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.
5 Sing to the Lord, for he has done wonderful things.Make known his praise around the world. – Isaiah 12:5 NLT Praise
Each of us needs to pause each day and meditate on what an amazing God we serve. He has every right to be angry with us and punish us accordingly. Instead, He put all of our sins on His only Son and allowed Him to be crucified on a cross for our salvation. Jesus was all man and all God, so God Himself hung on that cross and He has become our salvation. He is our strength and our song. We can trust Him to complete the work He started in each of us when we accepted Jesus as our Savior, No matter the situation, we can turn to Him and draw water from the springs of salvation and they will fill us with joy. Every moment of every day, we should “rejoice and be glad.”8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. – 1 Peter 1:8,9 NASB
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. — Colossians 3:16 NLT
The only way to have the peace of God rule in our hearts is to get the Word in us and let it dwell richly. What does “dwell richly” even mean? Rich means an abundance way beyond more than enough. To get that much Word in us, requires that we spend a lot of time meditating on the Word. Once we have meditated on the Word, it fills our thoughts. That leads us to praising God and having an attitude of gratitude. That is right thinking and that leads to right words and right deeds (actions). We will be able, by the leadership of God’s Holy Spirit, to do everything in His name and for His glory. If we practice doing things in this manner, praise and thanksgiving will become as natural as breathing then Christmas could last all year long.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
1 See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.—1 John 3:1-3 (NLT)
God’s example of unconditional love is something I can’t really grasp. Hopefully, you can do a better job than I do. How does a Creator have such love for creatures that He has to give His only Son to redeem? Thank God that His “thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways”. How exciting it should be to each of us to know that we are not “going to be” His children, we are already His children. While we are not able to grasp all that really means and we don’t know exactly what the end result of it will be, let’s just revel in it here and now! Enjoy His love today expecting greater things tomorrow and things that we cannot even imagine in the future!! Our lives should be so full of joy that everyone around us wants to know why we are so joyful! No matter the situation, “count it all Joy”!!
Praise Him for His goodness and mercy! God loves to hear His children singing regardless of what it may sound like to those around us. Make a joyful noise!!!
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.–Eph. 5:15-20 (NLT)
To make the most of our opportunities from a Biblical viewpoint means more than working hard or trying to make a profit on everything we do. It means, at least in part, to take the time to pray for and show love for those God puts in our paths. It means being a good steward over all the resources God has allowed us to use. Understanding what the Lord wants us to do means focusing our every thought and action bringing the lost to Christ. We should avoid excesses of every kind except the fruits of the Spirit against which there is no law. Our rewards for good works here on earth are laid up for us in heaven and will last for an eternity making them much more valuable than gold or sliver. We should always have joy in our hearts and a thankful attitude in our minds and words of praise on our lips.