Get Out Of Jail Free

 “But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

Psalm 22:3  

Anybody who has ever played Monopoly knows it was an advantage to possess the “Get Out Of Jail Free” card. Are you aware that God offers us pass that will loosen the shackles of bondage that so easily entangle us? All this week I have been reading the book of Acts as well as Paul’s prison epistles and I am humbled by the way the apostle rose above the circumstances of his life maintaining the joy of the Lord as his strength. In the book of Philippians, a letter Paul wrote while incarcerated in a Roman prison he used the word “joy” or “rejoicing” some 16 times in just 104 verses. Paul had joy because he understood the sovereignty of God, meaning Paul knew that God was in complete control of everything that was taking place in his life.

In the book of Acts we find a wonderful story about the power of praise in a believers life and how God uses praise to set us free. Maybe you aren’t in physical shackles today but after 44 days of “sheltering in place” and finding most of the things you might have done in your life closed, you might feel as if you are imprisoned. Paul found himself bound in literal chains in a Roman prison, shackled to his guards. Some might think that Paul was in chains so that he couldn’t escape while the story reveals that even when the chains were broken and the cell doors open the apostle didn’t seek to escape. He stayed so he could complete the work God had sent him to do.

It was the prison guards who were in shackles. They couldn’t get away from the gospel as God had ensured they were chained to Paul. It was the guards who couldn’t escape. Read Acts 16:23-26 for yourself, “And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed.”
 
What a powerful example of the power of praise! Even when we are bound in place, praise and worship set us free. For the apostle Paul they were physical chains but maybe for me and you today ours are the shackles of anxiety, fear and worry, trust, doubt, anger, depression, and the list goes on and on. One of the best things we can do during these stressful days of sheltering in place the Coronavirus is sing while listening to music. Singing along or just listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies. It’s no wonder since God created us to worship. Music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing our pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, while decreasing the levels of stress hormones. The list of health benefits is endless.  

The story of Saul and David comes to mind from 1 Samuel 16 as we all deal with the distress caused by the coronavirus. In verse 23 we see the power of music on the human spirit, “And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” As David played soothing music for King Saul the Bible reveals that the distressing spirit left Saul. Interestingly enough the distressing spirit didn’t leave forever, David playing music for Saul provided temporary relief. A great reminder to listen to worship music or instrumental music when you find yourself distressed and let the Lord minister to your spirit.

Let me encourage you during this time we are “sheltering in place” to take the time and listen to lots of worship music, even just soothing instrumentals that help you relax and take a few much needed deep breaths. Create some new play lists for your smart phone that are broken into groups. Create play lists of sing along worship songs, some that you just enjoy listening too. Create play lists of songs that make you want to dance when you her them, songs that just make your heart smile. I’ll leave you with a link today to a YouTube music video of a song that when I hear it reminds me of one of my favorite verses of scripture, one that always takes my stress away…

 
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39    


Here’s the link… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5tepYJno7rU

I LOVE YOU!

Michael Osthimer

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