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Acts 16:25-26, 20:7-12

Do you sometimes stay up until midnight?  Paul did on more than one occasion.

In Acts 16:25-26, Paul and Silas were in prison and were singing and praying around midnight.  Then, God provided a miracle.  He made an earthquake that forced the doors of the prison to open.  Everyone’s chains “came loose.”

In Acts 20:7-12, since Paul couldn’t stay long in Troas, and planned to leave in the morning, he preached “until midnight.” One man, Eutychus, got really sleepy, fell asleep and then fell to his death out of a window.  With God’s power, Paul brought him back to life and went on preaching.

Many lessons can be learned from Paul’s life.  One lesson is that miracles can happen at midnight.  If we seek a miracle, let’s not rule out midnight.

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James 1:2-8, Acts 16:22-34, 1 Thessalonians 5:18

During suppertime, my family and I listen to an audio book.  We just got through listening to The Long Winter.  The Ingalls family endured blizzard after blizzard.  After one of the blizzards, it had snowed so much, that when Laura looked out her upstairs bedroom window, snow had reached that level and she could see horses walking by on the new very snowy road.  During some blizzards, Pa would play his fiddle as the family sang.

In January of 2014, Cedar Rapids, Iowa was enduring winter.  One day that month, there was a big, chilly wind gust.  After that blast of frigid air, I heard a chickadee singing.

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were beat up, put in prison and the stocks.  While in prison, Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns at around midnight.  Their joy in the midst of trial must have pleased God, because he provided an earthquake that made “the prison doors…open, and everybody’s chains came loose.”

Are you going through a storm in your life?  If so, it’s time to start singing.

 

Acts 13:42-44, 1 Corinthians 9:24

I’m fascinated by Billy Graham’s righteous ministry and recently read, Thoughts and Reflections on Billy Graham’s Life Principles.”  Here’s a quote from singer George Beverly Shea regarding a 1947 Charlotte event.  It was Billy Graham’s very first service.  George said, “This young man has great faith.  He’s asked the people to come forward.  They are singing, and he’s got his eyes closed, his hands folded; and he’s quiet now…He just quietly waited and prayed as the hymn was being sung, and they came in great numbers.

God used Billy Graham to draw many people.  We also know that God greatly used Paul and Barnabas.  Acts 13:44 says, “On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.”

Even though Paul, Barnabas, and Billy Graham aren’t with us on Earth, they left behind mighty ministries fueled by God.  In the Billy Graham book, James H. Landes said, “Billy believes in the local church.  He realizes that when he’s gone, the local church is that part of the body of Christ that must continue to edify and minister to those who are redeemed by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We’re the church.  We probably won’t reach as many people as Billy Graham or Paul, but we can at least take the extended baton and, as Paul conveyed, do our best in the race, striving for “the prize.”

Ephesians 5:19-20

One morning last week, I heard our little neighbor girl, Makaiya, singing the tune of Row Your Boat.  She sounded so very happy.

Those that know Jesus should sing with thankful hearts to Him.  When we do, singing joyfully like Makaiya will probably make our Savior smile.

Psalm 148

On Friday morning, I woke up at 5:30 which is unusually early for me.  I heard a cardinal singing.  I went to the kitchen window and saw it.  A robin began to sing and I watched a pair of ducks fly by.  It was like they couldn’t wait to start the day by praising God.  Psalm 148 says, “Praise the Lord from the earth, you…flying birds…”

Tomorrow is Monday and many seem to go into “miserable mode” when it arrives.  The birds around here face hawks and cats almost every day.  They sang anyway.   Instead of expecting Monday monotony, let’s, like the birds, start our day praising God.  Even if you don’t sing well, SING to our king!  I hope you have a magnificent Monday!

Matthew 26:30

It was Communion Sunday at our church today.  After Jesus and His disciples had the Lord’s Supper, or communion, they sang a hymn.  I wonder what it was.  I think Jesus would have sounded great singing!  He could have probably sung in the bass or tenor range.

It’s rare for our church to sing hymns, but there are some beautiful hymns hidden in hymnals.  A couple of my favorite hymns are, “We Are One in the Spirit” and “Hear the Bells Ringing.”  If you have any favorite hymns, let me know.

Ezekiel 31:6

We love gray catbirds in my home.  Just now I heard one singing in our backyard.  Our love for them has grown as they’ve shown their great curiosity about us.  One day, we put a toad house in our flower garden.  It wasn’t long before a catbird landed on a rock faced toward the toad house showing us that it noticed.  Another day, my husband, John, was getting leaves out of a gutter.  Later, the catbird flew right to that spot and looked down where he had been working.  Several days ago I went grocery shopping, parked our car in the carport, opened the trunk, and started carrying in the groceries.  Before I knew it, the catbird flew to our nearby lilac bush and watched me.  Even when I was done and shut the trunk, it didn’t fly off.  Soon after, I got an apple with grape jelly ready for it and put it out by the bird feeder.  It didn’t take long before a catbird came and ate.  Something that has been puzzling me, is that twice when we went on a walk in our neighborhood, a catbird would come and look at us.  Could it be that the same ones in our yard are curious about where we’re going and following us?

The above verse mentions birds making nests.    Recently, I noticed that a pair of catbirds must have made a nest in a bush by our back bedroom window.  As I mowed, I saw them fly low into the bush repeatedly.  Later, we saw their baby perched on another bush by our bay window.  As we watched, a parent catbird fed the baby.  According to Wikipedia, both parents help with feeding, and they protect the nest.  I find it incredible that catbird dads are dependable in helping to care for their young, but some human “dads” leave all the care for a single mom.  Happy Father’s Day to ALL of the dependable dads!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_catbird

 

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