Steven Furtick - Delayed Praise
Would you high-five three people and tell them, "You don't even know. You can't even imagine how good God has been to me". Wow. Stay standing. I'm not going to be very long before I get to the Word, because I want to give you part 2 of what I started last week, and I want to talk about trusting in God. So hello. Greetings, every campus. Hello, our watch party in DC. Hello, everybody. God bless you. Hello to our eFam. Y'all tell me "Hello" back. Would you do that real quick online and in the room? Where are your manners? You have to say "Hello" back. Sometimes it's like y'all are on a delay. It's funny. Hello. Greetings. You know, the Lord gave me a word. He said, "Every time you get up to preach, remember, half the people you're preaching to almost didn't come that week. Even just to get here was a victory for them".
So I always keep that in mind when I get up to preach. One thing I want to mention really quick… It was mentioned, but I want to tell you a little bit more about it. We are going to have an album that releases on May 19 called "Can You Imagine?" Put it in the comments. "Can you imagine"? Then say, "Yes, I can. And after May 19, I won't have to imagine because I will have it on my phone". "I'll have it on Apple Music and Spotify and Pandora and Amazon Music. I might go down to Tower Records and buy the compact disc". I got a batch of the CDs the other day. They brought me the CD, and I said, "This will be for one person: my mom". My mom is the only person I know who still has a way to play CDs. Chris and I were talking, and the Lord has continued giving us new songs as we've been preparing these songs.
So, I say on May 19 we get together at Elevation Ballantyne, we have a night of worship, we record some new songs, and sing some of those songs, and just keep the flow of the Holy Spirit going all year long. I can't wait. I told Holly the other day, "I feel like I have more sermons than I have Sundays to preach them on right now". I'm not starting a Wednesday night service, though. I'm not doing that. I'm not that confident in it. Just the songs and the sermons, and to minister from a place of overflow is what I feel like God has given me in this season. Now, that means I share with you almost directly what God is giving me for my own study and my own Bible reading. I don't have two files. After I've processed and studied, I bring it to you. It also means I'm going to be doing more and more of integrating the Word.
So, you'll get a little bit one week, a little bit the next week, and a little bit the next week, almost like a sermon series, but a little bit different than that. If you're watching this on YouTube right now, you can go watch my sermon from last week called Ugly Trust. You can turn this one off, go watch that one, and then come back. It'll be discipleship on demand. For everybody in the room, elbow your neighbor in their ribs and say, "Get ready for this one". Oh, also, we've been having such a good time with these Elevation Nights that we're adding dates in July…July 19, 20, and 21…Greenville, South Carolina; Savannah, Georgia; and Nashville, Tennessee. I just got back from Nashville, Tennessee. I still have my pink bracelet. I took my girls to see Taylor Swift. That was wild. It felt like a women's conference in there. It was awesome.
Now, that's in July, and then we'll be back out in the fall, October 3-12. You can go to elevationnights.com. We'll be in Miami, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; Knoxville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Lubbock, Texas; Dallas, Texas; and Houston, Texas. Elevationnights.com. Get there. I'll tell you what I want you to do: the exact opposite of what we normally do. Sit down for the Scripture, and let's get into it right now. Are you excited about it? Amen. Me too. Go to Psalm 34. The song "Trust in God" says, "I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered". My premise last week was, as simple as that sounds when we sing it, it doesn't live as simply as it sings. "I sought the Lord, he heard, he answered". Not like a high-speed Internet connection anyway. I can't find Bible verses about certain things.
I, as a parent, want to know how much screen time to give my kids where they can still be connected to their friends but not turn into apocalyptic zombies before they're 18. I can't find a Bible verse on how much screen time. I read 2 Timothy and 1 Timothy. I looked for 3 Timothy. Paul didn't say anything about screen time. I don't know why. He just forgot to put that in, I guess. Our contemporary challenges often make it difficult for us to know exactly what God would have us do in that situation, yet God gives us timeless truth of his eternal promise that he hears us. Psalm 34 says, "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me…"
All of y'all who don't ever talk back in the sermon, that Bible verse just testified against you. "O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together". Here it comes. "I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him…" That's why it didn't kill you. "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him".
