Sunday, November 25, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 21: Helping in My Local Church.

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some; but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)

Your attendance in a church building is not a requirement for your attendance in Heaven.  The “church” is actually not the building you go to and participate in praise in worship and hear a message.  The “church” is actually the body of believers who assemble themselves together.  As believers, we are brothers and sisters, family, and children of God.  And, it is for our good that we assemble together.

Hebrews tells us that the primary reason we need to associate with other believers is to exhort one another.  To lift each other up.  To give praise reports.  To bring prayer requests.  To make us individually stronger and as a family stronger.  It’s hard to build relationships with people we never see.  In our technological world, so much of our communication is through social media and texts and snapchats.  But, real relationships require face to face talking and conversation and communication.  When we come together, we can converse and pray for one another and lift one another up… this is why you need to assemble.

Working in our local church also helps builds the body.  As with any organization, one or two people cannot carry the full workload.  And, while it is not our works that solidify us a place in Heaven, we are instructed to be Jesus hands and feet.  Our bodies, created in His image, have two hands and two feet.  That’s four appendages… that’s four people.  If you go on and count other body parts, we have arms, legs, a torso, a neck, a face, ears, eyes, and a mouth.  That’s more people.  And, if we get real complicated, we can start naming the muscles and bones and tendons.  The Bible says that the church is a body.  And, if we are a body, the body is composed of many parts.  Each part important, and each part with a job it must do.

“For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)

If you read this chapter of the Bible, each part of the body has a function.  And, just because you are not an eye, doesn’t mean you aren’t important.  If there were only eyes, how would you hear?  If there were only ears, how would you speak?  If there were only mouths, how would you walk?  Each member of the body is important.  Each member of the church is important and has a function.  We are stronger together.  We can be strong for each other, and when we come together as a body, we move and work in accordance and we can reach others outside of our church walls.

Sometimes it may feel like your contribution is less important… but rest assured, it is very important.  The little toe is not considered one of the most attractive parts of the body.  Nobody ever says they were attracted to someone’s little toe… they may be attracted to the eyes, or the face, or the smile… but not the little toe.  However, your balance when walking requires the little toe.  Every contribution made to the body of Christ is essential for balance and smooth operation! 

Read John Chapter 21.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 20: Holy Spirit Baptism.

As with water baptism, Holy Spirit baptism is also a complete submersion, but it is a complete submersion and surrender to Holy Spirit.  Instead of being submerged and covered in water, we are asking God to completely submerge us, surround us, and cover us in His Spirit.  His Spirit dwells inside of us from the moment we confess our sins and ask His forgiveness.  Now, we want to move to the next level and live a life fully and completely surrendered to Him.

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals  I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)

“For John truly baptized with water; but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:5)

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea  and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

The call to holy spirit baptism is a call to be completely filled and overwhelmed with Holy Spirit.  It is a call for us to burn with desire for God and for His Word and for His work.  It is a call for a fire to be ignited in us and for us to have a passion for Him that overflows into every aspect of our life.  And, it is a call for us to be empowered to spread the good news and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

How do you receive the baptism of Holy Spirit? 
You ask.  Just as you asked for forgiveness of your sins, you ask God to baptize you in His Holy Spirit and completely fill your life and cover your life. 

How do I know I have been filled with Holy Spirit?
You believe.  You trust.  You obey.  As you grow in your faith with Jesus, you will find that you actually “feel” God’s Spirit and His presence with you.  There will also be times when you feel nothing.  God does not deal with each of us the same, He loves us and deals with us individually and uniquely.  We are each individual and unique human beings, we should not expect that we would hear, and react the same to God’s presence and His Spirit. 
There are fruits of the Spirit that will develop in you.  The Bible teaches us that we are known by our fruits.  Our faith, our Christianity, our beliefs are not displayed by how we dress, how long our hair is… but by the fruit our lives produce.  Galatians 5:22-23 teach us that a Spirit filled life produces love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

There are also gifts of the Spirit, or ways that Holy Spirit chooses to work in and through us.  Holy Spirit empowers us and uses us to operate through nine gifts found in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.  Words of wisdom, words of knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, diverse tongues, and interpretation of tongues are all manifestations of Holy Spirit and He uses these gifts to work through us to bless, to touch, and to profit His church.  That is one very important thing to always keep in mind, the gifts of Holy Spirit are used to benefit the church and to bring honor and glory to God… never to condemn, put down, tear down, or destroy others. 

