A BLAZE OF PRAISE - GLORIA COPELAND

Something peculiar is happening to believers these days. They're beginning to rejoice. If you've been in many meetings where the Holy Spirit has moved, you know what I mean. God is pouring out a spirit of joy so strong it causes people to laugh for hours. Some of them literally end up on the floor doubled over laughing with the joy of the Lord. 

Recently, during the Southwest Believers' Convention, that joy swept through the convention center - affecting literally thousands of people. It so filled Ken that he could hardly minister. The next morning, however, he could not only stand and preach, he felt stronger than he'd felt in ten years. 

That's supernatural...but it's not surprising, because the Bible says, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). I have to tell you, though, when God's people start to praise Him and rejoice with that kind of abandon, it makes some Christians nervous. As a result, many of them are folding their arms, sitting back, saying, "I'm not going to be caught acting like that." As a result, they're missing out on a powerful move of God. 

I don't want you to hold back when the Spirit of God is moving. I want you to be able to step by faith into His flow and receive the rich blessings He's pouring out in these last days. I'm confident that's what you want too. So let me share with you a few things I've learned about rejoicing from the Word of God. 

Tell "Dignity" Goodbye 
Some years ago, when I first began to catch sight of the supernatural power of joy, I did a study on it. During that study, I discovered that one of the biblical words for joy is translated "to shine." Another word means "to leap." Another means "to delight." But in every case, joy is more than an attitude; it is an action. 

As I studied, I also found out that joyful praise gives God pleasure. Psalm 149 says: 
Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints. Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King. Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp. For the Lord takes pleasure in his people (vv. 1-4). 

I know that by natural standards, exuberant praise doesn't look very dignified. But as believers, we need to get past the point where we care about that. We need to focus instead on pleasing God. We should have such a desire to please Him that we don't care how we look to other people. 

Of course, there are always some believers who try to please God and look good at the same time by "praising God quietly in their hearts." Although there's a time for quiet worship, the Bible says joy isn't always quiet. In fact, joy shouts. "But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defends them" (Ps. 5:11). 

You may not know this, but when you get to heaven, it 's not going to be quiet. The throne room of God is a noisy place. Isaiah 6 tells us: 

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims...And one cried unto another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke (vv. 1-4). 

I'm telling you, God is not all laid back as some people think. He is not getting old. He isn't even slowing down. His very presence causes people to get so excited they shout. 

When we become like Jesus and desire God so intensely that we're willing to cast aside our desire to please men and praise Him without reserve, we'll truly see the glory of God. You see, God manifests Himself where He's wanted. He shows up where hearts are hungry. He's not going to reveal Himself to a great degree among people whose hearts are partially turned to Him and partially turned toward something else. 

Now That's Power! 
If you're not sure you have the strength to face the criticism of the religious people, I have good news for you. You can get that strength by rejoicing, because the Bible says, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Neh. 8:10). 

Joy and praise together release strength on the inside of you and power on the outside. Psalm 9:1-3 says it this way: "I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will show forth all thy marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall and perish at thy presence." And when His presence begins to come into our midst, our enemies fall back. They can't stand the presence of God. 

No wonder Satan has tried so hard to get God's people to sit still. No wonder he has bound us up with traditions that taught us to sit back in dignified silence. (The word dignity means "to be self-possessed.") For most of us, our traditions have taught us not to do the very things the Bible says we are to do when we worship and praise. 

Burn, Brother, Burn! 
Tradition's day is over. I'm telling you, when the Spirit begins to move, inhibition has to flee. The Bible says, "And they...shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine" (Zec. 10:7). You know what happens when people drink wine - they lose their inhibitions! That's what happened to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost. They had been hiding out only days before, but when the Holy Ghost came upon them, suddenly they were out on the streets acting so wild everyone thought they'd been drinking. 

Listen, what God considers "dignified" and what you consider dignified are two different things. God wants you free. He doesn't want you bound up with traditions or fear of what other people might think. He wants you free to laugh. He wants you free to leap and praise and sing. He wants you free to rejoice. He wants you so free that other people won't understand it - they'll just want it! 

Never underestimate the drawing power of joy. It's like a blazing fire that captures the attention of people in darkness. In fact, in a dream I had many years ago, God called it "spontaneous combustion." 

I didn't even know what spontaneous combustion meant until the next day. When I looked it up in a dictionary, here's what I found: spontaneous combustion: "the process of catching fire and burning as a result of heat generated by an internal chemical reaction." That's it! Joy - the process of catching fire and burning as a result of heat, which comes from the Holy Ghost. 

It's time to rejoice, to rise up out of our exhaustion, and implement the power of praise. When you do, you'll enter a domain of power, freedom, and the joy of the Lord - a domain that' s alive and shining with the presence of God. So throw off those old inhibitions. Take God at His Word. Leap. Shout. Sing. Let yourself catch fire in the Spirit and never stop burning. 

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Oluwaseun John Oluwawalemi

I'm a believer, what I do best is believing. I'm a vessel of God's Grace to my generation.

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