Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Overcome with Praise - July 20, 2010

Acts 16:23-34 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
23After they had hit Paul and Silas many times, they threw them in jail and ordered the jailer to keep them under tight security. 24So the jailer followed these orders and put Paul and Silas into solitary confinement with their feet in leg irons.

25Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. The other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly, a violent earthquake shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and all the prisoners’ chains came loose.

27The jailer woke up and saw the prison doors open. Thinking the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28But Paul shouted as loudly as he could, “Don’t hurt yourself! We’re all here!”

29The jailer asked for torches and rushed into the jail. He was trembling as he knelt in front of Paul and Silas. 30Then he took Paul and Silas outside and asked, “Sirs, what do I have to do to be saved?”

31They answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.” 32They spoke the Lord’s word to the jailer and everyone in his home.

33At that hour of the night, the jailer washed Paul and Silas’ wounds. The jailer and his entire family were baptized immediately. 34He took Paul and Silas upstairs into his home and gave them something to eat. He and his family were thrilled to be believers in God.

We have committed the situation we are facing to the Lord and we acknowledge in prayer that we are stepping out in faith, giving Him the glory. So how does overcoming our difficulty look like? How do we ultimately give Him all the glory He is due, as we accomplish His will and are rescued through the situation by Him?

The story above about Paul and Silas is a great example for us. These two great leaders of the early Church were beaten and thrown into a seemingly hopeless situation because they were bringing others to salvation and belief in Jesus Christ. Confined in the deepest part of the prison, they were left in chains and their feet were even placed in stocks. Not a very good picture of those who are obedient to the Christian life. I am not sure many of us would hold up to that or any kind of persecution.

What did these guys do? They started "praying and singing hymns of praise"! They were praying and singing loud enough so that all of the other prisoners were listening to them. Imagine the joy that was filling that place, by the witness and "leading out in praise" of these two men of God! I am sure that many were thinking about the faith that these two had, and that their hearts were burning with the desire to know their secret.

If that weren't enough, we read that the miraculous happened. The chains were broken and the prison gates were opened by the hand of God. Even so, Paul and Silas stayed in that place to accomplish an even greater miracle of God. Again, because of their witness and faith, they brought salvation in Jesus to the jailer and His entire household. Many came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, by a horrible situation that resulted in a miraculous rescue, both physically and spiritually. This difficult situation brought God the glory He was due.

How often in our lives are faced with the prison of a very difficult situation? Read and meditate on this story in Acts. Follow the examples given by Paul and Silas as they sought to be obedient to God, were persecuted for it, and ultimately rescued by their Savior. Overcome the chains and bondage that you are in by prayerfully seeking Him and giving Him praise. Lead out in praise, and be a joyful witness and godly example to others, and point them to the Savior.

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