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Proactive Praise

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Psalm 3:1–3 NKJV
1 Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, There is no help for him in God.” Selah 3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
Today we will begin a series entitle, [Praise in Progress], the subject of today’s message is, [Proactive Praise].
What I am about to say may shock many of you, but I am an inquisitive person. I am prone to ask questions, to think things through, and many times there will be follow-up questions.
I have been this way since I was a child. I always asked a lot of questions and for twenty-eight years, not much as changed. Sometimes my questions are deep other times they are insignificant.
For instance, last Christmas I laid in bed wondering, who invented wrapping paper? Why I needed to know, I can’t say, but I couldn’t get to sleep until I got up and looked on my phone only to discover it started thousands of years ago in China.
Throughout my life, I have heard people make passing remarks, jokes, and even get annoyed with me. Truthfully, it used to bother me that I had so many questions.
Then one day, in prayer it finally clicked:
It used to
Psalm 139:14 NKJV
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
Psalms 119
Now, it doesn’t bother me that I am as curious as I am, it is the way God made me!
My inquisitive nature spills into ever area of my life, including my relationship with the Lord. When I read the Bible, something will catch my attention, a question will fill my mind, and I will want to search, seek, and study to find an answer.
As question I had recently, what was the secret of success for many of the heroes of scripture? What separated them from their contemporaries? What helped them weather the storms and survive the most difficult situations?
As I prayed about these questions, I went to the book of Psalms. David wrote at least 74 of them, forty-eight of them are anonymous, a leader named Asaph wrote 12 of them, Solomon wrote two of them, Moses even wrote one of them.
As I read through the Psalms, I noticed something about the Psalmist, they were open and honest with the Lord. They did not hide their feelings or shy away from their hearts.
They were full of praise, admiration, worship, and honor to God. However, what stuck out to me is this: they learned the value and importance of PRAISE IN PROGRESS.
When they wrote their Psalm of praise, it was either while they faced something terrible, after it was over and how they praised through the problem, or in preparation for what God had for them.
As I thought about this, I felt I found part of the answer to my questions. Their secret to success, their ability to weather to storms of life is this, THEY LEARNED TO PRAISE IN PROGRESS.
They learned how to praise God BEFORE the miracle, the healing, the answer, or the victory.
A month or two ago I told Bekah, I do not know where I am going when I am finished preaching on Joseph. Be in prayer with me that He will lay something on my heart for our church.
Less than a week later, I drove down the road, and I praised the Lord. I sang songs, I worshipped in the Spirit, and I felt the presence of the Lord fill my car.
As I worshipped, I felt the Lord speak to me: this is what I want my people to get. This is what my people need to understand to go deeper in their walk with me!
So for the next few weeks, I want to go through a few different Psalms. These Psalms are underlined in my Bible. There have been many times I have needed something from the Lord, maybe I was discouraged, maybe I needed an answer to prayer, maybe I just wanted to be closer to Him, but I would praise in progress.
I didn’t see the answer immediately, but I praised God in the meantime. Today, we will see how David, the passive father, became proactive in his praise when everything crashed around him.
I want to look at Psalms three and divide into three parts, [Proactive in Problems], [Proactive in Proclamation], and [Proactive in Praise].
Let’s begin
1. Proactive in Problems
Psalm 3:1–2 NKJV
1 Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 2 Many are they who say of me, There is no help for him in God.” Selah
We began this story last week, but I will give a brief overview. After David sinned with Bathsheba, he entered a season being a passive, king, father, and friend.
The once attentive, prayerful, and wise King David seemed to do nothing as he watched his son manipulate the Kingdom of Israel to turn their backs on their king.
Absalom stole the hearts of the people who were once fiercely loyal to David. He listened to their problems while putting down the king.
Slowly but surely, he not only stole the hearts of the citizens, he worked to gain the trust of the King David’s governmental officials. Absalom made the decision to move forward in his devious plans.
He left Jerusalem, the capitol city, and went to Hebron. While in Hebron, he had a priest anoint him as king. He placed trumpeters and people throughout the land. When they heard the trumpet, the people were to call out: “Absalom reigns in Hebron.”
2 Samuel 15:12 NKJV
12 Then Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David’s counselor, from his city—from Giloh—while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number.
No wonder David cried out to God, there are so many people around me who have risen up against me. The people that were once fiercely loyal to David now rose against him.
No longer where people singing his praises in the streets, they had turned their attention to his son Absalom. The people who he thought would never leave him had deserted him.
The next thing David did seems passive, but in reality, it was a proactive decision. He knew he could not stay in the palace, it was time to leave.
2 Samuel 15:13–14 NKJV
13 Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.” 14 So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.”
2 Samuel 15:13
David left, that doesn’t seem to proactive, but it was. It was an action of faith. By leaving Jerusalem, he determined not to lower himself to Absalom’s tactics.
He knew God had delivered him in the past:
from a lion and a bear
from Goliath
from a crazed King Saul
from many of his enemies
Therefore, he trusted God to deliver him. He did not want to stay and have to be the one to physically harm his son, who he desperately loved. Instead, he was proactive, he chose to trust the Lord to work on his behalf.
2. Proactive in Proclamation
Psalm 3:3–4 NKJV
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. 4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah
Upon hearing that Absalom had stole the hearts of the people and was in the process of stealing the Kingdom, David something extraordinary.
Where most people would have been upset at the Lord because of their difficult situation, David did the opposite. He did not spend all of his time sulking because of the bad, instead, he praised in progress.
