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Glorifying God in Praise!

    God has been incredibly gracious in the life of our family over the last three weeks. I was just so blessed by my daughter Christina’s wedding on February 1 and the fact that we had this very special family time together. I was also thankful and grateful for your answers to prayer concerning the lifting of the vertigo problems that I had been having over the last few months, just days before the wedding. I’m thankful for my daughter’s successful shoulder surgery in answer to your prayers, and her safe return with my grandson Tyler to Michigan. I’m grateful for the purchase of the car for my son Matt, which many of you prayed for, and his safe return from Michigan after driving Ethan back and being with him for a week out there. I’m grateful and thankful for the open door of ministry God has given me next Sunday to speak at the church of one of my students (Pastor Lee) in Jersey City as my daughter Christina is moving with her new husband this weekend to Jersey City and they are committed to coming, as well as my daughter Ashley with her boyfriend. This is certainly a gift from God to be able to minister to my family, in the midst of changes in their lives.

   The apostle Paul very clearly illustrates this principle of giving thanks and praise when he writes to the Philippians and states, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. The peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Phil. 4:6-7 NIV). Earlier in the same passage Paul had stated, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4 NIV). It’s so important for us to remember that when Paul was writing this letter to the Philippians he was in a Roman prison. Yet here he is instructing them to rejoice and give thanks to their Almighty God. Paul reminds them and us that the attitude of a grateful heart should always accompany our prayer life. In our personal and family devotions we should have thankful hearts for what Jesus Christ has done and is doing in and through us. I believe that God is glorified when our prayers are filled with praise and thanksgiving to the source of every good thing in our lives. 

   It is important to recognize that when the Philippians read Paul’s words they had a living model of rejoicing and praising God for His glory in the midst of great pain and trial. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas had been unjustly beaten and placed in stocks in the inner chamber of a Philippian jail. How do you respond when you are mistreated, or when your rights have been violated? We read Paul’s response, “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:25-28 NIV). It doesn’t seem like Paul and Silas were in a very good place for glorifying God in a Philippian prison, and yet their response resulted in the majesty and mighty power of God being displayed. I think it’s highly likely, given the fact that the jailer and his family got saved that night, that he was also part of those who would be reading Paul’s later letter from prison telling them, “to rejoice and to give thanks to God in everything”. When we thank God in the midst of our trials and difficulties, He can use anything for our good and for His glory. Realizing that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered many incredible things and out of His brokenness and blood God brought about our salvation. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving, even when we don’t understand exactly what He is doing. Won’t you join me in praises to our great God who has provided salvation and redemption for us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy of all of our praise and all of our thanksgiving. “His love endures forever”. Let us pray for God to be glorified in our fruitful service and thanksgiving to Him. 

All for God’s glory,

Pastor Rich Sivo

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