Psalm 148 (NIV)

Acts 7:59-8:8 (NIV)

If you need a reason to praise the Lord, if you are wondering about how you will form your praises of God today, just read Psalm 148.  Here we find praises to God from all creation. Here we see the wonder of all that the Lord has made.  From the heavens to the earth, everything is asked to live in praise of the wonderful God of all creation, whose love is immense, for his people are “close to his heart.”

In Acts we read about the early church being persecuted. Stephen, a courageous and faithful leader, is martyred.  Persecution breaks out and what happens? Naturally, the followers of Jesus scatter and flee that persecution.  In the scattering they come to meet people wherever they go.  And wherever they go, they preach the good news of Jesus Christ, the Messiah.  More people come to faith.  In the persecution and scattering, notice the church grows and flourishes.  As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Truth crushed to earth always rises.”

Praise the Lord this day.  Praise God that even in suffering, there is redemption, transformation, and hope.  For God works in and through all circumstances in our world to bring good and empowers the church to flourish.  Even in the darkness there is light, the light of Christ shines!