Monday, October 12, 2020

A Sure Cure for a Desperate Heart

 Monday, October 12, 2020

And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, and 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 bonds were unfastened. Acts 16:23-26

A Sure Cure for a Desperate Heart
The past three weeks we have been focusing on change, but for the greater part of this year we have been rocked by some of the biggest changes we have experienced in our lives. Change is a part of life – we say that over and over, but we don’t really accept it. When change comes, we are often thrown completely off balance. 

Change is not always bad, and whether we welcome it or despise it, we can’t control it. We can only control how we respond to it, and how we respond to it will determine the impact it has on our lives - good or bad. And when change that we never imagined could happen, happens – like a pandemic – it can cause us to spiral out in fear. We realize quickly that we have no control over the situation, and we lose control over our emotions. If we feel as if our world is out of control, and our emotions are out of control, we can quickly become overwhelmed.

The Very Best Way to Get Through the Long Days and Nights

The very best thing we can do when we are experiencing adverse circumstances is to praise God. It sounds strange to say we should praise Him when we are going through a trial because it may feel like there is nothing to be thankful for. But when we praise Him, especially in difficult times, our praise exalts Him to the place He belongs in our lives. It helps us to focus on Him and not our problems. When we are singing to Him, we are thinking about His greatness, His power, His presence, and it takes our minds off ourselves and our troubles.  It is confessing our trust in Him and expresses our devotion to Him.  It is the melody of prayer – laying it all out and laying our hearts open before him.  

Paul and Silas knew the power of praise in desperate situations. They had been beaten and thrown in jail and put in stocks in the most inner part of the prison. For most of us, being in this situation would cause us to panic, cry, get angry, feel hopeless, and many other things. But Paul and Silas did not despair in their despairing situation. They made the choice to praise God instead. When it seems there is nothing in your life to lift praises for, that is the time you need to open your mouth and sing. They started singing, and all the prisoners were watching and listening. They were witnessing to all those around them by doing what they knew would help them focus on God and His greatness instead of their circumstances. 

An amazing thing happened as they sang and others listened. An earthquake shook the prison, bringing down the walls, opening cell doors and chains falling off. Maybe some of the prisoners were freed that night even though none chose to take advantage of the situation and escape. They were free of the prison of sin. The jailer and his family were all saved that night.  Our chains will fall off and our prison doors will be open when we praise God, just like it did for Paul and Silas. He desires to knock the walls of our prisons down. We will feel the sweet breeze of freedom as we focus on Him, praising Him and laying our burdens down at His feet.

Satan never wants you and me to stand strong in pain, hardship, the unknown, and still worship God. He wants us to feel that there is nothing to praise God for. He wants us to feel defeated, and when we praise, there is no defeat but only victory.  No defeat, except for the defeat of Satan. Our praise, lifted up to God in reverence, is a crushing defeat to him that causes him to flee.  There is one-on-one intimate communication going on between us and God and there is no room for Satan. He cannot penetrate a mind filled with thoughts of God, nor can he cannot defeat a heart lifted up to God.  

Maybe you didn’t start out by responding to the change in your life in a negative way. Maybe at the beginning you were resolved and determined to make the best of it. But now, the weight of the situation has settled on you and you feel despair. There is not better cure for a despairing heart than to praise God. Speaking or singing His praises can bring comfort and peace when our world feels out of control. Praise grounds us to our Heavenly Father where all peace and stability comes from. 

No matter the circumstances, praise gives us God’s perspective on our situation and assurance of His presence in it. Even though praise doesn't automatically erase all our problems, it reminds us that we can trust Him and that He is in control. Praise is confessing with our words something that we may not feel like at the time. Praise delivers us directly into His presence and we can focus completely on His greatness and ability to deal with our situation. It is the very best way to get through the hard days and nights. Confess His power over you in worshipping Him today. 


Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. 

James 5:13


Devotional Archive