Monday, April 23, 2018
Philippians 2:14-16 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Several years ago I received a belated birthday gift my daughter and her husband. They had arranged for us to have center section tickets in the 8th row at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison for the Casting Crowns concert. There was some question as to whether or not we were going to be able to attend the concert because of my mother’s health condition, but God made it possible. I am so blessed that He did. Over the previous two weeks my emotions had been on a roller coaster as I dealt with the news of my mom’s terminal cancer. I was confident of God’s perfect purpose, but I was also very aware of the emotional instability that comes during the storms of life.
God was using the circumstances of my life to force me to ask and answer some crucial questions.
- What can we do when the pressures and problems of life diminish our confidence and increase our complaining?
- How can we stay strong in our spirit when we are so weak in our flesh?
- How can we be blameless and pure and shine like stars in the universe when the darkness seems to be in us rather than just around us?
- How can we hold out the Word of Life when we are having trouble just holding on to it?
These were the questions I was asking prior to the concert.
All last week we learned to work out our salvation in our everyday experience, because it is God who is working in us to will and act according to His good purpose. At the concert that night, God put a huge exclamation point on that truth for me.
Mark Hall, the lead singer for Casting Crowns, told a story about a young girl named Erin that the group had met during their travels around the country. For several years this child battled with cancer until finally the cancer won. But the courage and confidence to continue to worship God that was modeled by Erin’s mother was an inspiration to Mark, and he wrote the words to this song. This was exactly what I needed, and maybe you do too. Read the words of the song carefully and let them touch your heart as they did mine.
Praise You In This Storm
Written by Mark Hall / Music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms
2005 Club Zoo Music (BMI) / SWECS Music (BMI) (adm. by EMI CMG Publishing) /Word Music, LLC (ASCAP) / Banahama Tunes (ASCAP) (adm. by Word Music, LLC)
I was sure by now
God You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
And stepped in and saved the day
Once again, I say Amen, and it is still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear you whisper through the rain
I’m with you
As your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away
I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry
You raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can’t find you
I lift my eyes into the hills
Where does my help come from
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth
I’ll Praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
You are who you are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will Praise You in this storm
That’s how we do all things without grumbling and complaining. That’s how we shine like stars in the universe. That’s the key to keeping the darkness around us from invading us. That’s how we live blameless lives of confidence in a crooked and depraved generation. We praise Him in the storm.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:16 – 18, 16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Read these words from Psalm 121 that were found in the song – 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
God is always God, and I will always praise Him with confidence, because all things work together for His good purpose for those who love Him.
And I love Him!