God may use you in a gift.  You may have an urge to pray a prayer of healing over someone’s life.  You may lay hands on a person to pray and they are healed or blessed.  A scripture may come to your mind and you feel the need to speak it to a friend or loved one.  These are all ways that God works through us with His Spirit.

Differences in sects of religion come from varying beliefs in the gifts of Holy Spirit.  Some churches preach and teach that none of the gifts are operational in today’s church.  Some churches teach and preach that all nine gifts are operational.  Other churches profess that only certain gifts are operational, and some churches preach and teach that unless you operate in the gifts you are not saved.  The latter statement is most true regarding the gift of speaking in tongues.  Many churches preach that unless you speak in an unknown language, or tongue, that you have not been baptized or filled with Holy Spirit. 

God’s Word declares that He does not change.  He has always existed, and He always will exist.  He is the beginning and the end.  And, God exists eternally in three parts.  Therefore, His gifts did not appear with the beginning of the church, and they cannot disappear now that the church is established… His gifts exist eternally, just like Him. 

Our real desire should not be to prove, disprove, or convince anyone of the operation of specific gifts.  If you desire a particular gift from Holy Spirit, ask Him for that gift and to use you in that way.  But, your primary focus should never be on a particular gift, but always on the giver.  Therefore, don’t concentrate on receiving a particular thing from God, but instead concentrate on giving Him your every thing and allowing Him to use you in the way He desires.  Be willing, humble, and obedient to allowing Him to operate in your life.  Realize that the only requirement for Heaven is confessing Jesus as Lord.  Whether you shout, dance, cry, or speak in an unknown tongue does not guarantee your salvation, make you any better of a Christian, or mean that you have reached some “level” of spirituality.  At the foot of the cross, we are all on equal ground and God knows exactly how to best use each of us for His kingdom and for His glory.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit is simply a surrender fully to God.  It is a life that says “use me”.  It’s not proof of how much you read your Bible, how often you pray, or how much tithes you pay.  It is a life that says, “God I belong to you.  I want to be full of your Holy Spirit and develop in your ways and be empowered to reach others for you”. 

Read John Chapter 20.

Friday, November 23, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 19: Water Baptism.

Baptism is a beautiful picture of what our Lord and Savior has done for us.  Being completely submersed in water symbolizes the burial of the old man, the washing over top of us with water symbolizes the washing away of our sins, and the rising out of the water symbolizes the resurrection of the new man arising and walking forth.

“Or you do not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:3-7)

Jesus Himself was baptized prior to His death and resurrection by John the Baptist.  With His own baptism, He 
foreshadowed the death and resurrection that was to come. 

Following Jesus example, we too should be baptized in water.  Not only is it symbolic, but it also publicly expresses the change that has taken place in our lives.  Inside of us, we have laid down our old self and asked forgiveness of our sins.  Jesus blood has cleansed us and made us a new person in Christ.  Water baptism allows us an avenue to outwardly show what has taken place inwardly.

Read John Chapter 19.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 18: Communion.

