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Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp. 4 For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. 5 Let his faithful people rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. 6 May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, 7 to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, 8 to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, 9 to carry out the sentence written against them— this is the glory of all his faithful people. Praise the LORD.

A lot of times before battle, God would instruct His people to praise Him. This praise would remind them of where their help, strength, and protection comes from. In one instance, praise was all they had to do. When they praised God, their enemy turned against themselves and started killing one another (2 Chron. 20:21-23). As we can see, praise is a weapon.

We may not face physical battles but, we all will face spiritual battles. Mental exhaustion, low self-esteem, doubt, fear, etc. are all forms of spiritual battles. These battles are designed to separate us from God. It’s during these attacks we should use our weapon of praise. Like physical battles, we praise God to remind ourselves where our help, strength, and protection comes from. Under this New Covenant, we also praise God because we have a guarantee of victory over every situation (2 Cor. 2:14).

Whatever we’re going through and no matter how we feel, don’t forget to praise our great God.

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.

Our confidence is attached to the promises of God.

The troubles of life are meant to separate us from our confidence in God. If we lose our job, get a divorce, or go through sickness, how will we respond? Will we maintain our confidence in God’s Word or throw our confidence away and make up some excuse as to why God’s Word won’t come to pass in our lives?

If we’re not confident is God’s ability to do what He said, we leave the door open for doubt. A person who doubts can’t expect to receive anything from God (James 1:6-7). However, if we maintain our confidence in God, we’ll have the faith for God’s promises that will eventually manifest in our lives (Romans 4:16).

If you have confidence in God’s Word, keep it. If you threw your confidence away for whatever reason, go get it and go get what God has for you.

Proverbs 4:18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

When we make Jesus our Lord, we become the just or the righteous. One promise for the righteous is a bright future.

Like any promise of God, this promise must be received by faith. Our belief in this promise will unlock wisdom in areas of ignorance, doors of opportunities will open, and people of influence will be placed in our lives.

Our future may not look so bright currently but, keep believing and standing on God’s promise. Eventually, every area of our lives will begin to brighten up.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In a world where everyone seems to be looking out for themselves, we forget to think of others. People may seem like they have it altogether but people are hurting. They put on a brave face but inside, they’re going through depression, financial struggles, or marital issues.

This is where the believer steps in and sincerely uplifts the person. This uplifting may take longer than a day and it may not be as convenient as we would like but, we’re putting others before ourselves. We should reach out to people and genuinely ask how they’re doing. We should see if they need things like a babysitter so they can work on their marriage. We should see if they need prayer for anything. And if we’re the ones going through it, we need to be honest with ourselves and others about our difficulties and receive that helping hand.

Let’s shift our thinking from focusing only on our affairs and establish a mindset that uplifts people too.

Psalm 74:20 Have respect to the covenant; For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.

Background: David is experiencing oppression, destruction, and despair from his enemies. Due to his problems, he tells God to respect the covenant He made with him. Essentially, he’s saying, fulfill Your end of the deal God.

Wow! This is bold talk from an ordinary man to an all supreme God.

David can speak like this to God because of his personal and intimate relationship with God. David spent years in the field developing a close relationship with God. Now that trouble has come, he’s requesting God to fulfill His end of the promise.

If someone were this bold today, some religious people may say “How dare you talk to God like that!” Honestly, this type of boldness is what God desires of us. He doesn’t want us to be afraid to talk to Him on a personal level. When we’re angry or sad, He wants us to come to Him with our anger or sadness. Whatever the issue we’re facing, He told us to come boldly to Him (Heb. 4:16). Not only that, He wants us to remind Him of the covenant promise He made with us (Isaiah 43:26).

Note: We can’t remind Him of his covenant with us if we don’t know our covenant (Read His Word).

Regardless of the situation, be honest and bold with God. Remind Him of what He promised towards us. If the situation doesn’t look like our covenant promise, declare it be changed according to God’s Word.

Ezra 3:3 Though fear had come upon them because of the people of those countries, they set the altar on its bases; and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, both the morning and evening burnt offerings.

