Leon Fontaine - Praise God

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Today, I'm gonna talk about praise. The war cry of believers. It's the battle cry. It's an area that many people have forgotten. They haven't looked at it and recognize, it's a key. It's a part of renewing your mind that many don't do. They think just more information to do it. It's a part of getting you into the next chapter of your life. That you've been cerebrally ready. You've been systematically ready. You've been skill ready. But there's something missing. Maybe you're believing God for a miracle whether it's physical, whether it's your relationship. Whether it's something that's just going on that's got you dissatisfied and you're sensing this. There's something ahead and you're not breaking free. Or maybe it's a financial, maybe its career. There's a new chapter ahead of you and a lot of people are stuck.

The Bible is very clear that praise, when we look at this, it's a powerful part of a believer's life. When we come to church and we get this great band and a choir, and the singers come up here. You know, we didn't set aside 20 minutes because we all need to sing. Let's all stand and sing. Words are on the screen let's sing. No, churches that get into singing lose their war cry. You know, they talk like being soldier, but they got no heart of a warrior which means to go conquer, go do some things. And every emerging generations, I don't wanna be a part of a pathetic little religion that just argues doctrines with other people and says who's the best. I wanna be a part of something that's actually taking properly. That's actually taking. That's actually moving.

We live in a world where there's a dark kingdom and there's a light kingdom. There's a kingdom of darkness and there's a kingdom of Christ. And there is no demilitarized zone. You can't just opt out, "Ah, I just gonna opt out. There's too much fighting". No, there's a war that goes on and I'm not talking about fighting devils. I'm not talking about fighting with God or fighting people. But there still is this fight. This fight of faith. There still is this thing to recognize it. When you're believing God for something in your life, the enemy hates your guts and he will bring temptation. He will bring battle. He will bring people. He will bring stuff. He'll bring things your way. He'll try to tempt you off course. He'll try to get you to give up. He'll try to get you to become proud. He's a master at this. Praise.

In the New Testament there's a story. I'm not gonna get into it. But Paul and Silas were sent to the city by God. And when they did what God asked them to do, they were captured, whipped, beaten, until they're almost dead. When you get a whipped in back then, it wasn't like two black eyes and a broken nose. A whipped in back then was tied to a post and a whip that had things in the tips that would rip your back to shreds. In fact, they said the reason that they would give them 39 lashes is pretty sure 40 was pretty much a death sentence, and these men were whipped. These men were not just laying in a bed, and then they were put in the deepest cell. Did you know, if Silas is like some of the people I see serving leaders. He'd looked to Paul and said, "Oh, really, you heard from God. Yeah, we're supposed to be in the city, huh! Well then, why are we whipped and beaten and sitting in a jail if God's leading us"?

See, a lot of people think that if God is in something, there's no problems. Some of you are thinking, "I got a battle going on in my head. I got a battle going on in my body. I got a battle going on in my relationship. There's things aren't going right and I don't know what I've done wrong". Could be nothing! Could be your plan middle of God's will. Because in the middle of God's will, it doesn't mean there's no attack. It just means He'll take you through. Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas, it says about midnight started to sing. Whipped, beaten, they're in the deepest prison, their feet are in stocks, their hands are chained, and they started to sing. They probably were singing from the Psalms of David. When you study the New Testament, these men would spend, they would sing the Word. In other words, they would sing the promises. They would sing the greatness of God. They would boast about God. They would thank Him in advanced. They would be declaring His greatness. And the Bible says they were privilege. They felt privilege to suffer persecution for His name. Midnight, earthquake hits, blows every door, open up every cell.

When I took Bible, it was done with Greek mythology and the Bible was called mythology when I took it. And this teacher always had an answer for every miracle in the Bible. He say, "Yeah, when Paul and Silas". And he says, "It was probably they timed an earthquake". I say, "Well, how in the world did that earthquake go in to every individual cell and popped all the stocks opened? Which is handcuffs on your feet. And how did that popped off every individual chain that had been cranked on? No. In fact, I remember him saying that when the children of Israel went across the Red Sea escaping Egypt, that they probably had low tide. It was probably just a phenomenon. That it was low water that year and they walked across. And I thought, "That's even more amazing because 650.000 Egyptians soldiers drowned in it". How that happened? That's just more miraculous to me.