“And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of Me.  In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood: this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)

Sometimes also called “The Lords Supper” or “The Last Supper”, communion is a tradition, started by Jesus, that we do in remembrance of the sacrifice He made in dying on the cross.  The original last supper was a Passover feast dinner held with Jesus and all twelve of His disciples.  It was at this feast that Jesus told them one of them would betray him and also where He washed the disciples feet.  By sharing in the breaking of bread and the drinking out of the same cup of wine, they were sharing in the pending crucifixion of their Master and Lord.  Today, we eat a cracker and drink a small bit of juice in remembrance of what Jesus has done for us.  It is symbolizing that we too, share in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus by accepting Him, believing in Him, and living our lives for Him on a daily basis.

Jesus body was beaten, bruised, tortured, and spit on as He gave His life for us.  His physical body was broken.  We symbolize this as we eat of the unleavened bread, or cracker, that represents His body.  His blood was shed as they placed a crown oF thorns on His head, and as they whipped Him, and as the nails pressed into His hands and feet.  We symbolize the blood that washes away our sins with the drink of the grape juice.

Communion is also a celebration.  In accepting Jesus as our Savior, confessing our sins, being cleansed from our unrighteousness and made righteous and holy in God’s eyes through Him, communion is more than just a remembrance of the pain Jesus suffered, it is also a celebration of the beauty of our salvation.  It should make us more thankful and more earnest in our relationship with Jesus as we celebrate what He suffered so that we could be whole, healed, set free, and saved.

Communion should not be taken lightly though.  Each one of us needs to search our own hearts and souls prior to the taking of communion, confessing any sins that we have yet to repent of, and also asking God to search our hearts for any areas of our lives we have refused to surrender to Him, that we do so.  Communion is not required for your salvation.  Communion does not save you.  Communion does not get you into Heaven.  But, communion is a tradition that we do to honor, reflect, and celebrate what Jesus did for us.

Read John Chapter 18.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 17: Acceptance, Rejection, and Getting Along With Others.

“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8)

The Bible was never intended to be a book written to point out all the things that we as people do wrong.  Nor was it written to condemn us, shame us, or make us feel guilty about the sin in our lives.  The Bible was written so that we might know, understand, and recognize the love of our Heavenly Father who chose to create us, and love us, and decided to die for us before the world was even formed.  Before you and I were even born, He had already decided that He wanted to accept us, love us, and offer us His mercy and grace.

At one point during Jesus earthly ministry, some lawyers were trying to trick Him so they could accuse Him of blasphemy.  They asked Him which commandment of the law was the greatest.  There are 613 commandments written out in the Old Testament.  Most of us think there’s just Ten Commandments.  There are actually 613 commandments in total.  That’s a lot of rules and regulations to try and live by!  It’s impossible for anyone to be able to remember and keep all those laws! 

Jesus answered their question by saying:

“The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the LORD is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)

And, in the book of Matthew, Jesus said, on these two commandments, “hang all the law and the prophets”.  What He meant was that everything taught in the Bible is completely summed up by these two commandments… love God and love people.

Not everyone is going to share your beliefs on every topic.  Our world is full of violence and rejection and hurt that is caused because people do not agree.  Others around you will have lifestyles and behaviors that you do not believe to be “right” or good or even Christian-like.  But, you and I must act in love regardless of how we feel. 
Jesus did not condone sin.  But, He also did not condemn the sinner.  He said that He came so that sinners might be saved.  When someone is sentenced to death row and condemned to die, they are left hopeless and without possibility of being saved.  This was not Jesus mission, nor should it be ours.  He came to die on the cross so that all the rules and laws that people could not keep (all 613 of them) could be “fulfilled”.  That means when you mess up and break one law (big or little) that God doesn’t kick you to the curb and take away your place in Heaven.  He offers you forgiveness and grace and mercy.  Therefore, we have to remember that we have been forgiven and offer love to those around us who might not have yet experienced the love of Almighty God.  Even those who have experienced Him, but still choose to live inappropriately (in our opinion), Jesus says we are to love them, as He loves them. 

