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2021 online sermons » Creflo Dollar » Creflo Dollar - The Effects of Praise

Creflo Dollar - The Effects of Praise

Creflo Dollar - The Effects of Praise

Tonight I wanna teach you about the effects of praise. The effects of praise. Now, I want you to listen to this as we go through the Word on this tonight. The amount of time you spend praising God, think about that. Look at and evaluate your life where that is concerned. How much time do you spend praising God? Is that something that you do only when you're in the church building? But, you know, what is the motivation behind me spending time in praising God?

Well, that's what I wanna try to accomplish here tonight. The amount of time you spend praising God is the greatest single indicator of where you are in your relationship with the Lord. The amount of time you spend praising God is the greatest single indicator of where you are in your relationship with God. It'll help you to locate where you are in your relationship with God. And, you know, as far as Taffi and I are concerned, everything starts at that relationship we have with God, and it goes from that particular point.

You know, there are times of conflict, yet there are times of conflicts where we should be praisin' the Lord the most in those times of hard confrontation, in those times of frustration, in those times of stress. That's probably where we need to begin to praise God the most because the three things I'm gonna share with you tonight, praise will do these three things, and I hope that this motivates you to begin to do it more.

First of all, the reason why we should be praising God probably a lot more during the time of conflict than any other time is because praise, number one, it builds your faith. It causes your faith to be amplified. It causes your faith, the Bible says, to abound. And the second motivation to begin to praise God not just during conflicts but begin to make it a life of thanksgiving and praise, the second reason that we're gonna teach on tonight is that it runs off the devil, and I tell you what, there's a devil loose, and that devil wants to kill, steal, and destroy, and wreak havoc in your life. And I'm telling you, in the name of Jesus, praise will confront that.

And here's the third reason that really, really ministers to me is that praise ministers to God. The Bible talks about it in Revelation, how we were created for his pleasure. And I'll never forget when my children would come to me and say, "You're a good daddy". Man, that was pleasant to me. And so, as we talk about and teach on these things tonight, you're gonna find that praise is gonna help you to focus in on the right things and to keep you in a place where you need to be.

Praise shouldn't be the caboose that follows along the circumstances in your life. It should be the engine. It should be the engine driving your life. When I say, "caboose", I'm referring to a train. It shouldn't be the thing that comes up at the end. It shouldn't be "Well, I'm gonna praise God now that all the circumstances have turned out right and everything's doin' it needs to be". It shouldn't be the caboose in your life. It should be the engine.

Praise should be somethin' that's driving your life. It changes your circumstances, and that's the thing that I'm learning more than ever before is that the praise of God, praise and thanksgiving is somethin' that I do in my life. It is a result of my relationship with him that I'm praising him, and I'm not havin' to wait to see how it turned out. I'm not havin' to wait to say, "Well, that thing turned out well", or "That didn't turn out so well". No, I want praise to be the engine that drives my life. I want praise to be the engine that really motivates me and causes me to just live this life of praise. It will change your circumstances.

Let's go over to Colossians chapter 2. Colossians chapter 2, verses 6 through 7. Colossians 2:6-7. Let's read that in the King James and the New Living Translation, Colossians chapter 2, verses 6 through 7. I want you to notice somethin' here because I really do believe that your faith is gonna be amplified when we begin to operate in praise. Notice what he says in these two verses of Scripture. In King James first, he says "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord", he says, "so walk in him".

Verse 7, "Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, stablished in the faith, as you have been taught", and then he says, "abounding therein with thanksgiving". "Abounding therein with thanksgiving". So not only walkin' in faith, but seeing that faith increase in thanksgiving. Look at this in the NLT. He says, "And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him". Verse 7, he says, "Let your roots grow down into him", praise God, "and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness".

I believe that, when an individual begins to operate in thanksgiving and operate in praise, it will cause your faith to overflow. It will cause your faith to be amplified, and it will increase your faith. And so praise is a high form of faith, I believe. I believe it's somethin' that, if you do it, you're gonna see some amazing things happen as, you know, your faith goes to appropriate and take possession of what Jesus has already made available.

