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PRAISE FIRST

Then Watch God's Victory

This been has been quite the ride. Thursday my heart was broken. When I came home I spent time writing down my thoughts and God's peace has replaced brokenness. He is cool that way. You would think that after years of this cycle I go through that I would begin the way I end up, Praising God. Will I never learn?


I watched two sermons this week from the same church in Tennessee. I love this pastor and how he speaks God's word without hesitation. He is bold and his church has exploded in membership over the last year and a half because he did not close his doors and cower in the dark like so many pastors around the country. When you stand and obey God, he blesses your work. When you run away and obey man, not so much.


Both of these sermons had the same content even though they were taught from two different passages of scripture and by two different men. The first was about Joshua the night before the battle of Jericoh when he meets the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ. Something I never realized about this story was that in meeting face to face with God Joshua fell down and worshiped and it was because of this surrender in worship that God gave him victory. The Angel told Joshua to take off his shoe, not shoes. I never realized that either. But in those days when a bargain was being made they exchanged shoes as a sign of commitment. Joshua was committing himself and his army to God for victory. The very next day the walls of Jericoh, which were 60 feet tall, FELL FLAT! God was victorious, not Joshua. Because of God's victory the nations in Canaan feared Joshua.


The second sermon was about Jehoshaphat and how he was going up against three armies from three different countries. The Lord spoke through a man in Jehoshaphat's army and told the congregation that they were to go up Praising the Lord and they would have victory. They did and God confused the enemies' armies and they killed each other. The spoils took three days to carry away. God had that victory, too! Those who obeyed him reaped the benefits.


In both instances all that was necessary was Praise to God. Victory comes when we praise. So, praise first, cry later (maybe). I need to make a plaque to remind me of these two stories. The battles we fight the life we live can be lived in pure victory where we don't even have to lift a finger or fire a shot, just obey.


The Bible is full of examples where God did all the heavy lifting and those who praised him were vindicated. In the praise you are exercising great faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. Remember Moses said to the Israelites as they were panicking at the Red Sea, "Stand and see the salvation of the Lord." He didn't tell them to turn and fight, or even run. But Stand watch what God does to your enemies.


Remember Gideon and his army of 300? He tested God, and you would think that would make God a bit angry, but God knew Gideon was a timid man and needed to know it really was God speaking. In the end God's victory over an entire army was achieved, not because of Gideon's army's strength, but because of their obedience.


Every single time we see God's salvation in the Bible there is complete obedience by those who are being used to do God's will. Even Jesus was obedient and because of that when we submit to God His obedience translates to OUR victory. God is so good.


My family stands at a crossroads. We were raised to believe in a powerful God, but we have always had it easy. Yes, we have struggles of the smaller kind, but now we face an evil that threatens to take someone from us who we all love very deeply. If we fall on our knees before God he hears us. If we lift our voices in praise He hears us. I've been overwhelmed by the family group text messages of the last two days . We are coming together because together we are strong. Together we have the mighty power of a loving God. Together we praise him and HE has the victory. We just need to sing and dance and praise and worship to watch that victory unfold.


Revive us God! Prepare us for whatever victory looks like. Help us to Worship in the face of death, and claim your victorious power. Imagine Jesus ready and willing to do whatever it takes in your life to show you victory. He is just waiting for you to obey. What keeps us from surrender and obedience? Doubt? Fear? Unbelief? Imagine Jesus asking you to lay all that aside and trust him. It is time to throw all that crap off and surrender to the most powerful force in the universe - Redeeming Love of God!


Remember, we don't know what God's victory looks like. It could be something totally miraculous with seas parted and the sky turned black, or something as simple as the salvation of a loved one. Whatever that victory it is God's will that ultimately must happen. In surrender and obedience we trust God is sovereign and there is no reason to fear the outcome. How many times do we hear this message from the church pulpit and agree, but when we are faced with heartache we fight it and question God's perfect will?


Ephesians 1:18 "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people."


Exodus 14:13 "Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again."


1 Samuel 15:22 "But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."


Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

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