Tag Archives: power

30 Days of Thankful: Day 5

At midnight Paul and Silas worshipped, and praised God (Acts 16:25 WYC).

Just how powerful is praise? And why does giving thanks seem to change the spiritual atmosphere? I’m not sure anyone really knows the answer. But we can look at some of the results. Earlier, I shared the story of the ten-year-old boy who, after being kidnapped, sang praises to God and was released unharmed by his kidnapper.

Here’s another praise-power encounter: After preaching in Philippi, Paul and Silas were dragged out of the marketplace and thrown into prison.  After being severely beaten and bound with chains, they began to praise and worship God—and a miracle occurred.

Suddenly, there’s an earthquake. The prison was shaken to its very foundation and the doors flew open and “the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:26). The jailer wakes up terrified, ready to kill himself. But Paul shouted, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!”

What follows is surely the quickest salvation message ever preached. The terrified man simply cries out, “What must I do to be saved?” To which Paul and Silas reply, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-34).

More amazing things happened. The jailer took Paul and Silas to his home where they told his family about Jesus and “his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.” Wow. Salvations, beatings, prison, rejoicing, more salvations, more rejoicing. The whole account is dizzying.

Praise and thanksgiving seem to lift burdens that nothing else can move. And miracles in the Bible often follow a time of giving thanks. Remember how Jesus thanked God before he fed the 5000?  And He cried out, “Father I thank you that you have heard me” (John 11:41) before calling Lazarus forth from the tomb.

Praising and giving thanks are powerless by themselves. But what if they connect us with God? “God inhabits the praises of His people” writes the psalmist (Psalmist 22:3). And when you connect with God, powerful things happen. Lives are changed. Souls are saved. Darkness flees. Grief is lifted.

Perhaps thanking God—even in the midst of our storms–is simply an expression of faith in its purest form. And faith changes things. It was Jesus Himself who reminds us that “all things are possible when we believe” (Mark 9:23).

Lord, tune my heart today to praise and thank you in each situation I face throughout my day. And I thank you in advance for your mighty work. –Amen










30 Days of Thankful

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:18)

Ten-year-old Willie Myrick is one of my heroes. Willie was kidnapped from his home in Atlanta by a knife-wielding assailant. His kidnapper placed a ten-dollar bill as “bait” at the foot of a tree near Willie’s driveway.   When the curious youngster reached down to pick it up, the man came from behind the tree, forced Willie into the car and began to drive.

Speeding across town with the little boy in the back seat,  the man spewed profanity and threats.  The frightened  ten year old decided to sing. And not just any song–Willie began to sing his favorite worship song, “Every Praise.” When Willie was later asked why he sang this particular song, he answered, “Well, because I knew that Jesus was gonna be with me and he was gonna take me through the steps of getting out!”  Continue reading

Day Thirteen: Don’t Be Deceived

This morning as I was reading my Bible, I was stopped in my tracks  by four simple words:  “You are in error…” Jesus was warning the Pharisees, some of the most religious people who have ever lived.  Their error? Jesus speaks plainly: “Because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (NIV).  The Greek word for error is even stronger. It implies that one is “deceived, deluded, a wanderer from the truth.”  The Message Bible puts it this way: “You’re off base on two counts: You don’t know your Bibles, and you don’t know how God works.”

Today is Day Thirteen of our 21 Day Watch.  Not only am I watching for signs of God at work, but I’m also watching for God’s warnings.  Often when the word watch is used in the New Testament, it’s in the context of warning us against danger.  “Watch and pray so that you don’t fall into temptation,” Jesus told the sleepy disciples in the Garden of Gesthemane.  “Watch out for false teachers.”  “Watch out for greed.”  Seems like being watchful against error is part of our job description as believers.

Lots can be said about the Pharisees, but ignorance of the Scriptures was not one of them. They committed long passages to memory and devoted their life to obeying the law. They even added over 600 extra interpretations of the Ten Commandments to make sure they were righteous in every way. But they didn’t truly know the Scripture, Jesus stated. And they didn’t know the power of God.  They had read it, studied it, memorized it, created a complex system to obey every letter of it.  But according to Jesus, they didn’t know it, and they didn’t know Him.  Their hearts were far from Jesus, so how could they know His Word?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Jesus’s words. Obviously, they give us a warning.  If I don’t know the Bible or God’s power,  I’m more likely to be deceived.  But these words are also a challenge. They remind me of my need to truly know Jesus and believe in Him.  Out of that relationship, my knowledge of His Word will bring life to my soul and ignite my faith.  If I know God’s Word and His power, I am less likely to be deluded by the enemy’s lies.

Just one more reason it’s worth it to spend time talking to God in prayer each day.  Getting to know Him, reading and reflecting on His Word.  It’s why we’re doing this 21 Day Watch,  alert to signs of God at work and growing in our understanding of His enormous power.  Stay faithful. Keep up your guard. Don’t be deceived.








Week Four: Agree in Prayer

If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:19).  

I am fascinated by bottlenose dolphins.  These magnificent creatures can reason, solve problems, think abstractly, and even recognize themselves in a mirror!  They’re lightening-fast and fiercely powerful. Stories abound of dolphins protecting humans against sharks, repelling them with high-speed, battering ram-like blows.  My dad, a World War II submarine veteran, tells of long, hot tours in the South Pacific. The sailors hoped to see dolphins so they could dive off the sub for a refreshing swim–sure to be safe from sharks.  Sharks steer clear of dolphins for another reason.  They’re outnumbered.  Dolphins find strength by sticking together in groups or “pods.”  So what do dolphins have to do with prayer?  Like dolphins, our fellow believers can help us gain strength in prayer and defeat our spiritual enemies.  Continue reading


The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving… (James 3:17 NIV)

Wise! Do you want to be wise? King Solomon did and God blessed him mightily.  If we lack wisdom, we should ask God.  It’s a prayer He loves to answer.  But James warns us about the dangers of what he calls “earthly wisdom.”  He contrasts it with heavenly wisdom in two short, power-packed sentences. Continue reading