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Monday, June 11, 2018

In Spite Of What You Face As A Struggle, It’s Important That You Learn How To Put Your Praise In Place So Your Problem Doesn’t Knock You Out Of Position. No Matter How Low Life May Take You, Never Allow It To Lower Your Praise!

Daniel 2:19, “…and then Daniel praised the God of heaven…” (TLB)

Now, if you were to ask my husband or children they would be the first to say I am a big kid! And truth be told, I unapologetically admit, they’re absolutely right! And one of the things that bring out the kid in me most is riding those glass elevators that are found in some hotels. For some reason, when it’s a glass elevator, I don’t feel quite so restricted or confined because I can see beyond where I am currently. You know how it goes, you get in on the main floor and then you ascend to the top floor, all the time you're watching the big things in the lobby become the small things in the lobby. And the limited view you had down there, suddenly turns into a panoramic view up here. I mean we're talking about going from the lobby to the observation deck in a matter of seconds; rising scores of floors in less time than it takes to place some phone calls! For instance at 9:32, you're down in the lobby or even the basement, but by 9:33, you're looking out over the entire city – and all because of an elevator! 

You see, elevators have a funny way of changing your perspective (which is the particular way you view something, the height, width, depth, length and distance of it), your prospective (which is what is expected or likely to happen or be in the future) and even your posture (which is the particular way a body is positioned, the way in which a person holds their body, to look down, to look up and most importantly to look out, over and beyond)!

And not that we don’t know it, but the word “elevator” is defined as “a platform or compartment housed in a shaft for raising and lowering people or things.” And in Daniel’s case, his praise elevator raised him up!

But before we get to Daniel, let's face it, we all have some days when we feel like we're stuck in the basement, right? The view isn't very inspiring and neither is the situation we're in. It's dark, it's lonely, it's gloomy, it's hard, it's depressing. We’re low in funds, low in joy, low in peace, low in confidence, low in health, low in marriage, low in singlehood, low in dealing with the battles of raising children, low in dealing with coworkers and even low while sitting in the pew next to our brothers and sisters in Christ, Sunday after Sunday! There are simply some moments in life when we’re held in bondage in the basement, instead of breaking through the ceiling!

Well, the good news is that there is no basement so deep or so gloomy that you have to stay there, because there’s an elevator just waiting to take you up and out!

In essence, it's the spiritual elevator many of God's leaders in the Bible knew about - like Daniel, for example. He's a top advisor to the most powerful man in the world, King Nebuchadnezzar. All of the king's pagan advisors have been unable to meet his demand, and they tell him they don't know what his disturbing dream meant. Of course, he'd also asked them to tell him what the dream was. But nobody could do that either. So he sentences them to death - a sentence that applies even to Daniel, even though he wasn't there! So Daniel is literally staring at being executed for no reason at all! Talk about a dark basement!

However, he doesn’t become weary, he doesn’t panic, he doesn’t freak-out, he doesn’t start crying. So what does he do? Well, as any wise man (or woman) would, he recruits his spiritual brothers! 

Daniel 2:16-17, “So Daniel went in to see the king. “Give me a little time,” he said, “and I will tell you the dream and what it means.” Then he went home and told Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions” (TLB).
First things first, he lets the king know, oh it won’t end like this, at least not for me! And sometimes you need to speak to the very person, place or thing that is attempting to snuff out your life, that it won’t go down like that, not today, and not for me! I know what I’m facing is tough, but I refuse to just lay down and die! Just give me a little time, I’m about to put a strategy in place that can’t fail! This is designed to take me down, but I’m coming up and out! 

Listen: Don’t you dare just accept situations or attacks for their face value. Hit it head on! Don’t cower, don’t run, don’t give up, don’t get depressed…Strategize! That’s what Daniel did! It was time for a step of faith, not a stumble in fear! 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]." (AMP). I reiterate, this is a time to take a step of faith, not a stumble in fear!

