The final thing you must do to obtain victory in troubled times is you must enter a life of praise and thanksgiving.  Hebrews 13:15 gives us some insight to the praise life.  It says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.”  In our day and time many people limit praising God to what they do at church before the preacher starts preaching the word.  However, praise is a lifestyle that must be engaged by the believer everyday.  Certainly it can be done while music is being played, but it is not limited to that.  In fact, most of the praising you do in life will probably be done when there is no music being played.  This verse reveals to us that we are praising God when we are giving thanks to God with the words of our mouth.  Praise happens when you open your mouth and give thanks to God.  That is as much praise as a full worship band playing music and signing your favorite praise song.

Thanksgiving on our lips begins with us thanking God for all the victories that have already shown up in our lives.  God has been so good to us, and it is always appropriate to continually give Him thanks for all the good things that He has done in our lives.  However, thanksgiving has not reached its highest place if you stop on that level.  Thanksgiving reaches another height when you begin to thank God, by faith, for victories that have not manifested yet.  It is the act of faith to say thank you before you see anything and praise God before you feel anything.  In Joshua 6, God’s people praised God before the walls of Jericho came down.  They were thanking God, by faith, for a victory that had not yet manifested.  When you are in a dark place, you do not wait for your deliverance to show up before you thank God.  Right there in the troubled time you should give God thanks for the victory that has not shown up yet.  That is faith on the highest level.  In fact, thanksgiving is the language of faith.  Colossians 2:7 says,“Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”  That verse reveals to us that when we are really established in faith, we are abounding with thanksgiving.  In other words, faith people are thankful people.  They are people who are praising God and have thanksgiving on their lips continually.  Why is that so?  As faith people we are taught to pray the prayer of faith.  The prayer of faith is the prayer that believes it receives its answer when it prays (Mark 11:24).  Therefore, the prayer of faith is not made over and over again about the same situation.  It is made once.  For example, if a person of faith was in need of $15,000 to pay off their debts, their prayer would sound something like this.  “Father, in Jesus’ Name, I come to the throne of grace and according to Your Word I believe that I receive $15,000 to pay off the debt that I have.  I take it now.  I receive it now in Jesus’ Name.”  Once you have prayed that prayer and you believe you have your victory, there’s no need to pray about it anymore.  After all, if you believe you have your victory, there is no need to receive it again.  What are we to do then?  Philippians 4:6-8 tells us. It says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”  According to that verse, you don’t let your request be made known to God by praying the same prayer over and over again.  You let your requests continually be made known to God with thanksgiving.  It would sound like this: “Father, I thank you for that $15,000.  You are so good.  I worship you and thank you for providing that money for me.”  That is why when a person is living by faith they are also abounding in thanksgiving.  You will praise (give thanks) a lot between the end of your prayer of faith and the manifestation of your victory.  It is imperative that we engage this principle when we are facing trying circumstances.  When you engage faith and thanksgiving in this way the peace of God will engage you.  If you do verse six you will walk in verse seven.  It says, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  When you engage the act of praise, you activate the peace of God. When you get thanksgiving on your lips, the peace of God will start working in your heart and mind.  If there is anything you need when you are in the pit, in the dark place, and facing trying circumstances, it is the peace of God.  You can access that peace through praise and thanksgiving in your mouth.

Praise has many effects in the life of a believer.  Psalm 8:2 says, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength (praise) because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still (stop) the enemy and the avenger.”  The way some people talk you would think God ordained praise for the sole purpose of having His ego stroked.  God is not insecure and does not need us to tell Him how good He is.  He knows He is good.  God ordained praise to stop Satan’s attack in our life.   How can praise stop Satan’s attack in our life?  It is really very simple.  Praise is a tool that captures your mind and your mouth.  When thanksgiving is on your lips, your mind is on God.  When you are in praise, you are not talking doubt and unbelief.  You are not worrying about the problem.  Your mouth and your mind have been captured by the tool of praise.  When Satan has no place in your mouth or in your mind, he has no access into your life.  Satan cannot do anything in the life of a believer who refuses to give their thoughts or their words to anything he is saying.  I want to put two verses together here to give you a revelation of what Satan sees when you are engaged in praise with your mind and mouth fixed on God. Let’s look at Isaiah 26:3 and Proverbs 30:5.  They say, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee. He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.”  When your mind is fixed on God, God will keep you in perfect peace and be your shield.  Keeping your mind on God stops Satan in his tracks and leaves him on the outside looking in.  The avenger has been stilled!  Praise is a powerful tool that captures the mind and mouth of the believer and stops the enemy’s attempt against their life.  In times of pressure, the enemy is constantly after our minds.  He will tell us that it’s not going to work this time and we will never be delivered from this situation.  When you are in a dark place, be sure to engage the powerful tool of praise.  Allow praise to capture your mind and mouth and thwart the enemy’s attack on your life.