Last week was called Ugly Trust, and this week is going to be called Delayed Praise. One of the most important things I could ever teach you is coming right now. Not in a week…right now. As I preach it, you might be watching it a year after I preached it, but it's coming to you right now. Do you believe that could happen? God could have me speak something today that you will need in a year, and you will click on it when the battle comes that I didn't know about when I preached it, but he did. Do you believe that? Do you believe you might find this sermon boring today, and then get in a battle next week and go back to it and go, "I think I needed that more than I thought I needed that at the time"?
One of my buddies likes to say if you have relevance to a situation, you will give more attention to it. If you have a flat tire, changing it becomes important, but a flat tire changing seminar when all four are working probably isn't going to draw your attendance or your attention. I believe God is amazing like that. Delayed praise. Actually, while I was preaching last week, something was happening that was really distracting me. We had a technical difficulty where my voice was bouncing off one of these screens that was lower than it should have been. So, while I was talking to you, I was hearing myself a nanosecond behind, my voice again. You couldn't hear it, but I could hear myself twice. If that has ever happened to you on a Zoom call or a phone call, it is the worst thing. Isn't it?
You think you're going crazy. You're like, "Hey, hey, hang on, hang on a second. There's, there's a delay". Then you're like, "Do I really sound like that? Is that what my voice sounds like? That sounds terrible. I'll never talk again. I'm going to learn sign language". That's happening right now. The message is going out on YouTube, but if I called for comments and said, "Hey, put on YouTube where you're coming from or where you're watching from," I would have to stall for 15 or 30 seconds before it came through. There's a little delay on it. I realize that same thing is happening in your life. As I preach this word, there's another voice telling you other stuff. There's another voice where it's saying, "I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered. I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered". But it's like, "I sought the Lord; I'm not sure if he'll answer. I sought the Lord, and I sure hope he answers".
In bringing you into this psalm, I want to be ever so careful that I give you a picture of what is really meant when David says, "I will bless [or praise] the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth". Now let's do the real-life version, the "RLV" of the Bible. I read the King James Version. Now let me read the "RL Version". "I will bless the Lord at certain times. His praise shall eventually be in my mouth. When I get done venting, then I'm going to praise him. When I get through this season…" We like to talk about seasons in church. "Oh, it has been a hard season. It's a difficult season". I'm wondering, at what point is a season that you are in the sovereign god of your life to get to determine what you say about it and what you do about it.
We have to remember when David wrote these psalms, just like Taylor Swift writing her psalms, there's a story behind every one of them. I watched grown men weep to songs about being 15 and 22 the other night…49-year-old men, weeping. Something that Taylor went through… Then the Swifties are like, "Oh, that's me too. I mean, not exactly me. I wasn't 15. I'm 55, but I get where you're coming from, because I've been there, Taylor. I've been there". And I felt it too. I was in there like, "I'm going to shake it off, shake it off. I need this".
Now, remember this. I taught you this last week. You come every week, and you take notes, and you study them, and you listen again, and you listen to the sermon, and you write it down, but just in case there was a little delay, and you haven't remembered it yet, and you had some things go on… Remember that David is not writing this psalm from a place of his personal pain. It is based in his personal pain, but he's not writing this psalm from the place of his pain. He's writing it after he has experienced great pain and come through that pain to realize a greater purpose. Now he's looking back on the pain he went through, and he is teaching us the art of delayed praise.
Now he says, "His praise shall continually be in my mouth at all times". David is not saying this because praise was the only thing he was dealing with. Praise is not contingent upon the events of my life, not if I'm a mature Christian, and praise is not just a song I sing. It is a way of seeing my situation, speaking about my situation, and being in this world God has placed me in. That's what I mean by praise, and that's what I mean by trust. The reason I trust God is not because everything happens so quickly. I praise God because there are spaces between what I believe he has called me to do and to be and to have and where I'm at right now.
