Saturday, September 20, 2008


"Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. Be exalted, O LORD, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power".

Psalm 21:8, 13

The Old Testament makes a distinction between taking revenge ourselves and leaving our enemies to God. Strength and power lie in Him, not in us, as Psalm 21 confesses.

Apart from many good reasons for glorifying and worshipping God, the role of praise in dealing with our enemies is also strange to many people. The Psalmist also praise God in the midst of facing adversity at the hand of an enemy. Do you wonder how such conflict and praise meet?

We continue with the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. Remember, Jehoshaphat and the kingdom of Judah are teetering on the brink of destruction - they are about to be attacked by horde far outnumbering them. You might compare their plight to a situation of your own in which everything seems to go wrong, or when the force of Satan's opposition threaten to overpower you. King Jehoshaphat's experience offers a way to do battle in such situations. He begins by simply confessing, "We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us" (2 Chronicles 20:12).

This confession of weakness doesn't mean that Judah is passive and does nothing - nor should we. A prophet of Judah delivers a word from the Lord. God tells them that the battle is His, not theirs. For their response, the people " (stand) up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high:" (2 Chronicles 20:19). Then instead of hurling spears or boulders, the army marches out boldly hurling phrases of praises, singing, "Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever" (2 Chronicles 20:21). The result? The Lord Himself sets ambushes for the enemy, causing confusion and fighting to break out among their ranks.

So what attack should believers mount against Satan and his hordes? We are to take up the weapons we wield best - the weapons of praise. As the apostle Paul teaches us, "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Faced with the forces of evil, God's people are not to fear. Our greatest resource for resistance doesn't arise from any arsenal known to human wisdom or device. It comes from knowing that the battle is the Lord's. We are never to react from a position of weakness, but from one of strength. That strength is found in faithfully remaining at our post of praise. Our best defense is to do what we should know how to do best: offer praise and glory to the Living God, whose enemies, ultimately, will always flee before His might and power

Quite sure most of you would know this powerful song - Desert Song by Brooke Fraser from Hillsong (see below youtube). With the knowledge of our weapon of warfare we can now sing and praise Him in the desert, in the fire & in the battle ... PRAISE THE LORD!



Sunday, September 14, 2008


Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.
Psalm 149:5 -6

Psalm 149 speaks of "the high praises of God" in the same breath as "a two-edged sword." Of course , we are dealing here not with weapons of carnal warfare, but with putting our words into action by boldly going on the offensive of faith - by acting on the promises of the God we praise.

Let us turn to the dramatic scene in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat, undermanned and relatively powerless, has been brought word that "a great multitude is coming aganst you" (20:2). This text gives direction on what can be done in such moments; something besides reigning to a passive prayer for strength. There are four action steps - four ways to take up the sword of praise.

1) The king proclaimed a FAST (2 Chronicles 20:3). Is fasting foreign to your experience? Don't let it be. Fasting is an aggressive way to affirmed the promised power of the spirit over the flesh. It is an explicit way to reinforce the priority of prayer and to seek God throughout each day. When facing crucial battles such as the one that confrnted Jehoshaphat, be ready to deny the flesh as a sign that your trust is not in human energy but in the power of the Spirit.

2) The king and the people PRAYED (2 Chronicles 20:6). And while their prayer confessed that "we have no power" (2 Chronicles 20:12), it wasn't a "poor me" prayer! In stead of whinning, their prayer roared, ascribing to God power and authority over the enemy. Such a prayer of petition is admittedly prayed out of deep need, but it nonetheless boldly affirms God's power within His will.

3) There was also a REMEMBRANCE OF GOD'S WORK in history (2 Chronicles 20:7). With praise they remembered the story of God's people - the Exodus from Egypt, God's care in the wilderness, the conquest of Canaan. Remembering is a mighty source of confidence that God is able and will again deliver and save. Reviewing testimonies at the Lord's Table is a great way for us to remember His tender mercies and enduring love.

