November 26, 2004
Encouragement for Today

The Power of Praise - Part Two
Mary Southerland, Director of Development, Speaker and Author

Key Verse

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.  Psalm 150:6 


Devotion

Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, strawberry salad, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and apple pie - the menu is set in stone, carved by the desires of my husband and children!  One year, I tried to make a few "creative" changes but encountered unwavering opposition.  Realizing I was completely outnumbered, I surrendered those "strange" new recipes and brought out the old familiar ones.  I learned a lesson.  In the Southerland household, Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition that is not to be trifled with.  I pray that the eternal lesson of Thanksgiving is a spiritual tradition and every day reality as well.   

Thanksgiving - a time of praise and celebration - a time of remembering the faithfulness and provision of God.  Thanksgiving is more than a holiday; it is obedience for every believer and praise at its best.  More than spoken words, praise is the natural fruit of a heart wholly devoted to God and bound by a love relationship with Him.  Praise is powerful and can alter life's parameters to include trust and acceptance in the face of daily life.  Praise not only pleases God, it changes our life perspective, filling each moment with faithful trust and fresh joy. 

These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:7


Praise transforms tragedy into triumph.  Fanny Crosby was six years old when she lost her vision because a doctor applied the wrong medication to her eyes.  She could have become bitter but chose instead to praise God.  As a result, Fanny Crosby wrote the words to over 8,000 hymns; "All the Way My Savior Leads Me", "Blessed Assurance", "To God Be the Glory", beautiful songs of worship sung by millions of believers across the world.

Praise invites God to work.  Praise is the conduit of praise in our life, inviting God to work.  Stress and anxiety fade as peace floods the heart filled with praise. 

 "Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Cast up a highway for Him who rides through the deserts."  Psalm 68:4

But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.  Psalm 22: 3 

Don't miss the life changing truth that we can enthrone God in every situation of our lives by praising Him!  Praise transforms our everyday surroundings into His dwelling place.  It is from that throne of praise that He dispenses healing and deliverance.  Praise tunes us into His sovereignty and allows us to experience the power of His presence. 

Praise devastates Satan and his forces.  I love this truth!  The psalmist writes, "We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God."  (Psalm 20: 5)  Victory and praise go hand in hand. Satan knows that!  But through continual prayer, God's Word and faithful praise, we declare our trust in God to deliver us from anything the enemy brings our way!  Praise is a frontal attack on doubt and fear. Even in the midst of Satan's best effort, victory is ours when we praise Him.

During this holiday season, I encourage you to practice praise. In doing so, you will experience God in a new way. 


My prayer for today:

Father, I praise you today for all that you have done in my life this year.  You were faithful even when I was faithless.  Your love pursued me even when I was unlovable.  Your forgiveness covered my sin and freed me from its penalty.  I give you thanks!  Amen.


Application Steps

Go over the praises recorded in your Joy Journal.

Beside each praise entry, write a scripture verse that expresses your thankfulness. 

Speak that verse aloud to God as your prayer of thanksgiving. 


Reflection points:

What keeps you from praising God?

Examine your heart for any sin that would block the flow of joy in your life. 

What action do you need to take in order to deal with that sin?

Do you really believe that praising God will strengthen and prepare you for a crisis in your life?  In what way(s)?


Power verses:

LORD, accept my grateful thanks and teach me your laws.  Psalm 119:108 (NLT)

Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.  Psalm 100:4-5 (NLT)

Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Psalm 105:1 (NIV)

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his love and for the miracles he does for people. Psalm 107:8 (ICB)

Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. Philippians 4:6  (NCV)


Additional Resources:

P31 Woman Magazine
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

Coming Out of the Dark by Mary Southerland
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/outofdark.html