Now, the Enemy wants to fill that space just like God does. The Enemy wants to fill these spaces in our lives, because we're all dealing with delays right now. Right? Like, not just the screen on the voice or the YouTube buffering or the comments. Oh, they might have told me where they're watching from by now. I've got to go back and check. I set that illustration up and forgot. There are thousands of people watching right now, and they're just now getting around to telling me where they're watching from, and that's crazy. It takes that long for it to come through. In your life sometimes it takes a lot longer for it to come through than you planned on. You can be free, but not by this Friday. You can be healed from a broken heart, but not in the next hour, not by the time I say, "Amen".
So, if the Devil can't trick you into thinking it's never going to happen, he'll tell you it's going to happen so quickly that when it doesn't happen that quickly, you give up on it. So now he has two tools. Discouragement. "You're never going to change. It's never going to be. It'll never happen for you". If that doesn't work, and you believe God, then he will use a delay to try to get you to believe you were crazy to think that God could do that thing in your life. We studied last week how David went crazy. Remember? He had to go to Philistine territory to escape from Saul. That's the king of his own nation. That's the one who should have been mentoring him. That's the one who should have been showing David, "This is how you do it. This is how we handle pressure. This is how we stand up under it".
Instead, Saul spends seven years throwing spears at David. "Hey, David, great news: you're going to be a king. Bad news: seven years of caves, hiding from the king who should be helping you". Seven years between the anointing ("You're going to be king") and the crowning where Saul dies and David actually is. That space in your life is where trust is required. Nothing else will do. Talent won't fill it, because sometimes your talent is great but your development process is still underway. Intelligence won't fix it, because there are some things you're not smart enough to know about. Nobody is. Nobody calls certain things we go through.
So, no matter how meticulous you are in managing your life and your time, there are certain spaces only God can fill, and that's why I trust him: because I sought the Lord. If David were singing this in real time… "I sought the Lord, and then Saul tried to kill me. I sought the Lord, and then Saul tried to kill me. I sought the Lord…" He is writing that stuff, but he's not writing while it's happening. He's looking back on that. Now he's teaching me and he's teaching you how to trust God. I wonder if God is teaching you to trust him right now so that you will be saying that, speaking that, and passing that down maybe even to your own children. "This is how we trust him. This is how we do it". Thank you, Montell. I've got all kinds of psalms for you all today. I've got psalms from the 90s. I've got psalms from the BCs. I've got psalms everywhere.
Now, write down the word reflection somewhere. I think many of us underestimate the power of healthy reflection for our soul's growth, and I think the Enemy… I don't like to talk about him this much in the sermon, but he messes with you so much I want to call him out. I think he wants to get you so busy you never do it. If every second of your life is sucked out by distracting yourself from what you feel, and you never process it with God, but instead you scroll through what somebody else wants you to think they feel… If every second is sucked out of your life, you can't reflect, and if you don't reflect, you can't be really blessed. You can actually be blessed from God's perspective but not feel blessed from your perspective, because you never learned to reflect. Psalm 34 is teaching me how to reflect. "O taste and see that the Lord is good".
Now that's interesting, because he mentions at least two different senses. Remember, David is writing this psalm after great personal pain from a perspective of purpose to teach us how to process our own seasons of delay. One of the things he does is use sensory images because he's a brilliant lyricist. He's talking about "Taste and see that the Lord is good". Then he also says, "Magnify the Lord with me". So, we have a visual sense of sight (magnify), and we have a chemical sense of taste. I think both are telling us the same thing. It is the value of our experience filtered through a healthy reflection process. Let me explain. Have you ever had somebody in a restaurant go, "Oh! This is terrible. Taste it"? She does that to me all the time. "Oh! You've got to taste this. This is so bad. Oh, taste this". "What am I, your cupbearer? I'm not Nehemiah. I'm not tasting your poison. It tastes terrible to you".
