Sing praises while still in your prison

Acts 16:16-26

16 One day, as we were going to the house of prayer, we encountered a young slave girl who had an evil spirit of divination, the spirit of Python.  She had earned great profits for her owners by being a fortune-teller.

17 She kept following us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Great High God, and they’re telling us how to be saved!”

18 Day after day she continued to do this, until Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit indwelling her, “I command you in the name of Jesus, the Anointed One, to come out of her, now!” At that very moment, the spirit came out of her!

19 When her owners realized that their potential of making profit had vanished, they forcefully seized Paul and Silas and dragged them off to the city square to face the authorities.

20 When they appeared before the Roman soldiers and magistrates, the slave owners leveled accusations against them, saying, “These Jews are troublemakers. They’re throwing our city into confusion. 21 They’re pushing their Jewish religion down our throats. It’s wrong and unlawful for them to promote these Jewish ways, for we are Romans living in a Roman colony.”

22 A great crowd gathered, and all the people joined in to come against them. The Roman officials ordered that Paul and Silas be stripped of their garments and beaten with rods on their bare backs.

Miracles Can Come Out of Painful Places

23 After they were severely beaten, they were thrown into prison and the jailer was commanded to guard them securely. 24 So the jailer placed them in the innermost cell of the prison and had their feet bound and chained.[n]

25 Paul and Silas, undaunted, prayed in the middle of the night and sang songs of praise to God, while all the other prisoners listened to their worship.

26 Suddenly, a great earthquake shook the foundations of the prison. All at once every prison door flung open and the chains of all the prisoners came loose.

What about our personal prisons?

In these passages we see Paul and Silas, going their way in life, doing the normal things of life.  The enemy sent a young woman who was demonized to harass them constantly for days on end.  When Paul reached the end of tolerance, he dealt with the enemy and the girl was set free.  They were then accused of teaching unlawful things and beaten then put into prison.  Not just shoved into a cell, but put in the innermost place and put in shackles.  In this horrible atmosphere with their backs ripped open by the rods they were beaten with, they chose to praise and worship God.  Totally counter to the normal reaction of mankind.  They refused to allow the physical pain and rejection cause them to deny their God and Lord Jesus Christ.

Instead of complaints and whining, sour attitude and crying out in pain, they were able to go through the circumstances and rejoice in the Lord, right there in the middle of their pain!  In the middle of their unfair punishment, they remembered their God.  The Lord heard them and caused an earthquake to open ALL the prison doors.  So that not only they were set free, but everyone else around them too.  It was a miracle of God performed in the middle of their praise.  The greater miracle was the prisoners did not all try to escape.  The guard’s own life and his family also were recipients of Salvation all because these two men chose praise and worship over allowing their flesh and blood circumstances to win out.

When I was meditating over these verses, I realized many of us are in our own personal “prison”.  We may be trapped in sick bodies, so worn and out of control it looks like there is not way out.  We may have emotional terrors that haunt us day and night.  We may have so much debt or other financial problems that only a dark future shows before us.  Our families may be in such an uproar that there is no peace to be found.

The Lord Jesus wants to challenge us today to walk through these trials and horror-filled issues praising and worshipping Him.  Why to act like we are not having all these things in our lives?  No, to open the way for Him to come in and show us the way out of the prison we are living in.  Praise is a weapon we can use against the enemy of our lives.

Psalm 107:18-22

18 Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.  19 Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.  20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  21 Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  22 And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with rejoicing.

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Using my life experience to grow spiritually

 

 

 

Using My Life Experience to Grow Spiritually

I was diagnosed with breast cancer. ​​ Fear tried to overwhelm me, but the Lord brought great victory over fear. I had to have surgery​​ twice, then radiation follow-up. When I was going through radiation treatments, my body reacted in four different ways. ​​ It needed four different applications for relief. ​​ When I was applying the applications one day, the Lord spoke to me about those treatment applications and how they relate to the people we meet in our everyday lives.

