Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A “Normal” Miracle

Tuesday, March 31, 2020  Some material taken from Miracles Over Nature by Sam Nobles
But so we won’t offend them, go to the sea, cast in a fishhook, and take the first fish that you catch. When you open its mouth, you’ll find a coin. Take it and give it to them for me and you.  Matthew 17:27 CSB

A “Normal” Miracle
The miracles of Jesus can be put into three primary categories: miracles of healing, miracles over nature, and miracles of casting out demons. However, the greatest miracle of Jesus was His resurrection from the dead. From now through Easter, we will take a look at the different kinds of miracles that Jesus performed and how they make a difference in our lives today

This past Sunday Sam Nobles preached a message on one of the miracles over nature (a miracle performed over natural things) that Jesus performed.  Miracles over nature usually involved human ability to participate and a command for the people involved to use whatever means they had.  Nothing was provided for these miracles to take place.  These were supernatural miracles performed by a supernatural God through normal people and everyday things.

This particular miracle takes place in Capernaum where Jesus spent time at the home of Peter. It seems there may have been many there that day.  Maybe they were there because Jesus was in town and they wanted to visit with him.  Jesus was inside and Peter was outside when a tax collector came by and asked Peter if Jesus paid the temple tax?  The temple tax was two days wages that were paid toward the upkeep of the temple.  Peter immediately responded with “yes”, possibly not really sure if that was the correct answer.  When he went inside, Jesus asked Peter where kings get tariffs or taxes from – their sons or strangers?  Peter answered strangers because Kings do not tax their children.  Jesus is the Son of God, so should the Son of the King of Kings have to pay earthly taxes?  In order to make a point that He is the Son of God, and He is the temple, he performed a unique miracle.

Jesus told Peter to go fishing - He says to the fisherman, “Go fishing”.  This is an example of how miracles over nature involved human ability to participate and the use of whatever means they had. Peter went fishing and he found the money to pay the tax in the fish’s mouth.  Jesus didn’t really have to pay the tax; He knew that to not pay the tax would cause a problem and would be a stumbling block by offending His fellow Jews.  Christ’s omniscience and power were displayed because He knew there was fish nearby that had the exact amount of money needed in its mouth, and He caused that fish to bite Peter’s lure.  God used something that was a very ordinary part of Peter’s life to do something extraordinary.

Like Peter, probably the last place we would look for a miracle would be in the things we do every day, the monotonous, humdrum, routine things of our lives.  But this is so often where the miracles are, and where we are most likely to miss them.  God uses our normal to perform His supernatural.  We usually want a miracle in the form of something that is not currently a part of our life.  We ask God for big things and there is nothing wrong with asking God for miracles.  But we need to be aware of the miracles that are happening right before our eyes that we may not recognize.  God chooses to primarily work and move through the natural actions of human vessels on this earth. As man does his natural part, God does the supernatural.  The natural always precedes the supernatural; therefore, in your praying and seeking God to do something supernatural in your life, the supernatural will be found in doing what you naturally do.

The Lord is capable of meeting all our needs, just as He provided the money for the temple tax.  He may not always provide for us supernaturally, but perhaps He does more in our lives supernaturally than we realize.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Far Greater Things, Far More Certain

Monday May 30, 2020
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.  1 Corinthians 7:35 ESV

