When God set me in Water of Life Ministries, one of the first things He taught me, was to worship and praise Him and to give Him thanks. God established this ministry from the heart of His servant, the apostle and prophet Doyle Davidson. I mention this, not to give glory to Doyle, but to reinforce that God establishes a church through an apostle and to acknowledge before the world, that he (Doyle) was sent by God to me, to teach me to serve God and to praise His holy name. Jesus said in Matthew 10:41, "He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward." Also in 2nd Chronicles 20:20 it is written, "...Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper." A man that is righteous and a prophet speaks the words of God and I could see that it would be beneficial for me to hear his words. Doyle, speaking by the Spirit of God, taught us the importance of praise.

Seek the Lord and Praise Him.

Jesus taught us to not seek after "things" but to seek God and it is recorded by Matthew in chapter 6, verse 33, " ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." So how do we seek God? The psalmist David in prophesying about Jesus on the cross wrote in Psalm 22:26, "...they shall praise the Lord that seek him:" Why does this work? Again, in Psalm 22:3, "But thou are holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel" (His people). We seek God by praising Him and He then inhabits our praises. This is the only way to get in His presence. Your prayers are not heard any other way except by praising Him. Psalm 100:4 states, "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." It is only through praise and worship and the giving of thanks, that we get into His presence. And then once in His presence, he can hear our prayers.

A great example of the power of praise is in 2nd Chronicles 20 when the Ammonites and Moabites came against the children of Israel. The king proclaimed a fast and the people worshiped God and He spake and said, "...Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's" (verse 15). The king appointed singers to go before the army and they sang over and over, "...Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever" (verse 21). Then the enemies that came against Israel turned on each other and utterly destroyed one another.

Praising God causes our enemies to turn against each other. Read in Ephesians, where Paul stated that our enemies are not flesh and blood, but are spirits that compel people to come against us. In Psalm 8:2 David stated, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger." Jesus quoted this Psalm when he said in Matthew 21:16, "...Yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" Perfect praise stills the enemy.

Praise and giving thanks takes effort.

Although our spirit knows that we should praise the Lord, our lazy and weak souls do not want to. When being oppressed, we would rather go to sleep or turn to an arm of the flesh to relieve the oppression. It is a sacrifice to praise God and give thanks for all things when we are under attack from the devil. The book of Hebrews states in chapter 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." Praising God is a sacrifice that He accepts; so is giving thanks. "And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing" (Psalm 107:22). "I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord" (Psalm 116:17).

Growing up in religion, I thought that sacrifice was going to church for an hour once a week, or giving up candy for 6 weeks during lent. I obviously wasn't smart enough to check and see if the things that I was taught as a youth were in the bible. Therefore, I didn't overcome anything, but rather was overcome by Satan at his will. God, through His word, tells us how to overcome. Speaking through his servant Isaiah, he stated in chapter 61, verses 2-3, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." Praise is what deals with heaviness.

There were also some things I couldn't see how I could be thankful for and doing so certainly seemed to be a sacrifice. But in 1st Thessalonians 5:17-18 Paul said, "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Giving thanks for all things includes giving thanks for all men (and women). 1st Timothy 2:1, "I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men"; and in verse 2, "For kings, and for all that are in authority:" Why would I want to give thanks for all that are in authority? Continuing on in verse 2 and 3, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;..."

Throughout the Psalms it states "I will praise the Lord" and "I will give thanks to the Lord". It takes a conscious effort to will to do something. We have to command our souls to offer these sacrifices unto God. "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." (Psalm 103:1-2). But in so doing, the benefits are great. We get into God's presence so He can hear our prayers. We still the enemy and the battle is not ours. We overcome oppression and spiritual heaviness so we can live in peace and quiet. Life is good! I thank the Father, in the name of Jesus, that He has provided this for us. All it takes is a little effort. Amen.

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