The JOYFUL Word for today …
Am I overcoming with joy through praise and worship? Sometimes, yes, and sometimes, no. The battle for joy is constant and the struggle is real. Can you relate?
Worship and praise brings joy to the hearts of those who enter in wholeheartedly, because God inhabits our praises (Psalm 22:3). As God inhabits our praises with His powerful presence, we are overcome with the joy of the Lord. As we sing our praises to God, we are stepping into our “garment of praise” we are called to wear continually as royal sons and daughters of the Lord.
As we worship God for who He is, our mighty and faithful God, our minds and hearts are shifted and lifted to a new higher place. Even as we speak our praises out loud, the atmosphere changes, irregardless of what we might be feeling or experiencing.
The enemy cannot remain where our praises reign.
Praise and worship breaks the chains of discouragement, depression and despondency. Paul and Silas’s joyful praise and worship while chained in a dungeon of a prison brought freedom, a change in the atmosphere and joy and freedom to others too (see Acts 16:25-34). Literally an earthquake came and loosed them from their physical chains while praising God at midnight! Praising God out loud breaks us free from the chains of the enemy’s plan to take captive our minds, emotions, and even our physical bodies. When our spirits connect as one in spirit and truth with the Holy Spirit through praise and worship, the enemy and his lies and fiery darts are defeated and destroyed. In God’s presence is fullness of joy. Our joyful praise and worship is a weapon against the enemy. We need to be aware of the spiritual warfare that attempts to hinder or distract us from praising and worshiping God. God’s presence fills us with joy as we praise and worship from our hearts and the joy of the Lord is our strength.
In Psalm 89:15-16, we read that we are called to worship and rejoice in the Lord all day long and in His wonderful reputation. When we know who God is, we know His reputation is trustworthy, faithful and true to the promises in His Word. To know God is to have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. When we know God, we have experience with Him and His great love, mercy and faithfulness to us. Because of their trust and faith in God, this is exactly what Paul and Silas were doing and all while in a not so joyful circumstance. They were also obviously fully trusting God since their spirits were free to sing praises while their bodies were uncomfortably bound. Not only were they jailed for kingdom work, but they were stripped and severely beaten prior to their arrest. Can you and I relate? Yes and no. No, we are not experiencing being fettered in chains in a prison dungeon physically, but life’s pressures and problems can make it seem like we are in a prison mentally, emotionally or even spiritually. Through heartbreaks, discouragement and disappointments, physical pain and suffering, or thoughts and situations that are greatly troubling and even tormenting us at times, we can feel like we are being held captive.
We all encounter situations that are not so joyful and, especially as we are advancing the kingdom of God, we should expect to engage in spiritual warfare battles that require not only the full armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-18) but joy in the Lord to keep our strength. Our carnal self – which we are supposed to put to death daily – frequently tries to resurrect and call us to the self-pity pit. Instead, we must hear the Holy Spirit calling us to the Light of God’s truth and to the battle position of worship. We must answer the call to rejoice and keep trusting the Lord and His Word in order to victoriously overcome with joy. May our spirits rise up over our feelings and use the weapon of praise to overcome with joy!
Self-pity can become like an idol when we allow our feelings and our circumstances to reign in our mind and spirit above our trust and worship of God.
WORSHIP is a weapon.
Worship is our spiritual warfare battle position (see all of 2 Chronicles 20 £ specifically verses 18-19, 27-28).
PRAISE is a weapon.
JOY is a weapon.
What physical challenges, feelings or emotions, or challenging circumstances are depressing, oppressing or stealing your joy in the Lord right now?
We know that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy and that Jesus has come to give us life abundantly (John 10:10). This abundant life in Christ will fill us with His joy and peace no matter what this life may bring. This only happens as we abide or remain in intimate fellowship with Jesus by the power of His Spirit. Joy in the Lord will not just fall on us without pressing close to Him.
Is the enemy stealing abundant life from me, or am I doing something or not doing something that is causing my abundant life in Christ to flee?
If I am called more than a conqueror in Christ, why am I not overcoming joyfully?
