“So I say fire! Ready, Aim Fire… These are the words to the chorus of Mali Music’s latest single Ready, Aim.  It was no coincidence I heard it for the first time 3 days ago when he performed on the season finale of the gospel talent show Sunday’s Best. The song uses creative metaphors to describe how we are attacked in spiritual warfare.  Yet he boldly proclaims to the Enemy fire all you want– you can’t stop me now and you can’t hold me down.  It’s one of those songs that motivates you to push onward and fight; I was so amped when I saw that epic performance.  A definite confirmation of what the Lord keeps telling me to write.  As I mentioned before, we are in this ongoing spiritual war.  Where the Enemy is relentless and it seems the rules are not always fair.  Where casualties are many and the endpoint of souls being sent to eternal damnation is at stake. Where the lines can easily get blurred between friend or foe.  In this kind of war you have to have the right weapons. Your artillery is instrumental in determining victory or defeat.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that ordinary weapons will help in this war.  Semi-automatics, grenades and missiles won’t cut it here.

The bible says that the “weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds”(2 Cor 4:6)—meaning you can’t use natural weapons or weapons of the human flesh to fight a spiritual war.  Remember the spiritual realm and the things of it are not apparent with the naked eye.  So to be victorious in this war, you have to fight with supernatural spiritual weapons.  And these weapons are not things you can pick up in a store, get off of a shelf or go borrow from your neighbor. These weapons are not in stock at your nearest army or naval base.  Being able to throw hands in the street won’t make you a winner in spiritual warfare.  Most of these weapons are supplied by our leader, Almighty God and requires your effort, cooperation and your complete collaboration with our Commander.   See many people mistakenly think they can just sit back, let God do all the fighting and we don’t have to lift a finger.  But God requires that we work in conjunction with Him to navigate this war and through this life.  Not because He needs anything from us or we add to His power or splendor.  You cannot add or take anything away from God.   God is absolutely perfect and complete in and of Himself.  Yet God works through and collaborates with us simply because He chooses to.   And in accepting to war with God against the devil, we grow into a more intimate relationship with Him, we grow and  mature spiritually, God demonstrates His power through us and He is glorified.

So what are the tools that give us a fighting chance to be victorious against the enemy?  Over the next several posts I will write about the weapons, in no particular order, readily available to us to win this war.  These weapons include :

Praise and Worship

Prayer

Discernment

Blood of Jesus

The Name of Jesus

Spiritual Armor

Love

Power of Your Words

Holy Spirit

First up for discussion:  Praise and Worship

 To praise  in verb form is :  To express warm approval or admiration of; applaud; pay tribute; rave about.  Every one loves a compliment right?  If you think of it that way, God is no different.  Praise is simply complimenting God.  So speaking words of love or admiration, singing, dancing, clapping/ waving or just lifting your hands in surrender and acknowledgment to God with a heart of approval and admiration just for who He is, would be considered praise.  It is in praise that we tell God of the wonderful attributes that we recognize in Him and are thankful for. When you praise God commend Him on His goodness, His faithfulness, His stable unchanging nature, His beauty, His Holiness, etc, etc,—you could go on and on.  Thank Him for what He has done, is doing and will do in the future. Even simply saying Hallelujah, which in Hebrew means “praise ye the Lord” is a powerful way to exalt God.  You know what is great about praise? You don’t have to be gifted or have some special talent to do it.  Believe me, when I’m alone in my house dancing unto the Lord, you can’t tell me I’m not some professional dancer or I shouldn’t be the next Sunday’s best or American Idol when I lift my voice. But while my way too honest family would likely tell me to go take a seat if they ever saw me, I know God is smiling.

To worship is to show reverence and adoration for a deity, an idol or a sacred object  (www.thefreedictionary.com/worship).  Based on this definition you can see anything can be worshipped.  If not careful we may easily find ourselves worshipping money, fame, power, position, our jobs and people before or instead of God. But God, being the creator and Supreme ruler of all is the only thing that deserves our worship.  Worship requires a bowing down of ourselves figuratively and sometimes literally to the majesty of God, an acceptance and recognition of our nothingness before and apart from His goodness and constantly keeping the right perspective of God’s grandeur when we deal with Him.  Because God is so accessible, so kind and so merciful, we have all been guilty of passing our place and acting irreverent or disrespectful toward Him.  But we have to keep sight of who God really is.  Yes be in relationship with Him, be honest, be yourself, be transparent.  He knows we are human and faulty,  but realize He is royalty, He is magnificent, deserving of all honor and reverence and nothing to play with.

So how do we worship God?  Some believe worship only happens on Sunday morning when you wave and clap your hands to the singing of the choir.   But anything that honors or exalts God is worship.   Submitting your life to God and trusting Him to take full control is worship. Having faith in God’s ability  is an act of worship.   Obeying and loving God is worship.  Loving and serving others is worship.  Spending time in prayer, reading the bible and offering praise is worship.  Not cussing that coworker out even though she may deserve it, is worship because it honors God. Simply submitting and drawing close to God and allowing His Spirit to transform us into the very image of Christ day by day is worship.   In short, anything that glorifies God and reflects who God is through the example of your life/living is the best way to worship and honor God.

