Isaiah 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.”
This morning is March 1st, and my mother always said if March comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion, but if it comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb. Now, I don’t put a lot of stock in what people say, but I do put my trust in the Lord and what He has said. My mother was only repeating what tradition had said for years and years and even though she has been residing in heaven for almost 8 years now I still remember the sayings that I so often heard from her. How much more should we remember what God has said and apply those sayings to our lives? According to Mom, March here is coming in like a lion with cold and snow flurries that have left a skiff of snow on our deck and around the edges of trees. That to the traditions of men would assure us of a quiet, warm entrance of Spring towards the end of the month. But God has said something much more important to me! He has said that Jesus came to set us free from the bonds of sin and every evil thing that would cause us harm and depression! He brought to mankind the “good news” of the gospel, that He came to save man from sin, sickness and disease and poverty and lack! Praise His glorious name!
This morning I’ve had a song running through my mind as I’ve reflected on winter and how badly I long to see it turn into Spring. Winter is not my favorite season of the year and often the damp, cold, dreary days will try to place a damper on my spirits. That, coupled with the cares of life, often opens the door to a spirit of heaviness that tries to overcome the happy heart of even believers in Christ Jesus. But Isaiah said that the antidote for the spirit of heaviness is the garment of praise! Praise is like a garment that we put on that covers that heaviness with thanksgiving, praise, adoration, and strength.
Jesus made this statement in Matthew 21:16: “Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise?”
He was referring to Psalm 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
Jesus referred to the word in Psalm 8:2 for strength as praise. Praise strengthens us so that the voice of the enemy that is trying to bring oppression and depression on us has to be silenced. Praise silences that voice that tries to discourage us and cause us to feel down and depressed. But we are the ones who must do the praising in order for the voice to be silenced. Praise must arise from within our hearts and come out our mouths. Nothing changes unless we praise His name. So this morning a song keeps running through my mind that I want to share with you.
May you praise your way to victory!
Father, I thank You for the power that praising Your name has in our lives. Thank You for equipping us for victory when the voice of the enemy comes to bring doubt, discouragement, fear and depression. I praise Your name today, for You are worthy to receive all glory, honor and praise! Lord Jesus, I praise You for the work that You did on my behalf on the cross of Calvary. I thank You that it is by Your stripes that we are healed from sin, sickness and poverty. Thank You for taking my sin upon Your back and nailing it to the cross! I welcome You, Holy Spirit, to come and help me to praise the Lord even when I am down and depressed. It is You who are my Helper! Thank You for strengthening me for my journey today! And thank You for the ability to open my mouth and praise my cares and hurts away! Amen!