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Trouble

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“To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified”

Isaiah 61:3, New King James Version).

I overheard a conversation between two ladies at church, both going through difficult times. One had battled her situation for several months, the other not as long. The “veteran” was advising her friend, “When things get really bad, I just begin to praise.” For her, putting on the garment of praise was the way to find peace in the midst of life’s storm. Her advice was on target and biblical.

The Midnight Praise Session

Acts 16:16-40 tells the familiar story of Paul and Silas in a Philippian prison. Their trouble began with the healing of a damsel possessed with the spirit of divination (what we would call a fortune-teller). The jailer was charged to keep the two men safe, so he moved them to the inner part of the prison and, as an added measure, put their legs in stocks. This was no “country club” prison; and no one cared about their comfort. Yet, at midnight Paul and Silas put on their garments of praise and began to pray and sing. Can you imagine the amazement of the other prisoners? Circumstances did not matter; they focused on praising God. If their fellow prisoners were confused before, the earthquake that followed really grabbed their attention.

Covering Ourselves in Praise

How do worship and praise help when trouble and despair try pull us down? If we change our clothing—covering ourselves in praise to God—the heaviness lifts. Praise drives out negativity and worry. Faith increases and God steps into our circumstances to perform the miraculous. Isaiah 25:4 describes the Lord as “a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat” (English Standard Version).

When trouble overwhelms us, the enemy loves to fill our mind with worry and doubt. He desires to steal our faith and silence our praise. Rather than give in to his tactics and accept defeat, it’s time change our clothes. Let’s put on that garment of praise and start dancing.

“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11). 

Prayer: Lord, I claim victory over anxiety, doubt, and discouragement. When trouble comes my way, I will praise You. When the enemy fills my mind with negative thoughts, I will praise you more. I will put off my sackcloth and put on gladness and praise. You are my strength and place of safety.

The Lord works out everything to its proper end—even the wicked for a day of disaster. (Proverbs 16:3, NIV)

A few nights ago, someone broke into my car. Thankfully, although it was all rummaged through and torn apart, nothing was taken. When I came out in the morning and realized what had been done, I felt both angry and sad – angry that someone would do that to another person and yet sad that they could do it guilt free.

When I read through Proverbs 16 this morning, I was reminded that God takes care of things no matter what. Yes, I was frustrated with these thieves but at the end of the day, there was nothing I could do to change the situation. God will always act as my defence, and he will do the same for you. In all situations, cast your cares on him, and he will take care of you.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for coming to our rescue time and again. You are our protector and defence in times of trouble and we are so thankful! In Jesus name, amen.

Devotion by Melinda Keays

“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble: I will deliver him, and honour him” (Psalm 91:15 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible).

In my opinion, one of the neatest inventions is “Caller ID.” I have this service and use it when I don’t want to answer sales calls. The program allows me to screen my incoming telephone calls with the option to choose which ones to answer. In contrast, it’s so good to have a God who always answers when we call. It’s a given! He wants to hear from you. Not only does He answer us, He will be with us when we are in trouble; deliver us and honor us for calling on Him.

Prayer: I really don’t know how people live without you, Lord! It seems like trouble follows me around.  I’m so glad that You do too!

Devotion by Kaye Singleton