There are lots of Christians that they may know that certain things have been made available to them by Jesus Christ but have not yet really learned and mastered how to take possession of those things, and so during difficult trials, abounding in faith includes praising God as you wait for the manifestation of his power to bring you through. And this is during times that we're goin' through right now. It's during the time of a pandemic. It's during the time of tryin' to, you know, figure out how you're gon' pay the rent, and all your money is spent. Little bit to buy some food, baby need a pair of shoes. This is the time to praise God.

This is not "Well, I'm gonna praise God 'cause I feel good", or "I'm gonna praise God because we're in church, and I just feel good". No, no, no, no, this thing is a weapon. This thing is an amplifier. This is a high form of faith. Just think about that. For me to praise God for the manifestations that I know will come forth, that's a high faith, man. That's a high form of faith, and during difficult trials, abounding in faith or increasing in faith durin' those difficult trials, and that includes praising God as you wait for the manifestations, as you wait for his power to bring you through those situations.

In fact, look at Psalms 34, in verse 1. Psalms 34, in verse 1. I believe that praise will cause your faith to thrive, again, amplify or to thrive, and that just really got my attention that I'm not just praising God, you know, for show. I mean, when you understand how this works and you understand that this needs to be born out of a relationship, and you get deeper in him, notice that Scripture from Colossians. We're gettin' deeper with him. We're understanding him, and then, out of that, out of that, praise is born. I mean, when you begin to understand how much God loves you, then you're gonna want to, out of that relationship and understandin', you wanna read those love letters.

That's the Bible. And then you're gonna wanna go and talk to the one that wrote those love letters. That's prayer. And then you wanna go and tell somebody about this love and what God has already done. That's evangelism. And what I'm tryin' to do is just, yes, understand all of those little, you know, religious positions and all that, but I wanna simplify it. Everything coming from that relationship - this is what Christianity is about. It is the opportunity for us to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, and so I believe that out of that relationship, praise is born. You get to start lookin' at what God has done and how he's delivered you. Out of that relationship, that thanksgiving is born, and then all of those things proceed out of that relationship that has given birth to all of that.

I like what he says in verse 1. He says, "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth". Man, what happens to a person who sets his mind that says, "I'm gonna bless the Lord at all times, the good times and the bad times, and I'm gonna make sure that his praise is continually in my mouth"?

You know, one of the things I've been doing and just recognizing is that I'll spend a large amount of my prayer time just thanking and praising God for what he has done and what he's gonna do. I have times where I'm thankin' and praising God, and when I get up from prayer, my face is wet because I didn't recognize that tears were just flowing out because I really mean it. I'm not doin' this because it's the "Oh, we've discovered a new mechanical step that could possibly prosper you". That's not why I'm doing it. It is somethin' that is being done because I am experiencing a real, genuine, intimate relationship with him, and now my praise is born out of that, and it's genuine, and it's real, and it's effective. It is a relationship that is there when I'm up and when I'm down and when things are good and when things are not so good.

And then this is what I believe that this Scripture here reminds me of: "I will bless the Lord at all times". That is a person who has decided "I've made a decision. I'm gonna bless the Lord. I'm gonna bless him when I feel good, when I don't feel good. I'm gonna bless him when nobody's knocking at the door and when depression is knockin' at the door. I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth". Oh, my God, I want you to make that decision. And some of you say, "Well, it's hard to make that decision". Well, it's not if you know him. It's not if you have a relationship with him. It's not if you begin to recognize that "All these things, all these good things have come from him, and he's been a blessin' in my life, and I got to bless him".

I'm still reminded that, you know, I have a whole new respect for Job. It's like, man, this guy, he made his mind up. "God, I'm not leavin' you". Now, he might not had a clear understanding of, you know, what the cause was and all of that, but, you know, and which makes it even better, I mean, for him to think, "Well, maybe this came from God, and I'm gon' praise you anyway", you know? There's some people ready to quit on God if he just don't answer a little prayer or give 'em a little somethin' they ask about, but this guy would not quit. This guy, the Bible says he shaved his head after losin' everything, and he worshiped God. He made a statement, man, "Though you slay me, yet will I serve thee".

