It has been relatively silent around these parts for a week now. My family and Dominic’s extended family went on a vacation. 10 days away from work was wonderful and while I learned some good lessons, and experienced God’s beauty in the Black Hills of South Dakota, I haven’t had the time to process and write all that I would like to. Hopefully I will make some time soon!
But for now I need to share a story with you.
One of the things that I learned this past week was that God is always making time for me. There is opportunities to see His beauty, feel His presence all around me if I am open to seeing and receiving it. And while He was faithful to me, I admittedly, didn’t take much time for Him this past week.
I had big plans of setting an early alarm and going for a walk by myself for quiet time and listening to that mornings Bible verses for my group study of Acts right now. The reality was I was exhausted and needed mornings with no alarm. I slept most days 2 hrs longer than I usually do. And while the catch up was wonderful, as the week went on I could see the reflection of my missed time with God in my attitude and behavior.
Apparently the longer I spend NOT in prayer with God, or learning about Him the more self righteous and indignant I get. Ugh.
An argument with my husband and hurt words said at the end of the week was not how I wanted things to end, and honestly, I wasn’t too happy with God about it either (I’d rather blame anyone else then take responsibility for myself! ahem)….All that to say it is good to be back home and in my routine (well everything except the early morning exercise…that will come next week, I hope!)
Yesterday I was back at it though and we read Acts 16. Or in my case I listened to it on my Biblegateway app which is AWESOME. Seriously listening to the Word being read aloud has opened my ears to things I think I would have skimmed over if I had been reading it!
A lot happens in Acts 16. Paul and Silas meet, they want to go 1 direction but clearly feel the Spirit of Jesus stopping them so they follow His leading and go another way. (How awesome is that by the way?!)
They meet Lydia, who we are told is a woman of God and because of her faith her whole household is baptized. So encouraging for any woman who may be in a situation where the husband is not the spiritual leader of the home (a whole different blog post!)
And then they do some demon casting out and get arrested, charged, beaten with rods and thrown in prison.
Um, hello God!! What is this?!
But you know what Paul and Silas do?
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,
Yep, that’s right. In the midst of a trial – a real one…not just a silly argument with a spouse, but a big, yucky, knock you down trial, they are praising God. Singing to Him and the prisoners hear.
And then there is an earthquake, they are freed, they lead the jailer to Christ, baptize him and then his entire household rejoiced with the jailer that he was saved.
Even in the midst of a long, dark night they praised the Lord! (<====Click to Tweet) And because of their faithfulness some amazing things happen!
I am on the worship team at church and one of the songs our leader chose for us this week is called Praise the Lord.
I love the song, because it is a reminder that we always need to be praising God because Jesus is Lord.
Tonight we were getting ready to start and our leader read us a devotional about Job. Another story of a man who lost everything. I mean EVERYTHING. His children, his servants, his livestock…all of it gone.
And what was Job’s response?
He stripped off his sack cloth, shaved his head and fell to his knees and praised the Lord.
I felt like once again this must be a lesson for me.
In ALL things, am I willing to praise the Lord? And if not – why?
As we got started the leaders phone rang, and she left the sanctuary for a few minutes. When she came back she was sobbing. She had just been given word that her grandma had passed away suddenly.
Here stood a woman, a friend, in a moment of amazing grief. She wanted to go on and practice but she wasn’t sure she could. I made some poor joke about getting naked and shaving our heads and praising God, which made her laugh a little and she said she wanted to go on and try and practice.
What I experienced next was so profound to me.
There she stood, praising God, the middle of her long, dark night. In the midst of her sadness, she sang.
It takes your breath away when you witness someone display such faith. I don’t know that she realized it but in those moments I saw Paul…I saw Job.
As she stood on that stage and sang, I imagined her grandma, now at the feet of Jesus in complete worship to the same God we were singing for as well.
When Karlena died a friend told me that she loved the idea that her last breath on earth was followed by her first sight of God….standing at His feet. I like that…the same God I praise when I sing will be the One I see on my return home.
It doesn’t make the grief and the pain of our losses any less, but it is comforting to know that the story never has to end here if we are one with Christ.
And while we are here, we have an opportunity to be an example. To praise God despite our circumstances, and how we feel. God is still God and we should Praise Him.
When it comes out easy, Praise the Lord….
Because in EVERY moment, Jesus Christ is Lord.
When it seems to hard, Praise the Lord…
Because in EVERY moment, Jesus Christ is Lord.
Her example tonight will stick with me. I want to be that example for others myself. To stand and worship, even when I don’t feel I have the strength. Because there is grace for today, so praise the Lord.
Photo Credit: mort’n
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