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Friday, July 7, 2017

The east and west Paden twin covered bridges, Columbia County, PA 6/18/17
The east and west Paden twin covered bridges, Columbia County, PA
(Click on photo to enlarge)

"It's Amazing What Praising Can Do!"

Message summary: When you are in trouble and face a desperate situation what do you do? Do you worry and fret? When we praise the Lord as an act of faith and obedience, we take our eyes off the situation and direct our attention to God.  We have an oft repeated promise in the Scriptures to claim, "The LORD will be with you." And indeed He will. "It's Amazing What Praising Can Do!"

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"After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: 'Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever'" (2 Chronicles 20:21).

About twenty years ago we served a church in New England and had a Seventieth Anniversary weekend for the church. Ron Piedmont, a former pastor who had served the church some 30 years earlier, had come back to preach. In his sermon he had an interesting approach of weaving a brief chorus, "It's Amazing What Praising Can Do", into his sermon. With his wife at the piano accompanying him, he taught and then led us in this chorus before he preached, following each point, and after his sermon.

Brooksyne recalls the repetition became a wee bit annoying after awhile. But she sensed such an earnestness in the older pastor that she tried to keep the right spirit and sing right along. Several weeks ago Rick, a friend from this particular church, came down from Massachusetts to attend a conference and then stayed overnight with us. Over our dinner, he recalled that particular service and admitted at the time that his spirit was getting a bit irritated as we sang it over and over. But he, just like us, said he never forgot it and even found himself sharing it with some inmates at the prison where he teaches Bible Study every week.

After we had a good chuckle at our remembrance, each of us admitted that the simple little chorus "It's Amazing What Praising Can Do" has come to us over the years and has helped us to praise God, even singing the words of the chorus, and it lifted our spirits as we were going through a difficulty. We did find several versions of this chorus on YouTube (see below).

It's amazing what praising can do
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
It's amazing what praising can do
I don't worry when things go wrong
Jesus fills my heart with a song
It's amazing what praising can do

Today's Scripture portion provides an example of how it is really amazing what praising can do!

When you are in trouble and face a desperate situation what do you do? Do you worry and fret? I sure admit that this is my tendency! The occasion for our daily Scripture verse was a desperate situation faced by the people of God under King Jehoshaphat. They faced a vast army and, militarily, the situation seemed hopeless. Jehoshaphat's response, prayer, and preparation provide a great Biblical lesson for all of us (2 Chronicles 20). 

Perhaps his strangest move militarily was to appoint praise singers to go before the army! To secular war planners this would be considered an insane military move, much like the conquest plans for overtaking the city of Jericho and David's sling that would kill the giant Philistine. Earlier in the account, in a word from the prophet Jahaziel, God had declared, "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you" (20:17).

The singers were to proclaim, "Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever." This strategy worked in a most unexpected way. The very next verse states, "As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes…" (22). God, in a marvelous, unexpected way affected deliverance.

And that's how He works on our behalf as well. When we get our eyes on Jesus our troubles are no longer the focus but His greatness is. David wrote, "O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from all my fears" (Psalm 34:3,4). Is it possible that when we stop our whining and start praising God He ambushes the enemy of our soul. No longer is our soul downcast within but we begin to see things in a different light, our faith increases, our hope is restored, and we are delivered from fear and worry. It really is amazing what praising can do!

Consider the battles you are facing in life. There's a great principle in today's text. When we praise the Lord as an act of faith and obedience, we take our eyes off the situation and direct our attention to God.  We have an oft repeated promise in the Scriptures to claim, "The LORD will be with you." And indeed He will.

A powerful song from the late seventies declares:

Praise the Lord, He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord, for our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord, for the chains that seems to bind you
Serve only to remind you, that they drop powerless behind you
When you praise Him

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we often find ourselves dealing with troublesome situations and would rather not, but we know all things work together for our good and for our growth. We don't want to cling to attitudes which drag us down, but release them to You so that we find freedom from the enemy's shackles that seek to hold us back. When we quit trying to fix the problem on our own and fully surrender it to You, our outlook brightens, our hope increases, and our faith matures. When troubles come our way help us not to be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to You so that Your peace which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. It truly is amazing what praising can do! Alleluia!!

Today we will share our final photos from our trip to
Columbia County, PA.

Inside of the Paden twin covered bridges, Columbia County, PA 6/18/17
The inside of the twin covered bridges feature picnic tables!

Covered bridge and abandoned church, Columbia County, PA 6/18/17 (Click to enlarge)
This abandoned country church is right next to another covered bridge (which was not used for traffic any longer but also had picnic tables inside.)

Purple house, Columbia County, PA 6/18/17 (Click to enlarge)
In the course of moseying about through rural Columbia County we saw this interesting house and initially thought it was an ice cream shoppe! It certainly brings a smile with the combination of colors they chose.

Cabooses on railroad trestle, Columbia County, PA 6/18/17 (Click to enlarge)
These old cabooses are on an old iron trestle near the Susquehanna River. It appears they have been here a long time and can be seen on Google Maps.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"It's Amazing What Praising Can Do"  Video  Herb Capehart

"Praise the Lord"  Video   The Imperials

"Praise You"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir We sang this many times at our church in New England. The inspiring words and melody had a way of bringing us into a precious spirit of praise.

For local readers: This coming Sunday evening (July 9) The Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers will be in Lebanon, PA for the Music in The Park summer concert series. See here for info. This is a free concert! (A free-will offering is received) We plan to go over with our Zimbabwean friends and perhaps we will see some of our other Daily Encouragement friends. Here's a sample of Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers music.  "I Won't Go Back"  Video  (The Singers are the traveling troupe of the more famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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