I mean, you know, I can excuse all of the, you know, his understanding or lack of understanding in some areas, but the thing that ministers to me is that it's like, "I'm not goin' anywhere, God. I'm not goin' anywhere. It wasn't what I had that was the foundation of my relationship with you. It wasn't what you necessarily did that was the foundation of my relationship with you. I'm in it for you".

We keep goin' back to that. This is somethin' that I wanna emphasize over and over and over and over again so that, if religion has kind of, you know, led you away from that relationship, I mean, this is, you know, I was reading a Scripture this morning, Deuteronomy 28 and 10. He says, "They will call you by my name, and then they will be afraid of you". Christ-ian. Praise God. They'll be afraid of you, or Hebrew: they'll favor you. They will respect you. They will reverence you. And favor and God will come out of your life and even from other people because you are a blessing, praise God. In fact, you are a blessing goin' somewhere to happen. I speak that over you right now, man. They call you by his name. You are a blessing goin' somewhere to happen, praise God. Thank you, Jesus, amen.

And so the Word tells us to praise God because it makes us focus on what God says rather than our problem, and I believe that. I believe, if you'll start praising God today, it'll cause you to focus more on God's Word. It'll cause you to focus more on what God has to say about some things rather than you focusin' on your problems. Everybody's got some issues, but you've gotta decide what you're gonna focus on, and praise is gonna help direct your focus on God's promises, and that's worth it right there as far as I'm concerned. I wanna focus in on that.

There are certain days, you know, Taffi and I walk around the house, and she'll say, "Did you hear such-and-such, such-and-so"? And I'm thinkin', "Nah, I'm focusin' on this right now". And, you know, we may make mention of some things that are goin' on, and then we get our focus in the right place. We don't wanna dwell in those spots so long. I wanna focus on what God has to say about it. I wanna focus on his promises, and in the midst of the time where people are sayin', "Put the Bible down", I ain't never gon' do that. I'm never gonna put the Word of God down. That's what I live by, that's what I stand on. That's what I'm gon' keep. Praise God.

You know, the Bible is so, so good. Its words are nourishing factors in my life that causes me to be able to go through and to make it through things. So I want you to start - I'm talkin' to each of you, each of you, especially the Wednesday night crew. I'm talkin' to you right now. Start praising God, and it will redirect your attention to God's will for you, and it's gonna build your faith to receive, I believe, a miracle.

So let's start praisin' him. Somebody says, "How do I do that"? Honey, it don't take a lot for you to come up with somethin' to praise God for. All you gotta do is open your eyes. You can praise God for having sight, and then you can look around with those eyes, and you can praise God for having this. Or you can, you know, go sit down and eat, and you can praise God that you have food at your table. And you can go look at your bills, and you can praise God that you have the supply to take care of these bills. And you can look at your children, and they're all healthy. You can praise God for that. And while you walkin' around the house, you can praise God that you can walk around the house.

And if it's a pretty day, you can praise God for that, being a pretty day. It's just something that happens in the life of a Christian where you allow God to redirect your attention to his will for your life, and then, you know, he'll build your faith up, man, and you'll receive whatever I believe you need at that particular time. And so your life is going in the direction, I believe your life goes in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. Your life will go in the direction of your most dominant thoughts. What have you been thinkin' about? What have you been thinkin' about lately? And have you allowed those thoughts to dominate your thinking?

Look at Psalms 23 and verse 7. You're very familiar with this Scripture. I believe your life is going in the direction of your dominant thoughts. What have you been thinkin' about? I have talked to people, over the last couple of weeks, who allowed their emotions and their thinking to be dominated by all of the things that are goin' on in the world. Gotta be careful. You gotta be careful. If you're going to be useful, you got to be careful about what you do in your private time so that you can see the fruit in your public time. But look at what he says here in Proverbs 23, verse 7... excuse me, I said, "Psalms". Proverbs 23, verse 7, and what it says is: "As a man thinketh", comma, "in his heart, so is he". "As a man thinketh", comma, "in his heart, so is he".

So you are going to be a result of the dominant thoughts in your life. What are those thoughts that are dominating your life? And I started thinkin', "If I'm goin' to be dominated by thoughts, I want the Word to dominate my thinkin'. I want more of God's Word to be in my thought life, and I want God's Word to dominate my thought. I want the promises of God to dominate my thoughts". And so whatever you think about and focus your attention on determines the course of your life. I believe that. I've seen that done. I have testimony after testimony about that, and somethin' so simple as, you know, changin' what I'm thinkin' about, changing my focus. Bible says attend to his Word. And so what are you thinkin' about? What's your focus? What are you focusing your attention on? That's gonna determine the course of your life.