When you study the teaching of Jesus, you will find that His harshest words were never directed at the sinner people!  He showed compassion to those living sinful lives and caught up in sinful ways.  His harshest criticisms were for the “religious” people who kept track of whether everyone else was following the rules or not.  It was those people He called a “generation of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs” and “hypocrites”.  The religious people tended to point out everyone else’s failures and shortcomings, professing themselves to be saintly, holy, and righteous, all the while having their own sins hidden and concealed.

No one is without sin.  All of us have failures and are prone to make mistakes and get it wrong.  Sometimes we get it wrong a little and sometimes we get it wrong a lot.  But, regardless Jesus loves us. 

People will choose to change, or they will choose to live in their sin.  But it is their choice.  Jesus offered love and hope and mercy and grace. He was “full” of grace and truth.  We are to offer the same.  We may disagree with them, we may believe their lifestyle is wrong, we may think their choices are bad… but it is not our responsibility to convict and condemn them of their sins.  That is Jesus job.  It is our job to follow His Word and to love them.  Love them, because He loves us.

Each and every person on this Earth has the freedom and the right and the option to love and serve and worship God.  We were all created by Him, for Him, to worship Him.  We cannot inspect someone’s heart or motives and determine the level of their commitment to God.  We do not know the struggles, the pain, the hardships that they have faced.  Therefore, Jesus tells us to act in love, and He will judge their sin and motivate them to change and be more like Him.

Read John Chapter 17.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 16: I Have to Change.

“Change is not change until it’s changed.”

The idea of change is prevalent in our society.  Some people are open to the idea of change, others like to hold onto the same ideas, theologies, and ways of life and are not proponents of change.  As Christians, followers of Jesus, we are called to be the likeness of Jesus.  That’s what it means to be a “Christian”.  The suffix “ian” means “to be like”.  Now that we are reborn and new creatures, we are called to be like Jesus.  And, being like Jesus will require us to change.

“That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)

There should be a difference in the old you and the new you.

And, it has nothing to do with what clothes you wear, how long your hair is, if you wear jewelry or makeup, or have piercings or tattoos.  The change of a life in Christ comes from within.  God’s Holy Spirit now dwells in you.  He gives you the power to love people, even people who you might not have been able to stand in the same room with before, He will now empower you to love.  He gives you the power to be kind, and gentle.  To be giving.  And, He gives you the freedom to not be bound by sin.

But, you and I must be willing participants if change is to take place.  God does not rip away all your old lusts, desires, thoughts, feelings, and actions.  Notice the scripture above says “that you put off”.  It’s up to you, and me, to make decisions on a daily basis that we now know to be the right choice because God’s Holy Spirit is guiding us and leading us to be like Christ.  We used to hear a lot of the term WWJD, What Would Jesus Do.  And, while it might not always be easy, seem practical, or be what we want, we will feel the nudge of Holy Spirit leading us to react differently, to act in love and kindness instead of rage and anger.  Following His leading brings about a changed lifestyle.  When He directs us to not go to the bar or club, or not to hang out with rowdy or mean friends any longer, we follow Him little by little, day by day, and we find ourselves living a changed lifestyle.  People notice a difference in us, in our words, our actions, and our behavior.  But, it requires our willingness to be humble and submissive and obey Holy Spirit. 

There will be times you want to talk, act, think, or behave like you did before you were saved.  That doesn’t mean you have lost your salvation.  It just means that your flesh man, the old man, is overriding the spirit man, the new man, and you have to make a decision.  You have to choose what you do, what you say, and how you act.  Changes in our lives are up to us to make.  God gives us the freedom of choice.  We choose Christ, we choose to follow Him, and it’s up to us to choose Him over and over each and every day. 

Read John Chapter 16.

Monday, November 19, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 15: You Are A Spirit.

“God is Spirit: and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24).

You and I are spiritual beings living in a human body, having a human experience.  The part of us that make us “us”, is our spirit and our soul.  It is this part of us that will live on forever in eternity.  Our physical body was created from dust and to dust it will return, it will disintegrate in the ground, or be turned into ashes… but our spirit and our souls will live on.

