Leon Fontaine - From Broken to Whole
Praise is something for some reason, that our culture doesn't understand from a Biblical perspective. That praising God, worshipping Him, thanking Him, giving Him glory, magnifying His name, there are so many words that are about you and I worshipping Him. And so, as we look at praise, the first thought I want to give you comes out of the Word where it says, know ye not in 1 Corinthians 9:24, that they which run in a race. They all run, but one receives the prize. So run, that you can obtain. You're not here to run this race of life to just put on a show. You know, I hate long-distance running.
When I was in track and field, I spent a lot of years in sports. I love to, I love sports for lots of reasons, but the one thing I couldn't stand was when you had to run for miles. And I remember when I would go to meets, and track and field meets. And every once in a while you'd see a race, and this guy would just give up. So he's just going through the paces. He's not running to win. He's just running to finish. He's just running to look good. Doesn't want to be embarrassed too much, so let's just put up an effort. You know, sometimes I look at Christians, and I start to feel the same way. You think, come on. Run to win! Run to obtain! Run to believe, you're going to conquer, you're going to rise up.
New seasons, new victories, new things for God. Don't just kind of run. Don't just do this kind of half-baked, you know, here's my life. No. Get up and expect that you're going to do incredible things. Get up and make a decision that you're going to run in a way to win. The Bible says, that you know, there's a verse in Proverbs 22:13. And it says, the lazy man says, there is a lion outside. I shall be killed in the streets. Do you know how many people don't understand the faith fight? They just well, you know. Marriage, I mean mine's better than most, this is a good as it gets, so. Not going to really, come on now. Get real. Come on, get up and fight whatever's going on, and take that marriage to a new level. Decide, take your business to a new level. Get up and fight to win.
People give up without even a proper fight. You know, the Bible teaches us that we have what is called the fight of faith. It's not the fight with demons. It's not the fight with people. It's not the fight with God. It's the fight of faith. It is to stay in faith. To get up. Now when we talk about this fight of faith, praise and worship is a crucial war cry. When you look around at all the armies of the world. Go back in time, go to modern day. You will find them walking into battle, singing a war song. I mean, from the fighting tribes of Africa, to the plains First Nations. You start studying how all of a sudden when they attack, and there's going to be something there, singing, chanting, screaming, declaring, and in they come. And the body of Christ is the same.
When you begin to praise God, when you begin to declare, worship, and praise Him, it is the war cry of faith. And you've got to get this. Because so many people sit around making pathetic wimpy prayers, waiting for God to move. And they don't realize God has moved. Peter teaches us. He's given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. And if you don't stir yourself up. You know, I've studied all the great men and women in the Old Testament. And the Old Testament stories, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10, are for our example. They're there in the Old Testament to learn something.
Now, because they're under the Old Covenant, you have to take them through the cross. Meaning, how do they apply in the New Covenant? For example. God's wrath was poured on Jesus, He's not doing that in this New Covenant. The curst has been paid for, when you make mistakes the curse is not coming. Okay? God's not, Jesus paid for it all. But when you study, there's things like this that stand out to me. Samson was a guy that a unique anointing on his life. And the Bible says he had this girlfriend that was paid a lot of money to tell the secret of his power. And so he'd lie to her just to keep her in his bed, he'd lie to her. But, whenever something would go wrong, it says he would shake himself, and this giftedness.
This thing that God had placed, would rise up and he'd whip a thousand soldiers. He'd lift the gates of a city that an army couldn't push through. He'd yank them right out of their hinges, carry them up a hill. But I like this thought, that he would just shake himself. You know what? I find for me, there are so many times in my life where I just kind of get hypnotized into looking at the problem. This is the way it is, and well come on. And all of a sudden I've got to shake myself and go get up and praise God! Get up and declare His greatness. Magnify Him. Let Him know that we're going to do something great for Him. All the great men and women and champions, and I love David as an example. Because the Psalms is filled with him praising God. Thanking God. Declaring, magnifying Him. And when you open your mouth, and you begin to praise Him, something powerful happens.
