There is always something hopeful about starting fresh isn't there? It just seems to give us a new perspective on things. Like shaking off the dust, or turning a new leaf, or cleaning the slate. Either way, a new week, or day, or moment, means a new beginning. Sometimes, that's exactly what we need to overcome what lies behind us, as well as what lies ahead.
In last week’s letter, we spoke about the profound perspective Paul and Silas had adopted to overcome the terrible situation they found themselves in. They chose to shake off the issue of the injustice done, and instead, dwell on something entirely different. There perspective of choice was the good, and merciful character of their God - and the results were staggering!
Paul and Silas chose to PRAY and PRAISE. Now that’s a pretty good pattern to follow. Regardless of whether our trouble or conflicting circumstance is self inflicted or not, the fact that we are willing to take on a new perspective of prayer and praise is the very best place to begin.
Let’s first look at the perspective of PRAYER. Essentially, prayer involves us surrendering everything to God, and seeking out His wisdom and mercy. That includes laying any issue down before Him, expecting to receive His wisdom concerning it. It may even involve repenting of any self-induced mistakes. As long as there is a will to surrender, and a will to listen and obey - a new beginning is in site! And when we choose God’s wisdom over our own lack of it, everything changes, bringing fresh, new hope in its wake.
God's Spirit and His Word will always provide the wisdom we need to overcome any situation, every time. But sometimes, before we can hear or see it clearly, we need to wipe away the clouds of despair and worry that cause us to become easily overwhelmed.
That's where PRAISE comes in! Deciding to place our focus on Who the Lord Jesus is, and not on our own brokenness or inadequacy is what empowers us to have an overcoming attitude where we don’t feel overcome by our circumstances. We can choose to get caught up in the glorious hope we have in the person of Jesus Christ as we praise Him from the depths of our hearts, in spite of the trouble or circumstances that surround us.
So what really happens when we praise? Since the presence of God inhabits our praises, our choosing to glorify Him, brings His glory and power straight into the heart of our circumstance. God's power on the job, will overpower every fearful thought and supernaturally turn our 'mourning' of the situation into dancing. It will even destroy the enemy’s power over the situation, making whatever was purposed for our downfall an opportunity to see the glory of God in action.
So, our praise supercharges us with the power, faith and hope we need to have an overcoming attitude when we pray. It clears away the clouds of doubt and confusion as it silences the enemy, and allows us to hear God and clearly see His perspective. Instead of the flesh having the upper hand, our spirit man is now dominating the battleground.
A person who has surrendered to the Lord with a heart full of praise, becomes a magnet to the goodness and favour of God! Even goodness and mercy follow him around wherever he goes! Like an earthquake in the middle of the night, where God’s Presence shook the very foundation of what was intended for Paul and Silas’s demise - God’s Presence that rises from your praise will shake the foundation of what the enemy planned for your despair.
Now that's what I call a victorious ending! It all begins with a decision to start fresh - with a new perspective of PRAYER and PRAISE. We may never have to face the kind of life threatening ordeals Paul and Silas had to face, but their testimony gives us the kind of practical wisdom we need to face every challenge the right way.
Next week I want to share some practical wisdom James talks about, where we can walking out of the devil’s trap into victory! It will be well worth your time, teaching you how to remain in a place of overcoming victory, instead of being overcome.
Love you dearly,