Read Acts 17:1-15
Key Verse: Acts 17:12 “As a result, many Jews believed, as did some of the prominent Greek women and many men.” (NLT)
By this time it seemed that everywhere Paul went to spread the Gospel message people opposed him and tried to stop him for doing God’s work. Time after time the same things happened. Paul would arrive and start teaching people about Jesus. People would get saved and some people would try to stop them from teaching about Jesus there anymore.
The exciting part is that Paul was always a couple steps ahead of the bad element that wanted him stopped. He always seemed to be able to get to a new place and sow the seeds of the Gospel into people lives before he was forced to move on. Another great thing about this was that Paul never seems to get discouraged by the whole process. It must have been frustrating to just barely get a chance to start the work before he had to run off and try again somewhere else. But Paul kept on doing it anyways and according to verse 6 he and Silas turned the whole world upside down.
You may not get to see the fruit of your labor as you try and plant the seeds of the Gospel into people’s lives. But the important thing is to never give up and to keep Acting Out for God no matter how much bad seems to be following you around. You can turn your world upside down for Jesus if you refuse to give up and keep doing whatever work you can for Him. God will use you and only time will tell how much of a change you really made in the world.
Prayer: “Lord, I want to keep on Acting Out for you even in the face of the bad things that try and stop me. Give me the strength to keep on working for you and the courage to face anything that may come my way.”
Read Acts 16:19-40
Key Verse: Acts 16:25 “Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening.” (NLT)
Paul once again ended up in prison for doing something good. Healing that demon possessed girl was the right thing to do, yet both Silas and Paul were beaten, imprisoned, and bound because of it. We read on to see the wonderful things that God does as a result of their being in prison. The prison shakes, the doors swing open, and the jailer and his whole family turn to Christ. It even served as an opportunity to encourage the believers (v. 40).
All of the wonderful things that happen in this passage can be traced back to the way that Paul and Silas reacted to being in prison. They were just badly beaten, thrown into the inner dungeon, and even tied up. But what do we find them doing in the midst of all of this? According to verse 25, they prayed and worshiped God. What’s more, they did it where everyone in the jail could hear them and they did it despite the fact that they were suffering so greatly for their faith.
How would you have reacted? Would you have prayed in that situation? Most of us find it difficult to say grace at a restaurant because there are people around us. Paul and Silas never let being beaten or even being imprisoned stop them from expressing their love to God. They choose to Act Out for Him even in the worst possible situation and God blessed them in incredible ways. Acting Out for Him means we need to learn to never be embarrassed of our faith in God whether we are in a restaurant or in jail.
Prayer: “Lord, please forgive me for the times that I lived like I was ashamed of you. Help me to never be embarrassed of you. No matter where I end up in life I want to let everyone know that you are the most important part of my life.”
Sitting in the church service, surrounded by all kinds of different people, I discovered something that had a dramatic impact on my life. These people, the mourners at this funeral, expressed their sadness and loss in many different ways; tears of pain, silent contemplation, sobbing, and wailing. In the midst of it all, nothing was as sad to witness as the tears of regret. Realizing that so many things would now go unresolved and that so many words would never be shared has a way of making the loss of a loved one even more difficult to deal with.
Sadly we often wait until someone is gone or leaving before we tell them how we really feel about them. We can certainly still express our thoughts to our loved ones while sitting at the funeral service or at some later time while placing flowers at a grave side, but nothing compares to seeing someone’s face when we tell them what they really mean to us. It’s strange to think that we are often more inclined to say the negative, even mean things, that come to our minds when someone is alive and with us, while the kind, loving thoughts, that we truly feel, often go unspoken until it is too late.
We ought to make a firm decision to speak the positive things while we have a chance. Perhaps if we spend more time saying the positive things, that we want to say, some of the negative things, that we wish we never said out loud, would go unspoken. Be sure to say every good thing you need to say before it is too late.
“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24 NIV