Leon Fontaine - From Prison to Praise
The next chapter in your life. What is it? The next season in your life. What is it? The world has a saying, "New level, new devil". They just, you know, and the church world they really believe that, that if you try to succeed, every time you go to a new level. The devil seems to have more power in your life. That is ridiculous. He does not. He doesn't have more power because you're going further. You get to increase. He never increases. He's the same as he was before. He's not getting more power. He's not growing wiser. He's not developing but you are. And so I want to talk to you about how to move on to the scene of what God has for you next. Go to that new level.
Now, praising God is something for some reason that has almost been stumped out in Christians' lives. Now, this thing called, what does it mean to praise Him, magnify Him, thank Him, bless Him, give thanksgiving? All of these terms are about a follower of Christ who is born again, glorifying God, praising God, declaring His omnipotence, His power, how amazing He is, how incredible He is. This is called praising God. One person asked me one time, he said, "God must be really insecure". And I said, "Why"? Well, its, I mean, like He just needs all this praise. He needs to be glorified and magnified and thanked. And I said, "You know, God is so secure, but the problem lies in what you magnify with your heart".
And so let's dive in. Number one: To praise God is to magnify Him, to you could as big as you could see God. You still don't get it. As amazing as I could imagine God. I still don't get it. In the book of Revelation and in Ezequiel chapter 1, blow your mind just reading them. These are Scriptures about what it is like in heaven, in the throne room of God. There people are so awe that the angels just fall on their face before God. It talks about this four creatures and it kind of befuddles many Bible scholars that it talks about these four creatures before the throne. And a kind of an angel but they look different than angels. And they just fall on their face before God. And as it describes the throne room of heaven and what these angels look like and how this huge wingspan and the sound of heaven.
It, you can tell that Ezequiel and John when he's writing revelation, who got a glimpse into the throne room of God had no ability to explain it. Other than to tell us that people don't just bow. They fall before Him. You are just blown away. You can't believe. You are astounded. And here's the problem today in your world and in mine. Religion, and I hate religion. This man-made, judgmental, you know, thing that's just destroys the followers of Christ as we examine each other, look at each other, and we think and believe about this big, you know, half the church world can't even believe that God wants you to prosper or get ahead. They think He wants you to suffer so you can learn. They don't even get it. But they see how incredible.
I've been using this example every service even though we're going through a, doing a new part of, of some of the things that move us. I've been in concerts and there are times where I'm listening to a song that I love, and that singer nails it. It's so good and it just builds. And then they hit this high note and they just hold it and my mouth starts to hang open. And then they go another note higher. I go, "Oh, my". And then they go even higher and they sustain it and the whole concert hall is on its feet applauding. We're in awe. We're moved to tears. People just can't stop clapping. We are praising them. We are telling them how in awe we are, and they just sang a couple of high notes. Or you go to a hockey game or and yeah, or a football game and, you know, your favorite team is playing an incredible game and so you, you're watching this.
There's just no way they're going to get that score. They've only got these few seconds. It's impossible. Nobody's going to do it. Then all of a sudden, the puck is drop or the ball is snapped, and the clock starts. And this most impossible play between two of your favorite stars goes, "Bang, bang, score"! And the place goes crazy because the rubber puck hit the net. What in the world has happened? To believers who have lost the fact, that if you could have the scales removed from your eyes right now, that from horizon to horizon is an angelic army who are here waiting to serve, Hebrews 1:14 says. Those who are born again. That every promise in God's Word you've been qualified for. That we should be the head and not the tail, subdue countries. Mighty men and women rising up to lead and to impact this world and this nation. But the church cowers behind some stupid religious service that tells us all, you're going to suffer and be dumb and barely get by and Jesus rescue us from this horrible world and this big powerful devil.
And all these evil people behind the scenes orchestrating everything, airs a defeatedness to most of the body of Christ that bugs me. When you praise God, things begin to change. The first is, you begin to magnify Him. David talked about in Psalms, where he's talking about praising the Lord and he's boasting about his God. And in Psalm 34:1-7, he says, "I will bless the Lord at all time". You should be praising God out loud all the time. Either sing it, declare it, speak it, confess it. Find your prayer closet or walk by yourself in the park or a drive in your vehicle, your truck and begin to praise, David says. David was one of the greatest Kings that ever lived. Listen to what he says, "I, I'll bless the Lord at all times. His praise is going to continually come out in my mouth. My soul is going to boast in the Lord".
He's amazing. You're incredible. You're amazing. You're the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning, the End. He wanted to just talk about Him. Then he says, "O magnify the Lord with me". Because if you don't focus properly, your heart will magnify your financial problem, marriage problem, sexual problem, child problem, business problem, virus problem, government problem. And you just get focused on all your problems and you just magnify them. And it comes out in your murmuring, your complaining, your doubt talk. David said, "I'm going to magnify Him. I'm going to praise Him". He says, "I'm going to exalt His name. He's delivered me from my fears and the angel of the Lord encamps around about me".