There's something about it. It tastes so bad she just wants somebody else to have to be in it with her. Misery loves company. Right? So, there's this thing David is saying. He's like, "I know the bitterness of wondering if you are really going to see a breakthrough in your life or if you are just believing it for nothing. I know the ashes of defeat when everything you love has been burned to the ground. I know the taste of the isolation of the cave". But I want you to taste something else by decision as you face this delay. The Enemy tries to fill that space, that seven-year space… I don't mean seven years literally. It could be longer, it could be shorter, but it's long. It's long when you're living it.
Some stuff you go back and talk about it, and you can say in a sentence what took you seven years to learn in real life, but when you're living in it, it feels different. That's why the benefit of distance is so great. Not only does he say, "Taste and see that the Lord is good". He also says, "O magnify the Lord with me". To magnify something is not to make it bigger. Magnification doesn't change the size of the object. Magnification is the process whereby you get your perspective about what was there all along. I don't know about you, but that's why I come to church. I need help sometimes magnifying the Lord. What I magnify in my life I get more of.
So, if I sit around with stingy, miserable people all week… Don't look at them right now while I'm preaching. Look straight ahead. If I sit around having low-level conversations; broken-down conversations; hateful conversations; stupid, ignorant conversations; surface-level conversations all week that never really push past all the stuff about what's going on and the Illuminati and the price of gas… If I never get past that, I can't see what's there in my life. "O magnify the Lord with me". BYOB. Bring your own binoculars. You're not making God bigger. You're just making yourself more focused to realize that for every reason the Devil can give you to doubt God, I can give you 10 to trust him. Do you want me to prove it? Lift your hands. How many fingers are you lifting up right now? That's 10 reasons right there to bless him, exalt him, and worship him. Blessed be God forever.
Now clap those same hands. Put those 10 fingers together. There's somebody watching me who lost a pinkie. Okay, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four… I bless the Lord. I magnify him. I taste him. I experience him. The value of personal experience is worthless if not reflected upon in the light of God's goodness. I'm not just saying, "Keep a gratitude journal". Do that. I have all kinds of little gratitude tricks. Abbey and I made one up on tour. It's the best thing ever she showed me, and I taught it on my YouTube channel. You can go there and see it. It's about a grateful heart is a stable heart. I'm not just saying that. I'm actually saying things turn into blessings as you reflect on them in time. "I will bless the Lord at all times".
Does that mean I'm going to walk down the road singing "Jireh" this week? Does that mean I'm going to be in a meeting, and they're going to be asking about the spreadsheet, and I'll be like, "I don't know about the spreadsheet, but my God is sovereign. He's holy. He's righteous. He's pure. I bless him at all times". It's like, "You can do that on your own time. This is company time. We are doing a meeting. Submit the budget". We're not turning this beautiful psalm into some weird excuse for us to live in this other reality. It actually is the way we bring God's faithfulness into this moment for the fights you're dealing with and for the future you're uncertain about. It's a beautiful thing. It is a decision you make to praise God, to glorify him, to speak about the things in your life that you want to see more of, to speak about the things in your life that God has given you.
There's nothing wrong with admitting the things you wish were different and getting help with them, but stop elevating your request to people who are not supervisors. "What do you think I should tell my husband"? She's not married. Even if she is, she is not married to your husband. She can only take you so far. These conversations get really cyclical…sick-lical. In the process of that, if you don't bring God into it… I'm talking about delayed praise, and I'm going to get back to that in just a moment, but for now I want you to remember this about David. When he wrote Psalm 34, he was through it. When he was living it… This may give you permission to struggle a little bit. That's why I called it Ugly Trust.
