your anointing right when you really need it! At the very least may lose your ability to think clearly and execute sound judgment (i.e. first seeking help from The Father). A joyful heart leads to a clear mind, and the beginning of such is the ability to thank God for being a good God who always has been and always will be good to you no matter what has happened, will happen, or is happening right now!

And why does a Christian always need a sound mind? Because we are at war with Satan and all that is of him and need sound minds to fight! The battle does not stop when we leave the church building. Quite the opposite: that is when the real war begins! That is when you leave the fellowship of like – minded individuals and the spiritual covering that they stir up and go right into a war zone surrounded by sinners and their demons! Whether you are going shopping, to the park, to the movies or a sporting event, or to work or school, you are going to have to deal with things ranging from the petty machinations of those who resent you for your faith to full frontal demonic attacks! The only way to have consistent success dealing with this reality – to be a victor who always overcomes rather than merely a survivor who frequently falls to opposition and needs to get back up – is to have a strong mind rooted in bedrock faith, and praise is the way to accomplish Phillipians 4:7-8 and get you there!

Also, as true Christians, our duty is not to merely play defense, but to attack whenever the Holy Spirit tells us! If you allow trials and tribulations to take away your joy, how are you going to hear the Holy Spirit when it commands you to fight? How are you going to heed? And even if you hear and heed, how are you going to be effective? The reality is that there are always battles to be fought and won and territory to be claimed for God, and you will have to fight most of them alone. Do not delude yourself into thinking that they will just be little battles and hence unimportant to the big picture! First off, even if they are, you need to remember that he who shows himself worthy and capable over a few small things will be placed in a position of authority over a great many things! So in order for God to raise you up, you must crush the little routine stumblingblocks that Satan places in your path. Second, you will almost certainly face a big battle with huge stakes or three by your lonesome, and when that happens your being willing to fight God’s battle God’s way to get the victory will be of utmost importance! Want an example? David versus Goliath. Another one? Joseph going before Pharoah. Still another? When Paul was taken before the authorities. A female role model? Esther going before King Ahasuerus. In each case, it was one person against practically the entire kingdom of Satan with the future of God’s people on the line, and in each case the one person won because he or she was prepared to let God use him or her to fight the battle and win the victory! And those speak nothing of Jesus Christ in Gethsemane, before Herod and Pilate, and on the cross!

Perhaps the best example (save, of course, that of Christ) was Joseph. He spent years as a lonely slave, and yet was able to resist when Potiphar’s wife tempted him sexually. Then he was cast into prison, where he spent still more years without succumbing; retaining his gift to interpret dreams and using it on a prisoner who would later remember him. Then without warning he is thrust before Pharoah, and in the presence of the chief pagan witch doctors (whose demonic powers were so strong that they were able to replicate several of the plagues that God used to torment Egypt in the time of Moses), with his life on the line, and no apparent desirable future even if he DID succeed, he was able to interpret the dreams and save Egypt and Israel! Why this example is so powerful is that Joseph spent years in a pagan society; years deprived of the same benefits of fellowship that most of us routinely take for granted! Abraham did not even intercede for him during that time because he thought that Joseph was dead! Joseph was entirely alone spiritually save his God, yet was able to win for God three big battles (Potiphar’s wife, interpreting the dreams of the cupbearer and baker, interpreting the dreams of Potiphar). Why? Note that despite all that had happened to him, there was no evidence of Joseph complaining or accusing God because of his plight, as did Job among others. Rather, Joseph was able to find ways to continue to praise and glorify his God, and because of that reason Joseph not only retained his faith and gifts, but saw them strengthened by God to the point where he was able to go from teenager to slave to ruler of Potiphar’s house to prisoner to ruler of all Egypt! Joseph overcame for his God in this manner despite not having a pastor to lay hands on him, a choir and musicians to inspire him, a praise team to get him stimulated, or a worship leader to instruct him. No, Joseph had to glorify God all by himself all those years to retain his integrity before God, and he did it! And so must you!