And I started believin' that, and I started makin' the change when I first, you know, heard that and realized that. I thought all this, you know, whatever. You know, what is that? And you gotta be careful not to exalt things that are less important over things that are more important. This Word is more important. This Word is more important, and, you know, if I'm thinkin' crazy things and crazy thoughts, that's gonna be one thing, but when I allow my thinking to be governed by God's Word, the course of my life is gonna be determined, and I'm gonna go the right way.

Somebody says, "Well, I don't believe that. That's just words". We'll, see, that's probably why you are where you are right now 'cause you're not goin' back further enough and into the thing, the roots, and the roots are determining the fruit in your life. The roots are determining, you know, why you do what you do, why you say what you say, why you feel like you feel, or why you act like you act. And, you know, whether you believe in a God or not, whether you believe in the devil or not, or heaven or hell or not, it's still true. You're gonna have to allow your thinking to be on the promises of God so that the course of your life can be set.

So I thank God. I thank God for the answer and not the problem. I thank God for the answer and not the problem. And sometimes it feels weird, saying, "Praise the Lord", concerning a weird thing, but I'm praising God for the answer, not the problem, and my praise and thanksgiving for the answer is going to amplify my faith so that I can one day see that answer come because I've got faith that is complete because I added some praise to it.

Now, if you aren't praising God, even before you see the physical manifestation of what you're believing for, then I don't think your faith is complete. I think there's something that is said when, in the middle of believing God for a thing, and it may not even be workin' out, and it may not even seem like it's gonna show up, there's somethin' to be said, there's somethin' that completes your faith when, in the middle of that whole process, you say, "Praise the Lord". In the middle, in the middle of that whole thing, you say, "God, I give you praise. God, I thank you".

Now, you have an option of saying some other stuff. You can say what you wanna say. You're a free moral agent. You know, you can say all kinds of things, but there's just somethin' to be said about an individual who will praise God in the midst of believing God for the manifestation, and that manifestation hadn't showed up, and you say, "Lord, I give You praise". I believe your faith is complete. I have had situations over and over in my life where, you know, first of all, you've got to be careful not to call what I'm preaching on insignificant concerning your situation.

We constantly try to take the Word of God and the things of God and constantly put them in an insignificant role or an insignificant place when they are probably more significant than the plan you came up with, that they're probably more significant than the action you planned on taking. I wanna go there. God, his Word, my time spent with him, my attention put on him, those are significant things. Those are things that I will not allow to leave my life, and in this day and time, you just gotta be careful that you don't let somebody shame you out of your position in Christ.

Praise as a weapon. Let's look at that. Praise as a weapon against the devil. Praise as a weapon against the devil. I wanna look at two Scriptures and combine these Scriptures together: Matthew 21:16, and then Psalms 8:2. It talks about praise coming out of the mouth of babes, and then Psalm tells us what's the significance and the power of praise coming out of the mouth of babes. Matthew 21:16, and here's what he says. Matthew 21:16, he says, "And he said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise"?

Okay, when I first read that, I'm like, "Cool". Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings they have perfected praise, all right? So, what's the benefit of it coming out of their mouth? And what's the benefit of perfected praise coming out of their mouth? Well, look at Psalms 8:2. I got real excited about this. Psalms 8:2 in the King James, and he says, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies", he says, "that thou mightest still", or quiet, "the enemy and the avenger". He says that now praise, first of all, he says its strength, praise God. And then, as far as the enemy is concerned, he will still the enemy, he will quiet the enemy, he will paralyze the enemy, in a sense.

You know, one of the things the enemy does is he likes to say things and puts thoughts in your mind, and he says that praise will quiet him. You know, Satan gets very upset when he sees us giving God the praise, 'cause that's what he wants. And what we've got to understand is that, you know, God has allowed out of the mouth of babes and sucklings, he's ordained strength, because why? Because of the enemy. Because of the enemy. I have something because of the enemy. Oh, I got something for him, you understand what I'm saying? And I have something that will quiet him, that will still him. I have something that will paralyze him. And what is that? That's praise, that's praise.

