The Cross and Suffering

“Suffering seems to belong to man’s transcendence: it is one of those points in which man is in a certain sense “destined” to go beyond himself, and he is called to this in a mysterious way…each man, in his suffering, can also become a sharer in the redemptive suffering of Christ”

– John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris, 2, 19

Pope Francis Consecrates the WORLD to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Pope celebrated mass in St Peter’s square this morning in honor of the Marian Day, an event organized as part of the Year of Faith on the anniversary of the final apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima (13th of October 1917). He also consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Please find below the full text of Pope Francis’ homily in English translation.

In the Psalm we said: “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things” (Ps 98:1). Today we consider one of the marvelous things which the Lord has done: Mary! A lowly and weak creature like ourselves, she was chosen to be the Mother of God, the Mother of her Creator.

Considering Mary in the light of the readings we have just heard, I would like to reflect with you on three things: first, God surprises us, second, God asks us to be faithful, and third, God is our strength.

First: God surprises us. The story of Naaman, the commander of the army of the king of Aram, is remarkable. In order to be healed of leprosy, he turns to the prophet of God, Elisha, who does not perform magic or demand anything unusual of him, but asks him simply to trust in God and to wash in the waters of the river. Not, however, in one of the great rivers of Damascus, but in the little stream of the Jordan. Naaman is left surprised, even taken aback. What kind of God is this who asks for something so simple? He wants to turn back, but then he goes ahead, he immerses himself in the Jordan and is immediately healed (cf. 2 Kg 5:1-4). There it is: God surprises us. It is precisely in poverty, in weakness and in humility that he reveals himself and grants us his love, which saves us, heals us and gives us strength. He asks us only to obey his word and to trust in him.

This was the experience of the Virgin Mary. At the message of the angel, she does not hide her surprise. It is the astonishment of realizing that God, to become man, had chosen her, a simple maid of Nazareth. Not someone who lived in a palace amid power and riches, or one who had done extraordinary things, but simply someone who was open to God and put her trust in him, even without understanding everything: “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word” (Lk 1:38). That was her answer. God constantly surprises us, he bursts our categories, he wreaks havoc with our plans. And he tells us: trust me, do not be afraid, let yourself be surprised, leave yourself behind and follow me!

Today let us all ask ourselves whether we are afraid of what God might ask, or of what he does ask. Do I let myself be surprised by God, as Mary was, or do I remain caught up in my own safety zone: in forms of material, intellectual or ideological security, taking refuge in my own projects and plans? Do I truly let God into my life? How do I answer him?

In the passage from Saint Paul which we have heard, the Apostle tells his disciple Timothy: remember Jesus Christ. If we persevere with him, we will also reign with him (cf. 2 Tim 2:8-13). This is the second thing: to remember Christ always – to be mindful of Jesus Christ – and thus to persevere in faith. God surprises us with his love, but he demands that we be faithful in following him. We can be unfaithful, but he cannot: he is “the faithful one” and he demands of us that same fidelity. Think of all the times when we were excited about something or other, some initiative, some task, but afterwards, at the first sign of difficulty, we threw in the towel. Sadly, this also happens in the case of fundamental decisions, such as marriage. It is the difficulty of remaining steadfast, faithful to decisions we have made and to commitments we have made. Often it is easy enough to say “yes”, but then we fail to repeat this “yes” each and every day. We fail to be faithful.

Mary said her “yes” to God: a “yes” which threw her simple life in Nazareth into turmoil, and not only once. Any number of times she had to utter a heartfelt “yes” at moments of joy and sorrow, culminating in the “yes” she spoke at the foot of the Cross. Here today there are many mothers present; think of the full extent of Mary’s faithfulness to God: seeing her only Son hanging on the Cross. The faithful woman, still standing, utterly heartbroken, yet faithful and strong.

And I ask myself: am I a Christian by fits and starts, or am I a Christian full-time? Our culture of the ephemeral, the relative, also takes its toll on the way we live our faith. God asks us to be faithful to him, daily, in our everyday life. He goes on to say that, even if we are sometimes unfaithful to him, he remains faithful. In his mercy, he never tires of stretching out his hand to lift us up, to encourage us to continue our journey, to come back and tell him of our weakness, so that he can grant us his strength. This is the real journey: to walk with the Lord always, even at moments of weakness, even in our sins. Never to prefer a makeshift path of our own. That kills us. Faith is ultimate fidelity, like that of Mary.