4) There was a PROPHETIC UTTERANCE (2 Chronicles 20:14-17). We must be open to the Holy Spirit's prophetic word among us as a people. He's still assuring us, "The battle is not yours, but God's! (2 Chronicles 20:15) and He will faithfully unfold God's will for us to our own immediate situations.

Ultimately threatening situations call for an uncommonly strong response: taking up a two-edged sword in a spiritual sense - aggressively trusting God, forcefully throwing ourselves at His feet in worship, and boldly brandishing the spiritual weapons Jehoshaphat used. They still work to put doubt and fear and anxiety to flight.

PRAISE is not passive. It can be our boldest stand against the threats of the enemy.

Blessings - TPWC

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.
I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forvermore.
Psalm 86:11-12

People who truely worship God must become teachable people. Here, the psalmist looks up to God with complete openness, ready both to learn and to walk in the truth. To unfold this theme, we return to the account of Abraham's offering of Isaac. No passage in Scripture provides more fundamental teaching on the true meaning of worship. By being open to God's call, Abraham discovered a new place of worship. "Go to the land of Moriah," God told him, "and offer [Isaac] there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you" (Genesis 22:2). Abraham left the security of his caravan and his servants to go discover this new place - this new mountain of acceptable worship to God.

Sometimes we must go to a "new place" too, in order to discover the true meaning of worship. It will probably be to a new place our hearts or attitudes rather than to a new physical site, but we sometimes need to be guided away from the worn valleys of our familiar ways to a mountain of God's assignment. We can become so accustomed to tradition, to the same trappings of worship and the same forms, that the spirit of worship dies of familiarity. But let's open as the psalmist does: "Teach me Your way." Let's not fear discovering a new place of worship, where in finding new and fresh capacities for worship, we find new dimension of God's goodness and Person.

Abraham first discovered that surrendering to God's claim is at the core of worship ... Abraham thought Isaac was his, momentarily forgetting that Isaac was God's gift and thereby rightfully His to claim. And so it is with all of our own gifts. Everything we have has been "bought at a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20), and you and I need to retain a readiness to return our "beloved Isaacs" at the center of our hearts - those things we cherish most dearly. Ever and always they must be kept before the Lord, to be sacrificed for His purpose. In the text for this reading, the psalmist promises to praise God with his whole heart, clearly meaning that nothing can be withheld. Can we begin to sense here the radical nature of true worship? It transforms our values from the beginning.

But further, Abraham discovered the true nature of God. He learned that God does not demand those things dearest to us because He needs them, but because He knows we need to be released from their controlling us. God never demands a sacrifice for the divine pleasure of smelling it's aroma or because He needs us to tickle His pride. The objective is our release - our growth. God asked Abraham to offer Isaac neither to exploit Abraham's emotions nor to destroy Isaac's body. But what He did do was to forever take away Abraham's fear that God might not have his best interests at heart. It is only in living worship that we will draw close enough to discern God's true nature and loving heart toward us.

Abraham also discovered the rewards of worship. Of course, God gave Abraham no immediate monetary reward for worshipping Him, but the reward was immensely grander - God Himself! "I am your ... exceedingly great reward" (Genesis 15:1). Until every corner of Abraham's heart was possessed by a trust in the greater love of God, God would be restricted from fully giving of Himself to Abraham. If he had been withholding anything from God, there wouldn't have been room in Abraham's heart to contain the wealth awaiting him in God. It's another way of saying, "No one can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24). The sacrifice of worship establishes our servanthood to the true God.

We see then that worship has a "cutting edge" - one that cuts the flesh and prunes our preferences. Bowing before the Sovereign Lord introducs real demands but also opens new dmensions of promise. We begin to catch a glimpse of what we can discover about God and about ourselves when we are willing to be taught in worship by Him whom we worship.

An extract from - The Heart of Worship by Jack Hayford