And, we will either live on with God, or be separated from Him.  Our salvation, my salvation, your salvation guarantees that you will live with God eternally in Heaven, in a new heavenly body.
But, as a spiritual being, God doesn’t desire that you wait until you get to Heaven to live in communion and fellowship with Him, He desires that your spirit and His spirit connect and communicate and dwell together now, on a daily basis.

You cannot see God.  But, you see the things that God created.  You see the sun, the moon, the stars, the plants, the animals, and all things around us.  And the Bible tells us that God created all things, and all things were made by Him and for Him.  The invisibility of God is proven by the things which are visible.  “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:20).

The invisible power of God, His Spirit, dwells in you.  Your invisible spirit desires and longs to communicate with the One who created it and gave it life.  There are times when you “feel” something inside of you urging you to say something to someone, to give, to help someone in need, to pray for someone, to call someone, to sing a song, or to lift your hands in worship.  This is the Spirit of God leading you and directing you.  And, as you obey in small things, He leads you to obey in larger things.  Through prayer, and praise, and worship our spirits commune with God’s Spirit, though we may not understand it, He leads us to honor Him by doing physical things like giving, speaking, praying, and helping.

You will also find yourself with a greater desire to know God’s Word.  To study it, and to learn from it, to read it, and to follow it.  This is because your spirit inside of you communes with God’s Spirit and has a relationship with Him.  And, as with any relationship, we desire to know more of the other, to find out what pleases the other, to learn how to build a stronger communication with the other.  We do the same with God.  David put it best when he said “deep calls unto deep” (Psalm 42:7).  The inward part of you desires and cries out for more of God.

Read John Chapter 15.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 14: What Does It Really Mean to Be a Child of God?

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12)

When you accept Jesus as your personal Savior, the Bible declares that you now have power and authority as God’s Son or Daughter.  The Bible tells us that we are “joint-heirs” with Christ (Romans 8:17) and this means that we have a place of sonship and authority in the kingdom of God. 

Our American society does not have a kingdom hierarchy.  Other countries governments, and during Bible times, they operated with a “Kindgom” culture.  In a kingdom, the king is the ultimate leader, authority, and governor.  He makes the laws, he decrees the laws, he enforces the laws.  Beneath him, his sons and daughters also rule and have authority, and carry the full backing of the kingdom with them.  If a prince or princess of the kingdom makes a decree, it is accepted and carried out just the same as if the king himself had given the order.  If the prince or princess travels to another territory or kingdom, they are given the same respect and honor the king would be given. 

As children of God, we walk in authority in the kingdom of Heaven.  Satan, demons, and enemies of Heaven have no authority over us.  When we speak, we have the authority to declare healing, to declare miracles, to speak and bring forth life because the full backing of the Kingdom of Heaven is behind us.  As children of God, we walk and talk and live like Jesus because He said Himself that we would do the same, and “even greater works”.  (John 14:12).  We share in the blessings, relationship, and fellowship with God that Jesus shared with Him.

As you read your Bible, you will find blessings and promises made, and every one of those blessings and promises and gifts belongs to you as a child of God.  Here are just a few:

You are set free.  (John 8:32)
You are healed.  (Isaiah 53:5)
You are strong and capable.  (Philippians 4:13)
You are more than a conqueror.  (Romans 8:37)
You are God’s workmanship.  (Ephesians 2:10)
You are protected.  (Isaiah 54:17)
You are strengthened by God’s glorious power.  (Colossians 1:11)
You are called God.  (2 Timothy 1:9)
You are chosen.  (1 Thessalonians 1:4)
You are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (1 Corinthians 6:19)
You are forgiven of all your sins.  (Ephesians 1:7)
You are greatly loved by God.  (Romans 1:7)

Never forget who you are in Christ and the Kingdom of God.  “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6).   

