In her daily meditation, “Stay Away From That Party”, Louise Manigault states, “No matter what is going on, celebrate and praise God for his grace and mercy.” She warns us to stay away from the pity party. Today I am extending a personal invitation for you to join a praise party. 🙂 As sure as we have life, we will have our good days, and our bad days. Focusing on the goodness of Jehovah allows light to shine in on our darkest hours. It is natural to feel down sometimes. However, you choose when and how you get up.
In Acts 13 -14, Barnabas and Paul are sent out to preach the Word of God. This is Paul’s first missionary journey. When they arrive at Antioch of Pisidia, on the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the service. After the usual readings, the leaders of the service asked them if they had any word of encouragement for the people. Paul gave them the account of Jesus; that he was the Son of God, died and rose for our sins, and thus we all, Jews and Gentiles, everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God – something the Jewish law could never do. The people loved the word that they had received. Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people asked them to return again and speak again the next week. The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. The Jewish leaders became jealous when they saw the crowds and so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said. Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared that it was necessary that the Good News was to be given to the Jews, but since they rejected it and judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, it is offered to the Gentiles. God made them a light to the Gentiles to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth. This made the Gentiles very glad and the word spread throughout the land. The Jewish leaders stirred up both the influential religious women and the leaders of the city and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town. But they shook it off and went to the city of Iconium. In Iconium, when the people heard their message, the crowd was divided in their opinion about them. A mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders decided to attack and stone them. They fled for their lives. They then went to the city of Lystra. When they entered the city they came across a man with crippled feet. He had been listening to Paul, and Paul noticed that he had faith to be healed. So Paul called to him and told him to stand up. The man jumped to his feet and began to walk. When the crowd saw this, they believed that Paul and Barnabas were gods. They prepared sacrifices for them. Paul and Barnabas tried to deter their actions and told them that they were merely men. However the crowd could hardly be contained. Some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and turned the crowds into a murderous mob. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, apparently dead. But as the believers stood around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe. After preaching the Good News in Derbe, they returned to Antioch of Pisidia, where they strengthened the believers. They encouraged them that they must enter into the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.
We too will go through many tribulations. But be encouraged, God’s promise for life eternal is real, and His grace and mercy makes living more worthwhile. So let us praise Him for all that He does in our lives.
If you need a little motivation to get up and to come to this praise party, here are some songs that always get me moving. What is a party without music?! Feel free to submit a song request to be added to the playlist.
I pray that you are able to shake off the dust from your feet and all that comes against you, and you continue to move forward, being filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.