Far Greater Things, Far More Certain
Are you feeling as distracted as I am these days?  Even in trying to go about as many normal activities as possible, I find myself distracted by the heaviness spanning the whole world over. All of us have this “thing” in the back of our minds and it is terribly distracting. We are distracted with buying toilet paper. We are distracted with looking for hand wipes and hand sanitizer. We are distracted by the news updates, social media, the number of cases in our county, and the rising death toll. We are being put to a test unlike any most of us have ever experienced. The strength of the Christian faith as a whole, as well as each one’s individual faith is being tested in the face of uncertainty, and nothing tests faith like uncertain times.
We cannot let this uncertainty distract us from what we know and believe. Far greater things are far more certain than whether or not the toilet paper will ever be plentiful on the shelves again. We know God is sovereign.  We know God is in control. But we are tested to carry on in faith and to not let the headlines and numbers distract us. Yet we are human and curious by nature, so it is hard to ignore. 
Let’s not be distracted from focusing on these things:
Jesus Christ never changes, even in the midst of chaos - Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8  His sovereignty, steadfastness, grace, love, and mercy never change or run out. 
How much we love our family and friends - What has changed in your family for the better during this time?  Will you want to spend more time together after you have the option not to, or will you all go your separate ways and go back to being disconnected? 
How much we long for community and community worship - Won’t it be so sweet when we can all go into the worship center and lift our voices together in praise to God? There is purpose in community.  God specifically said not to forsake joining together because He knew we would need it. It is essential to lift one another up, pray for each other, and rejoice together.  
How lovely is a sunny day and fresh air - Have you taken for granted the joy it brings to take a walk on a beautiful day?  It is good for our health and good for us to acknowledge God’s treasures that He has given us to enjoy. For many of us it is the first time in a long time we have had time.
How much joy it brings to help others - There is much joy and reward in helping others and at a time like this, there are many ways we can help.  We can buy, or pick up and deliver, food or groceries to those who cannot get out. We can call and check on those who are lonely. 
Grace - We need to remember the grace God gives us and we need to have grace for others. In many ways we are all in the same boat. We have all been affected by this on some level.  Let’s have grace for one another in this difficult time. 
Nothing makes Satan happier than to see us all fretting and rushing around to get all the things. Distracted from God.  It is hard to go into the store and not feel anxious. It will be good when this is over but there are many things I have not missed. I have missed being with the people I love and cannot see.  I have missed worshipping together, bible study together, and meeting a friend to have coffee and talk.  But in the re-evaluation of all that fills my life, I will be more intentional about what I let in.  This has helped us all to see what we truly do not ever want to be distracted from again.
But the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  Mark 4:19

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Miracles Over Nature

Miracles Over Nature

The miracles of Jesus can be put into three primary categories: miracles of healing, miracles over nature, and miracles of casting out demons. However, the greatest miracle of Jesus was His resurrection from the dead. From now through Easter, we will take a look at the different kinds of miracles that Jesus performed and how they make a difference in our lives today.

Miracles of the Old Testament: The saints of the Old Testament talked about miracles as being, “the wonders of old.”

Miracles of the New Testament: When it comes to the New Testament, the miracles were pointing to a future day when Jesus would rule and reign on this earth – sneak previews of coming attractions.

Three Observations Concerning Miracles:

·         My first observation is that we shouldn’t think of the Bible times, either Old or New Testament, as times in which saints of God consistently did miracles.

·         The second observation I would make is that there are probably more miracles happening today than we realize.

·         The third observation I would make is that the kingdom has not fully come in this age.

Even if miracles were happening every day, the foundation of faith would still be on the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Miracles Over Nature

In most of these miracles over nature, there was the:

·         Human Ability To Participate

·         A Command For The People To Use The Means That They Had.

God is the one who performs the supernatural part of anything that is miraculous.

I. Two Important Questions

·         A Question About The Tax Law

·         A Question About The Law Maker

o   Jesus would die for those who killed Him, and would also be the one who would pay their tax.

II. One Important Command

This astounding miracle clearly demonstrates Christ's complete control over the natural elements.

·         A Unique Miracle

o   This is the only miracle Jesus ever performed that dealt with money.

o   This is the only miracle through which Jesus did something for Himself.

o   This is the only miracle Jesus did that dealt with a single fish.

·         An Exceptional Principle.

o   Kingdom expediency: It is a high kingdom value to never unnecessarily offend..