Let's dive into some thoughts that I believe will help you. Did you know that thanking and praising God, that's a learned thing to do? It's not normal for you to get up every morning, and before you open your mouth, and start cursing your life, do you know how many words that we can speak that curse our lives? No, I don't mean you can't be real, of course you can talk about what you want to see the doctor about, and you sit down and plan how to deal with the failures in finances and talk about your problems in your marriage.
Some of these people who deny problems, it's kind of like wake up, how do you speak to a mountain if you're not going to admit it's there? So I'm not talking about some kind of crazy double-talk that people who aren't even in faith. But I'm talking about people who need to begin to stop cursing their lives. Can you believe, that God had to stop the entire nation of Israel from talking when they walked around Jericho? Because their talking could stop the miracles of God Himself. Oh come on, God can do anything. No, in your life, He's handed you the authority to curse your own life, or to bless your own life. He says, He says blessings and cursings are set before you. Choose life.
We need to learn to thank Him. We need to learn to praise Him. This shows up in David's life. In 1 Samuel 17:34-36. He hears Goliath screaming at his country. His king. Screaming at his nation. And he goes out there, a teenaged boy with a slingshot. And he's talking to the king Saul. And King Saul says well no one's going to fight Goliath, huh? Again today, no champions have stepped forward. Oh king, we have a shepherd boy. His name is David. He's just a teenager. What? Let me talk to him.
Now when David talked to him, he said something very interesting. He begins to talk about his past. And he says, your servant used to keep his father's sheep. And when a lion came or a bear and took a lamb out of the flock, I chased it down. I struck it, and I delivered the lamb out of its mouth. And when it got up again against me, I cut it by the beard and I killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like them, because he's defied the armies of the living God. When you begin to praise God, and you declare how good your God is and how He's going to take you through, He's going to raise you up, there is something about thanking Him for what He's done.
Get up and declare the things He's taking you through. The miracles that He's healed you with. The strength that He gave you to get through that horrible season. That storm that pushed against you. He would speak up and thank Him for the past. He would be thanking for what's going on right now, and he would be praising Him for the future. Because it's going to be in the hand of God. He would tell God and give God the control of his life. Everyone thinks well God's got the whole world in His hands. That's not even a Bible verse, it's a song. But you can give God your life. You can begin to praise Him, and prophesy your future, and declare by praising Him, magnifying Him, and your life will change.
When you take a look at what, as he goes before Goliath, it says that Goliath begins to go what are you doing sending a kid out here with a slingshot? What in the world? And then David looked at Goliath, and he basically told him, I come against you in the name of the Lord most high, and I'm going to take your head off, and we are going to win today. Because this guy would just kept cursing and cursing. And the more Goliath talked, the more the army of Israel felt defeated. There's a giant down there, nobody can take him. And a shepherd boy.
Now why did David have an ability to go do this? Because he wasn't listening to the giant, day after day, curse him. He was sitting in a, in a field with sheep, declaring and singing of the wonders of God. The greatness of God. His amazing strength. He creates the universe, and I'm worried about a 14-foot giant? He created the Milky Way, and I'm going to be concerned about how big his spear is? He created the entire planet, the vegetation, the continents, and I'm going to be worried about an army? This is how he saw his God. And when you begin to praise God, it does something on the inside of you. And David goes on to say the battle is the Lord's, but the victory is mine.
It's time for you to begin to say that over your finances. Over the oppression against your mind. Over your health issues. Over finances. Over career, enemies, whatever it is. It's time to say, it is God that fights for me. The battle is the Lord's, the victory is mine. And I declare I'm more than an overcomer. I'm born of God. My God is, and just begin to speak. As you begin to talk this way and praise Him and bring Him glory and thank Him that He's in love with you, that He made a way, this speaking out loud. And I don't mean you do it in the mall. I mean in your prayer closet, I mean in your car with just you and your spouse or out for a walk with your friends. But you need to begin to praise God. When you praise Him, that is what great champions did in the Bible.