Read John Chapter 14.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 13: Worship.

Praise and Worship.  The words are used together so often in church that we tend to think of them interchangeably.  But, there is a difference in praising God and in worshiping Him.

As we said yesterday, praise is primarily a declaration that you make speaking highly, favorably, and admiringly of your God.  You need to be able to praise Him and speak good and rejoice regardless of how you feel or regardless of Him doing anything for you.

Worship is a much deeper commitment.  Worship involves surrender of the heart and mind and soul to Him.  To commit oneself to Him in such a way that you are overwhelmingly submitted to Him, not just in a church environment, but in every aspect of your life.

The word worship means “reverence and adoration of, to pay homage to”.  And, when you pay homage to someone, you surrender yourself publicly and reverently to them.  You live according to their rules and principles, no matter what.  You have allegiance to them.  In the Old Testament times, and in some cultures still today, when the king, or lord of the land is present, homage was most often paid by laying face down on the ground before them.  When kings would conquer territories, they would force the captives to surrender in this manner.  This is why you will see people pray and even worship in church face down on the ground.  It is an act of complete surrender, humbleness, and homage to God.

How do we live out worship on a daily basis?  Surrendering in church seems easy enough, but what about daily? 

When you have allegiance to a king or a lord, you live according to their authority.  Living a life of worship to God means that we live according to His authority in our lives.  We desire to know His Word and then to keep His Word.  We present ourselves to Him, as our King of Kings and our Lord of Lords and we give ourselves to Him… daily.  Living a life, daily, that honors Him.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)

 “The He said to them all, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” (Luke 9:23)

Our act of humbleness and submissiveness is our worship given to God.  It is not just something that happens when we sing at church, but a lifestyle that we live, dedicating ourselves to our Savior and our Lord.

Read John Chapter 13.

Friday, November 16, 2018

21 Day Devotional: Day 12: Praise.

“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.  Every day will I bless You; and I will praise Your name forever and ever.  Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:1-3)

When we think of the word praise, we typically think of being in a church with hands lifted or eyes closed singing a worship song.  But, the word praise means “to express approval or admiration of someone, to applaud, to honor, to glorify, to exalt”.  And, praise is something that we should continually be doing.  It is expressing our admiration and offering our applause and honor to God.  Not only our thanks, but our honor and admiration.  As the scripture says, we should do this every day for He is great and greatly to be praised.

How do we do this every day? 

When we speak of Him, we speak about His goodness.  We speak about His love.  We speak about His salvation and the grace that He has freely given us.  We speak about the wonder of His creation and how He protects us and provides for us.  We speak highly and favorably of Him. 

Yes, speak about the things He has done for you.  But be sure that your admiration for Him goes beyond just thankfulness for blessings or miracles in your life.  There will be times, as we have said, that you don’t feel anything.  There will be days when you don’t see His hand working, or you pray and are not sure your prayers are being answered, or even heard.  Even in those times, you must still have an admiration and love and praise for God.

Praise is also a weapon of spiritual warfare.  At some point in your Christian walk, you will face opposition.  Whether it be from old friends, family, people who want to talk about you, or something you used to like being involved in, there will be “warfare” or a battle in your mind, perhaps in your conversation, or even in your lifestyle between the old and new person of you.  Praise is one of the best ways to defeat all the enemies in your life.  Regardless of whether you have had every prayer answered or not, you should be able to stand up and talk about how good God is!  In the Old Testament, when the children of Israel went to battle, they would put their singers and dancers first.  In front of all the fighters and weapons, when they marched to battle, they marched singing and praising God… and they hadn’t even started fighting yet!  Because, praising God regardless of whether you have an answer to your prayers or not means you are really praising.  It means your love for Him is not based on what He does or does not do… it is based on your admiration, respect, and honor of Him.  And, that is real, true praise!

Make every day a day you sing songs of rejoicing and speak highly of your God! 

Read John Chapter 12.