Musicians: This week carries us through songs of the Bible (and some stories of the old testament which I’ve come to love)
First lets start with Daniel 2:20-21 “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are His. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a time for everything; a season and a reason. He knows… what is dark to you is controlled by Him. It takes time with God to understand what it means to praise in all seasons. Even when we’re young, either in years or in faith, practice matters. Practice is what perseverance is all about.
In exodus chapter 15… God has just delivered the Israelites from Egypt by parting the red sea. Through Moses, He parted the waters, let Israel pass through and when the Egyptians headed in after them, God dropped the water and dropped the mic. Killed em all. The chapter before 15 say He washed the bodies of the Egyptians up on the shore and they lay there dead. This was a long battle of plagues and pursuit from the Pharaoh against God’s people and God wanted to show His people it is finished. Here is your proof, He say. Exodus 15 is a song of praise over this victory.
In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. Exodus 15:13
His love is unending, unfailing even. He guides us in to goodness, by whatever means necessary, and never intends us any harm. We have to remember this as the seasons change. Sometimes God will part water to save your soul, and others? You will be thirsty. Right after this, the people were led into the desert and were without water for three days. They questioned why. These people just saw God raise a sea long enough for them to escape before He crushed the enemy and THREE days later they’re back to doubt? We have to pocket the good moments, recognizing God’s provision when things are still challenging and hard, and worshiping through it all. That’s what makes faith. When things seem hard and unsure and you don’t totally know where it is you’re going? You gotta sing from there. you have to persevere there, let these times build character in you. God starts at the beginning…. but us? we decide what we grow in the middle. You don’t get to decide what happens to you; you only get to decide how you respond to it.
This is my go-to, this is what it’s about to me. Stop planning a life that is not yours. Wait on God’s voice. Beg Him over and over and over that His will, not your own, be done in your life. Then be honest with yourself. Put all your sin out there, you aint perfect, and if you think you are, you aint honest either. be ashamed, guilt is hard and painful. But clean out your heart. Then Dig. Dig in Jesus, breathe His word, inhale it until it hurts. Let it set a fire in your soul that you cannot control and LIVE what is burning inside you. The reality of that, just ahhhh. Chills. If that doesn’t do it for you try Clean by Natalie Grant- swoon.
Now, on to midnights. Paul and Silas. The scripture is Acts 16, but let me give you the run down. Paul and Silas were on their way to the prayer place and this lady that told the future was following them. She made money this way and she kept telling people “these men are servants of the God most high.” Obviously, we can’t tell the future but there are many encounters of spirits among us in the bible. Paul finally got irritated and turned around and told the demon to come out of the lady and as soon as he did, the spirit left. He and Silas were arrested, severely beaten, and thrown in jail because ‘exorcism’ not by a rabbi was a practice against roman law (but really it was because they were mad over losing that fortune-telling money maker). Fast forward a little bit and Paul and Silas are in a first century jail. Its probably cold, dark, lonely… it’s midnight. These guys are standing around with their feet in chains in the dark and what are they doing? they’re praying and singing and all the other prisoners are listening to them. Then boom. An earthquake came, the doors flew open, and their chains were broken.
Think about the midnights in your own life, about the times you’ve been beaten down; felt locked down- unable to move much less unable to find the good in that kind of bad. That’s why this is such a good story of faith. They didn’t have to find lovely in their circumstance…. because there is lovely in their God. “We look away from our circumstances and toward Him. Like the words of a very old church song, when we “Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus,” the things of this world really do fade away.” Prayer and praise. It really is that simple to break the chains that hold us captive. and guess what else? When those chains broken, nobody moved. The guard was ready to take his own life and Paul said hold up buddy, were all still right here. That man fell to his face and asked Paul right then how do I get saved A man came to know Jesus as a direct result of the faithfulness of Paul and Silas. Real stuff, y’all. People have been saved because of my faith, God love them, and they can be saved because of yours, too. You would not believe the amount of help or the amount people just a little bit of confidence in Jesus will bring. I would have never thought anybody would want to learn about Jesus from a girl like me. That’s Satan. Stand against Satan and stand up for Jesus, help save some souls, y’all.
Confident faith after a messy life is scary, but over time… people notice. You can’t hide a heart for Jesus. People see the change. When I first started my walk, people talked and talked (they might still be talking i’ont know)… and I was so insecure in what God asked me to do. Then girl after girl after girl was asking me for advice, sending me encouragement, telling me the impact I’ve made and I’m just like uhh what? Nothing too dirty, remember?
Don’t be afraid. The reward is always bigger than the sacrifice and y’all the lord has so blessed me. As I’ve said many times, my problems are still my problems, but they’re so much lighter because God holds the weight for me.
“My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you God will not despise” v.17
He accepts us when we’ve shattered ourselves with sin, He takes us in pieces, broken, with pleasure- not with disdain. This is how He saved not only my soul, but my life. He took “a girl like me” and used an entire life of broken past, some my mistakes and some not, and built a testimony to further His kingdom. He uses people like me because it’s by no other way than by the grace of God that a heart like mine could have turned to a heart of His.. and that’s where He gets His glory. He uses the dirt to stop other bleeding wounds, let Him use yours, give up your dirt. Stop bleeding, stop hurting, and help save.
Maybe just tonight, stay up until that clock hits midnight. Have psalm 51 open in your Bible. Take a minute to experience that darkness at midnight, even in the comfort of your own home. No candles, no lights. Just for a minute sit in absolute darkness. And then pray. Write out some prayers for others you know who need freedom, and pray that just maybe their chains will fall off too.
Today scripture has taught us this. There are seasons of light and dark, and He’s in control, His love will lead His faithful servants down intended path with His own strength, and no matter how broken or how chained.. He can shake us free.
Love and Tuesdays,