The Power of Praise

The midnight hour. The worry hour. That stressful time of night when all the cares of the world come crashing in on you, depriving you of your sleep. The baby’s cough is always worse at midnight. The headache always roars at midnight. Fevers soar at midnight.

“And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God.” Acts 16:25.

They had been horsewhipped, bound in chains and stocks, hand and foot, and thrown into the deepest, darkest dungeon in the town of Phillippi. With bleeding backs, clothes half-torn off their bodies, surrounded by darkness till they couldn’t even see each other, they were at the end of their ropes.

But at midnight, Paul and Silas sang praises unto God. The Bible says that the prisoners heard them. They were listening. Singing was not the usual thing to hear in a prison, so it was startling to the prisoners. What were they hearing? Was it their imagination? No, it really was someone singing a song of praise to God.

Then their ears and their bodies picked up a different sound. A rumble, coming from deep under the deepest dungeon floor, a grumble from the heart of the earth that could be felt almost before it was heard, started softly but increasing in strength till it was a mighty roar of enormous power. Earthquake!

These men, many of whom were already condemned to death, realized that the end was near. An earthquake would collapse the prison and no one even cared whether the prisoners were dead or alive to rescue them.

However suddenly instead of the earthen roofs over their head collapsing, the jail cell doors sprang open and the stocks that bound their hands and feet fell off. The songs of praise continued from the dungeon and no one moved.

Every prisoner was set free by the power of praise.

My Tom’s Peanut Jar

Years ago, I bought a Toms Nuts glass gallon jar at a garage sale for fifty cents. I loved that jar. I used it in the kitchen of my mobile home to store stuff in, mainly the crackers, ketchup, and salt you get with your hamburger. Coupons went into the jar, as well as rubber bands, bobby pins, and garden seeds. It sat on top of a plant grow light which shined on my African violets.

One evening, Grandmother was visiting and as she walked down the hallway, she rested her hand on the grow light fixture for balance. When she did, it slipped to one side and my favorite jar, the Toms Nuts jar, crashed to the floor, breaking into a million pieces.

For one instant, I wanted to scream and cry and yell at her. If it had been one of the kids, I probably would have done just that. But it was Grandmother and she didn’t mean to do it. How can you yell at your dear 83-year-old Grandmother?

So I made a split-second decision and instantly forgave. I decided that I loved Grandmother more than I loved that jar. I swept up the pieces and we went on with the evening as though nothing had ever happened. To anyone else, it would have appeared that I didn’t care whether that jar got broken or not, but that wasn’t the truth.

I made an interesting discovery that night, a spiritual truth that I have never forgotten. On the surface it is so simple, but in practice it is a hard truth to live by. If you put this truth into practice in your everyday life, you will never be the same.

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…….but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…..For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

People are more important than things.

Gardens Already Planted

I’m not much of an outdoor gardener these days, but I have planted several perennials in the yard that bloom each year. Most are doing pretty well, but I haven’t had much luck with azaleas here in northeast Oklahoma. I’ve replanted new ones twice, but they died both times, and considering their short blooming season, I’ve just given up.

I’ve had good success with other perennials such as the hibiscus and the crape myrtle. The hibiscus I have was already here in my back yard when we bought this house. There were also beautiful shrubs in the front flower bed and Rose of Sharon shrubs, as well as forsythia, already here when we moved in. I planted the crape myrtle after I noticed them blooming all over Oklahoma in the hottest part of the summer.

We bought a house that was built back in the late 1970s and it is very comfortable. It has easier access to the back yard than our other house, so I find myself enjoying the yard more. At our other house, the back yard was mainly a large vegetable garden, but this yard isn’t very well suited for vegetable gardening, although I would like to try my hand at a raised garden bed this year.

“I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” Joshua 24:13 NKJV

I had a friend years ago who was looking for a house. I prayed with her about it, and the Lord brought this verse to mind so I told her about it. Not long after they moved into their new house, I saw her and she told me the house they bought came with a big garden already planted with tomatoes on the plants.

That’s what God did for me too. He gave me hibiscus and Rose of Sharon shrubs already planted that bloom every year, and I didn’t have to lift a finger to plant them.

Lavon Hightower Lewis


Living Water


I remember when I was a kid how we bragged about having the best-tasting water in the whole state right here in Vinita, Ok., especially when compared to the water at our grandparents’  home in Kansas. Their water was nasty, sulfur water. It stunk like rotten eggs and we only drank it when we got so thirsty we had to have a drink. Then we had to pinch our noses so we couldn’t smell it.


Vinita gets its water from Grand Lake of the Cherokees. It seems like at least in my memory that the water was so perfect-tasting and we loved to drink it, but now it doesn’t seem to taste as good.


I have a water-filter pitcher that I use and pour my water through it into a bottle, to carry with me. If I have it with me in the car when I get thirsty, as a last resort I will drink my water, rather than stop and buy a bottle of pop.


Of course you realize that the things we remember from our childhood are always better than things now. Life was simpler, easier, and better then. The water was pure, clear, and tasted like it came straight out of the prettiest, cleanest lake in Oklahoma.


  “On the last day, that great day of the feast [of Tabernacles,] Jesus stood and cried out [with a loud voice], saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me, and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:37-38 NKJV.


Living water, He said. This is water that flows from the ground, moving water, running water, like from a stream. This is the same word that is used of the “living” God. This is the living water that flows from the throne of the Living God.


Jesus issued the call to anyone, to each one, individually and personally. He issued the call with a loud voice so that everyone would hear it. The call goes out to the thirst, to the one who will come to Jesus. Only Jesus can satisfy your thirst.



Reading About Heaven


I love to read about and dream about heaven. Books about heaven are on the New York Times Best-sellers List. The book “Heaven is for Real” written by Todd Burpo has been No. 1 nonfiction paperback on The New York Times’ best-seller list for 59 non-consecutive weeks. Another book 90 Minutes in Heaven written by Don Piper and co-written by Cec Murphey is another on that list. A third book Proof of Heaven written by Eben Alexander is another best seller. All three tell their personal stories of their death, trip to heaven, and return to life here on earth.

Some religions believe that heaven or hell doesn’t exist but that we have our heaven or our hell on earth according to how we live our lives. One religion believes that only those who are martyred will go to heaven, but another believe that there is an exact number of people who will go to heaven, that there is no hell, and that all the other people will just cease to exist at their death.

I believe in heaven and hell—a literal heaven and hell.  I believe the doctrine of judgment after death when each person will enter either heaven or hell, based on one thing—being born again through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

There are many different things to discuss about heaven—what kind of a body will we have? Will we know each other when we get to heaven? Who will go to heaven? What is heaven like? So many other questions.

Where do we get the answers? Oh, how I love to read the books about people who have died, gone to heaven, then returned to life, but even so, I don’t get my beliefs from them, but I get my beliefs from the Bible.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:8 NKJV.

Heaven is the eternal home of God,  therefore surely what He says about heaven is the truth.