Saturday, April 2, 2016

Praise Ain't Gotta Be Pretty

Whenever we read the story of Joseph there are some undeniable facts that should become clear to us: Joseph was chosen by God, he was anointed by God, he had a destiny given by God, he was favored by God, and without a doubt God was with him.  Sounds like a recipe for the easy life doesn’t it?  Just judging from that criteria it would seem that Joseph was headed down “easy street.”  But when we read his story we discover that out that one day joseph found himself in a pit.

If somebody told you when you became a Christian that all your problems would be over, and that you would never be hurt again, never cry again,  or never suffer again...they lied to you.

Psalms 34:19 - “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.”

What I am trying to convey is that the fact is, and so many it seems fail to understand, that Christians face difficulties in life too.  Christians get sick, they have debt, they get divorced, they get their hearts broken, and sometimes they wind up in pits. Sometimes they fall in, sometimes they jump in, and sometimes they are pushed in.  But regardless of how they got into the pit, it’s still a pit, and if they stay there, death will come.  Dreams, ministries, gifts, callings, marriages, and even the anointing will die in the pit.

I don’t know what that pit is for you today: It may be a pit of debt, it may be a pit of sickness, it may be a pit of addiction, it may be a pit of depression, It may be a pit of marriage problems that seem so deep, dark and overwhelming that you feel like giving up, or It may be a spiritual pit and you just don’t feel God like you used to, so you’re dry and discouraged.  Our pits come in all different shapes and sizes...but they don’t have to be our end!

Psalm 30:5 - “Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning.”

I want to prophesy to you today - your praise can pull you out of your pit!  Reuben came back to the pit where he last saw Joseph, but Joseph wasn’t there.  There are some people that think they know you, they think they know where to look for you, they’ve gossipped about your pitiful condition, but that was yesterday!

Yesterday you were in the pit, it looked like you were going to die in your pit, and you felt like you were going to die in your pit, but that was yesterday!  Here what the Lord is saying to you today:  Your fall doesn’t have to be fatal!  Don’t die in the pit!  Don’t quit dreaming!  Don’t quit believing!  Don’t quit trusting!  Don’t quit expecting!

It looked like Joseph was going to die in the pit, but through a turn of circumstances in a matter of minutes Joseph was up out of the pit on solid ground.  I want to tell you that if you cry out to God, God can take you from the pit to the palace.

From Joseph, Job, Daniel, The three Hebrew Children, Jonah, Jesus, to Peter, Paul, and John.  From Genesis to Revelation God is turning it around.  And for a lot of you, if that’s not enough evidence to convince you, all you have to do is look in the mirror.  Some of you use to be fornicators, thieves, liars, alcoholics, and drug addicts, but that was yesterday!

II Corinthians 5:17 -  “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away behold all things become new.”

What was it that got Joseph out of the pit?  JUDAH GOT HIM OUT!  That is significant, because Judah’s name means praise.  So literally it was praise that got Joseph out of the pit.  It wasn’t his coat of many colors that got him out, it wasn’t his anointing that got him out, it wasn’t even his dreams that got him out - it was praise that got him out.

Anybody can put on a pretty praise when the battle is over, anybody can praise when the sickness is healed, anybody can praise when their marriage is restored and their family is mended, anybody can praise when they’ve got a good retirement, money in their wallet and money in the bank.  But it takes something powerful to shout in the face of the devil, it takes anointing to praise in the face of the doctors bad report, it takes something supernatural to shout when you don’t have two nickels to rub together, and it takes the holy Ghost to praise when you’re going through the fire!

The point is: Don’t wait till the battle is over, shout right now!  Start in the dark with the walls closing in on you, when you are laying in that hospital bed, when you are at the bottom of that pit, when you are in the middle of your pain, start praising God when you are in the inner prison at midnight with your hands and your feet bound and your back bloody, beaten black and blue.  It may not be pretty, in fact it may be ugly, but give God an ugly praise if that’s all you have the strength to give.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped church in the past because I felt like I couldn’t praise God because my attitude wasn’t right.  Things weren’t going well and I was feeling foul.  I felt like I couldn’t go and enter into the presence of God because I wasn’t feeling very worthy.  But I have come to understand that God wants my praise, even if it’s ugly praise.  He wants it through my tears and my groans, He wants it even when my heart is breaking, He wants it through my bloodshot eyes, when it don’t make no sense, He wants it loud, he wants it crazy, He wants it when I’m going through hell, and He wants it even when I don’t feel very spiritual.

Job lost everything that he had, his heart was breaking into a million pieces, he had experienced more tragedy than one human being should ever have to endure, but in the middle of it all Job gave God an ugly praise.  The bible says: he arose, rent his mantle, shaved his head and he fell down on the ground and he worshiped.  It wasn’t a pretty sight: he worshiped through tears, he worshiped through groans, he worshiped with a broken heart, he worshiped through his pain, through his confusion, he gave God an ugly praise and God gave him a beautiful future.  Job’s worship kept him connected to his destiny, and in the end God blessed him with more, restored everything and gave him double.

I don’t always have the benefit of choosing the problems and trials and afflictions that come my  way in life: sickness, the loss of a loved one, debt, false accusations, betrayal, but I have come to understand that I can choose my response and I choose praise.

You see the devil’s purpose for the pit is to kill your praise.  The devil hates your praise and he knows that if you ever get your praise on, he’s in trouble.  If I have learned anything about fighting the enemy, I have learned that if I can get my praise on, I can get the devil off!

Jeremiah the Prophet found himself in a horrible pit: Jeremiah 38:12 - “And Ebedmelech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah: put now these old cast clouts and rotten rags under thine armholes under the cords.”

He offered Jeremiah, God’s man, the prophet of God, mighty man of faith and power, old thrown out filthy rotten stinking rags, and he put them under his arms and they lifted him out of the pit!

Somebody ain’t gonna like this: but the reason some of you haven’t got out of your pit yet is you’re too proud.  You want to praise God on your terms, you want to praise God when something big happens, you want to praise God when you feel like it, you want to praise God when it makes sense, and you want to praise God moderately, conveniently, and quietly.  Your pride is keeping you bound!  Your pride is keeping you in the pit!  Your pride is keeping you from your miracle!

Isaiah 61:13 - “Put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”

God didn’t say it would be easy, He didn’t say it would feel good, and He didn’t say it would be pretty, and as a matter of fact it’s pretty easy to see that He’s talking about going from a low place to a high place, He’s talking about moving out of heaviness into praise, He’s talking about getting something off and putting something better on.

To some my praise may look like old rags, it may seem extreme, it may appear emotional, it may be “too” loud, it may even be ugly, but that’s alright because it was an ugly praise that brought Joseph out of the pit, it was an ugly praise that brought Jeremiah out of the dungeon, and it was an ugly praise that brought Paul and Silas out of their Prison.

I don’t know about you, it may be ugly, but I’m gonna praise Jesus, I’m gonna get my praise on and get the devil off my back!

1 comment:

  1. It truly bleesses me to have your post come when it does. Most every time the message is on target. Thank you for your obedience and faithfulness to help minister and train others with the word of God!