Victories Through Praise by Cesar Limon
Greetings of love to the Portland International Christian Church and our friends and family! Each soul added to God’s Kingdom is a victory and when seeing victories, it is crucial that we don’t forget that they only come from praising God! The definition of praise is, “the expression of approval or admiration for someone or something”. The evidence that praise is very connected to having faith in God is that most can express approval or admiration to God when things in their life are going seemingly awesome. What happens when things don’t go your way and you don’t see the results you would like in your life, spouse, ministry, or your kids? If you praise God right now in your current situation, then you will live a victorious faithful life.
Before we speak of receiving the victories we know God wants to give us through praising Him, we must check our hearts to ask ourselves if we even want the victories? I found three reasons why a man or woman would not want the victories the Lord has in store for them. The first one is that they have settled and become complacent spiritually in their personal life and therefore have turned to the praises of men. Too many people are simply going to church and living the “religious” life versus the victorious life God calls us to live in the Kingdom of God! The second reason we might not want the victories is that we have begun to doubt God can even give us the victories or that he will protect us through them and thirdly maybe there is an ignorance of the victories God wants to do through us. This often comes because of the seeming defeats that are before us and so we forget that “…in all these things we are triumphantly victorious due to the one who loved us.” (Romans 8:37). This “triumphantly victorious” life will include some “seeming” defeats but those are essential in finding a true praise in God so that we put our hope in the ultimate victory, which is making it to heaven and helping as many as possible into God’s wonderful light! I remember in High School I played on the football team yet didn’t get much playing time due to my lack of abilities. There was one game where we had completely defeated the opposing team and still had over quarter to play so the coach makes the move to not only put me in as the fullback but to give me the ball for one of the plays! As soon as I received the ball for a straight run down the middle I noticed the lineman made a clear hole for me to run through and so I took it to the forty, thirty, twenty, ten, and I was stopped at the 3-yard line! It was a very disappointing time because it was my shining opportunity to score a touchdown but despite my defeat as a team we had the ultimate victory of the win! We cannot forget as disciples of Jesus we already have the ultimate victory in Jesus and the rest are simple “seeming defeats”. I call them “seeming defeats” because if you are praising God then those defeats will show themselves to be victories!
“Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
A good friend always told me, “You will get really good at whatever you practice.” Have you gotten good at losing heart or taking heart? Do you realize that even though you think your trials are eternal and heavy they are “light and momentary” and that they are achieving for you a victory in the end! Have you fixed your eyes on what you see? If you are fixed on where you are or what you see, then you cannot be at the same time fixed on God because He is the one who changes who we are and where we are at! If there is no fruit in your ministries don’t focus on what you can do to see the fruit come but praise God and fix your eyes on what you do not see! Too many times we want to feel like we are doing great yet when we look in the scriptures we don’t see “strong” disciples that grew their ministries but weak, unschooled, ordinary disciples seeking to praise God! What will happen if we don’t praise God?
“Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.” Acts 12:23-24
The King here refused to praise God and he died. If we do not learn how to praise God we will simply die spiritually. What is stopping you from simply expressing admiration for where God has you? Is it that you are too busy seeking the praise of men? Is it the praise of yourself? Let us not imitate King Herod or those that have given up the torch of building up God’s Kingdom for the sake of building their Kingdom here on earth during the few days we have, as we are reminded by the prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Let us use every day to wake up and praise God because after all we have a church in Portland because someone decided to continue to praise God! We have a movement because Kip McKean decided he wants to continue to praise God! You were invited to church and were studied with because someone decided to praise God! Let us praise God for all the amazing victories he has allowed us to see as we have seen our church grow from 76 just 6 months ago, to now 95 disciples, but even better let us praise Him for the “seeming defeats” that are achieving for us the ultimate victory! To God be All the Glory!