Let me get out of the King James back over to the NIV so you can see what's going on in 1 Samuel 27:1. "But David thought to himself, 'One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.'" Does that sound like a guy who's confident in God's promise? But it's seven years. Seven years is long enough to whittle away at your worship. He thought to himself, "One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul. The best thing I can do…" The next best thing. "I don't like what I have to do right now. I don't like where life has me. I don't like this situation, but the best thing I can do, because I don't know what else to do…the next best thing, the one thing I can do… God has to handle the next thing after that, because I can only focus on one thing right now, because I don't really know about all this, because it freaks me out when I try to think too far out".
"The best thing I can do is escape to the land of the Philistines". Those are the enemies. "Then Saul will give up searching for me anywhere in Israel, and I will slip out of his hand". David did that, and for 16 months he lived amongst his enemies. For 16 months, he lived amongst the enemies he would eventually defeat when he became king. Hold that. Hold that for a moment. Go back to the very first part of that verse. "David thought to himself…" "I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will continually be in my mouth". He thought to himself, "I'm going to die". But watch this. He said, "My soul will make its boast in the Lord".
What's your soul? Your soul is not your mouth. Your soul is not what your eyes see. Your soul is your mind, your will, and your emotions. He said, "My soul will boast in the Lord," but we know his mind was telling him, "You're going to die. You're not going to get through this. This is it for you. He's going to kill you for real this time. This is the end of the line. This is where it stops. This is where the fantasy ends. Yeah, that was cute when Samuel anointed you when you were a little boy. Samuel is dead now". "Yeah, that was cute when you saw your family back together and happy again, but it's not going to happen now. This is the one".
They used to have a show when I was little called Sanford and Son. He would always say, "This is the big one, Elizabeth. I'm coming to join you, Elizabeth". (What is up with all my outdated pop culture references today? Pray for me.) David is having a moment. "This is it. He's going to kill me. This is it. There's nothing else I can do. This is the end. This is it. This one is going to take me down. This is it". He thought that to himself, but he said, "My soul is going to boast in the Lord, and his praise will be in my mouth". So, his mind is saying one thing. "Saul is going to kill you". But his soul is going to say another thing. "I will bless the Lord at all times, and his praise will continually be in my mouth". The mouth is going to say, "God is good". The mouth is going to say, "God is great". My mouth is going to say, "What God promised he will accomplish". My mouth is going to say, "But he's faithful, and he has proven that".
What I'm trying to give you is this simple principle: not everything that goes through your mind needs to come out of your mouth. Your mind can try to tell you all that your mind wants to tell you. "Oh, this is it". But I don't worship my thoughts. I don't even trust my thoughts. I don't bow at the altar of my thoughts. Thoughts are thoughts, like clouds are clouds, like rain is rain. Let it pass over. "Okay, Devil. You want to tell me to kill myself? You can tell me that. I'm not doing that, because God has the last word in my life. I'm going to live and not die and declare the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living". Open your mouth and say, "Yes! Yes, Lord! Yes, Lord, yes"!
High-five somebody and say, "I'm going to keep praising him". I'm going to keep praising him even if I have to praise him on a delay. Here's what I mean…a delayed praise. Do you remember the first time you found out that live TV wasn't really live? You thought you were watching live TV until somebody cussed and the TV just went silent. Do you remember the first time? I remember the first time. I remember the first time I learned about the seven-second delay. That's what they use in TV. Now, we were talking about seven years, but let me shrink this to make it really practical. When they have a Super Bowl halftime show, and things get exposed (you can Google this later) that are not meant to be exposed, the network cannot take the liability that you just saw that on TV, because they have the FCC and the SCC and the ACC and the Big Ten…all those Cs.
So, they put it on a delay so in case they need to bleep it, they have time. It was a seven-second delay. They have to have it. They broadcast it out seven seconds after it happens. I'm trying to figure out, do I need to put a seven-second delay from when it comes to my mind and when it comes out of my mouth so I can start bleeping some stuff and sensor myself so that I don't stay stuck in what I feel, but my soul can speak and say, "No, no. No, no. No, we don't lie down like that. We don't fight back like that. We don't get nasty like that. Are you crazy"?
