Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Heaven's Arsenal - Part 2

Heaven's Arsenal: "Praise" 

Praise is one of the most powerful weapons in Heaven's Arsenal. Not just praise of anyone, of course - praise of God. 

The Sword of the Word is mighty for personal conflict, parrying the devil's deceptive jabs, which might otherwise have wounded your soul or penetrated your heart. But, praise works like an invisible force field, changing the very atmosphere, rendering it inhospitable to the forces of Hell.

One of the reasons that praising God makes the environment unreceptive to darkness is that praise instantly puts us in the very Throne Room of God. Scripture tells us that God sets up His Throne where His people are praising Him. And the spirits of darkness just can't hang-out where God is enthroned!

"But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."  
Psalm 22:3

Since darkness cannot hang around in God's Presence - praise drives the forces of darkness out of the presence of the one who is praising God! Once we get this perspective, discovering the Spiritual Warfare power of Praising God, we quickly discover the value of learning how to praise Him, most effectively. Playing good, Christian music is a powerful way to praise God. Speaking words of praise and thankfulness to God is another way to praise God. You can also sing praises to Him.

The book of Psalms is filled with powerful praises to God. So, if you're looking for a good place to get ideas of what to say when you're praising God, Psalms is a powerful resource. Psalm 150 and Psalm 103 are two of the greatest praise chapters in the Bible.

"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy Name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; Who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Psalm 103:1-5

 Not only does praise instantly put you in the very Throne Room of God, praise is also a powerful weapon against doubt, fear and even physical pain!

When my daughter was about 5 years old, she was afraid of the dark. Even going to the bathroom in the evening was difficult for her. This was because the restroom was at the end of a hallway with dark doorways lining the hall on either side. So, we told her about how praising God was a mighty weapon that defeats fear. We told her to sing praises to God every time she was feeling fearful. 

From then on my little girl could go to the bathroom day or night. If the sun had set and there were dark gaping doorways along the hallway, she would charge into that hall singing Jesus Loves Me at the top of lungs. It worked! Of course it worked! For praising God is a powerful weapon which may be wielded against fear by young or old alike.

As I mentioned, praising God is also mighty against physical pain. I was blessed to discover this a few years back, while suffering from kidney stones. After running a fever and experiencing quite a bit of pain, I was diagnosed with them. Once I learned what was causing my trouble, I was quite concerned. I had heard that passing kidney stones is quite painful - some say its comparable to child birth! 

I took some herbal remedies (hydrangea root and a few other things) to help dissolve the stones, drank lots of water, and prayed.

"Oh God, please help me through this," I prayed, fearing the intensity of pain I expected was yet to come. "Please just, be with me and give me the strength."

Suddenly an idea flashed into my mind, which I know wasn't my own. I was impressed to praise God - continuously, through the process!  Immediately, I began praising Him. I sang praises. I spoke His praises. I read Bible verses that praised Him. And then I did it all over again. I kept it up for several hours - all during the time while I was passing the kidney stones. Only at night, when I fell asleep, did I stop the praising...  But immediately when I awakened, I began praising God again. And - I kid you not, although it may sound incredible - God helped me to pass the kidney stones without any pain! Once I began continuously praising God, the pain lifted that I was already experiencing. The whole process took almost 24 hours. 

After that amazing experience, where I learned how effective praising God is against pain, I have added praise to my Spiritual Warfare and natural remedies arsenal. Praise doesn't always take the pain away entirely, as God lovingly did during my bout with kidney stones, but it is always a tremendous help, lifting my spirits and easing the struggle.

Could it be that the followers of Messiah understood this principle centuries ago? Is this why we ready of famous Christian martyrs, like John Huss, singing even while they were being burned at the stake? Was singing until they took their last breath not only a marvelous display dedication to God but also a Heaven-inspired way to lift their pain and increase their courage?  

Consider the unforgettable story of the Titanic, which sank to the bottom of the sea just four hours after hitting an iceberg. The final moments as the ship sank have produced many stirring tales heroism. But of them all, one of the most poignant stories of bravery and self-sacrifice was the band, who played hymns of praise to God amidst the disaster. Instead of seeking a position on a life-boat, these dedicated musicians played steadfastly on - until a cold, watery grave claimed them at last. Many survivors reported that the last hymn they played that night was Nearer my God to Thee.

Is it merely a coincidence that people who have heroically endured great hardship, even facing death itself, have often done so with the praises of God on their lips? I think not! Praise is one of Heaven's mighty weapons. It is more likely that they had the courage and strength to face these overwhelming trials, because they did so using the mighty Heavenly weapon of - PRAISE. 

So, the next time you are facing something difficult - especially in the moments when you least feel like doing so - praise God. As you do, He will empower you with greater strength, comfort you easing your suffering, and even use you to encourage and inspire others. Remember to use the wonderful weapon of praise to God.

"... I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth."
Psalm 34:1 

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