·         A Practical Partnership

o   As man does his natural part, God does the supernatural.

o   The supernatural will be found in doing what you naturally do.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Some Good News

Friday, March 27,2020
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  Ephesians 1:3-4

Some Good News

Who does not need some good news today?  We have all been so inundated with fearful and bad news lately that I felt like we should remind ourselves of some good things today.  In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul gives us some especially encouraging words for us to remember at this time.
Seven things in this chapter that can bring us hope:

  1. We have been Redeemed - In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, Ephesians 1:7 Jesus Christ has redeemed us, and we are forgiven because of His grace.
  2. We have a promise - In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit… Ephesians 1:13  We heard and believed and when we gave our hearts to Him as our Savior, He put His stamp of ownership on us by giving us the Holy Spirit.
  3. We have guaranteed inheritance Spirit…who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:14  The Holy Spirit has guaranteed that we will receive our inheritance as God’s Children. He has so many good things for us, many blessings in life.  Complete freedom.
  4. We are HisSpirit…who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:14  We belong to God.  He purchased our salvation with the shed blood of His son, Jesus. We are free in Him.  Free from the bondage of our sin and shame.
  5. We have the power of Jesus – …and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…Ephesians 1:19-20  The very same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us and is working in us.
  6. He has revealed His plan to us - making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ Ephesians 1:9
  7. We have been blessed - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… Ephesians 1:3  He has given us every spiritual blessing in the world.

So there are still some good things to think about and the Bible has so many more that we already know, but we forget in hard times.  This is a hard time for everyone because it is so uncertain, but God’s words and promises are ALWAYS certain and true.  Pass them on to someone who needs them today.

Scripture to Claim:
For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,  Ephesians 1:15-17

Thursday, March 26, 2020

For God's Glory

Thursday, March 26, 2020
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death.  But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. Psalm 94:19-22

For God's Glory
God puts us in difficult situations sometimes, and then delivers us out of them, because that displays his power and glory. The more furious the opposition, the more formidable the foe, the more hopeless the situation, the more his power is displayed when He intervenes at last to accomplish his purposes.  God delights in delivering us from hopeless, impossible situations, to show us that when the time comes, He will save us from the ultimate hopeless situation, death. Jesus Christ was crucified and died, but He rose again. And all who put their trust in him will also be raised to eternal life.  
Even when we are not in the middle of a pandemic sweeping across the world, life can have a way of draining us.  But right now, as everyone is anxious, our physical and emotional states can get depleted a lot faster. Some of you may be facing difficult situations like fractured personal relationships, medical problems, family issues, and now job-related trials. Your situation may seem hopeless.  Despair lurks and threatens to suck us under, but we have to believe our situation is not as hopeless as it seems. From a human perspective, perhaps. But from God's perspective, never. 
One thing that happens when we face something we have never faced before is that we find out how much we really are human. Many of us have dealt with anxiety and fear these past few weeks. We may not understand why we are struggling with this crisis when we know we have faith in God and trust Him. It can make us feel so inadequate as a child of God. Fear and anxiety test our trust in an all-powerful God. We may question what we believe, if not on purpose, in our actions. We are not failures as Christians if we fall to fear and panic sometimes. King Hezekiah’s story is what God has shown me this week and it has been so helpful. He was a God-fearing leader, who put God above everything. But even Hezekiah, as faithful as he was, fell to fear on more than one occasion, but God repeatedly proved his faithfulness and power.  God knows we are human, and fear is a very human emotion. Like Hezekiah, we can trust God to take care of us, to be our deliverer.  He is bigger than this virus. He can handle our fear. 
Maybe God wants to do something mighty and powerful in your life, something unexpected, in this uncertain time.  Pray. Trust in God. Wait on the Lord. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.  Remind yourself of all the times that God has helped you in the past, and ask Him for grace and wisdom, and keep walking by faith, rather than by sight. May God’s power and glory be displayed in this current world situation in every way.