'Just give me a little time…' And what does Daniel do in that little time? He gets Reinforcements! However, it’s important to note, that he only called three of them. Sounds a lot like Jesus with His inner circle of Peter, James and John. Which means we really need to be careful when going into spiritual battle (even battles we face in the natural) in making sure that we call for the right troops. We need to make sure that when we call in reinforcements, we call the right people! Proverbs 11:14, "Where there is no [wise, intelligent] guidance, the people fall [and go off course like a ship without a helm], But in the abundance of [wise and godly] counselors there is victory." (AMP). Know that everybody who says they’re praying for you, are not! Not everyone asking about your situation cares that you get out of it, some just want to make sure you’re still in it! That’s why discernment and wisdom are necessities, not options when you're gathering troops to go into battle! 

Listen: You only need to take those IN, who can help bring you OUT! But how do you know you’ve selected the right people? Let’s continue reading: “They asked the God of heaven to show them His mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not die with the others. And that night in a vision God told Daniel what the king had dreamed.” (vss. 18-19)

Daniel didn’t just call any group of men, he called the ones he knew would immediately intercede! “They asked the God of heaven…” Are those the first people you call? If it’s not, you need to change your strategy if you plan to win! Notice, they don’t hold a long conversation with Daniel, they don’t offer him options or their opinions. They don’t find some other brothers to talk about the mess involving Daniel and the king. No, they go straight into intercession, talking to no one but God! They don’t ask Daniel how he feels about it, they don’t question him at all. He called for them, they came to him, then they went to God! If you don’t have reinforcements like this, find them, today!

Something else to note, the 3 men asked God to show “THEM” His mercy by telling “THEM” the secret. But the answer to what they asked goes like this: “…And that night in a vision GOD TOLD DANIEL what the king had dreamed…” They asked for God to show “THEM” but God told “DANIEL”. Note: You need intercessors that can intercede without jealousy or competition! They could have responded, “God WE came to you in intercession so you would reveal it to US”…but they were just fine with Daniel receiving the answer…ALONE. Some people pose as your teammates, when they're really your opponents! Choose these people wisely!

People of God, surround yourself with people who will not be so busy competing with you that they can’t help you win. It didn’t matter if it was revealed to Daniel alone, as long as the revelation came the inner circle was fine! And when it did, listen to Daniel’s response: “…Then Daniel praised the God of heaven…” 

Before Daniel even goes to the king, remember, his life as well as the lives of others were already at stake, so if you think anything like me, you may respond with, “Daniel, now may not be the most opportune time to go into a praise break…maybe you should talk to the king first” But, in Daniel’s case, that’s exactly what he did first, he talked to the KING! 

See, the problem with us is that we let fear supersede our faith! But even in the midst of having his life at risk, Daniel stops to praise God first! He has a problem, God provides the solution, but before Daniel applies the solution, he praises God first! If that’s not how you’ve handled it in the past, handle it like that in the present and in the future!

Truth is, we have to reach a place of trust, reliance, dependence, and faith in God where our circumstances don’t alter our praise! We need to allow our praise to be the evidence that we trust God’s outcome, before we even come out! We need our situations, trials and struggles to see that we walk by faith, even when that walk takes us through the valley’s of the shadows of death! And so Daniel is our example of celebrating God for Victory before the Battle is even over! ‘Don’t Wait Till the Battle is Over, Shout Now!’

Listen to the rest of the text: “…saying, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for He alone has all wisdom and all power. World events are under His control. He removes kings and sets others on their thrones. He gives wise men their wisdom and scholars their intelligence. He reveals profound mysteries beyond man’s understanding. He knows all hidden things, for He is light, and darkness is no obstacle to Him. I thank and praise You, O God of my fathers, for You have given me wisdom and glowing health, and now even this vision of the king’s dream and the understanding of what it means.” (TLB)

Daniel steps into the spiritual elevator that takes him from the basement of his circumstances to the penthouse of his awesome God! That elevator is called "Praise!" Now, you would think that finally receiving a solution to his problem would make him run to the king, but he had to praise his King first! And people of God, so do you! 

