Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"The Garment of Praise for the Spirit of Heaviness"

In chapter 61 of Isaiah, the prophet was encouraging those who wanted to do right and stand with the L-rd. He had prophesied a time of judgment upon Israel, but didn't stop there. He knew the "rest of the story", and wanted those who would live to see it, to know that the L-rd would give them, "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the L-RD, that he might be glorified." vs. 3.

All too often, we find ourselves battle-weary. Sad to say, it doesn't take much for some to give up the fight, retreat and go hide. Do you find yourself growing heavy with discouragement, despair? Do you seem to go from one crisis to another? Do you carry around "the spirit of heaviness"?

I don't think any of us enjoy being in a battle. We enjoy defeat even less.
How can we throw off "the spirit of heaviness" that tries to keep us down and defeated?

Be Thankful----

Phil. 4:6---"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto G-d.

Col. 1:12, 13---"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His Dear Son:"

The enemy wants us to focus on our problems. If all we see are the difficulties we are faced with, then we set ourselves up for defeat from the get-go! Maintaining a thankful heart is KEY to keeping a right perspective. When discouragement comes upon us, we should stop right then, and say a prayer of thankfulness to the L-rd----be specific in what we thank Him for!


I Chron. 23:30---the Levites were, "... to stand every morning to thank and praise the L-RD, and likewise at even;"

II Chron. 20:21, 22---"...he appointed singers unto the L-RD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the L-RD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the L-RD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten."

Did you notice that? When they began to sing and praise---then the L-rd defeated their enemies! I'm sure there was a lot of fear and discouragement among G-d's people as they faced their enemies. They had to change their outlook and their behaviour from one of fear, discouragement and despair to one of confidence in the L-rd, praising and singing unto Him for His greatness and ability to give them victory!! The L-rd honored that!

Throughout G-d's Word, we are commanded to praise the L-rd. The Psalmist said that "his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps. 34:1). Hebrews 13:15 instructs us to "...offer the sacrifice of praise to G-d continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."


Sometimes we don't think that we have the strength to go forward---but we are not to retreat!!! We are to stand, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:13). This means that we are to do all we can to stand firm while the battle rages.

Listen, this is so important. If Christians would just get a hold of this, it would make such a difference:

Retreating does not make the enemy go away!

If you find that instead of going "from strength to strength" (Ps. 84:7), with each victory a stepping stone to the next, perhaps it is because you have allowed your fears and discouragements to get the best of you.

See, the enemy knows he can get some of us to quit if he throws his darts at us. Since it works, why change tactics? He is emboldened to keep up the attacks to keep us down! The enemy will not stop his attempts to keep us discouraged and in constant defeat. If he is successful, he will continue to try to keep us down. It becomes a vicious cycle.

The way to change this scenario is to not stop making the effort to be faithful in doing right----take your stand, and do all to stand. Meanwhile, keep thanking and praising the L-rd in the midst of your circumstances.

So, that means, no matter how we feel, we must determine in our hearts that we will continue to be faithful in doing what we know is right. This is the first step to "withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." (Eph. 6:13)

Practically speaking, this is just good ol' faithfulness. Faithfulness in prayer. Faithfulness in keeping a thankful heart. Faithfulness in reading the Word of G-d. Faithfulness in worship. Faithfulness in praise to the L-rd. Faithfulness in attending church to hear the Word and be an encouragement to the other believers.

If we purpose in our hearts to be more thankful, to praise our L-rd more, to stand, and having done all, to stand....the L-rd will give us "the garment for praise" in exchange for "the spirit of heaviness".

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