“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”  Psalm 39:7

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Miracle or Deliverance

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 Some Material taken from Miracles of Healing by Sam Nobles
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.  James 1:2-4
Miracle or Deliverance?
Some of us think we are looking for a miracle in our lives, but what we really want is for God to save us from our circumstances. We think that because God can do something, He should do it.  Deep down inside we may even think we deserve it, that we are a little entitled to deliverance because we have been good and faithful for the most part. 
Many of us have been guilty of wanting/expecting God to rescue us from some of the circumstances of our lives when it was our own sinful actions that caused the circumstances.  For example, if we spend too much money, we expect God to provide for us to still be able to pay our bills, or better yet, bail us out completely. If someone speeds, and they get a ticket, they may expect God to somehow work some magic and get them out of this ticket.  We make mistakes in life and God does actually rescue us from ourselves sometimes, but He doesn’t take the consequences away every time. That is where we get mixed up.  We think God doesn’t work miracles anymore, but sometimes we are looking for deliverance from our sins and consequences more than we are looking for a true miracle. 
When Hezekiah was king of Judah, the Assyrians invaded and were threatening to take over Jerusalem.  The Assyrians had already defeated the northern kingdom of Israel and many other nations, and the king of Assyria was mocking Hezekiah for trusting in God. This was a crisis that Hezekiah was praying the Lord would deliver them from and it was going to take a miracle. They were about to be wiped out or starve because the crops in the land had already been destroyed.  Hezekiah sent word to Isaiah, the prophet, and Isaiah sent word back to Hezekiah, reassuring him that the Lord had said that Assyria would not enter Jerusalem. The city would be spared. 
In true miracle form, God answered Hezekiah’s prayer and kept His word. And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 2 Kings 19:35 The angel of the Lord struck down most of the Assyrians and the rest left in a hurry when they woke up and saw the dead bodies. 
Hezekiah put God above everything. He could have fallen completely apart, and he did a little later when he got sick.  This time, however, he turned right to God, trusting Him to deliver his people. God did deliver them and made a provision for the food they lost in the destroyed crops.  God promised him that the seeds from the destroyed crops would fall and grow more crops.  They ended up with more to harvest than they would have had from the original crops and by the third year they were fully recovered. God delivered them in many ways.
We don’t have to fear anything because our God is our Deliverer too. He doesn’t always rescue us from our circumstances, but He does do what is the absolute best thing for us and what brings Him the glory. He most likely will not deliver us the way we think He will, and often He uses what is already in place, like He did with the seeds from the destroyed crops falling to bring even more to harvest than they ever expected.  
Sometimes we miss the miracle or deliverance He provides because we are only looking for Him to do things in a certain way, but He is always faithful and true, and every time He will prove to be faithful at every turn. 
So the Lord saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand 
of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all his enemies, 
and heprovided for them on every side. 
2 Chronicles 32:22

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

The Faith of Good Friends

Tuesday March 24, 2020 Some material taken from Miracles of Healing by Sam Nobles
And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  Mark 2:2-5

The Faith of Good Friends
Yesterday we talked about why Jesus performed miracles in His ministry. Today we are going to look a little closer at the four men that took such good care of their friend.  
Jesus was at a house in Capernaum, a packed house.  So many people were there that day that no one else could get in. The friends of a paralyzed man heard that Jesus was back, and they wanted desperately to take their friend so that Jesus could heal him. They were so desperate that they realized the only way they were going to get their friend in front of Jesus was to cut a hole in the roof of a perfect stranger’s house.  And they did it. When Jesus looks up and sees the hole and sees the four men lowering the paralyzed man down, He was impressed. He was impressed with the friends and how they had so much faith for Him to heal their friend, and how they were so willing to take extreme measures for this guy – because of faith.  
How many of us would love to hear Jesus say He is impressed with our faith?  We have friends and we say we pray for them, but do we have the faith of these men when we care for those loved ones in our lives? Do we cut open the roof for them, or just casually mention them in our prayers, if at all? We do not realize the power of intercession and prayer, and we do not fully utilize the power we have in Christ to intercede for others. We have the same power that rose Jesus from the grave - resurrection power! We need to use that power to ask bold things for others, and for our own lives. We work in church, teach, lead, and fellowship, but if we are not truly caring for the people, we are not doing what God has put us here to do. 
Jesus was impressed with their faith because He knew that they got it. They understood that people are more important than ministry. The people are the ministry, or they should be.  It should not be about the program because when the program takes priority, it is the people who suffer. 
These men cut a hole in the roof, lowered their friend down directly in front of Jesus, and Jesus looks up at them instead of focusing on the clear object of this act.  It is clear to everyone there who the person in need is, and what his need is, but he doesn’t get the attention at first.  Jesus sees the faith of his friends, and because He can see their faith, He forgives the sins of the paralyzed man. But that is not why they brought him - right?  They brought him to Jesus so He could make him walk again, but Jesus takes care of business first. The man needed to be healed spiritually more than he needed to be healed physically.  We can tend to let the physical take priority over the spiritual and sometimes, it might be necessary to meet some physical needs to then be able to make a spiritual impact in someone’s life. That happens all the time in ministry, because part of ministry is meeting physical needs. Jesus knew and wanted all these people to know that forgiveness is what we all need more than we need to be saved from our circumstances. 
We all want to be saved from this horrible virus ransacking the world right now.  We want these circumstances to change but they seem to keep changing in the wrong direction.  Instead we need to focus on our hearts and the hearts of those in our lives.  We can’t change the circumstances and Jesus can and will change them in His time. In the meantime, pray.  Pray bold prayers for your loved ones, friends, and for your own needs.  Pray in faith and live that faith out loud. The world needs to see it now more than ever.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Why Did Jesus Perform Miracles?