See, you gotta ask yourself, in the middle of being confronted with all of the issues of life, what's your first response? You begin to renew your mind and the spirit of your mind to produce... what's that first response? You know, there are some things that we train in as Christian people. Some people think, "Well, you're under grace. You don't need to do any of this". Well, I mean, I wanna have a relationship with God, I wanna have a better relationship with God, and I wanna discover some of the things that I can do to have a better relationship with God, because I want him. Not because of anything else except I want him, and I want to know that God has given me and equipped me with this wonderful praise. That if I will praise him out of that relationship and out of that love, that anything that's coming against me is going to have to submit to what came out of my mouth.

I praise you, Jesus. I praise you, Lord. I praise God for what he's doing. I praise God for provision. I praise God for people being healed. And even if people died of COVID-19, I praise God that they got born again, that they're in heaven, that they're not lost. There's things we can praise God for, and I'm telling you, you can praise God that you'll not be in insufficiency. You can praise God that you're not gonna get sick. You can praise God that your relationships are gonna be restored. You can praise God for, listen, you can, I spent an hour just praising God. Didn't have to repeat myself.

There was so much that I could praise him for. And praise God while you're at home, or whatever device you're looking at right now. Man, praise God. Praise God that you can still be taught the Word of God. Praise God that we've been inviting more people to be a part of our Wednesday-night crew. Praise God for revelation that's coming to you, things that you're hearing by the Holy Ghost right now. He's worthy, he's worthy, worthy to be praised.

You know, the two Scriptures together show us that praise is strength to quiet the enemy and the avenger. You know, pride made Satan want to be like God, and I'm gonna tell you something once again: he wants praise. The spirit of mammon wants what God gets from you. The spirit of mammon wants worshipers. The spirit of mammon wants a church, if he can get it. He wants your trust. He wants you to need him, and that's why the love of money is the root of all evil. The love of money is to trust money more than you trust God. I'm telling you, ladies and gentlemen, Satan can't stand to hear God praised. It makes him mad, and it makes him flee. It makes him mad, and it makes him flee.

Now, I'mma tell you something. You know, as a kid growing up, I used to always pick at my sisters. I knew exactly what their buttons were, you know? Just always picking at 'em, you know? Well, I'm telling you, here's a big, old button, you know, that will just get on the devil's nerve. I mean, he's doing some things, and you don't sit there and tolerate it. Hit that button of praise and send him on out. He can't stand it when you praise God, but I love it, amen? Praise God. Praising God puts to flight all of the hurts. It puts to flight all of the pains and the demonic oppression with which Satan has tried to bind you. It opens up your heart and prepares you to receive from God. I believe that. I believe that praise prepares you to receive from God. I believe that even just by teaching on this tonight and then by you begin to operate in it, you're gonna receive some things from the Lord.

Let's look at something in Acts chapter 16, verse 25, and I'm gonna read there for a moment. This is a story about Paul and Silas. One of the things I had to realize is that Paul and Silas, they didn't praise God because they thought, "Aha! Here's a great principle. Let's do this, and we'll get outta jail". They're in love with him, man. They're in love with him. They're not doing this so God can give 'em a pat on the back. They're in love with him. I mean, you know, I don't even know if they understood that this would happen. Look at what he says in verse 25. They're in jail. The Bible says, "At midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and they sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them".

Listen, I want you to put yourself in their situation. They're not doing this because they say, "Hey, we're gonna get outta jail, and we're gonna pray and praise the Lord, and, bam, we're gonna"... I don't think that was the case. I think when you have a relationship with God and when you love him and you know God loves you, you know, we talked about, I was talking to some folks about, they asked me the question what does it mean to return to your first love? It means to remind yourself about how much God loves you. It means reminding yourself of the love that he has for you first, and praise God. And that's what I believe we have here with Paul and Silas, is, "You know, I know God loves me, I love him, and I'm gonna talk to him, and I'm gonna sing praises to him". And the prisoners heard them.