Let’s look at Psalm 8:2 again.  It says, “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength (praise) because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still (stop) the enemy and the avenger.”  Many translations of the Bible translate the word strength to the wordpraise.  Praise and strength go hand in hand.  Romans 4:20 said Abraham was, “strong in faith giving glory to God.”  It is no coincidence that strength and praise are attached to the same man.  Praise is an act of faith that provokes joy.  You cannot praise God and stay depressed. When you start praising God by faith, joy begins to get stirred up in your heart.  Nehemiah 8:10says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  The level of your joy is attached to the level of your strength.  If your joy level is low, then your strength level is low.  You need strength to resist the devil and see him flee.  Proverbs 24:10 says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”  According to this verse, people are defeated in trying times because their strength is small.  When your strength is small you cannot resist the enemy, and if you cannot resist the enemy then you cannot win.  When you are in the pit, you cannot afford to be weak. When you are facing trying circumstances, you cannot allow yourself to get feeble.  People who are spiritually weak and feeble do not overcome in the day of adversity; they do not obtain deliverance and walk in victory.

Now, watch what praise will do.  In the middle of your trying times, when you begin to praise God by faith it will provoke your joy.  Joy will then become the strength you need to resist the devil and win.  You might not feel like praising God in the pit, but that’s why Hebrews 13:15called it a sacrifice of praise.  It is a sacrifice to praise God when you don’t feel like praising God.  Nobody feels like praising God when they are in a dark place, in a deep pit, and facing trying circumstances.  However, there are some people who decide to praise God in spite of how they feel, and those are the ones who walk in victory.  The people who will ignore their feelings and praise God by faith will provoke their joy, obtain strength, resist the devil, and win!  Many people are weak because they won’t praise God.  They are feeble because they won’t give thanks.  If they would just stand up and enter into praise and thanksgiving, the strength of God would fill their spirits and enable them to resist the devil and overcome.  Weak people don’t win.  If you want to be strong and win, praise is a vital tool.

Psalm 22:3 says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”  If there is anything you need in trying times it is the presence of God.  As believers, when we begin to praise God with thanksgiving on our lips God inhabits our praises.  That simply means where praise is, God’s presence is.  If you will begin to praise God in the pit, God will come in and get you out of the pit.  David experienced this in Psalm 23.  In a hard time he began to activate praise on his lips (in verses one through three) and God inhabited his praise.  In verse 4 he said,“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  David said, “Yeah I’m in a pressured time. Yeah, I’m in the valley, but the presence of God is right here in the valley with me.  I don’t have to fear because my God is bigger than the whole valley!”  When we will praise God like David did, God will inhabit our praises in the same way.  The presence of God can fill the dark place and comfort you, encourage you, and rid you of all fear.  There is nothing like God jumping in the pit with you.

The question is what sound is coming from your pit?  Psalm 118:5 says, “The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles (houses) of the righteous.”  Maybe you are in a dark place, but when we come by your house will we hear rejoicing?  One of the most challenging things that you’ll have to do as a believer is to engage thanksgiving and praise in the dark place.  The people who end up winning are the ones whose praise and thanksgiving is the loudest when their circumstances are the darkest.  What sound is coming from your pit?  What sound is coming from your house?  I laughed when the Lord showed me this.  Philippians 4:18 reveals to us that our sacrifices have a sweet smell to God and that would include our sacrifices of praise.  If praise smells good to God, then doubt, worry, and discouragement must stink to Him. God said to me, “What smell is coming from your pit?”  Is it a sweet smell of praise coming from your pit or does your pit stink?  That’s a funny way of looking at a powerful truth. Nonetheless, we must keep thanksgiving on our lips when we are in the dark place.

It is time to get stirred up today about your victory.  No matter what you may be facing, no matter how dark the situation may be there is victory in Jesus.  God has built His reputation off of turning messes into miracles.  Now is your time!  Engage these five principles and watch the miraculous happen in your life!  I’m declaring in faith today that you are delivered, you are free, and you are victorious!