Pastor of The International Church & Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations

I've Still Got A Praise

God is pushing us into a position where we can’t be stopped.  But one thing that God needs us to be equipped with, for what is about to happen in the earth, is joy.  Some of us have half joy, crippled joy, or struggling joy.  But in God’s kingdom there is fullness of joy.  And we need healthy joy to be most effective in these last days.

Our churches today need to have their joy restored,  and one way that that can happen is a removal of bitterness from the saints.  

There is a battle being waged for our praise, our worship, and our joy.  The enemy wants it-because that is our life line.  If he can take our praise-he can take our strength.  When people break out in praise, chains are broken, healing is delivered.  This is why the enemy is so desperate to take our praise.   Running dancing and shouting is a RESULT of praise-it isn’t the definition of praise. Some of us have so much praise in us, we can’t stay still. 

Praise is a connection to God.  It's your lifeline to heaven.  If you truly have the Holy Ghost-you can’t contain it.  The power of God will not come unless you’re in an atmosphere of praise and power.   The spirit of God can wipe away every hurt and every wound in his soldiers.  

We need to celebrate the veterans in the kingdom-they have seen a lot, they have experienced a lot.  Those of us who are veterans have seen devils and we’ve seen angels. After all I’ve been through-I’ve still got my joy. I’ve been through a lot of valleys and over a lot of mountains-but I’ve still got my joy.

We are supposed to have a greater praise than we had when we first got into this.  You want to know who’s got a song that no one else does?  We do!  I’ve still got my joy after all the battles.

When you have to get up and praise when you’re bleeding, when you need to encourage someone while you’re broken--God uses the veteran soldiers because He trusts you through the pain to still do His will. One of the most amazing experiences of my life is when I was down more than ever before-when I couldn’t even look up-and He was there.  

When I came into this I had already lived a hard life, and when I came into church I saw people smiling.  Where I came from we didn’t smile.  They would call you family and brother-it was amazing!  I felt like I found heaven.  I was looking through God’s eyes and not looking through carnal eyes. Oh, what kind of church we had if we looked through God’s eyes instead of carnal eyes. What kind of service we could have if we didn’t care about people’s past.  Through the course of time I started to get used to the church and I started to see people.  Where I thought there had been angels-there were claws and fangs.  The enemy showed up-the battle started.  When you find God,  the enemy is going to fight you like he never fought you before.  I felt so shocked-God took me from Psalms to scriptures of war.   The kingdom suffers violence and violent takes it by force.

I started getting the revelation that if you’re really going to have this-you’re going to have to fight for it. I was introduced to the reality that everyday we will fight for our salvation.  Now I’m amazed by veterans.  I’ve been serving the Lord for 30 years, and I still teach bible studies, through good days, bad days and struggles.  After all that we have been through-we still have our joy.

It was by faith that Jacob, when he was old and dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons and bowed in worship as he leaned on his staff.                                   

Hebrews 11:21 NLT                      

Why did God put this verse in the hallmark of faith?  Why in the world was he called Jacob instead of Israel in this verse?  Why did God want us to know his old name? God was reminding us that through all of the issues Jacob went through-he still was a praiser, even at the very end of his life, with his last breath.

He was apart of a dysfunctional family, inner turmoil, insurrections, his mother pitting a brother against brother. Did anyone ever ask Jacob if he ever want to go through this?   He had to leave his homeland, his marriage was a mess- it went from bad to worse.  He tried to go back home and his brother wanted to kill him, he had nowhere else to turn.  He had to get on his knees and wrestle and angel and then he was handicapped. Now he was living broken physically and spiritually.  His brother finally forgives him and then his family begins to implode. They began to attack one another, his prized boy was killed, or so his sons deceived him into believe, he was so bitter.  A drought happened-they had to got the enemy’s camp to beg.  He went to the enemy’s camp and they took his other son.  Jacob never asked for any of it-it was just apart of life.

He looked at his two half-Egyptian grandchildren and looked up to heaven on the last days of his life and said-I’m still blessed. He praised the Lord when the strength was leaving his body.

You need to get your joy back.

The longer you live for God, the more battles you will fight. Somehow God allows it to not embarrass or destroy you-he allows it to build character. So if it won’t break you--he’ll allow it to build you.  

Be careful not to sit around and talk about all the bad stuff that’s going on in your life-that’s bitterness. Don’t live in the “I don’t understand”.   It doesn’t really matter if you get a hold of God like he wants you to.  Ultimately,  it will work out for your good. The worse it gets the better the blessing he will bestow upon you.

Bitterness cannot coexist within your joy, bitterness is a substitute for joy. If you keep bitterness you will become hardened.   You need to replace the bitterness with joy, you need to forgive; accept what has happened. What the enemy meant to do bad will end up doing good.  It will destroy every yoke.  Everything that happens to us, if we do not get bitter, will make us better.   You have too much anointing to be stopped but you have to lay it down.  If God let it happen it must have needed it for anointing.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord.   When I am tried I want to come forth as pure gold.  

During the course of your life-we cannot stop from being human. But I can prepare you for issues. There will be times where you will be at a crossroads. You can blame whomever but it's not the answer.  Throw yourself at the feet of the Master and ask him to replace all that pain with joy.  

Jacob, not Israel, his name deceiver, a surrplanter, a heel grabber.  He sat up and knew he was going to die.   

He thought, “I bless them and bring them into the family of God. “  At that moment he had a choice to get bitter.  He looked round and said, “I’m still in the Kingdom,  God’s never dropped me, he’s never forsaken me.”  Even though he had to lean on his staff. He out worshiped all of us.  It was not what was coming out, leaning on his staff, it was coming out.  There was no bitterness.

Joy can be partial, joy can be manipulated. Many have never been back to the joy they had when they first got saved.  You have to decide whether you are going down, it's not fatigue, it's a spiritual attack. We can move past the pain, ignore the devil and praise the Lord. God has everything under control, joy through Him can renew us every morning.

Art Wilson