The thing I feel from the Lord is this…
God is calling the church to RAISE UP IN PRAISE.
Raise up our standard.
Raise up our defenses.
Raise up our offensive weapons.
Raise up the weapons that pull down strongholds.
Raise up our faith.
Raise up our desire.
Raise up WHO WE ARE in Jesus Christ.
Raise up the ONE who has ALL POWER in heaven and in earth.
And you do it…through your praise.
Your praise is your offering to God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation.
It is the means by which you LIFT UP Jesus and honor him before a watching world.
Those who refuse to praise, or don’t fully understand praise, will fall by the wayside when the battle is hot and difficult.
Someone will immediately link the word praise with singing, and yes it can mean to sing, but praise is more than that.
Praise is a determination of your heart to honor God on purpose, resolutely, from the deepest recesses of your heart.
When the enemy comes in and attacks the people of God, that’s when praise is MOST NECESSARY.
We cannot afford to LAY DOWN our praise to God in an effort to pick up the things that are falling around us.
Here are some things to understand…
- Normalcy might not come back in the same way we have known it…praise anyway.
- Churches, schools, businesses, and all sorts of other things might come back under attack…praise anyway.
- Censorship, hatred, and violence might stir…praise anyway.
In the Bible, there were men and women of God who decided to PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD in spite of and regardless of the things happening around them and in spite of the things they had seemingly lost!
They praised anyway.
They understood that praise was more than singing…it was and IS an attitude of heart, and mind, and faith.
Here’s what you must know…
The finicky church, the ones who cannot stand it if things are different, the believers who want everything catered to their perfect liking are going to have the most difficult time in the days to come, when everything is changed.
But there is still ONE thing that will never change.
The Lord says…
Malachi 3:6 NKJV
 “For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.
For those who declare “peace and safety,” and that say “nothing bad will ever come,” they will be proved wrong.
There IS a storm coming.
There is something on the horizon.
But the people of God NEED NOT FEAR, instead we MUST BEGIN TO LEARN HOW TO PRAISE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORM.
You see it all through scripture, men and women of God PRAISED no matter where they were, what they lost, or what they were going through.
Remember Paul and Silas?
Acts 16:20-25 NKJV
 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;  and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”  Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.  And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.  Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.  But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.
This was their form of PRAISE.
It was their PRAYER and their SONG IN THE NIGHT!
And as far as we are concerned…
We are so messed up sometimes…
- We can’t pray if the atmosphere isn’t just right.
- We can’t hum along if the song is something we haven’t heard 8,000 times.
- We can’t get with it if we are a little too hot or a little too cold.
- We can’t get with it, if the preacher doesn’t give us an inspirational message full of words that tickle our ears.
If that’s you, you better get ready to embrace change and endure hardships!
Here’s the message full of hope…
WHEN YOU RAISE UP PRAISE IN YOUR LIFE, THROUGH YOUR MOUTH, IN YOUR HEART, IN YOUR MIND, AND THROUGH YOUR TESTIMONY…GOD WILL WEAPONIZE YOUR PRAISE AND CAUSE IT TO REMOVE BARRIERS AND STRONGHOLDS.
The world has NEVER known what to do with men and women of God who continued to praise in prison, in lack, in poverty, in time of war, in time of difficulty, and even at the moment of their execution, those who praise are misunderstood.
The world doesn’t understand that our hope is NOT in this life or in the things this life OFFERS, but instead our hope, our life, and faith, our strength, and everything else is found in a PERSON.
His name is Jesus Christ, and once he lives in your heart:
No government can remove him.
No storm can drown him.
No strife will stop him.
No weapon will defeat him.
He rules the world with truth and grace!
He rules the world with power and might.
He rules my situations and dictates the order of my life.
My hope and trust is in Jesus…THEREFORE I WILL PRAISE HIM AT ALL TIMES!
GOD WILL WEAPONIZE MY PRAISE AND CAUSE IT TO REMOVE BARRIERS AND STRONGHOLDS.
What did the Psalmist say?
Psalm 34:1-3 NKJV
 I will bless (means, “to kneel) the LORD at all times; His praise (Means, “hymn or song of praise”) shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul shall make its boast in the LORD; The humble shall hear of it and be glad.  Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.
