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Compete With Praise

“Praise the Lord, who is my Rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle.” – Psalm 144 READ Acts 16:23-34 REFLECT Competitors fight. They push hard to achieve their goals. But, what happens when we don’t reach our goals, or when life turns in a way we didn’t expect – what should be our response?  How do we keep fighting when it seems like our efforts are pointless? Scripture instructs us to keep fighting with praise. Paul and Silas had committed their lives to God, but their teaching got them thrown into prison. After being beaten with rods and chained up they chose to keep fighting.  But they chose to fight differently than most. They chose to fight with praise.  As they sang and prayed, God literally shook the world around them.  What if this is our response when adversity hits?  How could God shake the world around us when we fight with praise? When Jesus Christ chose to sacrifice His life for us on the cross He continued to fight with praise. Every word He spoke while on the cross was intended to point us to God. When He died “the earth shook and the rocks were split” (Matthew 27:51).  When competitors bring attention to God by fighting with praise the world stops and notices. “When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’” – Matthew 27:54 ESV SKILL WORK
  1. How has a competitor’s response to adversity gotten your attention? Discuss with a friend.
  2. Who have you seen give glory to God through competition?  How did they give God the attention?
  3. Set a timer for five minutes and pray with a focus on the character of God. Simply say “God, you are awesome because…” for as many reasons as possible in five minutes.
  4. Have you responded to the grace of Jesus Christ like the jailer did in the story from Acts 16? If not, consider the decision to begin a relationship with Jesus today.
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