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Today’s Truth

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

(Acts 16:25, NIV)

Friend to Friend

Trials can lead us to a greater dependency on God and a deeper trust in His sovereignty if we let them. In every situation I come to a crossroad and have a choice: I can pout, or I can praise.

I can turn away from God because I don’t understand, or I can turn toward God confident His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if anger lingers – even if doubt looms.

Have you been to these crossroads?

God shows us a powerful example of praise-over-pout behavior in chapter sixteen of the book of Acts. During the Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey, he and his ministry buddy Silas encountered a collision of faith and trouble while in Philippi.

After Paul cast out a demon that was terrorizing a young slave girl, he and Silas were seized by disgruntled Roman citizens and dragged to the marketplace before the rulers. They were then wrongfully accused of public disruption. And later stripped, beaten, and unlawfully jailed without a trial.

After the flogging, Paul and Silas were taken to the inner cell of the prison, normally reserved for the most dangerous offenders, and their feet were placed in stocks.

Though they had every reason to sit and stew because of the injustice of their situation, Paul and Silas chose to trust in God’s plan and praise their Lord, Jesus Christ.

Though they had open wounds and would likely have been in severe physical pain, Paul and Silas chose to glorify the name of God.

After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16: 23-25).

Then God shook the earth and the prison foundations and loosed the chains of the prisoners. In horror, knowing he would be held responsible for the escape of the prisoners, the jailer raised his sword to kill himself – but Paul stopped him. He and Silas hadn’t fled. They stood amidst their dark circumstances and spoke and sang with confidence in their God.

As a result, several people, including the jailer and his family, came to believe in Jesus Christ.

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all of his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household
(Acts 16:29-34).

Though we won’t always rejoice in our circumstances, we are commanded to always rejoice in the Lord.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4, 6-7).

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance (James 1: 2-3).

When we praise the Lord through, and in spite of, what we face praise becomes our deliverance through trials. We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hope. And this hope will never disappoint us… (Rom. 5:3-5a, NCV).This world is broken and hardship is unavoidable. But, no matter what difficult times we encounter, God is worthy of our praise.

When we choose to praise instead of pout, we choose to trust God.

When we choose to trust God, the wounded world around us lifts their eyebrows in wonder – just like the Roman jailer.

Yes. Sometimes a sacrifice of praise is required.

Offer it.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank You for being trustworthy and praiseworthy! I ask that You will nudge me to trust You each time I approach crossroads of faith and trouble. In spite of the burdens on my heart and challenges in my path right now, I praise Your name and celebrate that Your hope will never disappoint.

In Jesus’ Name I pray,
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Praise that perseveres begins with a determined heart, mind and soul. Scripture tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Are you standing at the faith/trouble crossroads today?

How would choosing to trust God and praise Him help you deal with your circumstances?

More from the Girlfriends

Portions of today’s post are an excerpt from the book Trusting God by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, and Mary Southerland.

Feel like giving up? Learn how God wants to bring you beyond your past heart-wounds and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It’s also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s web store.

 

And be sure to connect with Gwen on Instagram and listen to her GRACEOLOGIE podcast!

6 Responses to “Will You Pout or Praise?”

  1. Kristin says:

    II awoke in the middle of the night last night, worried about my personal circumstances related to COVID-19. I told myself to stop. That God was in control and I was fine. Then I began praying for friends who truly are in situations requiring help and prayer. I quickly fell back asleep. This devotional is a perfectly timed reminder to rejoice always. Gwen’s insights always touch my heart.

  2. Pam says:

    I work in healthcare in a long term care facility. To date, no cases of Covid19 – PRAISE GOD! We continue to pray for protection for our residents. The time has been stressful. Protocols and procedures change by the minute. I have also been concerned for my adult children, diabetic, asthmatic and expecting mother. The stress has been great. Friday during a bad storm a 40 foot pine tree fell across my hard destroying my Williamsburg style shed that matched my house. It took the tree out around the corner of the house as well … but missed my house! 12 inches to the left and it would have been in my bedroom. ONE cedar shingle at the very tip corner of my house was broken. ONE. I am praising God for his protection!!! Thank you for a glorious reminder to rejoice! We have good reason!

  3. Kathye says:

    Oh such perfect timing. Thank you!

  4. Leni says:

    Thank you all again for your wonderful ministry and how inspiring today’s message is! Through different situations I am learning to praise Him over pouting and turn His tests into His testimonies! Praise God how He helped kristin and Pam especially protection of the fallen tree blessings to you all

  5. Wendy says:

    It is 4:29 am. I have been awake for about an hour. My sweet, sick boy kitty and I went to the vet 2 days ago, and the vet was not hopeful. This little boy has been with me through some very dark times. The loss of my son, the loss of my house, I could go on but it gets much worse… until God had me back on the path and moved me into a 2 bedroom duplex, with a garage and my own washer and dryer, again. I guess you could say He was making the silver pure, we all know that is a process… so was what I went through. And He was my refuge, because except for my kitty there were rough waters every where,except for church! I had lost even my vehicle, am praying for another one…but not in too big of a hurry.

    So we had gone to the vet 6 months ago, and after rereading the dictation last night, she had said he probably had cancer… only problem was I could not and would not accept that, I nursed my boy back to health(I thought) naturally, fish oil, wild caught salmon, organic chicken, he was my 5th child and I wasn’t losing him… like I lost my son!!! Well, it looks like my Lord has different plans… and I am starting to accept the fact that my little kitty is not long for this world. I do not want to put him through an expensive ultra sound, just going to see these experts is going to cost 75.00. I am on a limited income, SSDI.

    • Gwen Smith Gwen Smith says:

      Oh, Wendy! I’m so sorry to hear about your precious kitty. Pets are so much a part of our families and their presence can surely be a treasure. Loss is always hard and grief is important. I’d love to reach through my computer and give you a warm hug, but I will need to settle for a prayer. Praying for you now, friend.

      GWEN

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