1. Hello, listening friends.
2. What a joy it is for us to know that you are listening to this broadcast;
3. and, if God is using this broadcast to bless you, we would love to hear from you.
4. We would love to read your messages, and we read every one of them.
5. I want to remind you that we are in the midst of a series of messages entitled, “Looking Up…” when life knocks you down;
6. and it is based on the life of the Apostle Paul.
7. I want to begin by telling you this:
8. I think most parents want a better life for their children than what they had.
9. Most parents want to leave an inheritance to their children;
10. but the truth is this:
11. the greatest inheritance that you can leave your children or your grandchildren
12. is not money or property.
13. The greatest inheritance that you can leave your children and grandchildren is modeling to them godliness.
14. I am going to explain what I mean by this.
15. I was left a great spiritual legacy from my mother and her father.
16. My grandfather was truly a man of prayer and praise.
17. This man would wake up three, four, five times during the night to praise and thank the Lord.
18. You may say, “Maybe, he was a spiritually disciplined man,”
19. or, “Perhaps, he had a great deal to bless God for...”
20. but let me tell you a couple of things.
21. He lost two of his sons when they were in their thirties.
22. His partner stole him blind.
23. His wife died when he was relatively young;
24. and, then, when he was in his eighties, he lost his eldest daughter in her fifties;
25. and, yet, until the day he died, he never ceased getting up in the night to bless the Lord for salvation.
26. Somebody told me some years ago
27. that your perception of God has a direct impact on your attitude toward your circumstances.
28. How you see God will directly affect whether you are a praising person or a complaining person.
29. If you see God as the all-powerful One who loves you dearly, then nothing will get you down.
30. If you view God as being in total control of all of the circumstances of those who love Him,
31. then nothing is going to hassle you in this life.
32. If you view God as the One who has a perfect plan for your life, then nothing will intimidate you.
33. If you see God as the One who cares for the minutest details of every area of your life,
34. then nothing and no one is able to rob you of your joy;
35. but, if you view God as a benevolent dictator that you go to when you want something really big,
36. then the slightest change in your circumstances will discourage you, disappoint you and intimidate you.
37. It all depends on how you perceive God.
38. Paul and Silas’ perception of God caused them to rejoice.
39. Their perception of God caused them to sing praises in the middle of the night in solitary confinement in the prison.
40. Paul and Silas’ perception of God caused them to sing praises to Him when their bodies were racked in pain.
41. Paul and Silas were singing praises to the Lord even though they were falsely accused and maliciously treated.
42. I want you to turn with me to verse 25 of Acts 16.
43. There, you find Dr. Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, tells us that about midnight, they were praising God.
44. You say, “What is so special about midnight?”
45. Now, remember, in the old days, people went to bed right after sundown;
46. and, then, they got up at sunrise
47. because they didn’t have light;
48. so, the reason midnight is mentioned, here, is because, at midnight, everything is accentuated.
49. At midnight is when loneliness is accentuated.
50. At midnight is when fear is accentuated.
51. At midnight is when the smallest problem becomes a giant problem.
52. At midnight is when you’re feeling sorry for yourself.
53. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, Paul and Silas began to be filled with thanksgiving.
54. Instead of griping about their lot in life,
55. they were glorifying the greatness and the glories of God.
56. Instead of constantly protesting the blatant injustice, they praised God for their salvation.
57. When most of us face adversity,
58. we get ourselves in such a muddle that we do not know how to get out of it.
59. When we face difficult circumstances, we don’t know where the “off” button is.
60. My listening friends, listen to me very carefully, please.
61. The “off” button for your difficulty
62. is in praising the name of the Lord in the middle of your pain—not afterward.
63. The “off” button is lifting up the name of Jesus in the middle of your trouble.
64. The “off” button is in thanksgiving and gratitude to the Lord in the middle of your dilemma.
65. The “off” button is in exalting the name of the Lord Jesus in the middle of your difficulty.
66. Some people say, “All you need to do is just take your eyes off your problem...”
67. but how can you take your eyes off the problem when you are knee deep in it?
68. The only way to take your eyes off your problem
69. is by focusing on blessing the name of Jesus.
70. If Paul and Silas had not understood this important lesson,
71. they may have spent their time commiserating with each other.
72. They would have talked about whom should they blame for their trouble.
73. They would have spent their time wondering what they could have done differently to avoid being in prison,
74. or, they could have spent their time wondering if they really were in the will of God by coming to Philippi.