He begins in Psalm 34:1-7 to just shout out! Praise God! Magnify Him! Declare who He is! And you know what's happening? His heart begins to absorb this incredible remembrance. God is great. He's amazing. He's stunning. Did you know that according to the Word in Psalm 35, that when you praise God, it stops your enemy from defeating you. It will stop disease from defeating, depression from defeating you, poverty from defeating you, divorce from defeating you. The enemy from defeating you. Governments from defeating you. The Bible is filled with these examples. David says here, "I'll give thee thanks in the great congregation. I'm going to praise you among people. Let not them that are my enemies wrongfully rejoice over me, neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause".
You know, people around your world. People who are against you can slyly wink and conspire against you. People on your staff. People coming against you. You never know what's going on. And David is saying he's praising God because his enemies will not be allowed to triumph over him. It goes on to say, "They devise deceitful matters". He says, "They opened their mouth wide against me, and they're not even being silent from knocking at me, lying about me, planning and things behind me". He is talking about an enemy coming against him. But He's praising God because God stops them in their tracks. What enemy is coming at you? What enemy is in your faith? What giant is screaming at you? When we magnify God. When we build God up with our words, we are changing our heart. We are stopping whatever enemy is coming at you.
The third thought I want to leave with you about praise and worship and thanksgiving is that praising God, it sets you into success. It moves you from a constant place of failure. In Matthew chapter 4 Jesus is teaching us there, and He talks about how that when you begin to focus on His Word and His promises. You begin to declare and praise Him. It says that literally phenomenal change begins to come. And more and more exponentially begins to grow. And those who don't, it happens that fast on the negative both life and death are continuums. And praising God has a way of turning that plane on a nosedive called your life. And it catches wind under those wings, and it begins to soar like an eagle because of the praise that comes out of your mouth. Praising God, it causes success in every area.
Listen to Psalm 40:1-3. He says here, "I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined unto me, and He heard my cry. He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet on a rock, and He established my goings. And he talks about a song in his mouth praising his God". I've got news for you. You could go through life like you're walking through miry clay. I remember walking with my dad as a little boy. It's one of my earliest memories, of he was working for a guy who had bee, honeybees. And so he had to carry this hive somewhere in this field. And we started walking through this wet field. My boots came off and I started standing in the mud in my socks. I couldn't even pull my boots out.
I was just a little guy. And I remember how horrible and miry mucky clay it was. And he had to pull out my boots and put them on my feet. Put me over his neck and he grabbed those beehives. I'll never forget thinking, "My dad is so strong". As he walked through that muck. I've got news for you. Life can feel like you're in a miry clay and he pulls you out and he sets your feet on a rock. David continually will tell you. I'm going to praise Him. I'm going to give Him glory. I'm going to magnify. I'm going to thank Him. These praises of God that come out your mouth. If you're not doing it, I feel sorry for you. I've not been able to embrace every new season that God has ahead of us without praising Him and declaring and prophesying. And how good God is. And as I magnify Him, He gets bigger. To magnify something, if you put something under a microscope. It will magnify it thirty times, a hundred times. When you praise God, you are magnifying Him in your heart. And your heart begins to do amazing things. Praising God, it brings success in every area.
When begin to praise God, number four. Praising God keeps you thirsting for Him, desiring Him. There is something about singing passionately, declaring His Word passionately. Finding a chance... there's so many times in my life when we're trying to go to a new place as a family, as a television station, as a church, as a school, wherever we're doing believing God and things aren't working and things are pushing at us. Which everybody deals within your life. And I just got to go find a place by myself and begin to praise Him and declare, "God, You are good. You're the overcomer. You're in love with me. You made to win. You made me the head and not the tail". We're going to go do this great thing. These channels are going to succeed. These churches are going, and I just begin to declare and praise Him. This is prophesying your future.
If you're not praising Him. If you're not giving Him glory, and I mean with some passion. There's nothing worse than people with no passion. It doesn't even move your own heart. The passion and the zeal that we talk about in praising God is for you. Did you know that what writes on your heart, your tongue is writing on the tablets of your heart. Your tongue is the pen of a good writer. Everything you say gets written on your heart. It releases. The Bible says, "Guard this heart with all diligence, out of it flows the power, the forces of life". The boundaries that determine what you can't do are coming out of your own heart, which is determined by your own words. And praising God is a warfare, a bursting out of words, that brings the miraculous into your life.
Another thing I want to talk to you about, number five, is the fact that praising God keeps me mentally sharp, and it keeps me mentally healthy. This is important. We live in a day and age where people have forgot their God even Christians. And they're struggling to have any kind of just peace let alone joy. Joy is not like happiness. Happiness comes from the happenings in your life.
But did you know what praise does? When things aren't happening. When there's tears in your eyes. When there's pain in your body. When there's no hope for your career. When your marriage seems over. When things are failing. David says, "Yet, I will praise Him"! Why? Praise is this war cry. Praise does something to your heart and it keeps you mentally healthy. Listen to this. Verse, Psalm 43:4-5, it says, "Then will I go to the altar of my God, unto God my exceeding joy, upon the harp I'm going to praise Him". Man worship Him. Then it says, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul"?
