Rev. Bob Sheldon has been our Pastor for the past 15 years. Previously he has served as the Assistant Pastor/Director of Youth Ministries at the First Baptist Church of Westerlo, N.Y. for 14 years. Bob graduated from Alliance Theological Seminary, in Nyack, N.Y., and from Kings' College, in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y. Bob and his wife Heather have two children. They enjoy fishing together in a bright orange canoe. On their last outing this season, they caught 42 fish in less than two hours on October 14th on a beautiful autumn morning at the Norton Reservoir.
"About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them."
~Acts 16:26 (NIV)
What do you do in a storm? What do you do when the waters are choppy and things are unsettled? I'm not talking about a physical storm as much as a time of uncomfortable, unsettled circumstances. Yes, we need to pray and I trust you are doing that through this Coronavirus Storm. How about sing? When Paul and Silas were in a storm of imprisonment in Acts 16:22 - 36 we read that they prayed and sang in the darkness. We'll come back to that at the end of this devo.
During this storm of the Coronavirus we need to listen to some songs that direct our attention back to God. Songs that rehearse God's faithfulness, remember God's goodness, and reflect on God's mercy and grace.
I want to suggest praying of course, but today I want to remind you to sing or at least listen to others sing by playing some Christian praise music. Yes, prayer is a weapon we use to fight the darkness, but praise is also a weapon we use to recover faith and hope. Studies of tortured prisoners have revealed that one of the best ways to survive torture is to sing. When James Mawdsley was imprisoned in Burma, he sang to give himself courage: He writes, "After (the prison guard) left, still unable to sleep, I began singing "How Great Thou Art." My voice got louder and louder until I was belting it out. I could feel strength coming back to me; I was not going to bow yet. A gaggle of guards came running and told me to be quiet. They were excited and afraid. I sang to the end of the song, congratulating myself on my defiance, then crumpled back into bleakness."
This is what Paul and Silas did in their storm. Paul and Silas could have kept their heads down muttering about their dark situation sputtering further down and down. But they lifted their eyes upward to the Lord in prayer and song. Sing of God's goodness and grace. Sing through the storm (or at least listen). Prayer is one of our weapons, but so is praise!
A few links if you need some suggestions. Pick one and listen to or sing along: (Just remember to hit skip ads!)