Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Praise Precedes Deliverance

Leslie Basham: When can you praise the Lord most effectively? Is it in church surrounded by supportive people, or is it in the lonely dark times when it appears there’s no reason to praise?

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, November 29th.

For the last several sessions, we’ve been in a series called The Power and Practice of Praise. If you’ve been listening along with us, it’s probably been easy for you to nod your heads in agreement. But what about when life happens? During those dark and difficult seasons, it can be hard to worship God.

But as we’ll hear today, it’s in the most challenging times that our praise can be the most meaningful.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’ve been learning over these last days that praise is important to God. It’s a priority to him. And that it needs to be a priority to us.

We’ve talked about the power of praise, that praise is the means by which we enter into the presence of the Lord. It’s the means by which God’s glory comes into our lives and fills these temples, that we are. We are the temple of God, and when we praise Him, His glory fills the temple.

We’ve seen that praise precedes and prepares for deliverance. We’ve seen that praise is one of our greatest weapons in overcoming the attacks and assaults of the evil one.

We’ve seen that praise is a matter of faith. It’s something we choose to do. It’s a discipline. It’s a choice. It’s an act of our will. We praise when we feel like it, and we need to learn to praise when we don’t feel like it.

The absence of praise in our lives is invariably the beginning of a downward slide away from God.

In fact, in Romans chapter 1 where we read about the degradation and the fall of a whole culture, you know where it starts? It starts with people who forget to be grateful. They forget to honor God as God.

When we forget to praise, we’re going to become consumed with selves, and we’ll ultimately be worshipers of ourselves. We’re all worshipers, and we want to be worshipers of God who alone is worthy of our praise.

We’ve seen that praise must be verbally or visibly expressed to God. I hope that as we’re going through this series that you’re finding yourself opening your mouth to praise the Lord.

When you speak, I hope that what’s coming out increasingly are words of praise and speaking of the goodness and the greatness of God rather than focusing on, as I find so often I do, on your own problems, your own situation, instead speaking praise to and about God.

It never fails that whatever I’m preparing to teach on is what God is trying to teach me, and that’s hard sometimes. But it’s really good because I want to be ministering always out of the overflow of a life message. Whatever I’m teaching about on Revive Our Hearts is often where God is challenging my own life. Invariably, He gives me fresh illustrations and tests just to see if I’ve learned the material He’s been teaching me.

Now this past week as I was preparing for this session, I had, well, it was a pop quiz. You know what a pop quiz is? You weren’t expecting it, and when you were in school, it was every Friday. I don’t know why we weren’t expecting it, but pop quiz—oh no!

Well, this was one of those “oh no’s!” I had confessed to the Lord that as He measures the heart, I don’t think I did real well on this pop quiz. But let me tell you about it.

I was studying on what we’re going to talk about today, just how to offer to God a sacrifice of praise. That is: How to praise the Lord when it costs you something; when it’s not easy.

Scripture talks about sacrifices, the sacrifices of thanksgiving. “Let us continually offer sacrifice of praise to God” (Hebrews 13:15). I was reading through the Psalms, thinking about this matter of a sacrifice of praise. What does it mean?

Well, during this time I had to take my laptop into the office to get a little software program installed, and they told me it was going to take a while, so I left it there. I went to the river nearby, pulled out my Psalms, and begin to read and read and read, just reading through the Psalms. I was having a great time.

What I didn’t know was back at the office my brand new laptop computer with pages and pages of not backed-up notes for this series, the whole computer had just crashed. It was a pop quiz.

And what was I studying? Praising the Lord in every circumstance and every situation! And I think, outwardly, I managed to like get maybe a D. Just barely passing!

But the Lord knows the heart, and it was quite a lengthy time before I knew whether they were going to be able to get the data back up. I thank the Lord, due to His mercy and the help of some very wonderful technicians, they were able to get the data back up.

But as I was reflecting on this situation over the weekend and continuing to study on this series, I had to confess to the Lord that if the data had not come back up, I for sure would not have passed this pop quiz. I was on the verge of flunking anyway, and I hate to think of how I might have responded in my heart if the data had not been there.

And you know, sometimes it comes back, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes your husband repents and decides he wants to walk with God or your wayward child does, and sometimes they don’t.

So the real test is: Will I praise Him when I don’t get the outcome that I wanted? Anybody can praise Him when the outcome is as we had hoped, but the challenge is: Will I offer the sacrifice of praise when it costs me something?