So, this came and was born out of a relationship with God, and now it translates down to where we are today, and now we're working the mechanics of it. Man, we gotta get away from that. We're working the mechanics of it without the relationship of it, so look what happens when praise comes from a heart that loves God and knows that God loves you. He says, "And suddenly there was a great earthquake", so they're praising God and suddenly there's a great earthquake, "so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed".

That's pretty cool. "And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled". 'Cause he knows, "I might as well kill myself. I don't know how this happened, I don't know what's going on. I don't know if I'm dreaming, I don't know if I'm drunk". "But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm", don't kill yourself, "for we are all here". Wow, look at this. "Then he called for a light, and he sprang in, and he came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas".

So, obviously he couldn't see 'em. That's why he called for a light. Then he saw everybody still in there. You know what? That got me. The doors are open, the bands are loose, and they're still in there praising God. I mean, if the presence of God in there, where we going? If the presence of God in there, where we going, praise the Lord? And he put the light on 'em, and he saw everybody that was still there praising God. "And he brought them out, and he said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved"?

See, when people see the authenticity of your relationship with God, and they see that, your love for him and his love for you, and that's what they saw. They saw God's love for them. The doors opened. The chains fell off their wrists. And when they see that, people are going to want what you have. And you're praising God. And maybe, see, he was asleep in the middle of that, but when all that stuff happened, oh, my goodness. And so, he says, "What must I do to be saved? What must I do to be saved"?

You know the rest of the story. All of that as a result of two people saying, "Let's go ahead and praise God". They praised God because they were in love with him and their love for God drove them to praise him. I mean, that's what it is. When you love God, man, you're gonna praise him. Praise is powerful, and it releases, I believe, the anointing of God. I believe supernatural things are released when we practice this praise.

Look at Psalms 22:3 while I'm thinking about that. Psalms 22:3. You know, praising God and releasing supernatural things that are happening, I think that's what we need to start doing right now. I think we need to start doing that. He says, "But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel". They did to Israel in those days. I still believe that God will sit down upon your praise, and when he sits on you, he smears his presence on your life. He's there, his anointing is there. Burdens are removed, yokes are destroyed when you're praising God.

You have to believe that, and I'm getting kinda excited right now. That when God sits down and his presence is invited where you are, that supernatural things begin to happen. You've gotta understand right now I'm teaching in front of, you know, 8,500 empty seats right now, but I know you're on the other side, and I sense the presence of the Lord. I sense his presence right now, you know, sitting down on me right now. Glory be to God. Hallelujah, hallelujah, praise God.

And I'm telling you in the name of Jesus, I believe that you're sensing his presence right now wherever you are. That you're sensing the presence of the Lord whether you're watching, whatever device you're watching, whether you're in the living room, the bedroom, the car, the garage. The presence of the Lord is sitting down upon you right now, and I believe that, that same presence that you're sensing and experiencing right now, that same presence can sit down upon all those who are demonstrating for justice, and all of those who are hurting from COVID-19, and all of those who have lost a loved one and their hearts broken.

I just pray the presence of God would just sit down on you right now if you'll just praise him right now where you are. Praise him for his goodness. Praise him for his mercy. Praise God, praise God. Praise the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow, and he sits down upon you. Burdens are removed. Yokes are destroyed because of God's presence and God's anointing in your life. Praise will break your chains. Praise will break your chains, those chains that held you back, that bondage that's in your life, that thing that you've been trying to figure out how to get free from.

I just in the name of Jesus I declare that those chains be broken right now in the name of Jesus and that you walk away from that bondage in the name of Jesus. Supernaturally praise God. Not because you came to a church building, because you're yielding to the presence of the Holy Spirit. You're trying to figure out, some of you, "How in the world did I get online and listen to this guy? I don't even know how I got there". But then, you just, kinda God froze you right there, and that's the presence of God you're feeling right now. That's the presence of the Holy Spirit you're feeling right now. It's coming through technology right now, and it's causing your chains to fall off, and you'll walk free of it, praise God. It's driving the devil off, and it gets you out of that bad situation.