The last thing: God is our strength. I think of the ten lepers in the Gospel who were healed by Jesus. They approach him and, keeping their distance, they call out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Lk 17:13). They are sick, they need love and strength, and they are looking for someone to heal them. Jesus responds by freeing them from their disease. Strikingly, however, only one of them comes back, praising God and thanking him in a loud voice. Jesus notes this: ten asked to be healed and only one returned to praise God in a loud voice and to acknowledge that he is our strength. Knowing how to give thanks, to give praise for everything that the Lord has done for us.

Take Mary. After the Annunciation, her first act is one of charity towards her elderly kinswoman Elizabeth. Her first words are: “My soul magnifies the Lord”, in other words, a song of praise and thanksgiving to God not only for what he did for her, but for what he had done throughout the history of salvation. Everything is his gift. If we can realize that everything is God’s gift, how happy will our hearts be! Everything is his gift. He is our strength! Saying “thank you” is such an easy thing, and yet so hard! How often do we say “thank you” to one another in our families? These are essential words for our life in common. “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”. If families can say these three things, they will be fine. “Excuse me”, “sorry”, “thank you”. How often do we say “thank you” in our families? How often do we say “thank you” to those who help us, those close to us, those at our side throughout life? All too often we take everything for granted! This happens with God too. It is easy to approach the Lord to ask for something, but to go and thank him: “Well, I don’t need to”.

As we continue our celebration of the Eucharist, let us invoke Mary’s intercession. May she help us to be open to God’s surprises, to be faithful to him each and every day, and to praise and thank him, for he is our strength. Amen.

My Cross, My Blessing…

You may not think of this right now but it is through the examples of the saints we will understand the gift of the cross, God has given each one of us.  Please never look at your cross as a curse but a blessing, each day if you seek Our Lord in the journey, you will find the blessings your cross has in your life.  God our loving Father has a gentle plan, HE is strengthening us each day in our journey towards  Heaven.


The post below has a link (please click the link  “LECTURE”) that I pray you will take time to listen to.  St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, aka, Edith Stein, has so blessed me to understand the blessings of the cross, she is teaching me and I pray that she teaches you that your cross is truly a blessing.  The ways we accept this blessing is taking our time for prayer and adoration with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and offering all to Jesus.

God bless you,
Therese, ocds

Carmelite Authors 101: Edith Stein/St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross


December 4, 2010

“What did not lie in my plans, lay in God’s plans”

– Edith Stein

URGENT: Friday Fast for Life, Marriage & Religious Liberty July 12, 2013

 July 12, 2013:  Pray & Fast for couples struggling to conceive
Thank you for participating in the Bishops’ Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty! Explore the links on the left side of this newsletter to discover more ways to get involved.  


For married couples whose hearts ache to welcome
a(nother) child into their family: that they may find refuge in Jesus’ Sacred Heart, and that His love would fill their hearts and flow to others through them.



As our lives unfold, we may find that they look quite different than we expected, and it may seem as though God does not hear our heart’s requests. Times like this can be very painful. But let us recognize that in the midst of the heartache and confusion, there is an invitation.


There is an invitation to run into the arms of the Father as His little child and entrust to Him our fears and disappointments, as well as our hopes and desires. There is an invitation to stop, look and listen: to stop for a moment, to look at our desires more deeply, and to listen to what the Lord may be telling us through them. There is an invitation to surrender everything to Him, plunge deeply into His heart, and allow Him into ours.


Let us draw close to the One who loves us so tenderly and ask that our hearts may be open to see His presence in our lives and that we may trust in His loving care for us.

Did you know? 

Read the stories of three married couples who have faced the ache of infertility, and learn more about resources for effective and morally sound ways to treat the causes of infertility in “Hope for Married Couples Who Want to Have a Child.”


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Come Holy Spirit-Holding Cross The Comforter

The Holding Cross & The Comforter.




Dear Little hearts,

Trust, surrender and believe !! Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to us through our Holy Father as we prepare for Pentecost on Sunday. If I do but love I have everything, let us ask God by his grace to expand our hearts to love ever more generously, seeking to serve and be other Christ’s, other Mary’s for this world. The Spirit calls us all to holiness it’s not for a few ‘special souls ‘ or some kind of elect, it’s for each and every one of us no matter where we are in our lives at this point.

Come Holy Spirit.

Hold your Cross to your heart and sing up…… or hold your cross to your heart and let the tears fall, for God understands all.


