More and more it seems that suffering and hurt are prevalent everywhere we look. Those poor, innocent people that were murdered at a movie theatre in Colorado on July 20, 2012 are just one of the many tragedies in the lives of our fellow man today. I think now more than ever, we need to stand as Christians and unite as one body and pray for our country. Satan is so easily using people for his wicked agendas. This is not a surprise, but it still hurts. If you are hurting right now while reading this, know that your tender, loving Father has His arms open and He is always ready to hold you if you just let Him. Many people that are hurting today are cursing God and some believers have abandoned God. They did not have Christ as their solid foundation. It is so important to have a strong faith through the best of times so when the winds blow, we will not be moved. Trials and hard times come for a reason and that is to grow closer to our Father. So, how can we praise Him during the darkest hours? Let us look at scripture for clear examples.
Timothy 2:8-9 says, remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Remembrance of Christ and His death at Golgotha needs to be the center piece through which we praise God in the hard times. When we suffer, we can remember that He suffered, and His suffering gave us freedom! This is one reason some leave the faith. They forgot what even brought them into God’s loving hand. Praise be to God, our Almighty King that gave us the final sacrifice to atone for our sins!
Every time we connect with God in prayer, we are praising Him because we are acknowledging our need to set our burdens on His strong shoulders. Isaiah 25:4a says, for you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. These are things we can praise Him for while we are praying! He takes care of His children! Even in the darkest part of the storm, He is there as a stronghold to keep us standing against the crashing waves and raging winds. A man on his knees in prayer can stand before any tragedy.
When you read Psalms, you can find so many verses about God’s children singing praise even in the midst of hard times. David writes in Psalm 142:4b-7, no one cares for my soul. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “you are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me. This particular Psalm was a written prayer, but it could just as well be sung. So many songs today are written straight from the Psalms. One particular song that has always touched my heart on this issue of hard times and suffering is “There Will be a Day” by Jeremy Camp. This song always brings tears to my eyes.
Time in the word
Anything that we do as Christians that focuses our time on God brings Him glory and praise. When we look to His word for healing and guidance, we again are telling God that we need Him and we praise Him for His sovereign nature in all circumstances. In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says, for we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. This is a passage of love that speaks to all who are hurting. Jesus was tempted in every way so we can be completely firm in our belief in Him. My fellow brothers and sisters, write these verses on your hearts. We can have confidence in our Father in all circumstances. Stay in the word! It can heal the broken hearted.
Fasting is an outlet that provides a spiritual and physical reliance on God. Fasting is not set on any particular facet. Many people fast from food for an extended amount of time, but fasting really involves giving up anything that means a lot to you in order to spend time with God instead. This is a precious way to praise Him. When you fast you stop “me” and focus on Him. I have had the opportunity to participate in the 30 hour famine a few times and I cannot describe the feelings of reliance that I had personally with God in the final 10 hours when food sounded amazing and I gave my cravings to Him instead. He has sustained me every time I have fasted. The spiritual bond always grows with fasting because God is feeding that bond as you rely on Him.
Forgiveness always reflects praise on the Father. We forgive out of obedience to Christ. We forgive because it is always the right thing to do. There is real spiritual maturity and growth when we can look at specific people that have wronged us personally and forgive them. This is because sin always comes from the devil and not from the individuals themselves. There is massive spiritual warfare fighting for us every day. Satan’s legion of demons are always hunting. It is our job as believers to rebuke them with scripture and always forgive those who trespass against us. The true fault is always against the devil and his wicked schemes. Even Christ on the cross asked His Father to forgive those crucifying Him(Luke 23:34). May we all strive to be like that! Praise be to our Sustainer in all circumstances!Looking for some more music related articles?
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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
www.youtube.com Jeremy Camp song ” There Will Be A Day”