Monday, March 23, 2020 Some material from Miracle of Healing by Sam Nobles
But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. John 5:36

Miracles of Jesus
Do you still believe in miracles?  Would you like to see a miracle happen right now in your life?  Better question - would you like to see a miracle happen in the current situation the world is in right now?  Wouldn’t it be awesome if somehow God got some glory from the secular world during this pandemic? I believe miracles are still happening around us all the time, although they might not look like miracles to us, or we may not see them because we are not looking for them.  The lame man expected Jesus to heal him because he knew and believed in His power. His friends had faith in Jesus to heal their friend so they sought Jesus and when they found Him they made every effort to come before Him. 

Jesus spent part of His ministry on earth performing miracles. He did this for two reasons:  
First, He wanted to prove that He was who He said He was - the Son of God, and to prove His relationship with the Father.  For more in-depth study, look up these verses on what the miracles Jesus performed proved:
·      He is from God - John 5:36
·      He is with God - John 9:32-33
·      He is Approved by God Acts 2:22
The miracles of Jesus also proved that He has the authority of God on earth to:
·      Forgive sins - Mark 2:10
·      Usher in the Kingdom of God - Matthew 12:28
·      Prove that He is the Messiah - Matthew 11:1-6
·      Prove that He is the Son of God - Matthew 14:25-33

The second reason Jesus performed these miracles was to give evidence to the message that He and the disciples were preaching- to affirm the message of Jesus. The Apostles were going around with Him, preaching His word and Jesus performed miracles that affirmed what they were saying.  Mark says “And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. Mark 16:20. It is important to note that Jesus was not backing the apostles up, He was confirming His word that was being preached.  

From now until Easter, our sermons are going to be about the miracles of Jesus.  Jesus performed three types of miracles: miracles of healing, miracles over nature, and miracles of casting out demons. And then His greatest miracle of all that brought us the gift of salvation and eternal life, His resurrection from the dead. 

During this time, I urge you to think about the miracles of Jesus and what they proved. Think about the promises He has fulfilled and the promises He is still fulfilling today.  Are you seeking Jesus?  Have you come before Him in faith, at all cost? I am not saying that your faith is not strong enough if you haven't seen a miracle.  But we can miss the real miracle Jesus works in our life if we are only looking for a specific work to be done. If we have faith, we must trust the miracle worker. His ways are not like ours. 

It is a good season to dwell on these things with so much uncertainty in our lives.  Jesus performed miracles to ensure the certainty of His character, His relationship to God, and His message to an uncertain world. He gave a very certain message of God’s love, mercy, and power to a lost and hurting world and He brings that certainty to us today.  

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Miracles of Healing

Miracles of Healing
The miracles of Jesus can be put into three primary categories: miracles of healing, miracles over nature, and miracles of casting out demons. However, the greatest miracle of Jesus was His resurrection from the dead. From now through Easter, we will take a look at the different kinds of miracles that Jesus performed and how they make a difference in our lives today.
One clear purpose of miracles was to authenticate the character of Jesus and His relationship with the Father.
A second purpose of miracles was to affirm the message of Jesus. 
Jesus does not confirm the apostles; rather He confirms His word that is being preached. 
Miracles Of Healing.