You see, the sacrifice of praise means the willingness to praise God in the face of adversity and loss, not just in times of prosperity and gain. It means the willingness to praise God in the time of need, in our pain—physical and emotional—as well as in times of health.

It’s that for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, for better for worse, that’s what a sacrifice of praise involves to the Lord. It means the willingness to praise Him when I’m weak and I want to be strong, when there are pressures surrounding me, insurmountable problems.

I’ll tell you, that Friday afternoon, that crashed operating system seemed like a huge, insurmountable problem to me. I knew we were getting ready on Monday of the following week to record for Revive Our Hearts. To me that—now in retrospect it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal—but at the moment it was a huge deal.

Well, what you’re going through at the moment seems huge to you. When you stand back and get perspective and look at it, a while from now it may not seem that huge, but right now it’s big.

The sacrifice of praise says, “Lord, I’ll praise You though my eyes are filled with tears, though I don’t know what You’re doing. I can’t figure it out. I can’t see the outcome. I don’t know how this will end up. I will praise You anyway.”

Praising God in the face of opposition, in the face of doubt or fears. It’s not wrong to have fears or doubts or opposition. But it’s wrong not to praise Him in the midst of them; praising God in the times of temptation; praising God when I don’t feel like it.

You see, the problem is that we want a life free from obstacles. We want life to work. The test of my praise life is: Will I praise God when it appears from every measurable indicator that life is not working?

I know that some of you are in the midst of very, very dark seasons and desperate circumstances. Some of you have shared that with me. I read your letters and emails. I hear your heart-cries.

And you’re wanting to know, “What do I do?” Well, I can’t tell you what to do. I can’t solve your issue. I can’t change your circumstance, but I can tell you one thing I know you must do and that is to praise the Lord.

I have no doubt about that counsel. And you know, we need to help each other with that counsel. When it’s a rough time and we’re struggling and maybe just the pressures of that day; it may be a big situation in our life, but we need to come along side each other and say, "Yes, we love. Yes, we sympathize. Yes, we empathize." But the times comes when we need to say, "Are you praising the Lord?"

Are you giving Him thanks in all things? I was very moved years ago. I’ll never forgot the story of Dr. Helen Roseveare who for many years was a missionary surgeon in what was then the Belgian Congo.

She had given her life to serve the people of Congo in what later became Zaire. She tells about the time when the rebels came in trying to take over the government and the missionaries had been advised to leave the country, all the foreigners had been advised to leave the country. But some of them decided to stay. They wanted to serve these people.

Then she tells about that horrible night when the rebels came to the mission compound and looted and ravaged the place and then savagely beat and raped the women missionaries.

She was a single woman. She told how that the hours and the days that followed that she struggled to make some sense out of this horrible, horrible atrocity.

She said for her the freedom began, the pathway to healing in her life began when . . . She said it was as if God said to her, “Helen, are you willing to give Me thanks for that which I may never give you the privilege of understanding?”

You see, if we could understand the purpose, the outcome, what God’s going to do through this, we could praise Him. But you know what? One day we will know the purpose. Here’s where faith comes in. Will I praise him now before I can see what I will know then?

My own family had an opportunity, several as a matter of fact over a period of years, but one in particular comes to mind to learn to offer the sacrifice of praise.

I’m the oldest of seven children. I have a brother, David (number six in our family), who for years was the baby of our family. There were six children born real close to each other then the seventh came some years later.

And David was . . . how do I describe David? He had a lot of the characteristics of the youngest child. He was one of these kids who loved everybody and everybody loved him, but he wasn’t real responsible.

I mean, you’d have to remind him, “David, it’s a school day. You have to get up and go to class today. David, there’s a test today. You have to go and take that test.” He would just get absent-minded.

He was a student at Liberty University in Lynchburg preparing to be a pastor or a missionary. He wanted to serve the Lord, and he’d be up all hours of the night talking to people—just ministering. It could be the chancellor or the janitor. It really didn’t matter to him; he just loved people.

But he would forget some basic things in life. We’ve said he would have made a great missionary. He never would have learned the language, but he would have won the people. He was just that kind of kid.

I remember being in Chicago in 1986 in some meetings when I received a phone call saying that David had been in a very serious automobile accident and was not expected to live, and we were all to come home to Philadelphia immediately.

We gathered in the hospital room that afternoon. By that point, he had been declared legally, medically, and clinically brain-dead. Here was this strapping, robust, young man with all the wires and the tubes and the breath apparatus sustaining his heart for what we knew would just be a brief period of time.