My friend who works in radio said, "In radio they call that the dump button". I said, "What is the dump button"? He said, "If you say something you're not supposed to say live on the air, you go, 'Oops!' and you hit a button. It takes out the last few seconds of what you said to protect the station from the liability". I said to him, "They have that in radio? Do they have that in real life too? Can I have a live dump button in my life"? You know, you get a little sharp with somebody. You don't mean to get sharp. You say a little something. It was reserved, and you're like, "Oh no. I think that went out of thought bubble-ville and went into mouth bubble-ville, and I didn't even know it happened. Where's my dump button"?
I want to challenge everybody who is struggling this week… If you're not struggling, you can do it next week, because you'll be struggling then. You ain't perfect. I want to challenge everybody who struggles with magnifying the wrong thing in your life, everybody who is struggling with how you're speaking about this season. "Oh, it's just a hard season. It's just a horrible season". I know. I get it. That season is called life on this planet. Now, tell who you need to tell. I'll bring up Holly as a positive example. I used her for an illustration earlier. I'm going to use her for a good one now. She did this last night. She goes, "I just… I'm not going to say it". And she didn't. Y'all don't know her to know what a miracle that was that she hit that dump button.
I knew I was preaching about the dump button. She didn't. She was giving me a real-life illustration. She was about to criticize somebody, but she wasn't going to call it criticism. No. We were praying for them. But something in her knew… That Holy Ghost said… That Holly Holy Ghost said, "Are you really praying for them right now"? Can I get a dump button for the dumb stuff the Devil tells me? Can I put it even before my mouth? Can I put it where it's like, "Oh, I'm not going to think about that longer"? Can I put a seven-second rule on that, like, "Okay. We're going to worry about that for seven seconds. Seven, six, five, four… I wrote it down. I didn't even need the last three. You can have your three seconds back, Devil. I wrote it down. I put it there. I'll deal with it later. Now I'm going to do this".
Wow! David found his dump button. He knew to bring that stuff to God and to do the next best thing. He knew there needs to be a delay between what you feel and what you do. If you're thinking about going to see a therapist soon for your problems, one thing they're going to teach you that I'll just give you for free, and then you can go on to see them and break it all the way down… They're going to tell you you need to put a bigger gap between the thoughts and the feelings and the actions so you can process it and go like, "Is this how I want to respond"? Or a dump button, as David and I like to call it. I think it's important that we get this, because when he says, "His praise will continually be in my mouth," that doesn't mean that's everything that was going through his mind. It was a decision.
I'm going to give this personally because, somebody, it's going to be just for you. The thing he was so afraid of, God was already lining up to take care of it. The thing you are afraid of God might already be taking care of. How much time do you all have? Okay. I'll make you a promise. I will do at least one bonus teaching this week from the Basin on this subject, and I will put it on my YouTube. At least one. I may need to do two. This is so good. Where did David go to escape from Saul? To the land of the Philistines. Who was the first person he defeated that elevated him to a place of prominence in front of the nation? Goliath from Gath who was an uncircumcised Philistine. You're like, "Uncircumcised? Is that really necessary to include that part"? It's in the Bible.
I'm not bleeping this. It's in the Bible. When David eventually became king… You have to get this. He was the first one who delivered the nation from the Philistines, and the Bible says he subdued those enemies. How did he do it? What did David know that Saul didn't that enabled him to defeat the Philistines, and when did he learn it? I suggest that in those 16 months he went to be a mercenary, he was learning what time they ate breakfast and what time they went to bed. David saw those 16 months as a time where he was trapped. God saw it as training.
Can I tell you a time God did that to me? When we started this church, there were three different people (two of them were ministries, one of them was an individual) who said they were going to pay my health insurance and my salary so we could start the church, because the church didn't have that many people. They said, "We don't want you to be burning yourself out, traveling and doing all this. We're going to pay it". One by one, they all backed out for different reasons. And no hard feelings toward them, but what I felt having a little baby… Elijah, my oldest, is the same age as the church. We had that baby, and we were moving.
