God has been encouraging me about something over the past few days and I thought I would share it with you. I hope He uses it to encourage you, also!
I felt that God really used the following passage to speak to me…
Acts 16:22-26 (NKJV)
Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.
What I noticed was that Paul and Silas had been gathered, tried, beaten with rods and then thrown in prison. I’m sure they were exhausted and tired and all they wanted to do was sleep because it had been a long and painful day, probably a lot more painful than any of our days will ever be. But once they were thrown in prison, they didn’t complain to God, they didn’t cry, they didn’t sleep…No, they stayed up all night praying and singing hymns to God. In the midst of their praising, God removed all the bonds and shackles that were on them and also on all the peoples and He opened the door for them.
I really believe this is how God works in our lives. If we are willing to sacrifice (“a sacrifice of praise” as we pray in the liturgy) our sleep, our pain, our sickness, our exhaustion to praise and worship Him, we will hear His voice loud and clear. He will reveal to us His vision for our lives. He will free us from the bonds of slavery to sin, flesh, and this world that consume our lives. He will open doors and light paths for us. This is not as payment because He owes us nothing, but simply because we will be more able to see Him and hear Him because we will by crucifying the flesh to allow the Spirit (His Spirit) to reign in us.
I also feel that this goes along really well with yesterday’s quiet time. The following verses really stuck out to me…
1 Corinthians 1:18, 20, 26, 27 (NKJV)
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God…Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?… For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
What is the message of the cross, but to deny oneself to do the will of the Father for the love of God and others? Isn’t that what Christ did? Isn’t that what He calls us to do? We use our/human/worldly wisdom to make decisions. We think if we stay up all night…we’ll be tired, we won’t be able to get anything done the next day. We also think, it was such a long day at work, we can’t stay up all night. All this is our human/worldly logic, but God says He has made foolish the wisdom of this world. He says those who are wise according to the flesh (base our decision on our flesh), are not called. He says if we do things that seem foolish to this world, we will put to shame all those who think we are foolish because His glory and power will be shown!