I.I was burned from the radiation

A.There was pain

B.Extreme touchiness, hardly abiding any clothing to touch it

C.Peeling and itching

D.Red and inflamed

II.I had​​ raw, open skin

A.Painful

B.Oozy

C.Had no skin to protect against bacteria

III.I had a radiation rash

A.Itch-itch-itch

B.Bumps

C.Red and inflamed

There are people we meet whose lives are a reflection of one or more of these conditions. ​​ They​​ reject interaction with others due to their condition. ​​ The “don’t touch me” attitude is a cover-up for the pain they are experiencing.

I.The Burn personality

A.Angers easily due to the pain and flares up with red-faced defense system in action

B.Rejects first to keep from being rejected

C.Has layers of past memories peeling back both painful and itchy to remember. ​​ They have an almost hives-like reaction to others, as they push them away.

II.The Wounded Personality

A.Everything hurts spirit-soul-body

B.They tend to ooze their pain all over everyone around them.

C.They think their problem (pain) is worse than anyone else’s

D.They have no defenses against the enemy of the soul as they have no protective shield covering them.

III.The Rash Personality

A.They are itchy, twitchy and fussy

B.Everything irritates them-everybody irritates them

C.They have a hard time fitting in anywhere as they are always defensive

D.They are easily offended, angered and worried.

E.They react quickly without thought and find themselves embroiled in battles they really did not want to fight.

F.They always want to be soothed, wooed, petted and flattered by others. ​​ Their self-esteem has to be met by others, as they have such a low view of themselves.

G.Their emotions are bumpy, always up-and-down.

What is the cure for these three personality issues?

I.The Burn​​ 

A.Soothing aloe or burn ointment, applied very gently

  1. Don’t be reactive at their angry words thrown at you.

  2. Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.

B.Cover with gauze until healing starts

  1. Cover them with prayer and kindness

  2. Add forgiveness to their lives as a covering for their wound

C.Keep a healing lotion on constantly until skin​​ has returned to normal

  1. Give them kind words in return for their anger. ​​ Most people react to anger with anger

  2. Don’t give up waiting for the wounds to heal, but keep applying the love of Jesus to them

II.The Open Wound

A.Cleanse gently with a mild soap

  1. Handle with great care those who have open wounds in their souls

  2. Let the fruit of gentleness be the leader in the approach to their lives

B.Apply an antibiotic cream daily

  1. ​​ Give them loving words as often as possible

  2. Continually affirm they are loved by God and you

C.Cover with gauze until healing starts

  1. Refuse to allow your frustration over their continued whining and complaining about all their pain. ​​ It is real and your patience is like a covering balm for them.

  2.​​ Don’t allow others to uncover their wound either. Stand in the gap for them.

D.May need and numbing agent in the ointment if the pain is severe (lidocaine)

  1. When the pain is too great to handle, apply personal prayer and hugs as needed.

  2. ​​ Continue applying love and affirmation to the soul and spirit of the person

E.Once healing starts, allow to air until healed

  1. Once they start to heal, involve them in safe outings.

  2. Invite them to small groups of non-judgmental people to learn what acceptance is

III.The Rash

A.Apply anti-itch cream to bumps 2-3 times daily

  1. Learn to relax around twitchy uncomfortable people.

  2. Something is very wrong inside their hearts and we need to be balm and calm for them

B.Try to avoid scratching the irritated areas so you won’t cause the skin to become raw and become infected.

  1. Pray for patience and peace for them. ​​ Choose peace instead of conflict when dealing with them in their fussy and irritated lifestyle

  2. Hold on to your reaction to their​​ attacks, they will come, but we can choose not to react

C.As the rash starts healing, apply soothing lotion until skin returns to normal.

Side Notes:

1.I could still function normally in most areas of my life

2.I could still help others who were going​​ through the same type of trial

3.God sent others who were already victorious in similar battles to stand alongside me and strengthen me during this battle.

4.Together, we were instruments and a testimony of God’s healing grace. ​​ By helping me, they were​​ healed even more in their own lives.

Jeremiah 8:21-22King James Version (KJV)

21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

 

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Hebrews 12:11-14 King James Version​​ 

 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. ​​  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. ​​  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

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2 Corinthians 1:3-5 The Message​​ 

The Rescue

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that​​ come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

 

Testimony of M. O. McKinley

 

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