I remember when Chunks said, "Well, we just need to step up and teach people to trust God with the tithe and build the church and trust God in this area". I thought, "Wow! Is that really what this is for"? And it was. If I had had those people do it for me, I probably would have trusted them. Who am I preaching to? This is not about me. I'm looking for you. If they did what I wanted them to do, I wouldn't have seen what God can do. Are you in a season right now (I'm asking) where God is teaching you to trust, but it doesn't feel like training; it feels like painting a fence. It doesn't feel like training; it feels like waxing a car. (I might as well finish off all of my references today. This is my last shot to do it.) It doesn't feel like training, but it is. But you don't know that until you look back on it.
You don't know that while it's happening. You don't know that while they're saying, "I think we need to see other people. It's not you; it's me. It's not me; it's you," or whatever the thing is. However they say it, it still hurts. You don't know at the time that. There is a that you don't know about right now that God does. While the Enemy is telling you, "You are never going to make it through this…" I don't even know what your this is. I wish I did, because I would speak straight to it. I would call it out by name and Social Security number. If I knew exactly what y'all were fighting about, if I knew exactly what you were taking too many pills about, if I knew exactly what you were asking God for and feeling the silence of a prayer that bounces back down, and you keep seeking, but it keeps eluding you, and it keeps slipping away, I would call it by name.
I don't know what your this is, but God does. There's something else you know that I want to remind you of today that you tend to forget in moments like this where you have tasted the sting of your tears about the situation God won't change; where you have tasted the air of hunger for the relationships that have left your life. A lot of times, while the Enemy is saying, "You're not going to get through this. What are you going to do about this? How are you going to handle this?" you forgot about that. You were singing about that. You said, "That's why I trust him. That's why".
I want an all-caps that in the chat right now from everybody. Put a that in the chat right now, and when you put it in the chat, I want it to stand for this: (T) things, (H) he, (A) already, (T) taught me. Things he already taught…THAT. Things he taught you in the valley that you went through before the mountain that was on the other side. I'm talking about seasons when you were broke, but he fed you like a father feeds manna to his children. That. Yeah, that. The thing you pushed through, and you didn't even know you were that strong. You felt a little cocky for three days afterward. You were like, "Oh, whoa! Hey, man. That was hard, but I did it". That. You forget that every time you go through this, but today's this is just a that in the making.
So I came to preach today. This message is about delayed praise. "What are you saying, Preacher"? I'm saying thank him today for what will only make sense later. Give him praise right now for what you can't point to, for what you can't prove, for what you can't verbalize, for what you can't understand. Put a praise on that…on that situation, on that misunderstanding, on that step, on that question, on that intricacy, on that struggle, on that stronghold. I'm not done yet. God said we need to get you back to that. You're going through this. It's fine, but that's not why you trust him. That's not why you praise him. That's not why you love him. You don't love him because it's always a feeling. You love him because he first loved you. You haven't been who you want to be lately. You've been struggling with performance issues. There has been heavy guilt, heavy shame, heavy fear on you.
Well, it's a good thing you're not praising him according to your performance. You're praising him according to his goodness, and he is good all the time, and all the time he is good. O taste and see that the Lord is good. I'm not praising him for this pain in my body. I'm not praising him for this issue with my kids. I'm not praising him for this situation that won't resolve. I'm praising him for that. You want to go all the way back? Let me take you to Calvary where the precious Lamb of God suffered, bled, and died for me. See the crown of thorns on his head. Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did ever such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? I'm not praising him for a feeling; I'm praising him by faith. This is a faith praise! I'll praise him like that.