I. People Are More Important Than Things, So They Tore Open The Roof.

·      In this story, we first see jesus looking up at the friends of a pralytic man.
·      The work we do in ministry will never be more important than the people for whom the work is done.
·      When the program takes priority over the people, it is the people who suffer.

II. The Spiritual Is More Important Than The Physical, So Jesus Forgave The Paralytic Before Healing Him.

·      Next we see Jesus looking down upon a man with great need.
·    Jesus always deals with the root, and ultimately the root issue is sin.
·      Our greatest need is not always clearly obvious – even to us.
·    We need forgiveness for our sins more than we need relief from our adverse circumstances.
·    For many, if not most Christians, we think that because Christ can do something, He should do it when we want it done.

III. Demonstration is More Important Than a Profession, So Jesus Backed Up His Words With the Demonstration of His Power and Authority.

·      Finally, we see Jesus looking around at those who were cynical.
·      The scribes could not see the man’s sins forgiven; therefore, they would not believe.
·      If we are not careful, the message can be lost in the miracle.

·      From this miracle the people should have realized that they had witnessed the very authority of God, present among them in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Praise in the Face of Fear

Friday, March 20,2020Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come before him! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; 1 Chronicles 16:29
Praise in the Face of Fear
Times are changing fast. We have never lived through anything like this before in history.  This is an experience we are all having together - young and old, rich and poor - none of us have ever experienced anything quite like this in our lifetime, and that makes us all equal in this game.  Some things, like Coronavirus, put us all on the same playing field. The same way cancer strikes all ages, races, economic levels, so does Coronavirus. There may not be many things in life we can say that about, but the greatest thing of all is that Christ died for all of us and He loves us all equally.  That is certainly something to lift up praises about in this uncertain time.    
Our praise exalts Him and humbles us. When we are singing to Him, we are thinking about His greatness, His power, His presence, and it takes our minds off ourselves - and the fears we have.  It is confessing our dependence on Him and expresses our devotion to Him. It is the melody of prayer – laying it all out and laying our hearts open before him.  It is declaring we trust Him, believe Him, and honor Him above all others.  
As much as God loves our praise, Satan can’t stand it.  There is no greater victory than for us to bring the “sacrifice of praise” to our God in the middle of a storm.  Satan never wants you and me to be able to stand in pain, hardship, fear, or the unknown, and still worship God. He wants us to be defeated and when we praise, there is only victory.  No defeat - except for the defeat of Satan. Our praise, lifted up to God in reverence, is a crushing defeat to him that causes him to flee.  There is one-on-one intimate communication going on between us and God and there is no room for Satan.  
God created us for a relationship with Him, and part of that relationship is praising Him.  He doesn’t need us to praise Him, He is self-sufficient.  But He desires it, and takes pleasure in it, and we need it!  Praise invites Him into our lives and opens the way for Him to dwell close to us and us to dwell in Him. We should not invite Him in expecting Him to come in and change or situations and work out our problems. We should invite Him in expecting Him to change our hearts, praising Him in all things, through every circumstance. 
True love for God spills out in praise, with no effort. It is a command that is not difficult to follow.  Created for a relationship with Him, praising Him fulfills our purpose and brings fulfillment and joy to our lives.  It brings peace and comfort in times of chaos and stills our minds and brings our focus to Him – right where it belongs.  
In the midst of this current storm, how are you handling your fears?  Satan would like nothing more than for us to focus on our fear and be defeated. We cannot let him have victory in this darkness. Turn on some music and lift of praises to God! Praise Him that He is God over all - over our fear, over our sickness, over our needs, over our family and friends, over our country, and over this global pandemic. He fully deserves our sacrifices of praise in this chaos. It not only exalts God to the place He deserves, it also frees our hearts from the bondage of fear and brings us peace.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Hebrews 13:15 ESV

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