Now keep in mind there is really no right or wrong way to worship except that God requires that “…those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24, NKJV).  Don’t worship for show or with selfish motives.  Worship with a grateful heart and authentic love for God. There may be times you really don’t want to praise and worship.  We have all been there, where based on our emotions we don’t feel like lifting a hand or saying a word. But worship can’t  always be based on a feeling.  Besides it being a weapon in spiritual warfare, praise and worship is a mandate.  The Lord requires that we praise and worship Him.  So when you have those times when you don’t feel like worshipping, do what David did–make yourself do it.   David said “Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me” (Psalm 103:1, NKJV).   Sometimes you have to command yourself, activate the drive in your soul to worship God. But when you start to recall His goodness to you, focus on His awesome attributes, thank Him for all He has done for you, it won’t be long before the praise and worship catches fire in your soul and you can’t stop.  Your praise and worship will come unsolicited, unrestrained from a pure and honest place.  Let praise and worship  be a natural part of your everyday life.

So you might say that is fine and great, but how is praise and worship of God going to help me?   I would love to share that with you.

1) Praise and worship, especially in the midst of difficulty  is a visible slap in the face to the devil. 

When you praise and worship God in good times, bad times, trials and tribulations you are essentially saying to the devil despite what happens I still honor God,  still trust Him and there is nothing you can do to pull me away from my relationship with the Lord.  Not only does that move God, but the example of your faithfulness and commitment  is a means by which others can be introduced to and drawn closer Him.  With all of that, the devil has to  raise up and flee.

2) Praise and worship keeps your mind at  peace and focused on God.

Remember the mind is a prime target that the Enemy loves to attack.   But Isaiah 26:3 says “you will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You (God)…”  Praise and worship limits the devil’s access to you and prevents him from feeding such garbage as fear, worry, doubt,  depression and  anger into your mind.  It allows you to rest in God after you have done your part  and let Him fight your battles for you. So the next time the devil tries to steal your peace and torment your mind, give him an “access denied” stamp—kill him with praise and worship.

3) Praise and worship brings confusion and chaos to the enemy’s camp

When 3 enemy nations banded together to come against King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah (aka God’s people), the bible says that “when they (Judah) began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated (2 Chronicles 20:22, NKJV). The next verse goes on to say that these nations that were suppose to be united together, essentially turned around  and destroyed one another.  Utter chaos.  The lesson learned:  Use your praise and worship to confuse and devastate the enemy.

 4) Praise and Worship invites God’s Presence and Power

Based on psalm 22:3 God inhabits the praises of His people.  All that means is that God dwells in our praises.  In other words when  we praise and worship, God shows up and shows up hard.  We know in  God’s presence is everything we need–joy, love, peace, healing, rest. But beyond that, His presence brings raw power.   Really and truly I don’t even think God can show up in anything but power, because His very essence is power.  Yes God is present all the time in the background.  But as I learned from Reverend Terrence McKinley sometimes “God has to concentrate His presence” to get to you.   And I don’t know if you have ever been in the concentrated presence of God but let me tell you it leaves you weak, sometimes to the point of collapse. His glory and power is that overwhelming.   And if His presence and power, which might I add is not even a fraction of the whole of Him  because we wouldn’t be able to survive God’s complete glory and presence, is that heavy and overwhelming to those of us He comes to help and benefit,  imagine the force of the power He uses in opposition to the enemy or your enemies.  Man, with that kind of power, some stuff is bound to get broken down and broken off.  Translation: Let your praise and worship call down the unrestricted, incomparable power of God for your benefit.  With it you cannot lose.

5) Praise and Worship Brings Victory

The same David of David and Goliath fame, is  also known as  a war king.  The Lord used Him mightily to defeat many nations that opposed God and God’s people.   Why was David so successful? I believe partly because He praised God consistently through all circumstances.  He was a true worshipper at heart despite His flaws and faults. That popular book of the bible called  the Psalms, which means a sacred song or hymn, are full of David’s declarations of love and adoration to God.  “I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy” (Psalm 116:1, NIV), “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; (psalm 107:1, NIV) and the declaration that the “Lord is my light and my salvation…” (Psalm 27:1, NIV) are all examples of David’s heartfelt,  authentic praise to the Lord.  The writer of psalm 149 clearly recognized the necessity of praise when they wrote:  May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,  to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples (Psalm 149:6-7, NIV).  Notice praise is listed in line as weaponry along with the  double-edged sword.  Without a doubt there is power in your praise.

So  beloved let us learn from David.  Brandish  your praise and worship to annihilate the enemy. Make up your mind to bless the Lord at all times. When your praise and worship rises, you rise too….and yet still I rise.

With peace and blessings may you continue to rise always,

stillirise323

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