Often, we see our situations and become discouraged. We don’t know how to deal with them. It’s for this reason Christians walk around depressed. Instead of staying in this state of mind, we must come to a place of praise. David declares, “in His Presence is fullness of joy” Psalm 16:11. Depression and discouragement are real feelings, but you don’t have to hold on to them!
This is great news! Often, we look at our circumstances and things don’t seem right, but when we get into His Presence, things begin to change. The “joy of the Lord is our strength”. Praise brings your breakthrough.
I love the story of Paul & Silas in Acts 16. First, we see that they’re on a missionary journey and things are going well. People were getting saved and healed. God is moving! There is one disturbance during this time, something they can’t seem to get rid of.
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. Acts 16:16-18
1. Get ‘Fed Up’ With the Devil
The Bible doesn’t state exactly how many days this went on for, but it was definitely too many. Paul became annoyed with this demon possessed lady following him. He couldn’t take it any longer, so he cast the devil out. I’m not exactly sure why he let her follow them for so long. However, when he got ‘fed up’, he cast it out.
As Christians, we need to take this same stance. When we realize that there is demonic activity or satanic influence in our lives, we need to rebuke it. Lately, people have been allowing the devil to walk over them and they give it a medical term and hide behind their diagnosis. Often, depression and discouragement are direct attacks from the enemy. He doesn’t want you to advance in God’s calling for your life.
Paul & Silas were doing the right things. They were preaching the Gospel. They were even on their way to a prayer meeting when this lady started pestering them. We can be doing the right things when the devil comes to attack. We need to come to a place where we say, “devil, you’ve made it this far, now go in Jesus Name”.
2. Their Day Began to Change Quickly
Paul & Silas just cast out a devil and now they were thrown in jail. Jesus never promised us an easy life. He never said we would be free from persecutions. He told us to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad” when persecuted (Matthew 5:11, 12)
Paul & Silas were beaten and bruised but it’s interesting to see that their attitude didn’t change. They knew they were doing the right thing. However, their faith didn’t waver. They didn’t allow the beating and difficulties to discourage them.
Christians today are deciding to stay in depression and anxiety. I agree, these are real feelings, but God never wants us to stay there. He wants to deliver us from all depression, anxiety and discouragement. Put your faith in Him!
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. Acts 16:25, 26
3. Praise Brings Change!
As Paul & Silas praised Jesus things began to change. Their deliverance was at hand. Therefore, it’s so important for us to worship Jesus and get into His Presence on a regular basis. When we praise regularly, we will know what to do in times of difficulty. As you become a man or woman of prayer you will know what to do in hard situations.
In an earlier blog, entitled, His Presence Our Priority, I talk about this very thing. We must be men & women of prayer and praise. This is something we can develop in our lives. It takes time and effort but it’s worth it. Just read Hebrews 11:6. I also wrote another blog on that: Rewards for Those Who Seek God.
a. Doors Opened
Two important things happened. Doors were opened and chains were loosed. This didn’t just benefit them, it was for all the other prisoners as well. Your praise can bring release to you and to others!
As you worship, doors will open for yourself and others. Too often we complain about our situation. We cry about how difficult things are, but God wants us to turn everything into praise! The Bible says that “all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
b. Chains Became Loosed
Some people must hear your praise. Then they will experience freedom. So many are waiting to hear your praise! They need it. Their deliverance will come due to your joy and obedience. There is power in our worship! Begin to thank God for His goodness for you and others!
When others see that not everything you are going through is easy, yet you continue to praise God they are going to listen. The prisoners obviously knew that Pau & Silas weren’t having a good day. They wouldn’t be in jail if they were. As they began to worship God it brought deliverance to everyone else. Don’t you think it’s time to praise God in your situation right now?
Stop complaining! Stop looking at what you’re facing and put your eyes on Jesus! Look up to Him who can change your circumstances. I believe that many times God is just waiting for us to praise him.
Your breakthrough may just be one prayer or praise away. God has already provided it for you! Just lift your hands to him and surrender your feelings. God has His best interest in mind for you!
4. Turn Your Fears to Praise!
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. 2 Chronicles 20:3, 4
I encourage you to read the whole chapter of 2 Chronicles 20. It’s an encouraging story. Numerous armies were about to attack Jehoshaphat. His immediate reaction was normal. He was fearful. He didn’t know what to do. Since he was a godly king and one who sought the Lord, he knew what was best. He began to seek the Lord.
This shows that it’s okay to be fearful. It’s okay when discouragement comes. However, you don’t have to stay there. Get out as quickly as possible! Begin to pray, praise & worship. Seek answers from Heaven. Stop living below your potential!
As Jehoshaphat sought God, God sent prophets to encourage him (2 Chronicles 20:14-17). God will send people to encourage you or speak to you directly. It’s important that we seek Him and not who will speak to us. God can bring encouragement in different ways. God may want you to be a prophet (encourager) for someone else.
5. Always Rejoice!!
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Paul became imprisoned again. Paul saw what had happened in times past. He knew that God could free him. Paul faced imprisonment, persecution and offense, yet he never lost his joy. However, he continued to rejoice.
Rejoice in difficulties! Know that your God is bigger than anything you could be facing! He has the power to deliver you. He wants to deliver others through your testimony as well. God wants to move on your behalf. He’s just waiting for you to look to Him instead of your circumstance.
Author of Trusting God’s Timing