From Pope Francis

“In these days of waiting for the feast of the Holy Spirit, we ask: Come, Holy Spirit, come and give me this big heart, this heart capable of loving with humility, with meekness, an open heart that is capable of loving. And let’s ask this grace, of the Holy Spirit. And may He free us always from the other path, the path of selfishness, which eventually ends badly. Let us ask for this grace.”

Poor Clare Colettines TMD

The Holding Cross/ The Comforter


Dear Little hearts,

As you hold your Cross, as you are drawn to Calvary by the Spirit, reflect upon the fact that the Holy Trinity could never be divided, and although in his humanity Christ was allowed to experience darkness and abandonment on the Cross in reality the Father held Him in his arms, and behind Jesus were the outstretched arms of the Spirit. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you along a path of praise, surrender in order that the Spirit may pray and praise within you. One of the best ways is simply to pray from the depths of your being a Doxology, of which there are many in the liturgy, hymns, poems… the beautiful Glory be itself…. Prayer and praise are so, so simple…

Pope at Mass: Christian joy far from simple fun

(Vatican Radio) Christian joy is a pilgrim joy that we cannot keep ‘bottled up’ for ourselves, or we risk becoming a ‘melancholy’ and ‘nostalgic’ community. Moreover, Christian joy is far from simple fun. It is something deeper than fleeting happiness, because it is rooted in our certainty that Jesus Christ is with God and with us.

This is the lesson that Pope Francis drew from the Acts of the Apostles at Friday morning Mass as he described the disciples joy in the days between our Lord’s Ascension and Pentecost and what we can learn from them. Mass in the Santa Marta residence chapel was concelebrated by the Archbishop of Mérida, Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo, and the abbot primate of the Benedictine monks Notker Wolf, and was attended by Vatican Radio staff accompanied by the Director General, Father Federico Lombardi. Emer McCarthy reports:

“A Christian is a man and a woman of joy. Jesus teaches us this, the Church teaches us this, in a special way in this [liturgical]time. What is this joy? Is it having fun? No: it is not the same. Fun is good, eh? Having fun is good. But joy is more, it is something else. It is something that does not come from short term economic reasons, from momentary reasons : it is something deeper. It is a gift. Fun, if we want to have fun all the time, in the end becomes shallow, superficial, and also leads us to that state where we lack Christian wisdom, it makes us a little bit stupid, naive, no?, Everything is fun … no. Joy is another thing. Joy is a gift from God. It fills us from within. It is like an anointing of the Spirit. And this joy is the certainty that Jesus is with us and with the Father”.

A man of joy, the Pope continued, is a confident man. Sure that “Jesus is with us, that Jesus is with the Father.” He asked: Can ‘bottle up’ this joy in order to always have it with us?

“No, because if we keep this joy to ourselves it will make us sick in the end, our hearts will grow old and wrinkled and our faces will no longer transmit that great joy only nostalgia, melancholy which is not healthy. Sometimes these melancholy Christians faces have more in common with pickled peppers than the joy of having a beautiful life. Joy cannot be held at heel: it must be let go. Joy is a pilgrim virtue. It is a gift that walks, walks on the path of life, that walks with Jesus: preaching, proclaiming Jesus, proclaiming joy, lengthens and widens that path. It is a virtue of the Great, of those Great ones who rise above the little things in life, above human pettiness, of those who will not allow themselves to be dragged into those little things within the community, within the Church: they always look to the horizon”.

Joy is a “pilgrim,” Pope Francis reiterated. “The Christian sings with joy, and walks, and carries this joy.” It is a virtue of the path, actually more than a virtue it is a gift:

“It is the gift that brings us to the virtue of magnanimity. The Christian is magnanimous, he or she cannot be timorous: the Christian is magnanimous. And magnanimity is the virtue of breath, the virtue of always going forward, but with a spirit full of the Holy Spirit. Joy is a grace that we ask of the Lord. These days in a special way, because the Church is invited, the Church invites us to ask for the joy and also desire: that which propels the Christian’s life forward is desire. The greater your desire, the greater your joy will be. The Christian is a man, is a woman of desire: always desire more on the path of life. We ask the Lord for this grace, this gift of the Spirit: Christian joy. Far from sorrow, far from simple fun … it is something else. It is a grace we must seek”.

Pope Francis concluded that today the presence in Rome of Tawadros II, Patriarch of Alexandria is a very good reason to be joyful: “Because he is a brother who comes to visit the Church of Rome to speak,” and to walk “part of the path together”.