When Paul and Silas were in jail, I mean handcuffed, beaten, blood flowing down their back and legs. They praised Him until the whole jail heard them, and the earthquake blew everybody's doors open. It's not like you praise God enough until finally He acts. Because He's already given you what you need. But something goes on, and here's another thought I want to give you. When you praise God, you're magnifying Him. You're making Him bigger, greater, higher. But it's not, He needs to be made higher. One guy said to me well, why is God so insecure? You always got to be praising Him. Magnifying Him. No, it's not for His sake. He knows who He is. It's for us. We keep magnifying the problem.
You realize how bad this is? You have no, you don't get what I'm going through. Everybody, there is no temptation or things that befall any of us, that others haven't gone through. So we need to make a decision. You need to praise God, because as you magnify God greater than your problem, you begin to persuade your own heart. And instead of seeing your problems so big, you begin to see your God so big. When you stand before a giant, that is, two to three times taller than any average man. You better see your God as a million times taller than that giant. How do you do that? You magnify. You praise Him every day. You get up in the morning instead of saying well it's another day, I'm just tired, worn out, and I can't sleep. And things aren't going, oh just. Quit it. Get up and praise God. That He made you wonderfully. This is the day the Lord has made. I'm going to rejoice, and I'm going to be glad in it.
In Thessalonians, it says in everything give thanks. I don't thank God for everything, that's a kind of a crazy teaching that's out there. I'm not going to thank God for cancer. I'm not going to thank God for losing, no. I'm going to thank God in it. In the midst of whatever's going on, I'm going to praise Him. And herein lies a secret of faith. As others focus on the new storm, the size of the clouds, how big the waves are, what they could lose if this goes through. Some get up, and they talk back at the storm. They begin to declare, and they praise God at all times.
In the midst of seeming failure. In the midst of what someone has taken away. You just watch God replace it seven-fold. I mean, there is something about exalting His name, magnifying David said in Psalms 34, I'll bless the Lord at all times. His praise will continually be in my mouth. I listen to some Christians today, and all they can do is whine about how bad their problems are. And I'm not going to minimize or even try to understand what you're going through. I had to make a decision years ago, as a leader, and I would share sometimes and try to show people how lonely it can be. And when you've got death threats, and I'd share issues and people would yeah. But people just don't get it.
But why do I have to get you to understand how tough my life is? The things that I've gone through. Like, is that going to help me in any way? It's not. It's not. And so I made a decision, I'm going to get up and praise Him. I'm going to praise Him on the mountains, I'm going to praise Him in the valleys. I'm going to praise Him in the morning, I'm going to praise Him in the night. I'm going to praise Him until there's a breakthrough. And I'm going to praise Him anyway, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who praised their God and said He'll deliver me. And even if He doesn't, I'm not bowing down to this idol. Talk about resolve. That heaven's fantastic anyway, so I'm going to just keep praising and obeying the King of Kings.
There is something about praising God that establishes your heart in grace, and guards your heart from things that make it fail. Things that you persuade, you can persuade your heart into doubt. That's why focus is so important. When you praise Him, it establishes your heart, it reminds you of how great God is. It guards your heart. Philippians 4:4, says rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say rejoice. Well, what is rejoicing? It's bragging on God, thanking God. That, you're just declaring how amazing life is, and I'm taking a great life even if the season I'm in right now isn't. There is this faith, praising in God is faith's war cry. It breaks you through, it does something to your heart.
