Singing through the Darkness

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25 NKJV)

The world watches with great interest when a Christian faces adversity. Every one of us faces hardship. Every one of us loses loved ones. Every one of us faces sickness. Every one of us encounters difficulties and hardships in life. But when it happens to Christians, nonbelievers watch to see if our faith is genuine. That is the time to show them what Christ can do, even in hard times.

Acts 16 tells the story of Paul and Silas, who were thrown into prison for preaching the gospel. Their backs had been ripped open with a whip, and at midnight, in the most unsanitary of conditions, in a filthy environment, with their legs stretched apart in shackles causing excruciating pain, Paul and Silas held a worship service. The Bible tells us that “at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (verse 25 NKJV). Suddenly an earthquake shook the prison, their shackles fell off, the walls came down, and they were free to go.

The Philippian jailer, assuming they were free, knew he would be tortured and then put to death. He took out his own sword and was ready to kill himself. But Paul said, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here” (verse 28 NKJV).

Then the jailer said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (verse 30 NKJV). Paul and Silas made an impact on him.

In the same way, there are people watching you right now. They’re developing an opinion about God on the basis of your life. It has been said that a Christian is an epistle, written by God and read by man. You are the only Bible that some people ever will read. They will be looking at you, and that may determine the course their lives will take.

Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries . All rights reserved.

In the Secret Place

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NKJV).

When you were a kid, did you ever have a hiding place, a place you would run to when you were afraid or wanted to be alone? God wants to be your hiding place. The good news is that you can retreat to this hiding place wherever you are.

Psalm 91:1 tells us, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (NKJV).

It is worth noting that the blessings promised in this Psalm are not for just anyone. They are specifically given to believers—and not just believers in general but believers who specifically meet the requirements in it. Psalm 91 is full of conditional promises. God promises to do certain things for us, hinging on our doing certain things that are required of us in this Psalm.

We have a relationship with God because we have put our faith in Jesus Christ and have turned from our sin. But are we living in constant communion and fellowship with God? That is so important. Many people are not. They are not dwelling consistently with God. But the Lord wants you to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

He wants you to be like Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet when He came to visit her home in Bethany. There is a time for busyness. There is a time for work. And there is also a time to worship. Unfortunately, we sometimes substitute perspiration for inspiration and work for worship.

If you do that, it only will be a matter of time until you spiritually burn out. You can’t give out more than you take in. You need to live in communion with Him. You need to dwell in the secret place of the Most High.

Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

His Strength in Your Weaknes

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)

I didn’t have an easy childhood. I came from a home that was broken many, many times over. But I can look back on my past today and instead of moaning about it, I can say, “I went through that, and now I can comfort others.” It has become a tool to help others.

I wouldn’t want to go through that again, of course. Nor would I want anyone else to go through the same thing. But I’m thankful that God can take my past and use it for His glory today. I’m thankful that He can take that hardship and use it for His glory. He can do the same for you.

Maybe at this time in your life, you’re going through some hard times, and you’re wondering why. God will use it. It’s hard to believe now. But just remember that it won’t last forever.

As 1 Peter 1:6–7 says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Trials don’t last forever.

I’m reminded of a sign posted at the end of an airport runway that reads, “Keep moving. If you stop, you are in danger and a danger to those who are flying.”

You can take that same statement and apply it to the Christian life. Keep moving. Don’t give up. Don’t abandon hope. You are going to get through that valley in your life. There will be an even greater mountaintop beyond it, with great lessons you have learned as God demonstrated His strength in your weakness.

Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.

P.S. I could not say it better!,

God Bless you all,

Later,

Pat.

Trials

Through the Fire
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV)

Years ago my wife was cooking a steak, and as she often does, she threw it on and then went and did something else. But on this particular occasion, she forgot about the steak. Then she said, “Something is burning. What’s that smell?”

Let’s just say it was well done.

I’m glad that when we go through fiery trials as believers, God doesn’t get distracted, forget about us, and leave us there.

David wrote in Psalm 23, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me” (verse 4 NKJV).

We must remember to cast our problems on the Lord, turning them over to Him in times of need.

When the people were griping and complaining about Moses, the Bible tells us that Moses cried out to the Lord. When Hezekiah received an intimidating letter from a king who was threatening to destroy him, he spread the letter out before the Lord. When Mary and Martha saw that their beloved brother Lazarus was sick, they sent word to the Lord.

When trouble comes your way, cast it on Him. Spread it out before Him. Call on Him. As the Scriptures say, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV).

Most of us would like to avoid the valleys of life, so to speak, but there are some lessons we learn there that we cannot learn anywhere else.

God doesn’t promise to keep us out of all trouble. But He does promise to be with us in the midst of it. It’s a great thing to know that when the Lord lets His children go through a fiery trial, He always keeps an eye on them and an eye on the thermostat.

Copyright © 2017 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.