Coming into my office this morning after reading the paper I had a since of discouragement about the things I have to get done or just the idea that I can't seem to enjoy this morning or have victory over the things that are hard. I asked the Lord and he sent me to pg. 63 in Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson. The title "The Personal Breakthrough Moment". He talks about praise being the killer of discouragement because even if you can't do everything right or feel like you're not on the right track you can't lose with praise. This means physical expression. Now I'm an outgoing person and I have no problem lifting my hands and praising the Lord in public but I know I don't do it in private much. However, if I want to cancel that cloud of oppression I have to praise. When I focus on my weaknesses and compare myself to others I'm actually agreeing with the enemy. God delights in us so He wants us to delight in him. He rejoices over us with singing (Zeph 3:17) 7 Your God is present among you, a strong Warrior there to save you. Happy to have you back, he'll calm you with his love and delight you with his songs. So he wants us to rejoice over him with singing. When we give to him what he gives to us, we step further into relationship with Him deepening our heart connection with the source of life. When we align our body, mind and spirit with what he has told us there is a release of his nature that flows to us in that place of intimacy. Romans 14:17 "God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy" (message) 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, (NIV). Here God is telling us how to have joy. Not only to rejoice because we have joy but to rejoice in the pursuit of it. Rejoicing requires you to acknowledge that His goodness and faithfulness are more real than your present difficulty. It especially requires you to agree that your life is not really about you! Thanksgiving and praise are tools to strengthen ourselves not because they help us get something from the Lord, but because they reconnect us to our primary purpose--to minister to Him in worship. They bring us into His presence; and true worship is something that only happens in that place of communion with His presence. In worship, the sacrifice is no longer physical expression or verbal declarations. We are the sacrifice. Fire always falls on sacrifice. And when we are the sacrifice, we cannot help but be changed.
Thanks Bill for walking through this for me. Thank you God for the sacrifice of your son. May I become your sacrifice.