Victory through praise

victory thru praiseOften times it is we who hinder God’s solution to our problems through disobedience to God and unbelief.   So what then can we do to release God’s power over our circumstances?   Merlin Carothers is a well know Christian author who has written numerous books on praise.  He shared in his book “Prison to Praise” that he believes that the very act of praise to God releases God’s power to have sway over our circumstances and allows Him to change the circumstances should it be His will.  He believes praise is the highest form of communion with God.  Further, I believe also that when we pray fervently and we submit to God and obey His will, it is the act of obedience and faith in God that permits God to bring victory over our circumstances.

Attitude is everything!  It is up to us to be victorious.  Should I grumble and complain, or should I fail to seek God morning, noontime and evening, it would be easy for me to lose sight of what God has for me and for His victory in my life.  In Psalm 55:17 it says, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.”  God hears our cries, although we may not think so sometimes.  There are times when I wake up in the morning and I just don’t feel like praying or thanking God.  It is a struggle for me to focus on anything but my daily activities or my circumstances.  God, however, sees my heart and reminds me that He is the one who needs to control my life, every situation and activity that confronts me.  Some would believe that it is the power within us alone to be victorious, but on the contrary, it must be God’s Holy Spirit that works within us to bring victory over our circumstances, our feelings and emotions.  I have tried too many times to go it alone, and have too many times failed.  This is where the power of praise and thanksgiving, and prayer are so important to the victory.

God commands us to always love and obey Him, and always rejoice in and praise Him.  I might also add that the Bible says to “always pray”.   Therefore, we can assume that if we are praying always and giving thanks always to God, then the two are married to each other and it is in combination that the two will see results.  Did you know that the word “always” is mentioned 75 times in the Bible?  Many of those times it is used in the context of obedience or in giving thanks.   In Ephesians 5:20 it says to “always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  It doesn’t say sometimes, it says always.  But you say, “Why should I thank Him when I am struggling or down and out”?   Simple, God commands it.  It does not say that I should praise Him and thank Him only when I feel like it.  It does not say that I should give thanks only when I am cheerful or happy.  It does not say that I should give thanks only when I am high and lifted up.  It does not say that I should give thanks only when things are going my way.   It says “always give thanks for everything”.  In 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  Merlin Carothers in his book “Prison to Praise” said “Often the prayer of praise is done in sheer teeth-gritting willpower; yet when we persist in it, somehow the power of God is released into us and into the situation.  At first in a trickle perhaps, but later in a growing stream that finally floods us and washes away the old hurts and scars.”   This is our recipe for victory over our circumstances for “if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. “ (Deuteronomy 28:1-2).

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

RELATED VERSES IN THE BIBLE

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”

Ephesians 5:20 “always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

Colossians 4:2  continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving”

 Philippians 4:6 but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

 Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”

Ephesians 6:18  “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication”

Prayer of David

OnPrayer02God knows us intimately.  He knows our deepest desires and thoughts.  He knows our concerns and fears.  The other day I was reading Psalm 25.  It was timely for me, because I needed to trust in God for something.  Then during Sunday worship service at my church, I felt God speak to my heart.   “Bill, just trust me”, He said.  He said it several times.  It is exactly what I needed to hear at that time.  He was telling me to lean on Him and not to lean on my own understanding.  So often we need God to speak to us, just to let us know He is listening and that He is there for us when we need Him.

In Psalm 25, David prayed “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust”.  (some translations say “I lift up my soul”).  This was an expression of faith without the evidence of hope yet revealed.  David was praying; reaching out to God to rescue him.  God asks us also to step out in faith and ask Him to rescue us from our loneliness and affliction, our troubles, anguish and distress.   Just trust in Him.  Let our hope be in Him alone.

Psalm 25 Of David.

In you, Lord my God,
    I put my trust
.  (some translations say “I lift up my soul”)
I trust in you;

    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways,
Lord,
    teach me your paths. 

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, Lord, are good.
Good and upright is the
Lord;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, Lord,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
12 Who, then, are those who fear the
Lord?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
15 Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.  
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
    and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
    and how fiercely they hate me!
20 Guard my life and rescue me;

    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, Lord, is in you.
22 Deliver Israel, O God,

    from all their troubles!

PRAYER:  Dear Lord, help me to put my trust in You.  Show me Your ways; teach me Your paths.  My hope, Lord, is in You.

Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel

Into the Storm

For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up the sea and its waves roar (the Lord of hosts is His name (Isaiah 51:15).

It was the end of October 2012 that Storm Sandy caused much damage to the North East.  It was the second most catastrophic storm in US history, just behind Hurricane Katrina.  However, the storm was not just an atmospheric stIntoTheStormorm but also a personal storm for me.  It was a time that I could have relinquished to despair and blamed God for my misfortune, however, something miraculous happened.

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Copyright 2013 by Bill Hutzel