Sing a Song of Praise and Life!

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19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
— Ephesians 5:19 NLT
 
 
If we take any time to read the testimonies of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted by being imprisoned, our hearts will break at the stories of their cruel treatment.  Sleeping in hot containers in the blazing sun or on cold ground in winter time.  Being allowed only one set of clothing with no laundering facilities for months. Being fed one meal a day (on good days) and that being nothing but gruel.  Being given the worst of the chores, such as shoveling out the latrine pools and carrying the waste away in buckets.  Being beaten for witnessing to the other prisoners.  When these brothers and sisters are interviewed (if they survive), they each have amazing stories of how God was gracious to them, providing supernatural spiritual, mental and physical strength.  But there is one common theme that runs through their stories.  When asked the quesiton; “How do you survive such cruel treatment for such a long length of time?”   They tell stories of singing the spiritual songs they have learned while serving Jesus.  Some are old hymns, some are psalms and other Bible verses set to music, some are words that God has given them for just such a time.  Helen Berthane tells her story of imprisonment in the containers in Eritrea in her book,  “The Song of the Nightingale”.  In her book, she tells of many songs that Jesus gave to her.  In our own lives, though we certainly have never tasted such cruel punishment for our Christian beliefs, such songs can get us through the hardest times.  Take the time to commit some Spiritual songs to memory and the next time, satan shoots his fiery arrows at you, repel them with your favorite songs and verses.  He will flee.
 
Post 05-19-2016

Refocusing Our Thoughts

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.


7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ​ 8 Finally, beloved,[a] whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about[b] these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 7-9 (NRSV)
Matthew 12:43-45: 43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it wanders through waterless regions looking for a resting place, but it finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ When it comes, it finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and live there; and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So will it be also with this evil generation.”
We can’t just stop thinking wrong thoughts and leave our minds empty. As Jesus pointed out in the passage from Matthew, if we don’t fill our emptiness with something, when the evil spirit returns, he will bring companions with him, take up residence and our end is worse than the beginning. So, what do we do? Paul suggests that we focus on the things he mentions above. Think honorable, just, pure, commendable thoughts. We need to put each thought to a test to see if it fits in one of the categories he lists. If not, we need to cast out those rebellious/evil thoughts. We are not alone in this battle, we have the peace of God that guards our hearts and our minds. But we must keep practicing “right ” thinking to keep the peace of God.​
Post 12/10