In Daniel 2, beginning with verse 19, the Bible declares, "Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes the times and seasons and sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise...He reveals deep and hidden things...and light dwells with Him..." 

See, Daniel rises from the basement of a dangerous and impossible situation to the penthouse view from the Throne Room of the Most High God! And everything looks different from there! Please know that as you rise higher on an elevator, what seemed so close and so big and so overwhelming (when you were on the same level as it), starts to shrink in size the higher you go up! The higher you go up, the smaller it gets, the higher you go up the further away from you it gets! Which is why it’s so vital that you learn how to rise from low places! Yes, it hurts, yes it’s confusing, yes it’s aggravating and frustrating, yes it’s caused you some night’s sleep, yes you’ve even worried, fretted and had panic attacks because of it, but that’s only because you stayed on the same level as it for far too long! When life’s attacks come at you and attempt to snuff out your life, start elevating! You don’t stay on the same level as your issues. 

Leave them right where they are and you shift your perspective, prospective and posture! Walk by faith and not by sight; began singing, dancing, clapping, praising and worshiping God! Sink into the depths of His Word where you will be reminded of His power, providence, sovereignty, provision, promises and protection! Began to speak His Words of Life, no matter the danger of death that is near! Walk like you know He is still the lifter up of your head and that He’s placed your feet like hinds’ feet on high places! Straighten your back and square off your shoulders. Put on the whole armor of God and get ready to do battle and win! Even when your situation and circumstances don’t change, you have to! You never stay on levels beneath the privilege of a Child of God!

Now, one of the secrets of peace in the midst of great stress, of poise when everything is up for grabs, of perspective when you could be flippin' out - the secret is to start celebrating the kind of God you have! Remember, you enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise, not just with prayer requests. The great prayers of the Bible are like two-thirds about the greatness of God and maybe one-third about the need. When you start telling God the things about Him that you love, the things He's done that you're grateful for, that anxiety in your heart starts to ebb and the peace in your heart starts to grow. You realize that the size of the situation and the size of the need don't change the size of your God at all! The size of your situation will never change the dimensions of your God! What may be too big for you, will never be too big for Him! With Him all things are possible, and they are likewise possible for you too because He’s already told you that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! So stop listening to the words of your adversary, and start listening to the words of your Advocate! He’s fighting with you and for you, you will not lose! He ALWAYS Causes Us to Triumph!

In the midst of danger, Daniel still paused to take a praise and thank break! And so should you! Daniel could have complained, started to stress out, flip out and worry. Or do like many of us do, and try to design back-up plans just in case God doesn’t show up on our timetable! But no! His very life is in danger, and yet he doesn’t panic, he simply presses pause so he can give God praise!

And how does such a response end for Daniel? Listen to what happens after Daniel praises God, then shares the dream and revelation with the king:
Daniel 2:46-49, “When Daniel finished, King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face in awe before Daniel. He ordered the offering of sacrifices and burning of incense in Daniel’s honor. He said to Daniel, “Your God is beyond question the God of all gods, the Master of all kings. And he solves all mysteries, I know, because you’ve solved this mystery.” Then the king promoted Daniel to a high position in the kingdom, lavished him with gifts, and made him governor over the entire province of Babylon and the chief in charge of all the Babylonian wise men. At Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to administrative posts throughout Babylon, while Daniel governed from the royal headquarters.” (MSG)

How’s that for taking a praise elevator from the basement to the penthouse?! Everyone in your situation, everything in your situation looks different from God's penthouse perspective. You'll see the people differently. You'll see possibilities you haven't seen before. You'll have ideas you haven't had before. You'll have the peace that you couldn't have otherwise.

That is the power of praise - the elevator that takes you from the "basement" of earth-stuff to the "penthouse" of your awesome God! Daniel and his reinforcements, go from having their lives in danger to governing and administrating in the royal headquarters!

In spite of what you face as a struggle, it’s important that you learn how to put your praise in place so your problem doesn’t knock you out of position, but promotes you in it! 

J.P. Olson

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