MESSAGE BY JD OF HILLSONG UNITED
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
There is power in being a people of relentless praise! We can learn from Paul and Silas as they didn't allow their circumstances to keep them from praising and believing God. Paul and Silas were preaching the Gospel on what seemed to be a normal day. They were then stripped and beaten severely and thrown in jail. Instead of ceasing to praise God in their trials; they chose to be even more relentless in their praise! The scripture says that there was a sudden and violent earthquake that shook open the prison doors and loosed every prisoner's chains.
When we face trials and obstacles in life, we too can witness the power of God in unlikely circumstances when we turn to God in relentless praise. There are 5 components of relentless praise:
1) Be strong in faith.
We can't live by what we see. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, "For we live by faith, not by sight." We live in this world, but we are not of this world. We cannot live by what is seen here on Earth, but we must live by the faith that we have in our God in Heaven. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye to reason.
- Benjamin Franklin
2) Concentrate on what you have.
The grass isn't always greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you choose to water it. Oftentimes we find ourselves going through life wanting more and more of what we do not have. We have to learn to cherish the blessings that we do have. The breath in our lungs is more than enough. We have more access to God than we can possibly handle, and that is all that we could ever need!
When we stay focused and faithful on what God has already done, then God can reveal to us what He plans to do next.
3) Don't follow God by emotions; follow God by faith.
Staying planted in the place where God has us in gratitude for what he's already done unlocks supernatural abundance in our lives. It is important that we don't allow our emotions to dictate our faith in God. When we stay focused and faithful on what God has already done, then God can reveal to us what He plans to do next. When you chase God in faith, God's blessings will chase you down!
4) Keep your perspective.
Paul and Silas didn't let their situation dictate their praise. Don't let your circumstances overwhelm you; we must allow God to overwhelm us! 1 Peter 4:13 says, "But rejoice in as much as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." Like Jesus, we should embrace our hardships instead of hiding from them. God will always make us stronger through the trial.
Don't let your circumstances overwhelm you; we must allow God to overwhelm us!
5) Find the secret place.
In order to praise God relentlessly, we have to block out the distractions of the world and swap them for the serenity of the secret place. Amos 5:21-24 talks about having an authentic praise for God. Sometimes we can get caught up in lifting our voices in front of others, but there is great value in seeking God in private.
We can be content with what we have, but we should not be complacent in our praises.
This isn't about hiding our praises from others, but more about being our genuine selves in God's presence. We go to our secret place so that we won't be tempted to "role play" for God. In Matthew 5:6 Jesus said, "And when you pray, don't be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray in the synagogues and the street corners to be seen by others." God loves the REAL you! Make time to seek Him in your quiet and secluded place.
At the core of relentless praise is great faith. We must continue to keep our eyes fixed on what is unseen, because the unseen is eternal. We can be content with what we have, but we should not be complacent in our praises. Trials and hardships will come, but they will only make us stronger if we fix our eyes on Him. We can overcome all things through God who gives us strength. (Philippians 4:13)
God, open my heart to You that I may pursue You with a relentless praise. Through the obstacles that come my way, I will continue to put my faith in You. I am thankful for what You have blessed me with, and grateful for Your great provision. I pray for Your renewed strength through my obstacles, and I praise Your name for the victory! In Jesus' name...Amen!
Related Scriptures: Acts 16:22-26; II Corinthians 5:7; I Corinthians 4:8; Hebrews 11:1-4; Amos 5:21; I Peter 4:12-13; Romans 8:28; Matthew 6:5-6