From:  Poor Clare Colettines TMD

Comfort Cross ~ Poor Clare Colettines note to YOU

“The Holding/Comfort Cross”


I will Praise you with life,

I will praise you with my song,

I will praise you  in the silence,

I will praise you with my tongue.

Jesus-you are All.


Dear Little hearts,

Take up your holding cross, hold it to your heart and say,

“Lord, let the power of this Cross be with me today”.

I have included in today’s mailing this excellent sermon of Watchman Nee’s on Praise, it is a very informative and helpful sermon, somewhat long but well worth reading. Watchman Nee spent the last 20 years of his life imprisoned in China for his faith, it makes his message so authentic as he lived what he preached, hope it will say something to you too.



by Watchman Nee


Praise is the highest work carried out by God’s children. We can say that the highest expression of a saint’s spiritual life is his praise to God. God’s throne is the highest point in the universe, yet He sits “enthroned upon the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3). God’s name and even God Himself are exalted through praise.

David said in a psalm that he prayed to God three times a day (Psalm 55:17). Yet in another psalm, he said that he praised God seven times a day (119:164). David was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he acknowledged the importance of praising. He prayed only three times a day, but he praised seven times a day. Furthermore, he appointed Levites to play psalteries and harps to exalt, thank, and praise God before the ark of His covenant (1 Chronicles 16:4-6). When Solomon completed the building of Jehovah’s temple, the priests carried the ark of the covenant into the Holy of Holies. When the priests came out of the Holy Place, the Levites stood beside the altar, sounded the trumpets, and sang with cymbals, psalteries, and harps. Together they sounded praises to God. At that moment, the glory of Jehovah filled His house (2 Chronicles. 5:12-14). Both David and Solomon touched God’s heart and offered up sacrifices of praise that were pleasing to God. Jehovah is enthroned upon the praises of Israel. We should praise the Lord all our life. We should sing praises to our God.


The Bible pays much attention to praise. It is spoken of frequently in the Scriptures. The book of Psalms is full of praises. The book of Psalms is in fact a book of praise in the Old Testament. Many praises are quoted from Psalms.

However, the Psalms contain chapters not only of praises but also of suffering. God wants His people to know that the praising ones are the very ones who have been led through trying situations and whose feelings have been wounded. These psalms show us men led by God through shadows of darkness. They were rejected, slandered, and persecuted. “All Your waves and Your billows / Pass over me” (42:7). Yet God perfected praises out of these ones. Words of praise do not always come from the mouths of the smooth-sailing ones. They come much more from those who are under discipline and trial. In the Psalms we can touch the most wounded feelings, and in the Psalms we also can find the greatest and highest praises. God uses many hardships, difficulties, and slanders to create praises in His people. He causes them to learn through difficult circumstances to become praising persons before the Lord.

The happiest persons are not always the ones who have the loudest praise. The loudest praise comes very often from the ones who are passing through hardships. This kind of praise is most pleasing to God and is blessed by Him. God does not want men to praise Him only when they are on the mountaintop surveying Canaan, the promised land. God desires much more to see His people writing psalms and praising Him when they “walk through the valley of the shadow of death” (23:4). This is genuine praise.

This shows us the nature of praise in the eyes of God. The nature of praise is an offering, a sacrifice. In other words, praise comes from pain and suffering. Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of lips confessing His name.” What is a sacrifice? A sacrifice is an offering. An offering means death and loss. The person who offers an offering must suffer some loss. An offering, a sacrifice, must be offered up. This offering up constitutes a loss. The bull and the lamb are yours. When you offer them up, you are sacrificing them. To offer up something does not mean to gain anything; it means to suffer a loss. When a person offers up his praise, he is losing something; he is offering a sacrifice to God. In other words, God inflicts wounds; He breaks and cuts a person deeply, yet at the same time, such a person turns to Him and praises Him. Suffering for the sake of offering God praise is a kind of offering. God likes men to praise Him in this way. God likes to be enthroned upon this kind of praise. How can God receive His praise? God wants His children to praise Him in the midst of their sufferings. We should not praise only when there is gain. Although praise offered as a result of gain is praise, it cannot be considered an offering. The principle of offering is based on loss. An offering carries with it the element of loss. God wants us to praise Him in the midst of our loss. This makes a real offering.

