Job 1:20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
Whatever the enemy has tried to take away from you, God wants to restore it. God wants to make it better than before. That’s the kind of Father He is.
Every day we have choices put before us. We can be tempted to get hurt, wounded, or depressed.
We can complain and remain in the same awful condition. Or we can praise God and be raised.
Complain and remain or praise and be raised.
Listen and I will tell you one of places the enemy will attack. He will try to steal our joy. He wants to get us bogged down with anxiety, fear, frustration, confusion and worry.
But God doesn’t want us to lose that joy!
Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, “The JOY of the Lord is your strength.”
It is important for Christians to have joy in their lives! If you don’t have joy, you don’t have any strength.
Psalm 16:11 says: Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is FULNESS OF JOY; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Job couldn't read Psalm 16:11, but he knew God well enough to know where to find the strength to go on, so he thrust himself into the presence of God.
What I want you to see is that pursuing closeness with God is the sure path to fullness of joy and strength.
Psalms 22:3 says God inhabits the Praise of Israel (his people).
Friend, if you want to tap into joy and strength, then begin to worship God and forget about what other people are saying about you, or what other people think about you.
Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened and every one's bands were loosed.
We have an account here of prayer and praise unto the Lord that caused things to be shaken and doors
to open. In fact, in this case, all doors were opened and everyone's bands were loosed.
Your prayer and praise are powerful spiritual weapons. Sometimes when we come to church it isn't easy to get our praise going. Sometimes, in times of hurt and trial, it is a battle to bring the flesh into subjection, but it is necessary.
These men were offering a sacrifice of praise. I don't think it was easy to get that song started. They had been whipped, stripped, and thrown into prison. For all they knew they had been whipped and the axe could be next.
Satan had tried to put an end to their ministry. He tried to cause them to be weary of their cause and doubtful of their Lord.
He will try the same thing on us. We might not get thrown into prison, but he will use whatever opportunity he can to make you weary and doubtful.
But Paul and Silas knew what to do and they knew Who to look to and God turned it around, and somebody and his family got saved (the jailer).
I preached a message a few years ago called "Don't Hang Up Your Harp" from Psalm 137:1-4
1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?
We have a picture here of some people, that when conditions changed and surroundings changed, when they were overtaken by the enemy, they hanged their harps on the willows.
Notice they never threw them away, they just laid them up.
Some people don't want to throw their Christianity away; they just don't want to carry it around all the time.
I see a very modern picture of a lot of Christians today. When conditions change, they hang up their harp (praise), and the enemy mocks and says; sing that joy song now. Now sing about your God. And we say, "Oh, I just couldn't sing now, but when my deliverance comes, then I'll sing. You bless me Lord, and then
I'll praise you, then I'll get my harp down.
Faith is praising God before the answer comes. Gratitude is praising God after you have the answer.
So when should I praise God? I should praise Him before I get the answer and after I get the answer: At all times.
David said in Psalm 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall CONTINUALLY be in my mouth.
Israel lost the blessing and never entered into Canaan because they had in their mouth complaint continually.
If we are not careful we will fall into the same trap.
Because we are present at church while praise and worship is going on doesn't count if all we do is listen while others praise. If we never took part we can't say we worshipped God tonight. We can only say we watched others worship God.
You can tell people who are close with God. Their lives aren't trouble free, but they have the strength that only being close with God brings.
Let me ask you something today, and don't answer out loud. This is no one's business but yours and God's. If you were to rate your closeness with God would it be:
1. Closer than a year ago,
2. About the same,
3. Not as close,
4. Or Who is God?
There is an old song we used to sing and it says:
Shut in with God in a secret place
There in the Spirit beholding His face
Gaining more power to run in this race
I love to be shut in with God.
Because of the work that Jesus did at Calvary, and He did a work we can't comprehend, He suffered, bled, and died so that we could:
Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16
Whatever you are going through you have an opportunity today to throw yourself into the presence of God, offer up a sacrifice of praise, and find the joy and strength you need.