So that miracle didn't happen at 8 o'clock. It didn't happen at 10 o'clock. It didn't happen at 11 o'clock. It didn't happen at 11:45. But at midnight they started to sing. There is something in the middle of your life. There's something about looking ahead when you believe God, when your desiring that okay, I want a healing. I want a relationship restored. There's a new chapter in my life I'm believing God for and I'm feeling stuck. I don't know why I'm feeling messed up. That when they began to praise, it literally caused the miraculous from the spirit realm began to move into their lives and they walked out free. Why? Because praise is a faith answer to the situation you're going through.

There's been times I've been believing God for something, times I've been believing for healing, times I've been believing God for something in the church millions of dollars, buildings, lands, staffing, things that are going on. I'm saying, "God, I need an answer over there". And it's quiet time. I found that it's one thing to jump really good when you're in the service. It's one thing to pray. It's another thing to, can you patiently wait because in your patience possess in your soul. And there's been times I've had to wait and watch God. And in those times, I'm not silent. In those times I praise. I worship Him.

I remember coming 1994, July 17th when Sally and I first service at Springs. Springs was a mess. Springs was almost bankrupt. We had board members almost having fisticuffs in hallways. And all of a sudden, this thing just turned around and the first service 53 people gave their lives to Christ in the service. And I remember the very success and the stress of all of sudden staffing and taking people out because I was the new pastor. I was changing systems, removing leaders, removing staff. There's a lot of unhappy campers. I started getting death threats, attempts, being in the ministry everyone is not in love with you. But I remember at times when I'm waiting for, I knew that I've done what I'm gonna do. God, what are You gonna do now?

And in those times where nothing was happening, the staff that where there and then. They're still with me now. They knew that if I walked into that little sanctuary 479 Saint Mary's Road, don't follow me and if I close the door, don't let anybody in the sanctuary. I get on the piano. I just start worshipping God. I have the lights just the end then I walk the aisles and I would just praise Him. I'd sing songs that I'd learned. I'd praise Him because He was gonna guide me. He was gonna see me through. That no weapon form against His church was ever gonna prosper. That I wasn't the chief shepherd. I was the under shepherd. That I wasn't the authority. I was under authority. That these are His problems. He's gonna see me through.

And as I would sing and as I would praise Him, and sometimes I would just declare it, promises, praising Him. You know, it was amazing. The peace and the sense of God that would come on my life. Twice I ended up in the hospital in the first few years because the church started to explode, and growth doesn't mean you don't have problems. It increases your problems. I remember one time being in the hospital so sick. I could hardly lift my head. I remember them doing everything they could to find what it was in the hospital. And then finally, the doctor came in and said, "Mr. Fontaine," He said, "We can't find a thing wrong with you". My dad came in shortly after, looked at me. He says, "Listen, son". He says, "You need to work less and recognize you've got an enemy. That he's taking you on. He's messing with you, your body, your head".

And then he just slapped his palm right in the middle of my chest lying on that bed and he just declare, "Health and healing"! I was like literally, instantly all that weakness and all that, they're just gone. I got up. And I began to know that ahead of me are even bigger seasons. New level, new devil. Ever heard that stupid saying? You know, the devil is not greater in your life anywhere? He doesn't even learn. He's as stupid today as he was when he took God on thousands of years ago. He says, you know, he's smart but he's crazy. Okay? I have no respect for him but at the same time I've taught people how to deal with the devil's devices.

Now, I had to learn how do I walk in peace? When I got to raise millions of dollars for every one of these organizations. And you got people loving you and hating you, some coming, some going, some messing with you. And get this by, which way you go? And you've gotta be able to say, "Okay, God, is the new chapter gonna be crazier than this"? Yeah! "Is it gonna bigger than this"? Yeah. But with God I found that when I praised, when I learned to worship Him, there'll be a peace on me. That it didn't matter how many new things, how many more things, how much was required? And you need to know something, He's no respecter of persons. And He doesn't just do it for pastors and the rest of you, so -, No, no. I could give you a whole list of pastors who are going through it as bad or worse than you are.

God's people, when we learn to praise, when we learn to enter into His presence with singing. The Psalm 100 says that you enter His gates with singing, into His courts with praise. The way to enter to God's presence is complaining, begging, or pleading. It's praising Him, thanking Him. And so today, I wanna give you a few thoughts from Psalms as to what praise will do in your life. And I want you to understand that when our church moves even in our praise and worship from singing to war cry. You will see the miraculous bust free in the congregation. All through the Word, Old and New Testament, it is one of those things that makes the difference. And so let's just dive right into it. When you begin to praise Him.

