Voicing Praise Will Shake the Faulty Foundation of Lies

One night, it was around midnight, on the other side of the planet, two guys were thrown in prison – wrongfully. But their prayer and praise and hymn singing resulted in earth and soul-shaking miracles.

acts1625

The very foundations of the prison were shaken. This was literal. Today, we do not find ourselves in literal prisons – but rather, demonic strongholds, or fortresses. These strongholds also have foundations. What would be the foundation of addiction, for example? The foundation of depression? The foundation of pride? I would venture to suggest that the foundation for most if not all demonic strongholds – that which all outward symptoms are built upon, is deceit. Lies.

When we see our prison-like circumstance as an opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus (in prayer and praise), the very foundation upon which demons have been stationed – becomes powerfully shaken! The core of their arsenal, their “Big Guns”, Lies, are dismantled. Rendered impotent.

And as a result, every time, there is a releasing. There is a spiritual opening of doors, and breaking of chains! 😳

There is a supernatural freedom that accompanies the proclamation of Truth.

But notice – the last 4 words of this passage. “Everyone’s chains were unfastened.”

Freedom did not just come to Paul and to Silas. But when they used their voices in the midst of their utter agony, sitting in their pools of blood, to give praise to Jesus, and lift up expectant prayers…everyone around them who was held captive became free! Paul and Silas’s decision to praise in the prison directly resulted in not just their own release, but the release of everyone else in that dungeon.

Our praise in duress. Our fervent, expectant prayer. Our singing – can do the same. Make it loud. Our God will shake the enemy to his core. He will open doors that were sealed and locked before. He will unfasten tight chains that were once the source of pain.

When have you encountered immediate freedom from bondage after deciding to sing, praise and pray to Jesus?

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raising the bar, pt.2 “bless those who curse you”

luke 6:27, 28; romans 12:20, 21

“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” “…if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head…Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”

raise the bar:

we are “set apart”! we are sanctified. we can’t afford to treat people who’ve have done us wrong (or for that matter, like mike guglielmucci, shamed the Christian faith), how the world would treat them. then what makes us any different than the world!? for Christ’s sake! literally. for the sake of Jesus, who gave up his throne in heaven and eventually gave up his dignity & his very life-blood. for the sake & glory of Jesus who forgave us our every sin, we need to strive as one body to live above the standards of your average joe…even your average Christian joe.

one major way we can do this is by forgiving beyond what we think we can, by praying. how about somethin’ like, “Lord, i wanna see _____ the way you see them. even though they did this, give me compassion for them & help me see past my own hurt. give me your eyes for them. your heart for them. forgive them.” or if you can’t muster up all that with sincerity, then heck, start with a simple, “God, show ____ your love today”. what if two weeks of that consistent prayer leads to actually meaning it…which leads to real forgiveness…which leads to freedom and maybe even restoration and salvation?! itellyouwhat. get ready to take the limits off of His blessings when you act in obedience.

Q 4 U:

when’s the last time you blessed someone who cursed (or mistreated) you? do you think it’s tougher, the closer that person is to you?

we’ve all been judged or shamed. we remember the pain. or do we? does the extent to which we give grace to others depend on how long ago it was given to us?

shattered glass

what happens when your world, as peaceful & good as you think it is, falls apart almost suddenly? what do you do when you hear the news – the kind of news that not just changes your year, but your entire life? you can try to move on, do your best to reconcile your feelings of disappointment & confusion. you may find it easier, in the moment, to skirt around the issue or even ignore it. have you ever had a child stand 2 inches from your face, staring at you? it seems impossible to not look back. ignoring never works. looking back is ok until we can say “i’m doing everything i can do to let God work.” looking back as a means of facing your own short-comings with humility & honesty so that you can learn from them, is different than “dwelling in the past”. looking back for short periods with a heart of thankfulness and self-examination is crucial. remembering triggers, thought patterns, habits & lures can be hugely instrumental in keeping us from making poor choices in the future.

and yet, even when we believe it’s been pretty well worked out, reminders have their way, don’t they.

my son helps with a few things around the house like dust-busting the kitchen floor, cleaning, and emptying the dishwasher. tuesday he was moving all the cups to the counter and trying a shortcut by stacking them. just as i saw him stack two glasses, i chimed in, “woah, there! you shouldn’t stack glasses!” quickly, he pulled the top one out of the other. “…they could br…” and it shattered. thin shards flickered all across the floor.

5 years. pornography and a messy affair threatened to obliterate our unity as a family. oh, that’s not how long it lasted. that’s how long ago it happened. both our lives were terribly affected by the lies. there is hope!! but trust is so slow moving. even after this long… after so many boundaries and kept promises, after our marriage has seriously grown, & we are restored, i can still step on a sharp piece of broken glass. it’s few & far between, but we still struggle. we haven’t done all our learnin’ just yet.

a strange text message or email, a late poker night with work friends…they can lead to lies in my head. those bastards (the lies) can stab my sole and make it bleed ’til of course, we talk it out like grown-ups. me & my husband…and me & my God. and i’m healed again.

trust breaks. it happens with abandonment, or the death of someone very close. it happens with verbal or physical or sexual abuse or when a parent lets you down. it happens when your son looks you in the eye & lies.

but i continually find comfort in this truth: His mercies really are new every morning.

have you ever committed to building trust again after it was shattered? how long did it take to restore? do those stupid tiny pieces of broken glass ever really go away…completely?

worship to a new song…from hillsong: “HEALER”

UPDATED 8/21: what i’ve learned about this song’s writer is disappointing…but it doesn’t change the fact that God doesn’t change. the lyrics still ring true. the most impacting way to glorify God is through our lifestyles. and the most impacting time? when we are in our most broken state.

i’m praying that through this controversy, the essence of true grace be realized in churches & Christians worldwide. for more on this story, i’ll just “ping” you over to chris from canada who’s posted some really great thoughts & discussion…and has more time than myself, to write on this.

how ’bout this week, let’s think about what God’s Word says: pray for those who hurt you.

7/9: how can we not worship HIM!? every time we do, truth rings in our hearts & our faith is strengthened.