We should not only pray to God but also learn all the more to praise God. We need to see the significance of praise at the very beginning of our Christian walk. We must praise God unceasingly. David received grace from God to praise seven times a day. It is a good exercise, a very good lesson, and a very good spiritual practice to praise God every day. We should learn to praise God when we get up early in the morning. We should learn to praise Him when we encounter problems, when we are at a meeting, or when we are alone. We should praise God at least seven times a day. Do not let David beat us in his praise. If we have not learned to praise God every day, it is hard to have the kind of sacrifice of praise spoken of in Hebrews 13.

As you learn to praise, you will find that there are days in which you cannot gather yourself to praise. Perhaps you praised God seven times today, yesterday, and the day before. Perhaps you praised Him a week or a month ago. But one day you will find that you cannot utter a praise. On such days you are in pain, total darkness, or dire trouble. On such days you suffer misunderstanding and slander. You are busy shedding tears of self-pity. How can you praise God on such days? You cannot praise because you are wounded, suffering pain, and in difficulty. You feel that the most obvious response would be complaint rather than praise. You feel that the most obvious thing to do would be to murmur rather than give thanks. You do not feel like praising, and you have no intention to praise. You feel that praise is not suitable under this kind of circumstance and mood. At that very moment, you should remember that Jehovah’s throne has not changed, His name has not changed, and His glory has not changed. You should praise Him simply because He is worthy of praise. You should bless Him simply because He is worthy of all blessings. Although you are in the midst of difficulties, He is still worthy to be praised. Although you are in distress, you still have to praise Him. At that moment, your praise becomes a sacrifice of praise. Your praise is like the slaughter of your fattest calf. It is like putting your dear Isaac on the altar. Your praise in tears is a sacrifice of praise. What is an offering? An offering implies wounds, death, loss, and sacrifice. You are wounded before God. You die before God. You suffer loss, and you sacrifice before God. But you realize that God’s throne is established in the heavens and cannot be shaken, and you do not hold back your praise. This is the sacrifice of praise. God desires His children to praise Him in everything and through every situation.


We have seen that our praise is a sacrifice. But there is more. We have to see that praising is the way to overcome spiritual attacks. Many people say that Satan is afraid of the prayers of God’s children; he flees whenever God’s children kneel down to pray. This is why he often attacks God’s children and frustrates them from praying. This is a common attack. But we will point out another fact: Satan’s greatest attacks are not aimed at prayers; his greatest attacks are aimed at praise. This does not mean that Satan does not attack prayers. The moment a Christian prays, Satan begins to attack. It is very easy to talk to people, but the moment one prays, Satan comes with problems. He will make one feel that it is hard to pray. This is a fact. But Satan does not attack just prayer; he also attacks the praise of God’s children. The ultimate goal of Satan is to stop all praises to God. Prayer is a warfare, but praise is a victory. Prayer signifies spiritual warfare, but praise signifies spiritual victory. Whenever we praise, Satan flees. Therefore, Satan hates our praising the most. He will use all his strength to stop our praising. God’s children are foolish if they stop praising when they suffer under adverse environments and downtrodden feelings. But as they come to know God more, they will find that even a Philippian jail can become a place of songs (Acts 16:25). Paul and Silas were praising God inside the jail cell. Their praise broke loose all the jail doors.

Jail doors were opened twice in Acts. Once they were opened to Peter and once to Paul. In Peter’s case, the church prayed fervently for him, and an angel opened the door and brought him out (12:3-12). In Paul’s case, he and Silas sang hymns of praise to God, and all the doors opened and the chains broke. The jailer believed in the Lord on that day, and his whole family was saved in a joyful way (16:19-34). Paul and Silas offered the sacrifice of praise in the jail. The wounds on their bodies were not yet healed; their pain was not soothed. Their feet were in the stocks, and they were shut in an inner jail of the Roman Empire. What was there to be joyful about? What was there to sing about? But there were two persons with transcendent spirits, who had surpassed everything. They saw that God was still sitting in the heavens; He had not changed at all. They themselves might have changed, their environment might have changed, their feelings might have changed, and their bodies might have been suffering, but God was still sitting on the throne. He was still worthy of their blessings. Our brothers, Paul and Silas, were praying, singing, and praising God. This kind of praise, which arises out of pain and loss, is a sacrifice of praise. This kind of praise is a victory.

When you pray, you are still in the midst of your situation. But when you praise, you soar above your situation. While you are praying and pleading, you are bound by your affairs; you are not out of them. The more you plead, the more you find yourself bound and pressed. But if God takes you above the jail, the chains, the painful wounds on the body, the suffering, and the shame, you will offer praises to His name. Paul and Silas sang hymns. They sang praises to God. They were brought by God to the point where the jail, the shame, and the pain were no longer a problem to them. They could praise God. When they praised in such a way, the doors of the jail opened, the chains fell off, and even the jailer was saved.

