12 April -Take the shackles off my feet!

Today while on my early morning run I was discussing with the Lord an issue that’s been bothering me. I’ve prayed, given it over to Jesus, taken it back again, prayed and surrendered it to Him again, prayed some more and lost some sleep over it.

I was feeling irritated with myself and a little discouraged when very clearly within my spirit I heard the Lord speak to me. He said, “you are going to have to praise to shift this one”.

Bang something went off inside me. For the past week I’ve had a song I haven’t thought of in years going around in my head, “take the shackles of my feet so I can dance, I’m gonna praise Him, I’m gonna praise Him. God had been speaking the solution to my struggle all along, I’d just been missing it.

So for the rest of my run, and day I changed my focus. Instead of struggling underneath the issue at hand I turned my attention to praise. Through the day I looked for things to give praise about. Of course the Lord was right, and the burden has started to lift off.

The bible says in Isaiah 61:3 to put on “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.”

There is a good reason for that. When we praise it activates some things in and around our lives, both in heaven and on earth.

1. Praise makes the devil flee.  God says He ordained praise; He thought it up to silence our enemies. Evil will not stick around if we’re praising  God, who will fight our battles for us.  In the story of Jehoshaphat, we see God miraculously defeat the enemy, because of the people’s obedience to praise Him.

From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.’ (Psalm 8:2)

“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated”  2 Chron. 20:22

2. Praise makes us more aware of God’s presence. We draw close to Him when we praise. We  enter his gates and courts – “heavenly places” when we praise! If you  want to experience heaven now, discover the power of praise.

“He inhabits the praises of His people.”  Psalm 22:3

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!”  Psalm 100:4

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:” Ephesians. 1:3

3. We are refreshed and renewed in His presence.  We’re strengthened by His peace and refueled by His joy.  Through a heart of praise, we realize that God doesn’t just change our situations and work through our problems, He changes our hearts.

“In His presence, there is fullness of joy.”  Psalm 16:11

“Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.” Psalm 63:3-4

4. Praise shifts our focus off complaining and negativity.  We can tend to complain about our problems.  He cares about all that concerns us.  But through praise, we’re focused on Him, no longer allowing so much attention to be centered on our struggles.  We’re reminded of what He has already done in our lives.  We’re reminded that He knows what concerns us, and is capable of taking care of all that burdens us.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy.” Psalm. 103:2-4

5.  It paves the way for God’s power to be displayed and for miracles to happen.  People’s lives are affected and changed.  God shakes things up through praise.  As Paul and Silas sat in prison, shackled, and chained, they kept right on praising God.  Suddenly an earthquake shook the cells and broke the chains.  The jailer and all his family came to know Jesus that very night.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened.”  Acts 16:25-26

We have a choice every day.  We can keep focused on the things of the world; on the worries, stress, and busyness that can rob us of joy and abundant life, or we can praise!

You don’t have to be able to sing or play an instrument. Praise is an attitude of our hearts and minds; when we turn our whole being towards heaven and choose to be thankful. Then we praise God for who He is and all has done and will do in our lives.

I think the song says it all.

“Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance I just wanna praise you I just wanna praise you You broke the chains now I can lift my hands

And I’m gonna praise you I’m gonna praise you

In the corners of mind I just can’t seem to find a reason to believe That I can break free Cause you see I have been down for so long Feel like the hope is gone But as I lift my hands, I understand That I should praise you through my circumstance

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance I just wanna praise you I just wanna praise you You broke the chains now I can lift my hands And I’m gonna praise you I’m gonna praise you

Everything that could go wrong All went wrong at one time So much pressure fell on me I thought I was gonna lose my mind But I know you wanna see If I will hold on through these trials But I need you to lift this load Cause I can’t take it anymore

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance I just wanna praise you I just wanna praise you You broke the chains now I can lift my hands And I’m gonna praise you I’m gonna praise you

Been through the fire and the rain Bound in every kind of way But God has broken every chain So let me go right now

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance I just wanna praise you I just wanna praise you You broke the chains now I can lift my hands And I’m gonna praise you I’m gonna praise you [repeat x3]

Take them off What’cha gonna do, yeah

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance I just wanna praise you I just wanna praise you You broke the chains now I can lift my hands And I’m gonna praise you I’m gonna praise you”

(Mary Mary – Shackles)

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