Some of you are coming out of that bad situation right now. I don't know what that situation is, but you're coming out of that bad situation right now. Somebody says, "Why"? We're praising the Lord. Okay, okay, I know. Wednesday-night crew, all right, we're gonna teach this teaching, but I feel the Holy Ghost in this place. I feel the anointing of God in this place, and I know you do, too, hallelujah, praise God. Well, let's look at the final motivation behind this praise, and this is a big one for me: it's because it ministers to God, it blesses God, praise blesses God. It ministers to him.

You know, 1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:8. It ministers to him. Glory, glory, glory, glory. 1 John chapter 4, verse 8. God is love. Watch this, "And he that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love", all right? So, God is love, and love likes to be reciprocated. John 3:16. And, you know, when you begin to look at what, "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whosoever would believeth him should not perish, but they shall have", what? "Everlasting life". Our praise is a thanksgiving that lets God know how much we appreciate what he has done for us. It's a thanksgiving. "Thank you, God. Thank you for what you've done. Thank you for how you've ministered to me".

It reciprocates the love that he first loved us with, and it ministers to him. God loved me first, equipped me with supernatural love so I can now love myself, I can love others, and we reciprocate that love that he first loved us with. As we praise him and as we thank him, we minister to him. The Old Testament exhorts Israel, and it says to bless the Lord, but this has become a religious cliché today. "Bless the Lord". We don't really understand what that means. Thanking God is what blesses him. Being grateful to God is what blesses him. Ministering to him through the gift-giving is what blesses him.

You know, do you know God has emotions? I don't think a lotta people realize that. God has emotions, and that's why I tell people, you know, don't yield to bad emotions. Believe God for godly emotions. Bad emotions, man, you get those bad emotions, they lead you to a bad place, and the weakest man on the planet is a man that cannot control his emotions, won't receive that gift of self-control. Thanking God is what blesses him. He isn't bound by his emotions. God isn't. He has emotions, but he's not bound by his emotions the way that people are. But he has 'em, and it'd be cool to know that my praise and worship and my gratitude moves him emotionally. It ministers to God when you give him praise. Wow!

You know, God gave everything to us. The least we can do is be thankful. The least we can do is be grateful and to minister and to bless him for all that he's done. That's what our giving and our offerings times have turned into at our church and in our ministry and with you, my friends and partners. It's just a time to minister to God. It's just a time to bless him. It's a time to acknowledge him, through a cheerful heart, of his amazing, amazing love.

Look at this Scripture. Luke chapter 17, let's look at verses 12 through 19. Luke 17, verses 12 through 19. "And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: and they lifted up their voices, and they said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go show yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed", as they went, before they got to the priests. "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed", not just cleansed, but he was healed, "he turned back, and with a loud voice", he did what? "He glorified God". He glorified God. He praised, gave him thanks. He glorified God. "He fell down on his face", get this picture, "at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan".

Now, that's a whole 'nother story. You're talking about the racism we're dealing with today, boy, the Samaritans and the Jews, uh-uh. Notice, when your heart is changed, then even though racism exists, you can be grateful and thankful, and only God can change a person's heart. So, preacher, you still have a part in this: preaching this gospel, demonstrating the love of God, praying so that the God that we know can enter in and change somebody's heart. God knows how to change people's hearts and sometimes when we pray we give heaven consent to come in and change people's hearts. You know, Jesus encountered racism.

You know that verse of Scripture, "Foxes have holes, birds of the air have a nest, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head". That's 'cause in Samaritan they said, "Nope, there's no way you're staying here, get on outta here, go to the next place. You go down there with those Jews and look at who you're... no, no, no, no, no, no". He said, "That's why we went to the next town". You're gonna always run into people who have crazy hearts. You're gonna run into people who are racist and people who will prejudge you. You're gonna always run into that. In this world you will have tribulation, okay? That's something that's not gonna go away, but you can trust God to come in and change people's hearts.

You can trust God that some of the meanest people, some of the most racist people, some of the people that prejudge you, and God can change their heart. God can change their heart. God can change their heart. I'll go further. God's changing their heart right now. We can use our faith. God's changing their heart. God's taking that heart of hate out and replacing it with a heart of love. God can do that. God can do that. So, this leper experienced the love of God, the cleansing of God, wow, the healing of God, and he was grateful, and he came back and showed gratitude and gave thanksgiving and glorified Jesus.
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