He did not proclaim the negative, he proclaimed to all who could hear him, God is my shield, He protect me, He is my glory, He lifts up my head. Therefore, I will call out to Him, and I will trust that He can hear me.
2 Samuel
2 Samuel 15:30 NKJV
30 So David went up by the Ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered and went barefoot. And all the people who were with him covered their heads and went up, weeping as they went up.
I want us to notice this, WHEN did David choose to proclaim God’s greatness? Notice where he was when he proclaimed God’s greatness. He was not sitting back in the palace, with his enemies subdued.
Instead, he was on the run because of his enemies. His son was cursing his father’s name. Those who once loved him had turned their backs on him, and it didn’t look like it was going to get much better in the near future.
A passive person would have said, well, nothing will happen, it is what it is, I have served God all these years, and look where it has gotten me. If God was big enough, this could work better.
But that is NOT what David did. He understood:
Proverbs 18:21 NKJV
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
David understood, IT MATTERS WHAT WE SAY!
Sure he was surrounded by enemies, sure he was on the run for his life, sure he was unsure if he would ever make it home again, but he PROCLAIMED God’s greatness before the miracle happened, before the victory took place, and before the battle was over.
He was proactive in problems, proclamation, and...
3. Proactive in Praise
Psalm 3:5–8 NKJV
5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly. 8 Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah
Psalm 3:5–7 NKJV
5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me all around. 7 Arise, O Lord; Save me, O my God! For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone; You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
Though David went through a season of being passive, he renewed his faith in the Lord and became proactive. But notice, he did not issue these strong statements in the face of his enemies.
Instead, he declared it to the Lord. He praised God BEFORE the Lord came through for him. David understood when we praise the Lord, His presence is soon to follow.
Psalm 22:3 NKJV
3 But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.
David’s departure from his throne in Jerusalem did not mean that God was off of His throne in heaven. Therefore, David would praise, God’s presence would come, and David would have peace.
David understood the progression:
When I praise THEN I have peace
When I praise THEN I will be protected
When I praise THEN my enemies will be rendered powerless
When I praise THEN I will be saved from my enemies and problems
Anyone can praise God AFTER the problem is solved, but it takes a person of faith to look to God when their world is crashing around them and declare the goodness of God!
David chose to be proactive in his praise and watch as the Lord delivered Him. Eventually Absalom was defeated and David returned home to Jerusalem, seated on his throne.
What was the secret to David’s success? When life crumbled around him: he had praise in progress. He continued to enthrone God, look to Him and trust that the Lord was good, even when his circumstances said otherwise.
Of all the stories in David’s life, I have two favorites: I love the story of him moving the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. But I think that one ranks second, if I had to choose a favorite, it would the story of David and Absalom.
Sure, the story of the Ark of the Covenant excites me, it makes me want to join with David and dance before the Lord and become even more undignified.
And while I love those encounters, I have noticed in life, times can become difficult, discouraging, and disheartening at times. However, David showed the secret to survival and eventual victory: and that is PRAISE!
When we choose to be proactive in praise, we can watch the progression from difficulty to victory.
And I know that I have heard from the Lord, if we are to do ALL God has for us, we have to go deeper in our praise and worship. I have been praying in my office, “Lord let a Spirit of Praise break out in our church, unlike anything we have ever experienced before.”
There is one more reason that is so special to me. It takes me back to October 2013. I had been invited by Brother Cuneio to preach a revival from October 27-30.
As many know, he was taken home to be with the Lord in August 2013. The deacons asked me to come for October 27 and 30. As I approached the date of the services, I was unsettled as to what I was to preach.
I had a burden from the Lord to have a word from heaven. By Wednesday night, October 23, I still did not have a message. I went to bed that night and prayed, Lord I want to hear from you.
That night I had a dream. In the dream I was in the church and I saw a number of familiar faces. Everything seemed somewhat calm inside and I walked down to the Fellowship Hall.
I looked out the windows and I saw a tornado coming for the church. I looked a little closer and noticed five large tornados and one small tornado.
I remember saying, we have got to do something, we need to seek shelter, we need to get to a safe place, there is a storm coming against the church.
Immediately I woke up quoting this passage, BUT THOU O LORD ART A SHIELD FOR ME, MY GLORY AND THE LIFTER UP OF MY HEAD.
I can remember preaching about that that Sunday morning, but I don’t think it was until the past two weeks that I have truly looked at that dream from this side of the equation.
In any church there will be storms. In any Christian’s life there will be storms. Vulcan Assembly is no exception and we are not exempt.
However, here is what the Lord showed me: in those dark and difficult days, when the storms of life blew against the church and against God’s people, it didn’t stop us from praising God.
Even if it felt like routine, singing the same songs, God heard the praises of His people. I am convinced that the blessings of God that are upon our church right now are because of the praises of God that have been heard from this building!
Sure storms come, sure winds blow, sure people come in and out of our lives, sure we face attacks, but if we will get it settled down in our hearts, God is our GLORY AND LIFTER up of our heads, if we will get proactive in our praise and worship, He Will SAVE US, deliver us, give peace to us, and empower us.
But here is the catch. Here is what I feel the Lord is showing me for our church in this hour, we have to be proactive.
We cannot wait until the storm is over to praise; we praise Him in the storm.
We cannot wait until the healing comes to praise; we praise Him while we are sick.
We cannot wait until we His presence comes to praise; we praise Him until His presence comes!
We must be in a state of praise in progress: choosing to be proactive in our praise!
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