David is speaking to himself. He's going, "So why are you cast down? Why are you looking down, head down, depressed, upset? He is, why"? And then he says, "My hope is in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God". You can see people's feelings and their moods on their face. And he is saying here, "I'm going to praise Him". There is a mental health that is so empowered when you begin to praise God. That, yeah, you might not have enough but He's got it all. It is His strength that I'm going to rely upon. It is His blessing, His favour, and you begin to tell Him that. Shout it out.
There's times I got to get in the middle of my front room by myself and began to just shout and declare the goodness of God. That me, I'm just a tool in the hand of the master. Me, I'm just a man who's standing here but I'm so full of God and He's going to see me through. My God is an overcomer. My God is a redeemer. He's the Alpha. He's the Omega. He's the beginning. He's the end. He's the author of my fate. He's the finisher of my fate. And I just talk like that. If you've not developed the habit and practice praising Him. You are missing out on some of the most enjoyable, fired up, exciting living.
Number six: Praising God, boasting about Him, and His power. It cause this interventions in your life. I know I'm coming out from different angles. But literally He intervenes. When you don't know what the problem is, and you don't know what to do, and you don't know where to go, and you don't know what's happening. He enlightens your darkness. He lights your candle. It says, "He will light your lamp". Meaning, He'll show you the way. He intervenes. In Psalm 44:6-9, David puts it this way. He says, "For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. For thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long".
I want you to notice all of these things in the book of Psalm that David is talking about. He doesn't boast once. He boast all day long. When someone says to you, "Yeah, it's not going to happen". You say, "Well, I'll know the way soon. I'll clear this out. And if I don't, I'm still going to make it through and win". And the world doesn't know how to take you. I don't have to preach at him. But I'm not given in to this defeated, "Well, you know, let's be real". You go ahead be real without God. I'm going to be real with God because my God really works. My God's really powerful. My God really saves. My God really intervenes. My God really touches people. My God's really there. My God really brings me joy. My God really brings me peace. My God is real. Either believe it or find something else. But we've got to start praising Him. We've got to declare His goodness to our country. His goodness to our province. His goodness to our healthcare. His goodness to our church. His goodness.
Get up and declare and praise Him and let's make sure that we get it. That we understand that if you won't praise Him, Jesus told the Pharisees who were saying, "Would you tell people to stop praising so loud about you"? Jesus looked at him and says, "If people won't worship Me, the very rocks will cry out in admiration of the greatness of God". No rocks going to cry out in my place. I've made a decision. I have fixed my heart. I'm training my mouth more and more. That everything that is ahead of me is not going to be determined by the circumstances. When people look at me and say, "Well, under the circumstances". I go, "Woo, woo. That's you. I'm not under my circumstances because I know the one who takes me over the circumstances. And he says like an eagle above the storm. That's where He takes me".
Like, you know, make sure that in your prayer closet, make sure that when you are spending time with Him. Now, that doesn't mean I'm talking this way in my business meetings with banker. But at the same time I'm not getting into a negative mindset. But I can flow and talk and deal with problems and issues. I'm not talking some kind of weird talk. I'm just saying in your prayer time, in your closet prayer time, out for walks by yourself. Maybe together as a couple. Maybe teach your kids. You might be in the middle of one of the most horrific hard seasons of your life. All of us go through hellish storm that can push at us. I used to wish that people would understand what I was going through, and finally I died to that and realize that each of us are unique. The storms, the things that try to shut us down. The betrayal, the heartache. The things that try to stop you. I no longer care about trying to help.
Can you just understand what I'm going, I just stop doing that and I just decided to start praising God. I'm going to praise Him from the valley. I'm going to praise Him from the midst of that lost. I'm going to praise Him when betrayed by men. I'm going to praise Him when the storms coming against me. I'm going to praise Him because He'll never leave me. I'm going to praise Him because when the smokes settles, I'll be standing, and God will be at my side. I'm going to praise Him.
And my challenge to you is, you go ahead and have life as you know it. How's that working for you? Or make a decision today. I'm going to become someone who praises and worships and thanks and magnifies and glorifies the King of kings, who sent His Son to die for me. So I could get up and have a life. So I could get up and be more than a conqueror. That I could get up and be the head and not the tail. My challenge to you is you might need to take this message and play it all year. But you walk and you move until the presence of God gets under your wings and begins to lift you up, because God has never forsaken you. God has never left you. He's giving you all that you need. Get up and praise Him. From your prison, praise Him and walk in God's victory.
If you're watching today, and you say, "Leon, I would like to. I just don't know this Jesus. Where do I find Him"? All you need to do right now, because He's watching you and He wants to be your Lord and Saviour. He wants to come into your heart. Forgive you for everything. He wants to be your best friend. All you've got to say is, "Jesus, I accept all that You've done for me. Come into my heart. I give You my life. From today and on, I get a new chance and I'm following You". Just saying that has given Him permission. You're a brand new creation. You've just started a brand new journey and watch the changes that take place in your life.