It says in Philippians 4, that rejoice in the Lord and again I say rejoice. Later on it says, with thanksgiving. And then it says it's going to guard your hearts. And your minds. In Christ Jesus. There is something about praising Him, thanking Him, rejoicing with Him that does something to your life. In Philippians 4, I love it in the Amplified. Verses 7-9. It says, practice what you have learned, and received, and heard, and seen, in Me. Jesus, it says zeal for His house. Just had eaten him up. Why is it that we can't get excited and praise Him and be excited about life, and in the middle of all that is going on. You know, I'll talk to people all the time, well in these uncertain times. Huh? What's uncertain?
Well, the time. Well the times have never been certain. But my God, He's a certainty. My God, He'll see me through. My God, never fails. My God doesn't change His mind. My God's got promises. My God died in my place. Uncertain? Not a chance uncertain. These times have not changed, because my God's on the throne, and He's not going to fail me. What are you saying? What's coming out of your, start practicing praising. Worshipping. Magnifying Him. Declaring Him. And when you do, something is going to change on the inside of you.
There's another thought I want to leave with you. When you go to the Word in Psalms 18. David begins to talk about praise and worship and magnifying here. And down in this chapter, in verse 35, he says Your right hand has held me up, and Your gentleness has made me great. Do you know that God is gentle with you? You're not going to figure everything out. You're not doing everything perfect. David's a great example of failing continually, sinning, and just coming back and getting right with God and praising Him again. But this verse says this. And I'm speaking to somebody right now, you need to hear this. God's right hand has held you up. His gentleness has made you great. And He's enlarged your path so your feet do not slip.
When you take a look at God, and how that He prepares your feet. It says like a mountain goat. When you watch these mountain goats go up the side of a mountain, way up on these cliffs that is impossible for you to go, they run. I've watched these things run up the side of a cliff. And you are just in awe. How do they do that? Now, the Bible teaches us that He is going to uphold us, that He's going to make us great. He's going to enlarge our path. Another spot says He'll make you, in other words, as you get great, as you handle more influence, as you rise in leadership, in prosperity, as God uses you in a way. There's a season ahead of you that you need to start praising Him for, and go I don't know if I can do it. You can't, but if you'll praise Him, He'll be with you. And He'll see you through. And He'll be your strength.
You've got to make a decision that until you start praising Him, and David, he did it daily. I will praise Him. I'm going to sing unto the Lord. I'm going to praise Him. I'm going to worship, I'm going to sing songs. Some of you know the courses that are victorious. Maybe you are like the older hymns, standing on the rock. Or I can run through a troop and leap over a wall, hallelujah. There are great songs out there. Instead of listening to 40 hours of news, and 13 hours of movies, begin to play great worship songs that praise Him and sing along.
Sunday School things that we teach to the kids, it is literally taking the Word of God and it's teaching them to practice praising. Listen to these three, two words. Practice praising. Just start tonight. There is no rule on how, just get up and sing. Declare. Brag about Him. Magnifying Him, and don't stop all the days of your life. And I'm telling you, something will change at your heart level. And you will see the breakthrough on the left, breakthrough on the right. You'll see the power of God sustain you and set you up and take you higher. Set your feet on a rock. He will be with you in the storm, and you'll not again have to feel insecure and tired because you know He's with you. Why? Because you're talking to Him all the time. Bragging about Him all the time. And your heart gets established, and your heart is guarded from all those doubts and the lies of the enemy, and you go on, into a life of victory.
Father, I pray right now that you would touch every person. I pray that they would understand this stunning victory of praise. And worshipping You. From prison, to praise. From failure to winning. Father, I pray that as a church, as a people of God, we'd begin to rise up and declare what the Word says, rather than what the world says. And Father, I pray. That they will begin to praise You, and see the power that is in praise. If you're watching today and you don't know Jesus as your Saviour and your Lord. Just tell Him, Jesus, come into my heart. I choose You. As my Lord and Saviour. I'm following You for the rest of my days. Make that declaration right now, and you will be instantly born again. Every sin forgiven, and a fresh start. It's now yours, welcome to the family of God.