Many times praise works where prayer fails. This is a very basic principle. If you cannot pray, why not praise? The Lord has placed another item in your hands for your victory and for you to boast in victory. Whenever you run out of strength to pray and you find your spirit heavily oppressed, wounded, or sagging, praise Him. If you cannot pray, try to praise. We invariably think that we should pray when the burden is heavy and praise when the burden is over. But please bear in mind that there are times when the burden is so heavy that you cannot pray. That is the time for you to praise. We do not praise when there is no burden; we praise when the burden becomes too heavy. When you encounter unusual circumstances and problems and are bewildered and feel like collapsing, just remember one thing, “Why not praise?” Here is a golden opportunity. If you offer your praise at that moment, God’s Spirit will operate in you, open all the doors, and break all the chains.

We need to learn to maintain this lofty spirit, this spirit that surpasses all attacks. Prayers may not bring us to the throne, but praise surely brings us to the throne at any time. Prayers may not enable us to overcome every time, but praise does not fail even once. God’s children should open their mouths to praise Him, not only when they are free from problems, hurts, wounds, or difficulties, but even more when there are problems and wounds. When one lifts up his head in these situations and says, “Lord, I praise You,” his eyes may be filled with tears, but his mouth will be filled with praise. His heart may be in pain, but his spirit will still praise. His spirit will soar as high as his praise. He can ascend with his praises. Those who murmur are foolish. The more they murmur, the more they are buried under their murmurings. The more they complain, the more they sink into their complaints. The more they allow their problems to overtake them, the more exhausted they become. Many people seem to be a little more aggressive; they pray when they have problems. They strive and struggle to get out of their situations. Even though their circumstances and wounds try to bury them, they are not willing to be buried, and they try to get out by prayers. They often do manage to get out by praying. But there are also times when prayer does not work. Nothing seems to be able to deliver them until they praise. You need to offer up the sacrifice of praise. This means you need to consider praise a sacrifice and offer it up to God. When you put yourself in such an overcoming position, you immediately transcend everything, and no problem will be able to bury you. Sometimes you may feel that something is trying to run you over. But as soon as you praise, you will come out of your depression.

Let us look at 2 Chronicles 20:20-22. “And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.” Here was a battle. The nation of Judah was coming to an end at the time of Jehoshaphat’s rule. It was very weak; everything was in a state of shambles. The Moabites, Ammonites, and the people of Mount Seir came to invade Judah. Judah was completely in despair; they felt that defeat was certain. Jehoshaphat was a revived king and a God-fearing person. Of course, none of the last kings of Judah was perfect, but nevertheless, Jehoshaphat was a person seeking after God. He told Judah to believe in God. What did he do? He appointed singers to sing praises to Jehovah. He also asked these ones to praise the beauty of holiness and to walk out before the army and to say, “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” Please note the words when they began in the following verse. It is a very precious word. “And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir.” When they began means at that very moment. When everyone was singing praises to Jehovah, He rose to smite the Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir. Nothing moves the Lord’s hand as quickly as praise. Prayer is not the fastest way to move the Lord’s hand; praise is the fastest way. Please do not misunderstand that we do not have to pray. We need to pray, and we need to pray every day. However, we can overcome many things only by praising.

Here we see that spiritual victory does not depend on warfare but on praising. We need to learn to overcome Satan by our praise. We overcome Satan not only by prayer but also by praise. Many people are conscious of Satan’s ferocity and their own weaknesses, and they resolve to struggle and pray. However, we find a very unique principle here: Spiritual victory does not depend on warfare but on praise. God’s children often are tempted to think that their problems are too big and that they have to find some way to deal with their problems. They pay much attention to finding a way to overcome. But the more they try to come up with a way, the harder it is for them to overcome. In doing so, they put themselves on Satan’s level. They are both in the battle; Satan is fighting on one side, and they are fighting on the other side. It is not easy to win from this position. But 2 Chronicles 20 gives a different picture. On one side was the army, and on the other side was the singing of hymns. These ones either had great faith in God, or they were crazy. Thank God, we are not crazy people. We are those who have faith in God.