At the battle of Jericho, Joshua and the Israelite army had to march and shout before seeing the walls of the city fall down (see Joshua 6). Marching is moving. We must keep moving forward being led by God’s Spirit in the face of every battle – even in a battle for our joy and peace. Shouting our praises to God declares that we are victorious in and through Christ. We must believe, trust, shout and praise God ahead of seeing any victory in prayer and spiritual warfare. This is living by faith. Our eternal victory over sin, the enemy and death were won for us by the price of our Savior’s precious blood on the cross. Living as a victorious and joyful overcoming one this side of heaven will require us to keep moving by the Spirit and keep shouting God’s praises in the face of obstacles and opposition. This is one of the ways we are a witness to others of our complete trust and faith in God no matter what comes our way. Joshua and the Israelites did not just march one time around the city, but seven times (as instructed by the word of the Lord). This can serve as an example to us to keep on continually moving in the Spirit, following the Word of God, and shouting God’s praises until we see the manifestation of God’s victory and until our joy tank is completely filled in His presence.
Perhaps overcoming joyfully and consistently is a personal challenge for you as it is for Joyful Jenny right now. Yes, I am confessing this to the Lord and to you. Perhaps, there is definitely more warfare because I have felt called to write about joy, speak about joy, and to encourage others to overcome with joy – therefore, warfare over my joy is to be expected. Furthermore, when we know our God-given identity and assignment, we should not expect the enemy to just step aside. As we obey our God-given callings and assignments, we encourage and help others. If the enemy is unsuccessful in lulling us to sleep, he will attempt to wear us down, with the goal of ultimately derailing or destroying our desire to follow and obey God. Here is what I keep reminding myself as it relates to a present and painfully distressing situation: cast all of your care on the Lord (1 Peter 5:7); don’t worry about anything (Philippians 4:6-7); do not let your heart be troubled (John 14:27).
So, in honesty, I have asked the Lord to reveal why am I not free from all these continual thoughts bombarding my mind, and why does there seem to be such a dark cloud looming over my heart and mind more frequently in this season? As my faith and trust are being challenged more in these present days, am I not the person of faith I thought I was? I keep standing on the promise in Isaiah 26:3 that God has promised to keep my heart and mind in peace as my thoughts stay focused on Him. I have pressed into spend more time in the Word, in worship, praying more while walking, and even listening to the teaching of God’s Word throughout my day. Yesterday, I felt strongly the root of most of this is simply a warfare battle over my joy and peace in Christ. Realizing this and understanding the power of the prayer of agreement, I asked for specific prayer from a few friends yesterday to stand with me in authority against these agitating thoughts of worry, anger, frustration and sadness over something I cannot change but only God can (and I am still believing and expecting Him to – Ephesians 3:20-21). Almost immediately, the troubling thoughts had ceased and my heart and mind had peace (powerful are the prayers of the righteous – James 5:16-18). I believe what I am dealing with in the battlefield of my own mind right now is mostly related to spiritual warfare to discourage me from my calling and purpose. This could be the same scenario with you? The enemy is out to derail, discourage and destroy us and our testimony. We must stay awake and alert and be on guard (1 Peter 5:8-9). When we ask the Holy Spirit, He will give us discernment, counsel and understanding. We need to make sure we have not opened a door through compromise or disobedience, or known sin we have not repented of and walked away from. As we grow in our walk with the Lord, our faith and trust will be challenged, and our emotions must more consistently surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit. As joyful overcomers, we must not allow our emotions to cause us to come undone. Also, as we keep pressing forward toward the upward call of God in Christ (Philippians 3:12-14), this statement is true: new levels — new devils. Still, this is the overcoming truth of God’s Word:
As we worship and praise You Mighty God, may Your powerful presence fill us with overflowing JOY that strengthens us to overcome victoriously defeating every strategy of the enemy. Amen.
Shout joyfully unto God with a voice of triumph! Amen. (Zechariah 9:9)
Reminding myself of all this today as I press into overcoming through praise and worship and through my obedience to write this message out too! Be encouraged joyful overcoming ones. We are all in a fight of faith. Many others are right there with me and you facing a battle to overflow with joy and walk in supernatural peace.
Keep praising The Lord especially when you don’t feel like it.
Worship God for The Wonderful One He forever is.
Overcome with fullness of joy in His presence!
The best is yet to come!
Heaven awaits us.
Your sister in Christ, Joyful Jenny
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