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 question; “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.
The plan of salvation and redemption was laid out before the foundations of the world were laid.
19 Rather, the payment that freed you was the precious blood of Christ, the lamb with no defects or imperfections. 20 He is the lamb who was known long ago before the world existed, but for your good he became publicly known in the last period of time. 21 Through him you believe in God who brought Christ back to life and gave him glory. So your faith and confidence are in God.–1 Peter 1:19-21 (GW)
Jesus having fulfilled His mission here on earth now stands at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. We are hidden in Christ and He abides in us. No amount of service or money could ever pay this debt. No amount of worship or adoration by mankind can ever match the marvelous love, mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humbly bow before Him now and thank Him! Praise Him and give Him glory forever!
23 My lips will sing with joy when I make music to praise you. My soul, which you have rescued, also will sing joyfully.—Psalm 71:23 (GW)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
19 How great is the goodness, you have stored up for those who fear you.
You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.
20 You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them.
You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues.–Psalm 31:19,20 (NLT)
God lavishes His blessings on us everyday. Every new breath is a gift from Him. And yet, we still cannot imagine all the good things He has in store for those of us who love and obey Him. The Bible tells us that it has not even entered into the mind of a human all the things that await us in heaven. But we are also told that Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly in the here and now. We live in God’s presence and we are hid in that shelter from all dangers. Blessings, security, and joy. Let us smile, make music in our hearts and rejoice because God is good all the time!