I've got it like that. I know it like that. I met him like that. He snatched me like that. He filled me like that. He raised me like that. He forgave me like that. That's why I praise him! I don't need a 30-second delay. I don't need to get out of this cave and see how it turns out. God already knows. I'm praising him for that! I got happy, because I look around today, and I see a big fat that. See, for months I preached in this auditorium, empty from a pandemic, and I promised God when the room got full again, I would keep preaching, and I would thank him. This is that! Praise him if you know him like that. The Lord is my shepherd, my light, and my salvation. O magnify the Lord with me! Ugly praise. You've got an ugly cry. Why not an ugly praise? Give him a praise that sounds kind of crazy.
"I did the ugly cry. Now watch this ugly praise. Hey! Thank you, Jesus! You did that. You delivered me from all my fears! You did that"! So, when that Enemy comes in like a flood and tries to remind you of the this you don't think you can get through, take him back to that. "I don't know much, but I know he's in control. I don't know what I thought I knew, but he's the author of my story. I don't know what I thought I knew, and God is not doing what I thought he would when I thought he would. I'm in the delay right now, but I went down there to that Elevation Church, and they taught me what to do until God lifts you. I fill that space with praise".
Now, we've covered a lot. I hope you got something from God today. I want to give you one more thing before I go. I'm about to go eat some Keto pancakes and replenish. There is a song that says, "That's why I trust him" that needs to be your anthem for what you're going through. It says, "I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered". It does not define how much space there will be between those sequences, but I found a verse, y'all. I found a verse in the New Testament that I'm clinging to for everything God has called me to be and do. It's in 1 John 5:14, and it says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God…" This is the basis of my faith. "…that if we ask according to his will, he hears us". That is not even the good verse. Verse 15: "And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him".
I want you to get the this on your mind that the Enemy keeps talking about, the one that's bouncing back the whole time I'm preaching, going home with you, that delay, that thing that goes, "Yeah, but… Yeah, but… Yeah, but…" Get it on your mind. Seven seconds to think about the this, and then I want you to push it back with a that. Somebody say, "We know that". We know that we have what we asked of him according to his will. If I'm asking God for his will, I know it shall be done, and my soul shall boast in the Lord. Say it again. "I know that he died for me. I know that he loves me. I know that he's for me. That's why I trust him".
When we wrote that song… I'm going to lead you in a worship moment that I hope you remember, and I hope you'll repeat it through the week. Something else to put in those spaces where you feel like, "I'm going crazy right now. I can't stop thinking about this. I can't stop ruminating". Okay. You're going to reflect with God and get his perspective. I didn't know how clearly the others who wrote with me on this song, Mitch, Brandon, and Chris… We went through some voice memos to make sure my selective memory wasn't wrong. When we wrote the bridge, it went a little different. You will barely know the difference. One, two, three, four. I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, That's why I trust him. That's why I trust him.
You're like, "That's the same". No. Listen again. It's the same, but it's a little different. Just watch. I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord, and he heard… You sing it the regular way. I'll sing the other way. "That's why I trust him". What happened? When we were writing it, something didn't sound right, so we said, "It's a good thought, but what if we push it back just one beat"? When we did, it went from a pretty cool song to the sauciest song I've heard in a minute. It was the smallest little thing. It's just a beat, y'all. "I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered. That's why…"
What made the difference? We just pushed that back a little bit. Let's take a church vote. We've never done a church vote at Elevation Baptist/Presbyterian/Episcopalian/Church of God of Prophecy. This is the first one. For our eFam around the world, you can vote too. This is version one. I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, That's why I trust him. That's why I… Do you see how white that sounds? Version two. I sought the Lord, and he heard, and he answered, I sought the Lord…
Let's push it back a little. That's why I trust him. That's why I trust him. God might be pushing something back just a… I'm going to go, but let's take a moment and give God a delayed praise for everything he knows. Because he's good, and he's great, and he's faithful, Because he's good, and he's great… Come here. Let's have some fun. Come on, Zeek, Chris. Because he's good, and he's great, and he's faithful, That's why I trust him. That's why I trust him. I've got another one. "Because he heals, and he saves, and delivers". That's why. Sing it like you wrote it! How about this? "You don't know like I know what he's done for me". That's why I have to praise him!