Strengthening the Front Lines of the Mind{Ten: Praise}

Singing Children courtesy of Tonny Watanebe

Suffering and Our Response

You may not know, but I am in summer school.  I am a student at Oral Roberts University, and I am taking classes online.  I am currently taking Old Testament Survey.  In another week I will finish the reading, and then I will have read the whole bible in twelve weeks.  I don’t write that except for this reason.  There is something that I can share from the reading that is relevant to our series.  It came from the book of Job.  Click here to read Job 1

When faced with situations like Job’s in our lives, where one thing after another is coming against you and your faith in God, we have a choice. Job chose to worship God despite his circumstances. He chose to worship when his distraught wife wanted to curse God and die.  Turning our eyes upon him in trust when life brings us to our knees is hard. Even in those moments when the only thing you can remember is “Jesus Loves Me” worship is key. Worshiping God can help us gain the proper perspective by magnifying God because He really is bigger than our circumstances.

I definitely consider myself a worshiper.  I love to sing and have since I was a little girl, I even sing on the praise team.  I can be found at the local intersection singing praise and worship with one hand on the wheel and the other in the air, but when life throws me a curve ball, like Job, praise has not always been my first response.  However, since reading this anew I want it to be. Whether it is something small that challenges my faith, or something gut wrenching I want praise to be my response.

Why?

Because, one, I want to give God the credit He is due even when my faith is shaking.  Two, because I know it is a powerful weapon.  Finally, because it promotes peace and says I trust God.

    3You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Consider the Weapon

Have you ever heard the story of Jehoshaphat?  It is found in 2 Chronicles 2:20.

When enemy armies were threatening to attack King Jehoshaphat and Judah he went to the city of Jerusalem to worship at the temple and ask God what to do.  God told him to march out there and stand still before the enemy.  God told him that He would fight for them and not to be afraid.

So Jehoshaphat led the people of Judah and Jerusalem onto the battle ground.  The first thing he did was address the people telling them to believe God and they would be successful in battle.  Next he appointed singers to walk ahead of the army.  These singers began to praise God singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, His faithful love endures forever.”

And as soon as they raised their voices this is what happened:

22 At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23 The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. 24 So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. 2 Chronicles 20:22-24

Their singing in the face of fear before their enemy caused great confusion among the enemy armies.  So much so that they literally killed each other.  Their singing didn’t drive the enemy away. Their praises destroyed the enemy.

When we choose to face our circumstances, whatever they may be, praising and trusting that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, we destroy the enemy forces.  Talk about a weapon!

It also tumbled the walls of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-21)

and shook the jailhouse and released Paul and Silas (Acts 16:25-26)

On and Off the Battlefield?

What is important is to continue to praise on and off what looks like a battlefield.  There is a spiritual war raging all of the time.  We are spiritual beings, we possess a soul, and we live in a body.  Just because we do not feel like we are in a battle doesn’t mean that there isn’t a spiritual one that never stops.  If we are singing God’s praises all of the time we have the opportunity to destroy the works of the devil that we cannot see.

Even more importantly we have the opportunity to maintain our focus on God because He is worthy of our praise.  After all He saved us!  The fact that I have eternal life, and that each day I am one day closer to seeing Jesus face to face is enough reason for me.

Still we are living in this world which distracts us and tries to make us forget God is with us and for us.  So feeling like giving praise is not something we can count on all the time.  In those moments it is all the more important that we lift our voice.

There’s an App for That

Did you know there is an app for that?  For those of you who have smartphones, or tablets there is an app I have on my phone.  I specifically downloaded it on a day when my mind was so heavy with thoughts of concern that I couldn’t utter a praise if I wanted to.  It is called Hymn Lyrics.  I am sure there are others, but if you need help remembering lyrics to songs when you want to praise then it is a good one.  The link is to the Android version on Google Play, but there are other versions.

Environment of Worship

Another thing to do is to keep praise and worship music in your environment.  If you can’t bring yourself to praise then you can listen to others do so.  Before long you will join in the chorus due to the soulful engagement with the music.  When Saul was haunted by an evil spirit David would play his harp and the evil spirit had to leave him.  Just listening to the music can give you peace.

A Challenge

So here is a challenge.  Lift your voice right now where you are.  No matter what you are facing today, close your eyes and sing to your God.  If you can’t think of what to sing then get into an environment with worship music that can turn your eyes upon Jesus.  If you are in a place where you can’t do that hum the tune to your favorite worship song.  Then when you have done so measure the peace that you have in comparison with a few minutes ago.

He is worthy, and praise is a mighty weapon Beloved! <3 Melinda

If this series has been helpful to you will you consider sharing it with others.  There are several ways to share.  The buttons and links are on the page.  Would you like to leave a comment?  What is your favorite worship song, and if you would like to tell us why?

Mine is It is Well With My Soul because of the testimony of the writer and the lyrics.  Here is the story behind the song along with the lyrics.  Click here.