Now, praise can be singing. Praise can be just speaking. But praise always is a outward showing. You can't just say, "Yeah. Well, I don't open my mouth. I don't move my body but inside I'm praising Him". Nah, it don't work. You need to get rid of your little fears about, "Well, you know, when you go to church, and this people go, raise their hands. That's just kind of weird. Dude, when you are at Winnipeg jet skiing, you paint your stomach blue, take your shirt off, and belly bop the guys beside you, while you're throwing beer at the rows down from you, but his little rubber puck that hits the net. And you got a problem worshipping God, the creator of the universe. Your next chapter is probably gonna require you learning the war cry of God's people, to get up and praise and declare.

Here's what it says in Psalm 34:1-7 by a king named David, who went through mess after mess after mess. And he says, "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth". It says, "My soul shall make her boast in the Lord. The humble shall hear it and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me, exalt His name". These words are all praise words, boast in the Lord, magnify the Lord, exalt His name, continually praise Him, bless the Lord. These are all praise terms. And when you begin to praise, and you learn the language of praise. You are in faith and you are believing God for what is grace He's gonna supply and that in you. And then it says this, it says, and he delivered me from all my fears.

We live in a generation today that has more fear than any other generation we have ever seen before. The fears, the anxieties, the stresses, the angers, the angst, the busy minds. You can't shut down and sleep. You can't even get into a deep sleep. All of these things are symptoms of fear. Grumpy men, fear. You know, angry, fear. All of these negative emotions, the root is fear. Fear is stopping you from having that conversation. Fear is stopping you from believing God. Fear is stopping you from reaching out for the next chapter in your life. And we live in this fear. Fear is simply the expectation of negative things in your future. It's what it is. It's seeing it, believing it. You know, that's all me inside. It stops you from getting up and doing, you know, what God has called you to do.

That's why Springs College is so incredible. We teach and then we slowly lift them up and make them begin to do things. They break free from fears they've had their entire lives. They discover stuff they've never knew they could do. If you're 18 to 25, get to Springs College. It will change your life. It says here that praise removes fear. That's how I began to handle the stress, the anxiety. If we don't raise this money, we're gonna loss this building. We just said we're gonna do this, now we're gotta go raise that money. And we got this person doing this. I got death threats over here. All those stuff that just goes on, is in your life as well. What's the next chapter? "Well, I'm just trying to slow down". You know what? That doesn't work. The human being was never designed to slow down do nothing.

Now, slowing down is great if you're going too fast but I'm not talking about that. When you begin to praise Him, the Bible says He delivers you from fear. Then it goes on to say, "They looked unto him, and were lightened, and their faces were not ashamed". It says, the poor man cried, the Lord heard him, saved him out of all his troubles. And the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. When you go through the story in the Old Testament where they have three countries coming at them. And the king goes, "What are we gonna do"? And God says through one of the men He says, "Put the worship team at the front". Yeah, it sounds good. But imagine the wife of the trumpet player going, "What? He says you going to the front of the band, in front of the swords, the spears, the trumpet player. Are you kidding me"?

Harps to the left, trumpets to the right. Singers over here. Here's your sheets. We're going in -, you know battle look like back then? It was like swords throughout just peppering you as arrows coming in. It was, I mean, just horses plunging into the fray. And you're gonna put the worship team in front. The Bible says that they begin to march into battle singing. And they didn't just sing a song like, "We're wonderful Jesus". They boasted on God. They praised Him for His power. They declared He was in control of their lives. And as they went in singing, the Bible says these countries killed themselves off to such a degree there's no one left. And it took them three days to collect the gold and the jewels that they all hide in their tents. And they prosper because they praise and worship.

There's something about praising God that will take your life and change it. And if you've been raised where, "I'm a man. I don't do it". You've been raised more cerebral. You're gonna think your way through everything. You're gonna discover there are things in life that you can't figure right through. There are things in life there are no solutions, too. Here, I talk to people all the time. That they thought they were brilliant in business 'til something came along that had no answer. Maybe you get one of those times. Did you know, that praising God stops the enemy from defeating you on whatever realm it is. Is he attacking your health? Is he attacking your mind? Is he attacking your business? Is he attacking an area of your life? Here in Psalm 35:18, it says, "I will give thee thanks in the great congregation. I will praise You among much people. Let not them that are my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me". Meaning win over me. There's something about praising God together.

