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Today’s Truth

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

Acts 16:25

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 in full assurance that 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’re 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!

11 Responses to “Will You Pout or Praise?”

  1. CJ says:

    I am going through a major trial in my life right now and I have my ups and downs of trusting and worrying. I have been extremely down lately and this is a great devotional that has renewed my strength and determination to trust in God. He’s got this. Thank you for the reminders!

  2. 1chiq says:

    Ladies, I don’t normally comment on your (or any!) posts even though I read your devotions almost daily. But today, this one meant the world to me! I personally needed the pout/praise message in the worst way. I forget to praise Him during my trials. I pray and ask for guidance and I definitely pout. But my praise is often lacking. Thank you for the reminder and the biblical references to keep me grounded. Thank you for spreading the news and the Word. I am in awe of your devotion to Him and to us. It makes a difference daily in my life!

  3. Grace says:

    I am in the middle of a crossroads, for many different areas in my life, and for differing reasons…housing, a christian relationship that ended before it started due to missed connections and others’ interference (he is out of state), a job or way to make a living, where/how to live, finding more/new christian friends that will actually do things with me. People at church will say call me..get together…but generally it doesn’t happen, even when I call. So, praying and thinking about moving (maybe renting) in another area to be near a bigger, more involved church…has all kinds of classes. Maybe will look for a christian sr. place to live…not assisted living. Also have thought of having a roommate. Need community, more than on Sunday. I go to church classes, and am a friendly person.

    Feel like something is blocking my progress in so many ways. I pray every day, and many times call a prayer line. I am alone, and never thought I would be. Now wondering what my path should be. Too many rugs have been pulled from under me.

    Bless God, though. I know He is still there for me, and wants the best for me. For some reason, all of this has happened. I pray to stay in His light. Prayers and thoughts appreciated.

  4. PENNY says:

    March 1, 2017 I received a call from my mom that my dad was having to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. NO ONE who ever knew my dad would ever expect that to happen. I live about 2 hours from my parents. So my husband & I leave immediately to get to them. In less than 2 hours from that moment my daddy was in heaven. Being the only girl in a family of brothers I am the one to take charge & make sure all the details of every family gathering is handled. So, I stepped right into that role. Within that week I kept myself busy. Trying my very hardest to not let any emotion show. Everyone knows I am a “Daddy’s Girl” in every sense of the word…even at 50. But I did everything within my power to hold it together. Only after it was over. Everyone had gone home & I was leaving my mom for the 1st time in 50 years by herself did I lose composure. My husband, an amazing man, just let me do it!
    I have a very strong faith & it was during this time I realized just how strong it was. God knew my mom needed me to be that strong at those moments & He & only He, gave me that strength. I could have very easily turned my back & been so mad at God for what we were going through. But I chose to PRAISE!!! My dad was a very strong, silent faith man. He taught us FAITH, FAMILY, & COUNTRY! I have held to those teachings for the last 14 months.
    Pouting will gain no ground. Get you nowhere. Only lead to confusion in a time of sorrow. I choose PRAISE any day of the week. Even on the darkest!
    This devotion spoke volumes to me & I just want to thank you for it!

  5. Patricia says:

    Thank you for this devotional this morning. It has forced me to look at my own life and reflect on how Satan has gotten ammunition from my pouting instead of defeating him through my praises to God. Going forward, I will enforce that practice in my life, when I am going through the struggles, not to focus on the struggles, but to focus on God. Thanks again for this devotional.

  6. Rebecca Jones says:

    I’ve got to praise pouting doesn’t cut it.

  7. Abby says:

    This hit home for me today. I am feeling rejected at work & in my marriage. I know that is satan talking, & God does have a plan. Thank you for your devotions.

  8. Melanie says:

    I am always amazed at how God supplies what we need to hear/read at just the right time, all the time! I pouted this very morning and cried out to God with tears in my eyes. Then I read some psalms and reminded myself that I wasn’t alone in my trials/fears. David was my companion this morning and even though I didn’t “feel” like praising God, I chose it over pouting and believed God to deliver me just as he did for David. Thank you for your post and always choose to praise. God will not disappoint you.

  9. Michelle says:

    This was absolutely spot on for me! My work neighbor shared your site with me and I look forward to reading the devotion daily during lunch. God has all my hopes and desires and I feel the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. I should be falling apart but I choose to praise God. Thanks so much for an awesome devotional tool. 🙂

  10. Karen says:

    I am worth more. Bought by the Precious blood of Jesus!
    Rom. 3:4 Let God be true but every man a liar.

    Thank you Sharon and all others for your testimonies, which help me to put my focus and praise where it needs to be.

  11. linda says:

    Did I need this today? I grew up being told and treated as if I was worthless. I’m at this writing in a tough trial; a widow of 4 1/2 years after 45 years of marriage to the love of my life; have been in the hospital 9 times in the last 3 years. Last year was diagnosed with chrons/ulcerative colitis, after knee replacement. Prayed for Jesus to take me as I became so sick with chrons, but HE chose not to honor my request. Now, my God given shepherd dislocated her hip, and it’s become a bit of a nightmare. I teach a Bible class of women, and I try my best through God’s anointing to be the best example for them that I can. But, I must admit, there are times when I just don’t have it in me. I often tell the women, if God doesn’t show up today, neither will I. God always has it.
    Thank you so much for the encouraging pout vs. praise e-mail. I know God honors the praises of his people, but if anyone had a reason to pout, it was JESUS. And He just honored the wishes of his Father. I just need to keep looking up. I know God is beside me walking through life with me.

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