Many of God’s children are under severe trials; they are frequently tested. When the trials become severe and the warfare turns fierce, they are like Jehoshaphat. They are shut in by their trouble. One side is too strong, and the other side too weak; there is no comparison between the two. They are trapped inside the whirling wind. Their problems are too great and beyond their ability to overcome. At such times, it is easy for them to turn their attention to their problems; it is easy for their eyes to be set on their own difficulties. The more a man goes through trials, the easier it is for him to be bound by his problems. This becomes a great time of testing. The greatest test comes when he looks at himself or his environment. The more a man is tested, the more he tends to look at himself or his environment. But for those who know God, the more they are tested, the more they put their trust in the Lord. The more they are tested, the more they learn to praise. Therefore, we must learn not to set our eyes on ourselves. We must learn to set our eyes on the Lord. We should lift up our heads and tell the Lord, “You are above everything; I praise You!” Loud praises, praises that issue from the heart, and the praises that flow out of wounded feelings are the sacrifices of praise pleasing and acceptable to God. Once the sacrifice of praise ascends to God, the enemy, Satan, is defeated by the praise. The sacrifice of praise is very effective before God. Let your loftiest praises burst forth to God, and you will surely withstand and overcome. When you praise, you will find the way of victory opening wide before your eyes!

New believers should not think that they have to pass through many years before they can learn the lesson of praise. They should realize that they can start praising immediately. Every time you encounter a problem, you should pray for mercy that you would stop manipulating and plotting and that you would learn the lesson of praising instead. Much warfare can be won by praise. Many battles are lost because of the lack of praise. If you believe in God, you can tell the Lord in the midst of your problems, “I praise Your name. You are higher than everything. You are stronger than everything. Your lovingkindness endures forever!” A person who praises God transcends everything. He overcomes continually by his praise. This is a principle, and this is also a fact.


Psalm 106:12 is a very precious word. “Then they believed His words; / They sang His praise.” This was the condition of the children of Israel in the wilderness. They believed, and they sang. They believed, so they praised. Praise has a basic ingredient—faith. You cannot praise vainly with the mouth. You cannot say in a flippant way, “I thank the Lord! I praise the Lord!” You must believe. Only after you have believed can you praise. When you have some problems or when you are sorrowful, you pray, and as you pray, a kind of faith rises up in your heart. At that moment you open your mouth to praise. This is the living way, but do not do this in a light manner. When a man is faced with a problem, he should pray. But as soon as he finds a little faith, as soon as he begins to believe in God and in His greatness, power, compassion, glory, and manifestation of His glory, he should begin to praise. If a man acquires faith but does not follow it up with praise, he will soon find that his faith is gone. We are saying this from our experience. Once you have faith within, you should praise. If you do not praise, you will lose your faith after a while. You may have faith now. But after a while, you will lose that faith. Therefore, we must learn to praise. We must learn to utter words of praise. We have to open our mouths to praise. We should have not only a mind to praise but also actual audible words of praise. You have to praise God in the face of all your problems and in the face of Satan. You should say, “O Lord! I praise You!” Do this until you turn from having no feeling to having feeling, or from having a feeble feeling to a strong feeling. Do this until you turn from little faith to full faith.

Once God’s glory fills your eyes, you can believe. Once His glory fills your spirit, you can praise. You have to see that God is above everything and is worthy of your praise. When you praise, Satan flees away. Sometimes we need to pray. But when our prayer reaches the point where we have faith and assurance, we know that the Lord has answered our prayer, and we should praise: “Lord! I thank You! I praise You! This matter is already settled!” Do not wait for the matter to be over before you praise. We have to praise as soon as we believe. Do not wait until the enemy runs away to sing. We have to sing to chase him away. We have to learn to praise by faith. When we praise Him in faith, the enemy will be defeated and driven away. We have to believe before we can praise. First we believe and praise, and then we will experience victory.