If you say, "Leon, I find this hard". Then start in the church. David talks repeatedly about praising in the house of God. Praising in the congregation. Praising with people around me. So when you come in here on a Sunday or one of our healing services and that band begins to lead us in worship and praise, just make a decision. I didn't come to sing. I didn't come to lollygag. I didn't come to fit in and be embarrassed. I came to worship the king of Kings. My King, the Lord of Lords who takes my life and redeems it from destruction and I'm gonna praise Him. I'm gonna worship Him. Men, I'm telling you. You'll go to a level of masculinity that's greater. You say, "Well, you know, depending on God is kind of a crutch". Really? Then why so many guys depending on booze? Why so many guys depending upon wrong sex? Why so many guys depending upon, you know, their peers and their recognition?

What's wrong with depending upon the king of Kings and the Lord of Lords? Everybody is depending on something. Depend on yourself is a quick trip to failure and depression. Praising God is placing Him in your life, believing that I will do what you want me to do and what I cannot do, You will see me through. There's something that just this faith that's on the inside. David said, get me amongst the congregation and I'm gonna praise Him. Praising God, did you know that it causes success in every area of your life? What are you attempting in job, in career? What are you attempting when it comes to relationships? Maybe you need a miracle in your physical body. You've spoken the Word. You've meditated on the Word. Now, what do you do? Psalm 40:1-3 says, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of a horrible pit. He established my goings".

Stop there for a minute. You know, the word "pit". You get the words like pitiful. Do you ever feel pitiful? Do you ever feel like something in your life in the pit? Do you ever feel like it's just garbage everywhere around you? And the only way is up and you're so low there's no place to go. That pit will try to own you. David knew what it felt like. There'll be some of you here today who feel this way. Maybe your marriage is in the pit. Maybe you worked your whole life for the company you're with. Maybe it's yours. Maybe they removed you or lost it or something went wrong. That's just puts you as a man in the pit or whatever it is. Maybe it's a son, a daughter, a relationship. Maybe it's your physical health, that you've always been strong and all of a sudden, this disease saps your energy. You're trying to believe. You're trying to rise up. You're trying to win. And you can't believe you're not getting anywhere. And its' getting worse and you're going down. It's this feeling of being in a pit.

The Bible says that He'll put your feet on a rock. He will establish your going. I have a memory locked into my brain as a preteen. I was a teen running how old I was, eight, nine, ten, and didn't know about deep ends, shallow ends zone pools. And I remember just jumping in where the rope was, and there was nothing, nothing that my feet -, I didn't know how to swim at that point. In fact, we're there for swimming lesson. It was my first day. And I remember going down and I can't find the bottom and I don't know how to get up. I don't even know how to kick. I don't know how to get my head up. And I remember swallowing some water. And now when I finally float up, I spasm. I'm coughing and I'm spewing water. I'm looking around and trying -, Help! And no one's looking at me because I got no noise.

And I remember going down again and I remember coming up and thrashing and I remember looking around. Nobody's noticing me. Nobody's helping me. I'm gonna die right here. And then my feet felt the bottom and I began to push towards the shallow. When your feet hit rock, it means you've got stability. When your feet hits rock, it means things are now going your way. When you don't know where you're in a tornado, you're in the water, you're in a fast current. Wherever you are, you're in an avalanche. You feel like you've got no control nothing changes anything you do. This pit feeling. David had it and he said, "I'm gonna praise Him. I'm gonna worship Him. He's gonna hear my cry 'cause He takes my feet and He puts them on a rock". Stabilizes your life.

And I remember going down again and I remember coming up and thrashing and I remember looking around. Nobody's noticing me. Nobody's helping me. I'm gonna die right here. And then my feet felt the bottom and I began to push towards the shallow. When your feet hit rock, it means you've got stability. When your feet hits rock, it means things are now going your way. When you don't know where you're in a tornado, you're in the water, you're in a fast current. Wherever you are, you're in an avalanche. You feel like you've got no control nothing changes anything you do. This pit feeling. David had it and he said, "I'm gonna praise Him. I'm gonna worship Him. He's gonna hear my cry 'cause He takes my feet and He puts them on a rock". Stabilizes your life.
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