Summary: Praise is powerful! With our praise, God overcomes our foes.
1. Eddie Rickenbacker
It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket. Many years before, in October 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in New Guinea. But there was an unexpected detour, which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life.
Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean... For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun. They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant sharks rammed their rafts. The largest raft was nine by five. The biggest shark...ten feet long.
But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred. In Captain Eddie's own words, "Cherry," that was the B- 17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, "read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off."
Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking..."Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. I don't know how I knew, I just knew. Everyone else knew too. No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at that gull. The gull meant food...if I could catch it." And the rest, as they say, is history. Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten. Its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice.
We know that Captain Eddie made it. And we also know...that he never forgot. Because every Friday evening, about sunset...on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast...you could see an old man walking...white-haired, bushy-eye browed, slightly bent. His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls...to remember that one that, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle...like manna in the wilderness.
2. We have times of discouragement and oppression
3. Use the "weapon of praise" -- Psalm 18.3
I. We Are in a true Battle -- Ephesians 6.12
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
A. It Takes Many Forms
B. It Involves a Spiritual Realm
II. Victory Comes with Praise -- Judges 1.1-2; (also 20.18)
After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the LORD, "Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?" 2 The LORD said, "Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand."
A. This is more than a positive attitude -- although important
B. It is a reliance on God
1. He is Enthroned in Praise -- Psalm 22.3
Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
2. He is Fighting for us
a. As Israel entering the Land
b. We fight FROM Victory, not merely for it
3. He is our savior -- Habakkuk 3.17-19
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
a. God, my Salvation (Yishi)
b. Yeshua = YHVH Saves
Watch out for the weeds in your life -- the things that come between you and God; between you and serving God.
One Preacher illustrates weeds in this way:
* You don't have to plan for weeds to grow; it just grows.
* The difference between a plant and a weed is this. For a plant, you need to take care - cultivate, fertilize, trim, water -- in order for it to grow and blossom.