75. Do you know people like that?
76. The moment they face a problem, they say, “You must be out of the will of God.”
77. If this were the case, Paul would never have preached the Gospel anywhere,
78. because, everywhere he went, he faced problems.
79. He faced difficulties. He faced persecution and he faced threat to his life;
80. but Paul and Silas knew that the secret of victory is not going around the problem.
81. Paul and Silas knew that the secret of victory is not the quick fix.
82. Paul and Silas knew that the secret of victory was to look the devil in the eye and sing praises to the Lord.
83. They knew that the secret of victory was to appropriate the power that God has for them in praising Him.
84. Paul knew that afflictions produces a far more exceeding, eternal weight of glory;
85. therefore, he said, “I will rejoice in affliction.”
86. Nowhere it is documented that Paul and Silas ever prayed to be released.
87. They may have, but it wasn’t recorded here.
88. They never even asked for an earthquake;
89. but the earthquake came as they began to praise God at midnight.
90. Do you know what causes the devil either joy unspeakable or pain unbelievable?
91. If you are happy, the devil is miserable.
92. If you are miserable, the devil is happy.
93. Do you want to know how to make the devil miserable?
94. You make the devil miserable by the way you handle your circumstances.
95. If you always say, “Why did God do this? Why am I suffering so?”
96. then, Satan and all his demons are rejoicing;
97. but, if you say, “This is puzzling. This is painful. This does not make any sense from my point of view,
98. but I know God promised that He will work all things together for my good because I love Him...”
99. 100) and, then, you begin to bless the name of Jesus,
100. saying, “He is my Rock. He is my Deliverer. He is my Fortress.
101. He is everything to me and I will trust Him.”
102. When you do this, you make the devil miserable,
103. because Satan knows there is power that you can only experience when you are able to bless the name of God.
104. Please listen carefully.
105. There is power in praising the name of the Lord;
106. but that’s not all,
107. because the Scripture teaches that there is even greater power in praising the name of Jesus in the midst of your pain-
108. far greater power than you thought possible.
109. There is power available to you when you bless the name of the Lord in the midst of confusing circumstances.
110. Look at verse 26.
111. As Paul and Silas praise God, an earthquake hits the town of Philippip;
112. and the Bible said that it shook the foundation of the prison.
113. The whole place was shaken up - so much so, that the prison warden was ready to kill himself.
114. Why did he want to kill himself?
115. Because Roman law says that any soldier who allows prisoners to escape will pay with his life;
116. and the prison warden in Philippi probably said to himself, “There is no way that any of the prisoners will be around after this earthquake...”
117. and he preferred to put the sword to his own heart than let the Romans do it for him;
118. but the Apostle Paul cried out to him and said, “Do not hurt yourself, for we all are here.”
119. My listening friend, I don’t want you to miss this very important point.
120. The tables have turned and the jailer falls on his knees before the prisoners,
121. for that’s the power of praising the Lord in the midst of difficult circumstances.
122. This is the power of God working.
123. The prison warden said, “What can I do to be saved?”
124. What did he know about salvation?
125. Well, earlier in the Book of Acts, Chapter 16, there was a woman who had been healed of demon possession;
126. and this woman was shouting a message.
127. “These men are messengers of the most high God.
128. They are here to bring you the message of salvation...”
129. and the Philippian jailer had heard her and the Holy Spirit was working in his life.
130. When he heard the message of salvation from this woman, his heart was being prepared.
131. God was working in him;
132. and, so, it took a crisis for him to say, “What must I do to be saved?”
133. What did Paul say?
134. Paul said to him very simply, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
135. Why just believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
136. Because this man had nothing between him and salvation other than belief;
137. and, by the way, when Paul said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,”
138. he did not mean just believe that Jesus existed or believe that He was a good man.
139. The word means total surrender to Him;
140. that He becomes the Lord of your life;
141. so, my listening friends, I want to end where I began.
142. If you want to have a legacy to the next generation,
143. teach them the praise of God in tough times.
144. If you want to leave something to your offspring,
145. show them how to appropriate the power of God in your life -
146. the power that can only come from learning to praise God in the midst of difficulties,
147. because the power of praise is real.
148. The power of praise is lasting.
149. Let me ask you this question, as I conclude.
150. What is it that has robbed you of your joy today?
151. Whatever it may be,
152. begin regularly, systematically, unashamedly to praise the name of Jesus;
153. and, then, write to us and tell us about the power of God working in you.
154. Until next time, I wish you God’s richest blessing.