Although fear had come upon them, they pushed past their fears and worshipped the Lord.

What fears do you have in your life that you need to push past? Is it openly worshipping God without worrying about what someone else may say? Is it opening yourself up to a potential spouse? Is it freely giving your tithes and offering to God without fearing what the church is doing with the money?

Fear is designed to keep us stagnant. Whatever fear that’s in our way, we have two options. We can allow fear to keep us in a place of bondage or we can push past and experience the joys of life.

It takes courage to go beyond our fears. On the other side of fear is a sense of freedom, accomplishment, and the potential for prosperity. Don’t allow fear to hold you hostage. Push past it and enjoy your life even more.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Some say, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of healthy fear. People will begin to exercise because they fear getting decrepit or children may work harder in school because they fear getting left behind. The concept of exercising and working harder is good, but the motivation behind this concept (fear) is not.

As we can see, God didn’t give us any version of fear. If God didn’t give us fear, we can conclude fear is from Satan himself. If we’re allowing fear to dictate what we do or don’t do, we’re being influenced by Satan.

Any type of fear is designed to separate us from God. It may start “healthy” but, fear will end up ruling our lives. If fear is our motivator, where does God come in? Shouldn’t He be our guide and motivator? Being led by the Spirit should be our guide. Every decision we make should go through Him.

Don’t entertain one drop of fear (healthy or unhealthy). God didn’t design us to live that way. Fear will present itself, but we don’t have to live our lives by it.

Church hurt is tough to face. It’s difficult to experience because the church (body of believers) is supposed to consist of love, peace, forgiveness, and relief. Unfortunately, some churches consist of condemnation, judgement, and guilt.

A lot of times, the church is the last place people go before giving up on life. People come in feeling bad about the choices they’ve made. As they sit there, they have to experience disapproval stares based on their dress attire, they have to hear condemning sermons from ministers, and they have to hear the possibility of going to hell coming from a pulpit. That’s hurtful. No wonder so many people are leaving the church and finding other ways to be “spiritual.”

The church is meant to uplift and empower people. It’s there to inform people God still loves them and all their sins are forgiven. It’s there to be a blessing to their community. It’s there to teach people the Word of God in context.

For those who left the church because of church hurt, I encourage you to rediscover church because there’s great benefit in a church. Even if it’s 5 people meeting a Starbucks once a week, that’s still a church. If the church is not doing what’s listed above, that’s not the church for you.

No church is perfect but if we allow the Spirit to guide us, He’ll show us the best church for us.

1 John 1:3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.

A brownie point is an imaginary award given to someone who does good deeds or tries to please. Some of us think we can earn brownie points with God. We think if we pray long enough, read so many chapters in our bibles, or attend so many church services, we’ll earn so many points with God to receive our desires.

God doesn’t operate on a brownie point system. He operates on one system: faith. Faith is the only currency in heaven. Faith is the only way to receive our heart’s desire. We make our request to God, believe that we receive that request, and wait in expectation for that request to manifest. There will be thoughts from delay and circumstances that will tempt us to doubt but if we maintain our belief, we’ll have what we desire.

Prayer, reading the bible, and attending church services are good for developing our relationship with God but to receive God’s promises in our lives, we must operate by faith.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Some people view God’s love from an “if” or “when” perspective. They tell themselves, if I do this or when I do that then God’s love will manifest itself in my life. The problem with this perspective is it’s conditional. They’re hoping their works or behavior will further qualify them for God’s love.

What people fail to grasp is God’s love is unconditional. He’s not going to love us any more than He already does now. It doesn’t matter how often we read our bibles or how many times we went to church. He loves us with 100% of His love. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter how many times we mess up and miss the mark, God’s not going to love us any less.

When we understand God’s unchanging love for us, we can navigate through life from a “because” perspective. We learn more about God by reading our bibles because God loves us. Because God loves us, we attend church. We’re not doing anything to increase God’s love for us, we’re living a dedicated life because of God’s love for us.

1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

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