Also, you have more than your own integrity to think about. When you go out by yourself into a world of sinners, you will encounter nothing but captives who need to be set free! You will need to be able to witness to those people; to promote and defend your faith in a hostile environment. You will also be led by the Holy Spirit to be an intercessor; not only to pray for the needy and oppressed people that will cross your path, but to oft rebuke and bind the demon spirits in the name of Jesus Christ within them! Surrounded by sinners of every stripe whose demons will be trying everything they can to overcome you, stifle you, push you away, or close up the ears, wills, and hearts of their charges, it will be your job to plant the seeds! It may even be your job to in the name of Jesus Christ heal, cast out demon spirits, or win converts despite being surrounded by unbelievers and opponents! The only way that this will be possible is if you are totally obedient to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and possess a strong faith and anointing, and being able to praise God while by yourself and in that very critical battle situation will help you attain and maintain such!

So go forth. Praise. Learn to be good all by yourself!

Prayer:

Father God in the name of Jesus Christ, please instruct me on how to praise you when I am with no one but you. Father God, may my solitary praise be consistently done, done for you and only you, and be pleasing and acceptable in your site. Father God, please motivate all the members of the Body of Christ to seek you through praise at all times, including when they are either totally alone or alone in the midst of sinners. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen!

Spiritual Warfare:

The demons that will attack the Christian’s praise of the Lord at all times will work to cause complacency, mind – wandering/daydreaming, mental and physical pain/pressure/stress, a desire to “fellowship with sinners”, and the belief that they are incapable of effectively praising God without being in church or in the company or at the direction of someone that they perceive to be greater than them. The names of some of these demons are complacency, memory recall, fantasy, schizophrenia, false religion, false doctrine, stress, pain, torment, fear, low self – esteem, vanity, and wordliness. Every Christian must resist and attack these and other demons using the power and authority given by the Name and Blood of Christ Jesus in this area, as well as the principalities and human workers of iniquity that help them by creating distractions and conditions designed to get and keep the minds of individual Christians on everything but prayer and worship when they are not in church. So, doing so in the Name and by the Blood of Jesus Christ with the help of discernment from the Holy Spirit, bind, rebuke, and cast out these demons from you and all who God sends your way.
For example: “In the name of Jesus Christ and by the Blood of Jesus Christ, I bind you false doctrine demon. In the name of Christ Jesus and by the Blood of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you false doctrine. In the name of Christ Jesus and by the Blood of Jesus Christ, I forbid you false doctrine from seeking aid from principalities, powers, human workers of iniquity, or other demons. In the name of Christ Jesus and by the Blood of Christ Jesus, I command you to come out of _ and command you to never return; to go to the dry places!”

Intercession is also important. We must bind and rebuke these demons from our family members and acquaintances, our church congregations, and the entire Body of Christ in the name and by the blood of Jesus Christ. By the name and blood of Jesus Christ, we must also forbid them from seeking help from powers, principalities, other demons, or humans. By the name and blood of Christ Jesus, we must command them to loose the wills of the family member/acquaintance, church congregation members, and members of the Body of Christ. We must them pray to God in the name of Jesus Christ that he would lead all who need help in this area to deliverance.

And then, there is prevention! Be a person of good joyful conversation and thoughts, always pondering upon and proclaiming the glory, power, and goodness of God; what he has done and IS DOING for others and for you too! Do so and demons will flee from you. Also, while you may not be able to take your church choir and praise team wherever you go, you CAN take your portable radio/cassette/CD/MP3 player! But don’t throw that opportunity for spiritual growth and blessing away by putting it on the sports, news, or talk channels! The time is too short and the laborers are too few for you to waste time with the same foolishness that rank sinners are capable of. Remember, YOU ARE AT WAR! ALWAYS! So put on the whole armor of God with your headphones serving as the helmet of salvation and get out into battle! And do not bring along any weak stuff that does not mention God or Jesus Christ or the nature of God, Christ, and the Holy Ghost; or stuff that does not talk about overcoming. Do not bring along any of that “I’m so tired and I’ve been beaten down and bruised but I am just holding on until my change comes or I go to Heaven and escape this misery” defeatist fake Christian nonsense. As a matter of fact, if you have any of that stuff, throw it out, and exhort your fellow – servants to do the same. Take along a good mix of hymns about the Blood of Jesus, the power of God (including his wrath and judgment day), the return of Jesus, etc. and some uptempo “praise God and stomp on the devil” make a joyful noise songs! Also, take SERMONS! Use that “downtime” to build yourself up in the Word of God! Do these things and you will, to quote a good song from Damon Little and New Beginning, “drive Satan away!”

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