My plea from the Lord is this…
If you cannot praise the name of Jesus NOW…before the storm, while there is still time, while the troublesome times are still deescalated, HOW will you find the strength and the words to praise when hell unleashes its fury?
How will you praise when things happen that you didn’t expect?
How will you praise when things are turned upside down?
It’s time for the finicky church to become the FIERY CHURCH!
To become the church that refuses to back down from praise to God.
The word I hear is this:
“WEAPONIZE YOUR PRAISE.”
Your praise to God serves dual purpose.
It brings GLORY to the savior BUT it brings devastation to the spiritual forces of the enemy!
Here’s what scripture says prophetically about Jesus…
Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV
 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,  To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
Listen the portion about praise…
Jesus wants to give us a “GARMENT” OF PRAISE instead of a spirit of heaviness.
A garment is something that you PUT ON.
You cannot wear a garment…
Until you choose to PICK IT UP.
Until you choose to PUT IT ON.
Until you choose to KEEP IT ON.
Garments don’t fly out of the closet and throw themselves around us, instead, they are chosen.
We choose what to pick up, put on, and wear.
And NOW IS THE TIME FOR THE CHURCH OF JESUS TO RISE UP AND CHOOSE PRAISE AS A GARMENT.
Pick up praise, put on praise, and wear praise into battle…WEAPONIZE YOUR PRAISE!
Don’t give in to the words of the enemy or the world.
In fact, don’t listen to their mess AT ALL, instead, choose to put on PRAISE LIKE A GARMENT.
When the storm comes…I’ll be covered in praise.
When the evil rises…I’ll be covered in praise.
When the problems manifest…I’ll be covered in praise.
The word “praise” in this verse means…
“A song of praise DEMANDED by the attributes, qualities, or deeds of God.”
By demanded, the scripture means, that we cannot help BUT PRAISE HIM WHEN WE SEE HIM!
The word heaviness in the passage means…
“Something obscure, dim, dark, colorless, dull, or faint.”
That is a description of what the enemy wants to do in the people of God.
- To take away your light and bring darkness in its place.
- To take away the color from your life and leave it dull and lifeless.
- To cause the Lord to seem obscure and distant.
But PRAISE CURES ALL OF THIS!
Why? Because the Lord moves NEAR to those who PRAISE HIM!
In fact, scripture declares that he INHABITS AND LIVES IN OUR PRAISES!
If you want God near to your situation, near to your battle, near to your prison, near to your fight…
If you want Jesus in the middle of where you are right now…
And when you do, HE MOVES NEAR!
And guess what happens when Jesus comes close…The song says it best…
“The things of earth grow strangely DIM in the LIGHT of HIS GLORY and GRACE.”
Turn your eyes upon Jesus…
Look FULL IN in wonderful face!
WEAPONIZE YOUR PRAISE!
If men tell us to stop…Praise anyway.
If governments say stop…Praise anyway.
If situations seem to say stop…Praise anyway.
The praise garment is something you PUT ON.
You choose it.
You choose to wear it.
Your choice to praise Jesus doesn’t depend on…
How “good” or how “dull” you feel the church service is.
How the songs ministered to you or not.
Whether the message meets your fancy or not.
It doesn’t depend on the atmosphere around you or your current situation.
In fact, if you wait on the right atmosphere in order to praise Jesus, you might never praise him!
What did the disciples say about it?
Acts 4:17-20 NKJV
 But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”  So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
Praise is a willful choice.
In the absence of praise is a destructive spirit of heaviness.
So we tear down strongholds of heaviness with the powerful weapon of praise.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV
 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Praise to God, is our weapon of choice.
It lifts the name of Jesus…
Declaring his greatness.
Declaring his power.
Declaring his salvation and work in our life.
It reminds us AND the enemy that Jesus HAS ALREADY won the battle…
We praise from the position of victory.
We praise with the full understanding of what God is doing.
We praise knowing that we WIN!
We don’t wait until the moment is right in order to praise The Lord, we MAKE THE MOMENT RIGHT THROUGH OUR PRAISE.
Why? Because praise is the operation of faith that lifts up the glory of God even when we don’t yet see it!