Over that next seven days, if you’ve been there, you know, it seems like eternity. We waited, wept, and prayed, and then the news came that the heart had stopped. And let me say, death is an ugly enemy. There’s by this time, decay and stench, and you’re facing this in a face.

I remember as we gathered around that hospital bed for the last time with now the lifeless body, some dear friends who had stood with us through this entire week, the husband pulled out the Scripture and began to read the passage in 2 Samuel where David in the Bible had sinned with Bathsheba.

God said the child who was born as a result of this union, this illicit union, would become sick and die. The child did become sick and remember how David prayed and cried and wept and begged God to spare that child’s life, and then the child died.

The Scripture says the friends around him were afraid to tell him what had happened because they had seen him just beside himself with grief. They thought, “He’ll go over the edge when he hears this.” But to the contrary, much to everyone’s amazement, when David received the news about the child who had died, the Scripture says that he got up; he changed his clothes; he went into the house of the Lord, and he worshiped (see 2 Samuel 12:15-23).

Standing around that hospital bed, our friend said to us, “Our David is now dead. Now is the time for us to rise up and worship.” And we did. Not because we felt like it, not because it was easy, it was a sacrifice of praise.

What we were really saying was, “Lord, You’ve not given us the privilege of understanding why You would take this young life that was devoted to You, and we may never understand this side of heaven. But Lord, we trust You. We know You don’t make mistakes, and what we really want even as we grieve the loss of son, brother; more than anything else, we want You to be glorified.” And He has been.

I don’t know what the sacrifice of praise is that you need to make today, and it may not be some big traumatic issue. It may be. It may be in relation to a person, circumstance, condition, health, finances, marriage, children, work, and you’ve been whining and grieving as those who have no hope.

Scripture says let us continually through Christ, offer up the sacrifice of praise. I’d like to give you the opportunity right now. God’s been speaking to us throughout these sessions, and some of you need to offer up a sacrifice of praise. You don’t understand God’s purposes. You can’t see what He’s doing. It doesn’t make sense to you.

But by faith, you want to glorify God, and right now your heart is saying to him, “O Lord, I choose to praise You for that which You may never give me the privilege of understanding. ‘I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble, [the oppressed], will hear and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together’” (Psalm 34:1-3, KJV).

O Lord, thank you for accepting this sacrifice of praise that we’ve brought to You this day. May You be pleased, and may we offer those sacrifices continually everyday, for the rest of our lives, and through all of eternity to Your glory, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss giving us a powerful reminder that sometimes praise is a sacrifice. Maybe these words find you in a really dark time, and you’re ready to make a sacrifice to praise even though you don’t feel like it.

If you want a friend to help you walk through what that looks like, I suggest Ruth Myers.

Well, not her in person, but she wrote a book called 31 Days of Praise, and it’s really great. It’s one of my favorite books. It will lead you through a month’s worth of devotionals and really help you learn what it means to worship God.

I hope you’ll order a copy from ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1-800-569-5959.

That’s also where you can hear any of Nancy’s teachings you might have missed during this series called The Power and Practice of Praise.

As always, you can find archived broadcasts, transcripts, and our listener comment blog at ReviveOurHearts.com.

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If you’re depressed, the obvious solution is medication. Right? Tomorrow we’ll hear from a woman who had to answer that question. Find out why the issue is far from simple tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Now as we wrap up this series on praise, we’re going to think back to the Welsh Revival in 1904. Praise and worship was a natural result when hearts were revived. Here’s historian Kevin Adams.

Kevin Adams: People responded. Hundreds of people. All different denominations came together, humbly of course. As they came together, some confessed their sins as they realized that God could forgive them and transform them. As they called on God, the emotion grew. That was all blended together in a sound track of Welsh hymnology. If you’ve heard the Welsh sing, when they get excited about God, there’s nothing like it.

All these things were happening and being expressed in great hymns written in the 18th century by the Methodists. By now these great hymns were part of the DNA, if you like, of the Welsh nation, but were being set alight by the Holy Spirit. People began to realize what the hymns meant. They sang them for years, but now they realized.

One of great hymns, of course, was:

Here is love vast as the ocean;
Loving kindness as the flood.

(Welsh music being sung)

And you know this was sung and it seemed to be the outpouring of God’s love that fell upon the people at that time.

(Singing)

Here is love vast as the ocean;
Loving kindness as the flood.
When the Prince of life gave a ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.

Through His love we ought remember;
Who can cease to sing His praise.
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout heaven’s eternal days.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

"Here is Love." Huw Priday. John Lowry. Arranged by Jeffery Howard.

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