Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

Sorry I have been MIA for the last few months.  I am still here, forming blog posts in my head, and I am still reading your blog posts as I have time, and I really appreciate when you check by to see if I've posted anything new.

Today I have something really neat to share with you that God showed me as I read my Bible! 

(If you are a Believer, I encourage you to make some quiet time to meditate (definition: think deeply or concentrate on for a period of time; ponder in silence; examine attentively; pray over; study by oneself; etc not the yoga definition of meditation, which I believe is dangerous and evil) on God's words in the Bible.  "You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:13  But off my rabbit trail and back onto the main path...)  

Please read and examine the following portion of Scripture with me:

Acts 16:19-25 (Feel free to grab your Bibles and read from the beginning of verse 16 for more context if you want.  And also all the way to verse 40 if you like.  I assure you, it's worth it.  But for now we're going to focus on verses 19-25b.)

"But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.  And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, "These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city.  They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice."  The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods.  And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely.  Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God."

Note these seven things that Paul and Silas endured.  They were:

1.    seized
2.    dragged
3.    wrongfully accused
4.    attacked
5.    stripped
6.    beaten
7.    imprisoned

But then soak in their reaction... 

They were praying and singing hymns to God!  

Wow!  Dwell on that!  How do we respond when we endure trials?  I have been going through a lot of trials lately and I know a lot of you are, too.  As a dear friend pointed out on Sunday, remember that thanking God for everything, including suffering, acknowledges His perfect will in everything.  When we praise God in every situation, we are accepting that He is in control and His ways are best.  I have found that while trusting Him doesn't make the trials go away, it does give me a measure of peace that can only come from Him.

"Rejoice always,
pray without ceasing,
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18