Our problems mainly fall within two categories. The first category is problems arising from the environment and the affairs around us. This was Jehoshaphat’s problem. The way to overcome this kind of problem is by praise. The second category is the problems within us. Words may hurt us. Others may offend, persecute, mistreat, oppose, hate us for no reason, or slander us without any basis. We may find these things unbearable, and we cannot get over them. These problems have to do with our personal victory. A brother may say something which is not proper. A sister may treat you in an unreasonable way. You may find it almost impossible to overcome these things. Your whole being may struggle, complain, and cry for justice. You may find it difficult to forgive or pardon others. It is hard for you to overcome your feeling. You are wronged, slandered, persecuted, and you cannot get over it. Prayer does not help much. You want to fight and struggle against it, but you cannot. The more you try to shake off this burden, the worse you become. You find it hard to overcome. Please remember that when you suffer great personal hardship and severe injustice, it is not the time for you to pray, but the time for you to praise. You should bow your head and say to the Lord, “I thank You. You are never wrong in what You do. I accept all these things from Your hands. I thank You. I praise You.” If you do this, all your problems will go away. Victory has nothing to do with struggling with the flesh. It has nothing to do with trying to forgive others or striving to pardon others with one’s own strength. Victory comes when one bows his head and praises the Lord: “I praise You for Your way. Your arrangement is always good. Whatever You do is right.” When you praise the Lord this way, your spirit will soar above your problems; it will soar above your inner wounds. Those who are wounded in their feelings are short of praise. If you can praise the Lord, your hurt will turn into praise. Your spirit will transcend to the heights, and you will say to God, “I thank and praise You. You are never wrong in all Your ways.” This is the pathway we should take before the Lord. Leave everything behind. What a glory this is. This is truly a sacrifice.

The Christian life soars through praises. To praise is to transcend everything to touch the Lord. This was the pathway our Lord Jesus took when He was on earth. We should take the same way. We should not murmur against heaven when we are under trials. We should soar above the trials. Once we praise, we are above the trials. The more others try to put us down, the more we should rise up before the Lord and say, “I thank You and praise You!” Learn to accept everything. Learn to know that He is God. Learn to know the works of His hands. Nothing can ripen and mature a man like sacrifices of praise. We need to learn not only to accept the discipline of the Holy Spirit but also to praise the discipline of the Holy Spirit. We need to learn not only to accept but also to glory in the Lord’s dealing. We need to learn not only to accept the Lord’s chastisement but also to accept it willingly with joy. If we do this, a clear and glorious door will be opened to us.


Finally, in Psalm 50:23 God says, “Whoever offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving glorifies Me.” Here, the word thanksgiving can also be translated as praise. The Lord is waiting for our praises. Nothing can glorify our God as praises can. One day, all the prayers, works, prophesying, and labor will be over. But on that day our praises will be more than today’s. Praise will last for eternity; it will never cease. When we reach heaven and arrive at our final home, our praises will swell even higher. Today we have the opportunity to learn the best lesson; we can learn to praise God even today.

Today is still the time when we see in a mirror obscurely (1 Corinthians. 13:12). Although we can see a little of many things, we cannot understand the meaning behind them. We can only feel the pain of all the inward wounds and outward trials that we have encountered and experienced. We cannot comprehend the significance behind them. This is why we do not praise. We believe that praises will abound in heaven because there will be full knowledge in heaven. The fuller the knowledge, the fuller the praise. Everything will be clear when we go before the Lord on that day. The things that are unclear to us today will be clear to us on that day. On that day we will see the Lord’s excellent will in every step of the Spirit’s discipline. Had there been no discipline of the Spirit, we cannot imagine how much we would have fallen! If some of our footsteps had not been stopped by the Holy Spirit, we cannot imagine how pitiful our fall would have been! Many things, thousands and even millions of things which we do not see today, will become clear to us on that day. When we see everything on that day, we will bow our head and praise Him, saying, “Lord, You were never wrong.” Every step of the Spirit’s discipline is God’s work in us. Had we not become sick that one time, what would have become of us? Had we not failed that one time, what would have become of us? What we faced may have been a problem, but through facing that problem we may have avoided greater problems. What we encountered may have been a misfortune, but through that encounter we may have avoided greater misfortunes. On that day we will see why the Lord allowed all these things to happen to us. Today the Lord is leading us on, every step of the way. On that day we will bow our heads and say, “Lord, I was a fool, because I did not praise You that day. I was a fool, because I did not give thanks to You that day.” When our eyes are opened and we become clear on that day, how very shameful we will be when we recall our murmurings. Therefore, today we must learn to say, “Lord, I cannot understand what You are doing, but I know that You cannot be wrong.” We have to learn to believe and to praise. If we do, we will say on that day, “Lord! I thank You for Your grace which saved me from unnecessary complaints and murmurings. Lord! I thank You for the grace which kept me from murmuring during those days.” For many things, the more knowledge we have, the greater will our praises be. We have a desire to praise the Lord because He is good (Psalm. 25:8; 100:5). We need to always say, “The Lord is good.” Today we have to learn to believe that the Lord is good and that He is never wrong, even though we cannot always understand what He is doing. If we believe, we will praise. Our praises are His glory. To praise is to glorify God. God is worthy of all glory. May God gain abundant praises from His children.


Poor Clare Colettines TMD